It’s All In The Name

It’s all in the name.

Except for a catchy word association that helps to name our forum, just why do we associate Sumo, with Stogies? I often thought, and indeed tried, other forms of tobacco pleasure for the event and have found them to be wanting in comparison. Though don’t get me wrong, at our seasonal S&S gatherings, we do indeed enjoy other forms of tobacco pleasure, but at the core remains the Stogie.  Allow me to outline below why this has been preferred:

Cigarettes: First let me explain what I mean by a cigarette. I don’t mean the
cheap, mild humdrum cigarettes people smoke on their way to work. I’m
talking about ones that tend to be a bit stronger, or with finer tobacco (like
Turkish) and to be enjoyed on an occasion. And watching sumo is just that.

My recommendation here would be Sobranie – Russian black. A strong flavoured cigarette that likes to boast its elegance with a black paper and gold butt. Now we have the class established, lets get more into the dynamics: Why do we not call it, Sumo and Fags???

If you look at the life of a cigarette compared to the life of a bout (inc. ceremony) they’re probably about the same – around two minutes. Indeed, the initial rush you get with a cigarette is quite akin to the quick rush and tempo you can get with a bout – a seemingly perfect match. However, there are two important facts to remember: after the first bout there are usually many bouts proceeding. To enjoy those bouts with a complimentary fag would see your pack deplete quite rapidly, and chain smoking is certainly not advisable on the ole lungs. The second thing is, cigarettes are just like the translation suggests “little cigars” hardly something that one would associate with an old Samurai wrestler now is it?

So lets have a look at the next method for inhaling. The Hookah/Shisha:
Appreciating Sumo is not really something that one does alone; unless you have a hidden desire. Sumo enjoyment, like many other sports, is enjoyed amongst peers. Hookah then, seems like a great tool as you can pass that pipe around and hotbox that room with all the tobacco aromas they can offer. Indeed, here at S&S, when we gather we do partake from time to time. But there is something I’ve come to notice with the behaviour of gentleman when they smoke Hookah, and why the café culture has evolved. When you smoke a hookah, as you pass the pipe, it’s almost like passing the “baton of discourse”. This draws your attention away from the Sumo itself, as the focal point of converse tends to start on the pleasure of Shisha. These then lead to stories of when, where how and with what you prefer to put in your hookah, concluding on some form of politics. Certainly, we tend to enjoy switching to the hookah after the bouts have finished as an occasion to discuss the qualities of the wrestlers, bouts (pre-yaocho of course) and the hopes for the upcoming days to come.

Given that the Hookah is then more of a communal smoke, let’s move back
to looking at individual pieces. Next up, the pipe. Now I personally am a big
fan of the pipe, and it is my usual modus operandi. As my favourites name
suggests with “Sundays fantasy” you can picture the sort of environment that
eveolves when you light the pipe. Though pipe smoking gives the time required (compared to cigarettes) to smoke from time to time and enjoy the bouts, I feel that it is perhaps a bit too solitary of an activity. Pipes calm the mind and can take a good ¾ of the hour to smoke. They help to bring on one’s thoughts, ponderings and considerations on the weeks events and muse, mull over the un-forseen. The effects of pipes with Sumo therefore perhaps give the opposite effect of Sumo and Hookahs.

So lastly, we come to the cigar, aka stogie as a supplementary for Sumo
enjoyment. Compared to the cigarette, the cigar gives taste, aroma and a good
meaty affiliation. It also has a slower, longer burn so that you can casually take puffs, relax and enjoy the smoke, sumo and the whiskey. In agreement with the pipe, the slower burn and haze that develops helps to turn the thoughts over in your mind –enabling you to consider the bouts and embrace the discourse with your colleagues. Unlike the hookah, focus is not on the pretty pot in front of you, but the battles themselves. So you can see, it is for this reason that the stogie has come to be our revered accompaniment to Sumo, here at Sumo and Stogies.  And the drawback of having a stogie? One tends to be left feeling that there might just be enough time for one more…

Leon Bertrum

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