Tiny, Lightning-Fast Sumo Robots Will Change How You Think About Sumo Wrestling

To uninformed Western audiences, sumo wrestling might seem like little more than two giant Japanese men bumping their large bodies into each other until one steps outside the fighting area. What gets lost to those not paying attention to nuance, though, is that there’s a metric ton of strategy involved: Forcing somebody to go where they don’t want to go, while they’re trying to do the same to you, involves creative thinking and the speed to act on that thinking quickly.

Perhaps the best way to see how strategic sumo really is, while also showing how super cool things can be when creativity and technology meet, is by watching this video of sumo wrestling robots, which turns the martial art into something very different. Blink and you’ll miss it.

While traditional sumo seems to be ruled by bulk, the duels between these tiny sumo robots are all about speed and quickness. The video above, which is a compilation of footage shot over multiple years, shows lightning-quick battles that sometimes last less than a second, and are often displays of which human operator is thinking a fraction of a second quicker, or which robot is better optimized for this fun type of competition.

Sumo robot wrestling is like Battlebots with less destruction, but that lack of robo-gore is supplanted by a different kind of thinking and preparation that goes into each face-off. Check out the clip above, and let us know if you’re aware of any other robot sports we need to see right now.

Featured image: Robert McGregor/YouTube

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