Welcome to COUNTRY’S CORNER. This is a place where you will find the FEATURED ATHLETE of the month.
I had the privilage of interviewing the one and only Craig “ The Disciple” Soubliere!
FYI for future reference, if you are about to take this guy on at the table you need to do three things first.
1. Buy the COUNTRY CRUSH or MONSTER CRUSH!
2. Eat all the Wheaties you can!
3. Train till you cant train any more!
Q & A session with Craig Soubliere
Q: How long have you been armwrestling?
A: I started in December of 2012. So just a little over two years.
Q: Where do you see yourself in two years?
A: Good question. As for armwrestling, my goal is to be on the elite level. I would like to win a national title, maybe even get the sport out there more by getting a big sponsor and show the world that armwrestling is the greatest sport on the planet.
(Soubliere and Dan Martin)
Q: Who got you into the sport of armwrestling?
A: I retired from bodybuilding November of 2012. I decided that I needed another sport to compete in, so I wanted to try armwrestling. Like everyone, I armwrestled as a young kid but never really got into it seriously. It’s kind of funny, because 31 years ago when I got into weight training I did it to get stronger at armwrestling. Funny how that all worked out!
Q: To date who would you say has given the disciple the toughest match of your career?
A: My toughest match was against Stump Burton.
Q: What is the best advice you would give to a new puller?
A: The best advice to a new puller is to stick with it. There’s alot of pain in the first couple of years but once you go through that the sport is truly amazing, and it gives you the opportunity to travel and meet some wonderful people and meet some really great athletes.
Q: What does your family think about armwrestling?
A: My family thinks it’s pretty cool. My wife, Sara.. she supports me and is always there for me during my events. She likes it better than bodybuilding!
(Soubliere and his wife Sara)
Q: You are host of the nation’s premiere armwrestling radio show. How long have you been doing that?
A: It will be two years this June.
Q: Have any kids?
A: Nope. No kids.
Q: What armwrestler, new or old, has inspired you the most?
A: I would have to say Devon Larratt. His passion and love for the sport of armwrestling is truly awesome.
Well there you have it! A little glance at COUNTRY’S CORNER’S first Armwrestler of the month, Craig “ The Disciple” Soubliere. Tune into his radio show ARMWRESTLING NATION RADIO on mondays at 8 p.m. est!
(Craig Soubliere and Dicky Spiroff)
This Month’s FEATURED ATHLETE of the month is a young man who is taking the arm-wrestling world by storm. This young puller hails from Escondido, California and is a disciple of Allen Fisher. Kyle has pulled wrestlers from three separate weight classes and completely dominated them. Beaten men twice the size of him self. Oh and he is only 14 years old.
Kyle Depew, 14 Escondido, California
Q.Hey Kyle thanks for taking the time to talk to us at Country Crush. So lets get down to the nitty gritty. How long have you been involved in the sport of armwrestling?
A. I’ve arm wrestled my whole life. I’ve always had a connection with it at a very young age even before my dad happened to really get into it.
When the legendary Allen Fisher introduced my dad to the sport of armwrestling 6 years ago I had been armwrestling kids at school for a year and when I found out he was training with a pro I asked my dad to show me some tips I could use to beat the bigger guys. I could beat everyone except those bigger guys who played a ton of sports, I mostly played Video games, used to draw and watched TV.
I’d ask for one tip everyday and that would be what I would work on. From the word GO I would make sure to be the first one to turn my wrist. The next day to make sure my wrist is higher than theirs. Eventually I beat the bigger guys and no one wanted to arm wrestle.
I was reintroduced into the world of armwrestling last year, my dad decided to take me to an armwrestling tournament where I met world champions and professionals and that inspired me to get back into it. Over the time of a year I really gave up everyone I once liked, playing video games etc. and completely devoted my self to improving in the sport.
Q. How many tournaments have you pulled in and what was your best finish?
A. So far I have pulled in seven (7) tournaments and my best experience wise was the PULL HOOK PRESS my dad put on at The GRINDERGYM. I got six (6) wins at that event and received 5 medals. I pulled in the 148’s, 165’s and 180’s amateur and open.
Q. How would you describe your preferred style of pulling. (Hook, Press, Top Roll etc.) Maybe give us a little insight on what strategies go through your mind when you step up to the table and during the match.
