ready for business

Arm wrestling has been a favourite way for men to match their strength since big muscles became popular at the turn of the century

image found here

Keith D. Jones, a 6-ft. 1-in., 290- lb. Filipino American from Redondo Beach, California, was once the superheavyweight arm wrestling champion of the world. Jones coached Sylvester Stallone in the movie Over the Top. He taught Stallone how to curl his opponent’s wrist inward to weaken it and how to psych an opponent by puffing out his cheeks like an adder’s and bulging his eyes widely, as if he were having some sort of fit. He also taught Stallone to turn his baseball cap backward to imply he was ready for business.

image found here

Jones admits that serious arm wrestlers can be a touch eccentric. They have names like Ripper, Goliath and The Punta Gorda Maniac. Their appearance often belies their nicknames. Bib overalls. Shaved heads. Tattoos and earrings. One female competitor is so androgynous and muscular that she was once arrested and handcuffed for trying to enter a ladies’ room. There are stories that Bruce (“The Animal”) Way eats cigars and crickets and washes them down with motor oil.

image found here

Most competitors are manual labourers with huge arms (“the kind of men who use Borax to get their hands clean after work” according to Time Magazine), but good technique can whip superior strength. Aside from the psychological strategies good technique means knowing how to imperceptibly curl an opponent’s wrist after “lockup”, the initial coupling of hands with first thumb knuckle visible, thus weakening it for a surprise slam.

Borax-using Reagan found here

Heavyweight Moe Motel explained that his tactic after lock up was to stand stone still at the table, offering only enough resistance to stay motionless, all the while pumping blood into his arm, readying it for the kill while his opponent grunted, strained and exhausted his strength. During a seated match, kicking under the table is forbidden, and athletes are required to keep a minimum of one buttock in contact with the seat at all times

buttock chair found here

The longest match in modern arm-wrestling history lasted 27 minutes. It was between Steve Lusby and Earl Moffner. Their match was shown live on ABC, and they had to cut to commercial in the middle of it. When Lusby and Moffner were finished, they both fainted and required the attention of paramedics. Two unusual injuries suffered by arm wrestlers are fat lips and bruised bellies. The belly bruises come from leaning in hard against the arm-wrestling table and fat lips can occur when an arm wrestler slips out of the grip of his opponent and then punches himself in the face.

image found here

Bob O’Leary, known as “the father of arm wrestling” rewrote the constitution of the American Armwrestling Association. The bylaws begin with a preamble pledging “to establish Justice, ensure Tranquillity, and promote Prosperity”, and include the assurance that “stickum and resin are permitted.” 

image found here

Published in: on March 2, 2012 at 9:46 am  Comments (46)  
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46 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Never knew that arm wrestlers had such odd injuries. Nice photos you have here.

    • Thanks Jaya. I particularly like the buttock chair.

  2. Deep breaths important to stay fully oxygenated. Never understood how some could focus for that explosion of sudden force which is how most matches are won. I have been wrestling one-armed bandits for some time. At the casino.

    • oh no….. those things eat up your money and seldom spit it back out

    • You always take a beating with those.

  3. I used to arm wrestle in college, but I never knew all those tricks. I was just a strong little gal. I suppose I still have some upper body strength, but I don’t know that I would involve myself in arm wrestling any more.

    My best arm wrestling story happened when I was orchestra manager at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. One bright Saturday morning one of the tuba players called me and apologized sincerely for the fact that one of the wimpy little cello players was not going to be able to play the concert that night because during their drunken arm wrestling adventure at the party the night before the cellist’s arm broke. Turns out his vegetarian life style did not include the proper range of nutrients and at the tender age of 19 he was suffering from acute osteoporosis. I’ll tell you, the guilt that the poor tuba player had just about ruined the rest of the semester for him. Amateur arm wrestling seems to require a certain amount of macho stupidity.

  4. Too “little” (in terms of muscle) for arm wrestling, but I was a reasonable “knuckler.” How reasonable? I won money against a couple of big boys at high school.

    (In later years my strength was in my elbows. ;- ) )

    • What’s knuckling?

  5. Suddenly I need a buttock chair.

    • go you halves?

      • The picture you should have put with the buttock chair.

      • I LOVE the image linked to in this comment. Made me laugh out loud and very glad I hadn’t taken a sip of tea first

  6. I don’t know why I find those photos of Stallone so disturbing. The intensity of sculpting one’s body is just a bit too obsessive and weird for me.

    • i find everything about Stallone (and his mother) disturbing.

  7. It seems that even in a physical sport its brains not brawn that counts…

    • Oh I don’t know about that…..

  8. Lester Hayes!!!

    • i don’t know much about him but he likes his stickum

  9. I did a bit a bit better at arm wrestling than I should have. I’ve always been WAY too skinny, but I’m also fairly tall… which = longish forearms. Definitely an advantage with leverage. Some of the bulkier types were surprised by that. Of course, Stallone would still completely rip my arm off in under a second.

    • I’d like to see you and kono armwrestling

  10. I never picked Reagan as an arm wrestler. Nixon maybe but not Reagan. Definitely not Jimmy Carter.

    Oh, he wasn’t an arm wrestler. He used Borax. Sorry.

  11. My question is, did Keith D Jones arm wrestle in the nude?

    I think I’d be more concerned about giving myself a black eye than a fat lip. Oh, and being arrested and handcuffed for using the ladies’ room, of course.

    • Sorry Jenny, I did a search and can’t find any evidence of nudity 😦

  12. Can’t help, but I find this “thick lip” occurrences strangely satisfying.

    • Schadenfreude?

      • A lack of character, even a sin maybe, but I may admit that I incline in this direction …

      • Oh so do I

  13. I look forward to seeing it at the Olympics this summer.

  14. A touch eccentric? For sure.
    Ensure tranquility? Only when it’s over.
    (I’ve noted the strategies for future use…)

  15. Arm wrestling? Ach a granny could beat me!

  16. I really wanted to see a picture of The Punta Gorda Maniac.

  17. It won’t be long before Papersurfer Jnr can beat me at arm wrestling. I’ll have to resort to cheating and Atomic wedgies.

  18. That’s one thing I’d lose at all the time. I attribute it to bad focus and pathetic upper body strength 😛

    • Oh, and there’s an award for you at my blog 🙂

      • thanks Terra xx

  19. I’ve got a friend who we call Ralphie 12 Times ( he seems to tell the same stories over and over again )

    Anyhow, this short non-muscular fellow has some sort of freakish strength and we have never seen him lose an arm wrestling match.

  20. i remember watching a televisied arm wrestling match — one of those sunday sports shows in february when there was no professional sports to televise… watched a man snap another man’s forearm in half. there was audio, too. could never watch it again… blechh!

  21. if im on your blogroll list try clicking there . always as somehow wp has messed up and got deleted old site tied in with new one can you let me know if it works from your blogroll xxjen

  22. The World’s Most Handsome Man is now disqualified for that title due to his FAILURE TO REMOVE HIS SOCKS!

  23. “Athletes are required to keep a minimum of one buttock in contact with the seat at all times.” So presumably there’s a buttock monitor to ensure the correct positioning of the buttocks at all times? I just hope the competitor doesn’t get excited enough to break wind.

  24. Bruce must be an Animal; everyone knows crickets should be washed down with antifreeze, not motor oil.

  25. Now those are what I call strong-arm tactics.

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