I had been hearing rumblings about the start of a new sumo club in Austin, Texas, but I am finally happy to report that these rumblings have now become a reality! One of the best lightweight sumo wrestlers in America, Justin Kizzart, has just started Dark Circle Sumo. Justin teamed up with South Austin Aikido to use their gym for practices, and he hopes to produce a traditional Japanese stable environment. Here is what he had to say on the matter:
Dark Circle Sumo looks to focus on traditional form. I plan to bring what I have learned from Yama-San and my Sempai Takeshi to the great state of Texas. I hope to bring our stable on par with my wonderful Los Angeles home stable.
I think a lot of us in the States just freestyle it from their former backgrounds and lack the knowledge of a good form/foundation. Win or lose, good form can protect you from injury, and Takeshi was really hard on me about these things. So, we will focus more of keiko on drilling and learning techniques together. We are always on a path of improvement.
Do I sense the possibility of a respectful stable rivalry? Personally, I hope so!
Justin told me that his ultimate goal is to elevate American amateur sumo to the level of Russia, Ukraine, and Mongolia. While this is a very steep task to accomplish, I think that the United States can do it. There is a growing number of sumo gyms, ranging from California, to Texas, to Geogia, to New Jersey, and everywhere else in between. If these gyms can each gather a handful of people, the United States may become a mover and shaker on the international amateur sumo scene.
Dark Circle Sumo will start holding practices after the Dirty South Sumo Tournament in New Orleans (July 13th), beginning on July 21st from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM at 1701 W Ben White Bvld, Austin, Texas. Justin hopes to have workshops with wrestling and MMA coaches from time to time to defend against leg attacks and collar tie grips. While these moves aren’t seen as often in professional sumo, they are more common in amateur sumo and a skilled senshu should learn how to defend against these attacks.
More information about their practices can be found on the Meetup page: https://www.meetup.com/Dark-Circle-Sumo-ATX/events/czhncryzkbcc/ . Also, don’t forget to check out Dark Circle Sumo’s Instagram page for pictures and other updates: https://www.instagram.com/darkcirclesumo/?hl=en .
I think that Dark Circle Sumo will grow quickly, especially in a city like Austin. America needs more sumo gyms, and I am very happy that Justin is contributing to its growth. He also mentioned some possible other future developments to encourage the growth of sumo in the United States. . .but I will leave that a secret for now.
Lastly, for those who are not familiar with the Sumo World Championships competitor, Justin Kizzart, here are some gifs of his matches below. Hopefully this will convince you to check out Dark Circle Sumo if you’re not convinced already!
If you have any questions about Dark Circle Sumo, please email me at NorthAmericanSumo@Gmail.com, and I will pass it along to Justin Kizzart.