A. That is the hardest question for me when asked. A lot of it goes into what I want to do at that second on the table. I have developed the ability to be fully confident with whatever move I want to do as I feel them on the table. A lot of my style reflects off of the hundreds of people who have critiqued my moves. I find that everyone wants to give you a little bit of them-self when they work with you. I take everything people say. Analyze their moves. How my mind processes, I analyze moves and know what I want to do to combat it. This is why I tend to be better in practice pulling. It gives my time to analyze who I am about to pull with. My technique is the biggest thing I rely on because it is how I manage to beat these people who are stronger than me. My move I have been working on and trying to set is a versatile hook, exerting force in every direction, up, down to the side, just try to tire out the other persons arm. I also like to catch in the hook. My 2nd move is a backpressure Top Roll. My moves are often compared to the moves of Allen Fisher my Armwrestling coach.
Before a match I try to clear my head of another thoughts. I focus on harnessing my strength and controlling all my emotions into these blasts of power. As I get on the table I like to focus on the grip. It’s my scariest attribute in armwrestling. I mentally concentrate on beating that person. Imagine my self beating them.
- So my next question is, who is your biggest armwrestling inspiration.
Q. Who would you love to pull one day and why?
A. My biggest inspiration is Allen Fisher and my dad Dave Depew. Allen has been armwrestling so long and always wants to give back to the sport. I inspire to love armwrestling the way he does. My dad is by far my biggest inspiration. He does everything he can in his power to make my family and I happy. He works a ton to support me and my dreams in the sport. He is always taking me to these big tournaments and being a great dad and role model in my life. He has certainly set the bar very high for me and I thank him for that.
- Well I would love the chance to pull Ethan Fritsche one day. There are so many people I wish to pull in my life but the next would be Ethan because obviously he is the prodigy of Cobra Rhodes and I the disciple of Allen Fisher.
Q. Speaking of the Great Allen Fisher, being his disciple and all, do you bring the same intensity when you come up to the table? Do you manhandle the table and try to psych the other guy out?
A. Psyching guys out is something I naturally do but I haven’t dome much experimenting trying to. I naturally have this beast inside of me. When Im in a tournament all of these emotions bundle up into raw power… I grasp ahold of this power and let it all out on the table. I shake the table; I scream I get fired up. I would say that my intensity has been compared to Fisher’s.
Q. So when someone finds out they have to pull you next…What should they be thinking?
A. They should be thinking how they are gonna lose gracefully or that if they won…they beat a 14 year old…if they lose they lost to a 14 year old beast.
The Manimal Kyle Depew everyone! He’s definitely not a boy but he’s not yet a man..He is the beast.
We had the chance to sit down and interview two amazing brother’s in the sport of Armwrestling, Scott and AJ Warren.
We will start with Scott “The Ambassador” Warren (pictured on the right)
Congratulations Scott on being Country Crush’s co-arm wrestler for the month of March 2015!
Q. Who got you started in arm wrestling and how long ago?
A. I got started into arm wrestling by tagging along to watch my brother do it, and being persuaded into trying it my self after a few beers with Mr. Jamie Sheldon.
Q. I’ve noticed that there’s the UAL, WAL and Elite, the newer league that’s based in Oregon. If I were to choose a league which would, in your opinion offer the best contract? Do the leagues pay the arm wrestlers? What are the differences between the three?
A. I believe everyone knows my stand pretty well. I think it’s simple. Contracts before big money will destroy this sport. The leagues have single handedly divided the best in the US and mostly for next to nothing. I wish all my brothers the best, if you had to pick a league..pick WAL..but my advice, sign no contracts, commit to no one but your self. Herman Stevens is a prime example.
Q. How long have you been into Promoting Armwrestling events?
A. I have been promoting only for half a year. I will be holding my 7th even in 6 months on April 11th 2015 in Norco, CA. hope to see everyone there! Thanks to my sponsor John Buxton for helping make this a great event!
Q. Do you think there should be a second season of Game of Arms, and if so, do you think the producers should choose different teams?
A. Yes, Game of Arms was great entertainment in myopinion. I enjoyed it more than I do a show like Dancing With The Stars. So in my personal opinion, yes bring on season 2 and I hope it airs soon!
Q. So who is the older brother?
A. Im older than AJ, 14 months apart.
Q. Are you married? Have kids?
A. No, not married but in love with a beautiful woman, whom I plan to marry. I have two beautiful daughters, ages 6 and 5
Q. Where were you born and raised?
A. Born and raised in Chino, CA.
Q. Were you into sports growing up? If so what were they?
A. Yeah, I played Baseball from ages 4 till I was about 18, then I joined adult softball and played in the upper divisions until I met arm wrestling and decided I had to pick one because they dont mix. Clearly I picked Armwrestling.
Q. Any relation to the great Steve Warren?
A. I don’t have any relation to Steve that I can be certian of. All I know of him is he was a great arm wrestler and is a great individual.
