Arm Wrestling in Japan
Well after being here for about a year, I can honestly say that one of the best things to happen to me wasn’t the Japanese study or the all you can eat & drink for 30 bucks (though that is amazing); no, it was the Arm wrestling.
I was living in Nisshin in Nagoya city. Before I left I was determined to track down an arm wrestling team, so I could continue the training I had begun with the Sydney Arm Wrestling team. After researching on the internet, I found Team Dragon. For me, this team looked perfect. I didn’t care how far I would have to travel. All I knew was I was going to join this team. After emailing their captain and asking if I could join, in which he gave a 1000% yes , I decided to look up the location. I could not believe what I had discovered. They were a mere 5 minute walk away from where I was living, right next to my university! If that’s not fate I don’t know what is.
Since arriving in Japan, the first session of arm wrestling finally arrived. Team Dragon trains on Wednesday and Sunday nights, though I first went on a Sunday. I met the captain out front and proceeded inside to meet the team. The team has about 20 members, 10 of whom come to every training session, some just once a week. There is a continuing trend with all of these guys and girls however: They are all fucking amazing. They are fast, strong, know all the techniques and are constantly thinking up new ways to win.
For the first five months I could not do a thing against them. It felt like I had just begun arm wrestling all over again. I’m not going to deny I was a bit pissed off – how could they all be so fucking good? After going through my whinging phase, I decided it was time to shut up and toughen up. One of the things I admired about these guys, is they were a team. From the weakest (me) to the strongest it didn’t matter. Everyone was there to learn and improve. It wasn’t lazy training either; it was twice a week, two hours of solid arm wrestling back to back on the teams 7 tables. Every night I was going home with that aching deep pain in my arm that only an arm wrestler would understand.
About 4 months in I finally noticed I was making some improvements, my speed had increased and my left had easily become my strong point. When other members of the team were coming up to me saying they wanted to arm wrestle left because I was a challenge I thought one thing: Fuck yeah. In December last year I entered my fist competition.
The competition here really is something, about 100 people showed up. Unlike Australia the divisions are not broken up by weight, it’s by skill. Usually your team captain nominates where you enter. Naturally and unashamedly I entered in the beginners division. I won’t bore you all with every single detail (but I will put some videos in at the end so you can watch the comps), though at the end of the day I had managed to win 6 out of my 12 rounds (its instant knock out) and I couldn’t be happier!
In March this year, I entered the MIE completion and had the same win to loss ratio, and I was still pumped! After my division finished at both competitions the professional division started. All I can say is, excuse the language, FUCK. The captains are captains for a reason. There were some epic matches, one going for 2 minutes (if you don’t know arm wrestling that’s a long match).
Last week was my final week in my city Nagoya. I now live in Osaka, so naturally I changed teams. Before I left, Team Dragon held a farewell party for me. It was a fun and touching night, and I know I’ve made some lifelong friends.
I am currently training with another team in Osaka, Team Number One. No joke, that’s the name. When I went to the first training session, I wasn’t thinking I would be amazing, but I at least though I could make a dent. How wrong I was. Team Dragon mainly trained me in speed, so when I gripped up and used my first hit, my eyes widened to see that I had done….nothing. Team Number One I later found out is famous for having some of the strongest arm wrestlers in Japan. Instead of focusing on speed these guys focus on pure power. They demolished me. It was awesome! It reminded me that no matter where we go as arm wrestlers we all have much to learn and so many techniques to master. It is an ever evolving, unpredictable sport. Unless you’re John Brzenk.
In the future I would want to organize an Australia vs. Japan in some sort of arm wrestling tournament. While I have no doubt we have the potential to do well, we had better train up. ‘Cause, and I’m talking to the Aussie arm wrestlers directly now: They are fucking crazy.
Attached below are a few useful links, most in Japanese so just follow my instructions:
The Team Dragon Team Member Profiles (featuring yours truly)
J-ARM Facebook (a crazy, yet awesome Osaka team I haven’t met yet)
MIE Competition (see if you can spot me!)
If anyone wants any more info on arm wrestling in Japan or Australia (or who to contact) feel free to give a shout out in the comments and I will be more than happy to help you out!
Keep it hot and hard,