GOING OVER THE TOP: THE EVERLASTING SPORT OF ARMWRESTLING

tgams12Various factors can play a part in one’s success in arm wrestling. Technique and overall arm strength are the two greatest contributing factors to winning an arm wrestling match. Other factors such as the length of an arm wrestler’s arm, his/her muscle and arm mass/density, hand grip size, wrist endurance and flexibility, reaction time, as well as countless other traits, can add to the advantages of one arm wrestler over another. It is sometimes used to prove who is stronger between two or more people. In competitive arm wrestling, as sanctioned by the United States Armwrestling Federation (USAF), arm wrestling is performed with both competitors standing up with their arms placed on a tournament arm wrestling table. Arm wrestling tournaments are also divided into weight classes as well as left and right-handed divisions. Furthermore, strict rules such as fouls given to penalties (such as the competitor’s elbow leaving a matted area where the elbow is to remain at all times, or a false start), and trying to escape a possible arm pin by breaking the grip with the opponent may result in a loss at the table. Paraphrasing USAF rules, arm wrestlers must straighten their wrists without a time lapse of one minute during competition.

The World Armwrestling Federation (WAF) is the universally recognized global governing body of amateur arm wrestling and comprises more than 85 member countries.

keep-calm-and-arm-wrestle-2Some noted top arm wrestling competitors include John Brzenk (hailed as the greatest arm wrestler of all time), Zaur Tskhadadze, Alexey Voevoda and Jerry Cadorette. Allen Fisher is of high acclaim, for he has won 26 world championships. He is one of the oldest multiple world champion title holders in the sport of arm wrestling at 55 years of age in the year 2011. Heidi Andersson is a female armwrestler from Sweden who has won eleven world championships between 1998 and 2014.

John Brzenk is known mostly for his array of techniques which change almost every time he is engaged in competition, even with the same opponent within the same match. As of Summer 2008, John Brzenk is ranked #1 in North America. Ron Bath is known for his use of the Top Roll technique which emphasizes a ‘roll’ of the wrist as he brings the opponent’s wrist down. Travis Bagent, like Brzenk, is known for his wide array of techniques, coupled with his massive strength and explosive style. Many of Bagent’s matches have ended in seconds. However, Bagent is most well known for his colorful remarks and rather rude comments against his opponents. Bagent is considered the best left-handed arm wrestler in the world and is currently ranked second overall in North America, as of summer of 2008.

Arm-Wrestling-photo-2014-1024x576Other competitors such as Matt Girdner, Michael Selearis, Sean Madera, Marcio Barboza, Christian Binnie and Anthony Macaluso are known for their reliance on strength, coupled with the hook technique, where the wrist turns into a hooked grip after the referee has started the match. “The hook” or “hooking” is any move derived from the inside system of arm wrestling. The second generic system or style of Arm wrestling is known as outside arm wrestling “the top roll” or “top rolling”, while the “triceps press”, “shoulder pressing”, or “shoulder rolling” is often described as the third generic system or style of arm wrestling and certain arm wrestlers depend on the straps such as Jason Vale who won the 1997 Petaluma World Championships in the super heavy weight class at only 175 pounds using the strap technique.

The contestant on the right is in an injury-prone or “break arm” position. His shoulder must be in line with or behind the arm, as seen with the contestant on the left. This is cause for a referee to stop the match.

OVER THE TOP (TRAILER 1987)

 

Many arm wrestlers will have a signature style or favourite technique, while others have enjoyed success by becoming extremely well rounded. Within each of the three broad technical systems of arm wrestling there are numerous clearly identifiable techniques which have been developed and enhanced over time. Great Britain’s most successful Armwrestler and former two time European and World Middleweight Champion Neil Pickup is one of today’s leading Armwrestlers widely recognized as having originated and developed techniques to suit the genetic make up of individual Armwrestlers. Neil Pickup has enjoyed an Amateur and Professional career spanning more than 20 years during which time he has won more than 60 International titles across 5 different weight classes on both his right and left arms, while also training numerous World Champions both male and female. This success has been largely attributed to his technical prowess, experience and understanding of the athletes whole body as a lever. The Filipino version is called “Bunong Braso”.

Arm wrestling puts enormous torque/torsion stress on the upper arm’s humerus bone to a degree seen in few other physical activities. Most people’s bones are not accustomed to being significantly stressed in this direction, and injuries can occur. The arm typically fails because of a diagonal break at or below the midpoint between the shoulder and the elbow.