Q. Where do you see your self in 5 years?
A. Married, have a home and multi national left handed armwrestling titles.
Q. What advice would you give amateur arm wrestlers?
A. Best advice anyone can give you, when you go practice DO NOT DRINK! If you want to learn you must keep your mind, ears and eyes open, keep your mouth shut. Don’t tell a pro what you think has worked for you, just do what he or she tells you to do and you WILL see results.
Q. What training tools other than the COUNTRY CRUSH would you recommend training with?
A. When you get started nothing suffices your training needs like actually pulling. It takes time to learn how to replicate those movements in the gym. So in my opinion do your normal workout hit all of your muscles, then pay attention to what movements you do in armwrestling and how you can recreate them in your weight training.
Q. Who to date was your toughest match?
A. I havent had a tough match left handed.. Those are over in a second. But right handed, my toughest match was Mr. Lynn Brower, that man is a legend of the sport and my win right handed on him is an achievement ill carry for a long time.
One last question. What arm wrestler, dead or alive, has influenced you the most.
A. Most influential armwrester to me was probably Don McClary. That man has ,ade me an official family member. I can always force him to teach me, and count on him to be stage side at my matches, coaching me through and getting just as upset as my self when I lose a match because I didn’t listen.
Thanks for the interview, KEEP CRUSHING IT!
AJ Warren is our Co-Armwrestler of the month with his brother Scott from Chino, California. I had a chance to speak with AJ about his career so far in the sport.
So now lets see why the guys in his weight class have to worry about him.
Q. So how long have you been Armwrestling?
A. Not very long. I showed up to the CA State Championship in June or July of 2013. Before that I had never competed, and really only heard of John Brzenk and Travis Bagent..Guys like them. I had no clue there was an entire underground community of arm wrestlers all over the world.
Q. Who introduced you to the sport?
A. Well, I’d say my dad gave me the passion for armwrestling. But as far as the competition aspect, I was probably just like every other new guy.. I thought I was good because I beat all of my friends so I just went online and searched for a tournement which ended up being the California States. I didnt expect to just show up and beat everyone..I thought I would do well but I definetly never pictured the pros being THAT much better than me. My first match was with Mike Wildey, I think he probably had to pull up three classes just to be in my class and I beat him by my weight advantage I believe. My second and third marches were to Scott Partington and he flashed the crap out of me. I had NO clue speed was even relevant in armwrestling. My mind was simply BLOWN!
Q. Where do you see yourself in armwrestling 5 years from now?
A. 5 years from now? Atleast a national title, working for one alot sooner than that hopefully
JO: ‘You’ll get it and I hope I’m there to see it.”
AJ: Thanks dude, I sacrifice alot to train the way I do and still manage my work schedule. I usually get 4-5 hours of sleep on work days, and thats with nothing but my commute, work and gym. No going out, no watching tv…Its a very boring and exhausting life but thats what it takes to be the best.
Q. Who to date would you say has given you the toughest match?
A. My toughest match I would have to say has been Scott Wynn. I think our record right now is tied up at 2-2 RH with him having the last win. But every match with him is just brutal. Our strength has got to be just about equal, and our styles are very similiar. We both go straight to a deep hook then it’s a war! He is just so much more technical than me it is very painful to pull him. Any mistakes I make he takes advantage of and it usually ends up feeling like i’m trying to escape an arm bar and win a match at the same time. As far as what I train with it kind of Depends what type of training I’m doing at the time. I’m constantly changing things and trying to balance my general strength and conditioning with armwrestling. I recently tore the ulnar collateral ligament in my right wrist so im just coming back from a little break to let it recover some and really taking it easy on my wrist and fingers. Right now my training is really basic with some extra rehabilitation for my wrist. I still use the small WRIST WRENCH and the karate belt regularly with light weights, advoiding all of the gat grips and heavy wrist and finger curls. Really trying to focus on recovering fully, increasing general strength and from there I will reintroduce the more strenuous armwrestling training; GULLEY GRIP, COUNTRY CRUSH and Fat Gripz.
Q. Who would you say was the arm wrester..dead or alive that has influenced you the most?
A. I could probably name a few but if i had to pick one, definitely Corey Miller. He’s a perfect example of what I believe every person is capable of but 99.9% will never achieve. He has no genetic gifts for arm wrestling, nothing freaky about him. He has achieved everything with a ridiculous work ethic. I think anyone who says they can’t be a world champion is only right with that attitude. I know that there are genetically gifted people who can do well without trying so hard, but i’m a firm believer that you can have anything you want if you’re willing to do what it takes to achieve it. Training and dieting to achieve a huge goal is not always fun, or easy, after a while it just sucks somedays..Somdays to eat and train and study like a crazy person. But staying focus whether it’s enjoyable or not on those days it’s what separates the champions from the losers in my opinion. Not their genetic make up.
Q. What advie would you give a amateur arm wrestler?
A. I thnk Devon Larratt said it best “Stay Healthy and Don’t Quit.” It’s so easy to rack up injuries by thinking you can climb the ladder faster by training harder, heavier, etc….and of cource training hard is important don’t get me wrong…but you have to keep in mind alot of tendons and ligaments in your hands, wrist and elbows that we use in armwrestling are small…probably never been condiitioned for this kind of stain and can be easily injured. Just listen to your body. Find a team, coach, coaches..Someone that can guide you through the beginners phase safely and LISTEN to them. There are new arms breaking left and right lately and usually they’ve been preventable. Also a secret tool that every new armwrestler need to have if they ever want to do well in this sport…It’s called losing! You have to understand that there is no lose, and there never will be. So to get upset over a loss is foolish. But its probably the best way to learn. I take every loss as a free lession and if its a loss to someone I know I should beat then it’s a free lession and akick in the backside to remind me why I don’t deserve to miss a day at the gym.
Q. What do you do the most..Lift weigths or table time right before a match?
A. Usually before a tournament I will stay off the table for about two weeks. Starting one week out I will switch to lighter gym training, and usually rest for 3 or 4 days. I’m always experimenting with my training though, so if you ask me again in a couple months it will be completely different im sure.
JO: Well thanks bro for your time. It was truly an honor interviewing you. I Learned alot about the sport.
TEAM CRUSHING IT!
(Photo Credit: WALUNDERGROUND.COM)
James Orlando had the chance to sit down with the Minnesota Phenomenon Jeff “Popeye” Dabe
Q. So when did you start arm wrestling?
A. I started 1981 my senior year in high school and did it for about 4 years.
JO. So you arm wrestled from 1981 to approximately 1985.Then what year did you come back to the sport?
JD. I believe it was 2012. In the fall Josh Handeland held a tournament in a local tavern, we just went to watch and Josh talked me back into it.
Q. Now what do find different from when you competed in the 80’s?
A. In the 80’s it was alot of brute strength now there’s alot of technique involved.
Q. So who got you started in Arm wrestling the first time?
A. My neighbor Bob Martin showed me and I was the first to beat him he was a crazy fun guy.
Q. What do you want to achieve in the next couple of years?
A. I like doing this for fun,but I would like to be in the top 4.I would love to give. Travis Bagent a match even if I didn’t beat him.I’ll be 52 in June I don’t really train.So it’s fun just to hold my own.
JO. Your still a young man remember we’re all old and young to someone lol.
JD. So true.
JO. Some of your top arm wrestlers are in their 50s Allen Fisher,Richard Lupkes,John Brzenk and so on.
Q. So where were you raised
A. I grew up in Hugo MN.We had a farm and lived on a lake and I use to row everyday when I was young.I graduated from Lake high school. My coach took us to a arm wrestling tournament for charity.
I beat everyone then stayed at it but these guys stayed at it and train daily.
Q. What does your wife think about you armwrestling?
A. She loves it she screams and yells at me when I’m pulling.Plus we get to do some traveling.
Q. Now isn’t that worth the training?
A.Yes i’d say its worth it.
Q. What devices do you use to train with?
A. I use a band hooked to a door knob and pull on it while watching tv also a pipe with a rope and a weight on it but only a few times.I’m not much for weight training.I like doing outside chores on our hobby farm.
Q. So do you train with Joseph Drellack?
A. Yes! He’s a nice guy and does awesome video’s.He got us on fox 9 on the fly show from the video’s he took with me in them.Kelsey from the show saw the videos and asked us both to be on the show.(You can find these videos on YouTube).
Q. What advice would you give a beginner?
A. I think it would be to watch and learn it’s alot of focus..Don’t be afraid to ask questions!!
Q. What armwrestler dead or alive inspires you the most?
A. Rick Rude I use to pullwith him back in the 80’s. He’s the one that told me what I needed to do to beat Scott Norton.
JD. I’m in the MN armwreastling Hall of fame that Josh Handeland put up.
JO. That’s cool I GOT TO INTERVIEW A LIVING LEGEND!!
JD. I might be living but not sure about a legend,haha
JO. Well in my book your a legend.
Q. So what’s on your hobby farm?
A. Horse’s, one goat out of 8,couple of dogs, 4 cats and 100 Koi and goldfish.
JO. I want to thank you for taking time out to show us a little bit of your life,it was TRULY AN HONOR and I hope that we get to meet one day.Your a awesome friend and ARMWRESTLER..
Country Crush recently had the chance to speak with phenom from Conneticut, rising women’s star Kayley Lewis!
Q. So Kayley, how old are you?
KL. I just turned 14.
Q. At what age did you become interested in the sport of armwrestling and why?
KL. At age 13, last year and because my dad competes as well.
Q. Who is your biggest inspiration in the sport?
KL. My teammate, Cathy Merrill. She is a multi-time national champion, and she is always helping me in one way or another. Also, my coach, Badger Drewes from Granite Arms. He pushes me hard to do my best. .
Q. If there was one person you could meet involved in the sport, who would it be?
KL. Lincoln Hawk…Does that Count?
Q. What do your friends think of your passion for armwrestling?
KL. They are indifferent to it. But that is because they haven’t seen it. I brought my friend, Hannah, to practice one day and got her on the table. She did well and thought it was a lot of fun.
Q. Do any of them try to challenge you?
KL. The boys do, but they don’t know what what a top roll is, haha
Q. Who are your biggest fans and supporters?
KL. My parents would be.
Q. What are some of your training secrets?
KL. It’s not really a secret, but I’ve been doing karate for about five years now. I compete at tournaments in sparring, forms, weapons, and board breaking. I’m also on the demo team, and an assistant instructor at my dojo, Body Works. I think a lot of the fitness and discipline I get from karate has helped me in arm wrestling.
Q. Do you train with any special equipment?
KL. Yes, I use my dad’s stuff. Mostly, the Wrist Wrench, the yellow ball handgrips, and the Country Crush.
Q. Tell us what some of your biggest wins are.
KL. My first tournament at the Maine State Championship in March, 2015. I took second place in kids 13-16, and third place in women’s novice right hand, 0-145 lb.
Q. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to begin competing in armwrestling?
KL. Be serious about your training, don’t goof around with the equipment, and put a lot of effort into your training. But mostly, just have fun.
Q. Who would you like to arm wrestle and get a win over?
KL. Dawson Lane from Maine, and Alexia Maxwell from Rhode Island. They are both great arm wrestlers.
I had the privilege of interviewing Joe Musselwhite for the Country Crush and I hope that you enjoy what you read.
(Joe Musselwhite, pictured with some of his collection)
(Q) Are you married and have children?
(A) Family/Marriage: I am married to my amazing wife Tonya and I have 3 (grown) children. Kristi, Shane and Cody .
(Q) When did you start your Grip Museum?
(A) I started my Grip Museum officially in early 2012 and it has been an ongoing project with NEW grippers from donations to my own purchases. Many people think that I sell grippers but I do NOT! I am a collector and I have a deep passion for ALL things Grip!
(Q) What do you think about steroids?
(A) My position on steroids is pretty simple and straightforward! I try to deal with reality and not what I would I wish or would like things to be. With that being said there’s one thing for certain that one can say concerning steroids and that is “Steroids are never going away and rather one uses them or not is a CHOICE”! One thing people seem to forget is that steroids have many uses besides performance enhancement. They are also used in therapeutic cases were an individual cannot produce enough testosterone to maintain a normal level for a healthy lifestyle. This is especially true for males over 45 years of age that begin a natural decline in testosterone levels to a point that it becomes a health concern. Not enough testosterone can be as unhealthy as an individual that abuses steroids and maintains supra normal levels that throws an individual’s system totally out of balance! When someone introduces a substance exogenously (derived externally) to their bodies then it throws something else out of balance and there has to be a compensation. This is where people get into trouble mainly because they have followed non-medical advice or they have failed to research the substances they have chosen to use. Bottom line is if you make a choice to use steroids then at least make an informed decision by seeing a doctor that specializes in Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) and avoid all the bro science out there that is getting people into trouble and leaving them worse off than when they started! One of the biggest issues I currently see is people deciding to use steroids and they never get any blood work done whatsoever! This is flirting with disaster! Plain and simple!
I guess I could put it like this: CHOICE, EDUCATE, CONSEQUENCES! You make a CHOICE. You EDUCATE yourself as much as possible and then determine if the CONSEQUENCES outweigh the benefits. If the consequences outweigh the benefits then your CHOICE should be obvious!
(Q) What do you think about The Country Crush handle?
(A) The Country Crush Handle changed everything for me and much of my training! The CC handle has many positive things going for it! 1) Variety in handle diameters! This is a huge benefit especially when you can interchange handle diameters without having to purchase a separate base unit. 2) The positioning of the handles is ideal for so many applications especially for the competitive arm wrestler! The position of the handles on the unit closely mimic your hand position when AW’ing. 3) Durable and well built! 4) Portability which allows one to take the CC Handle to the gym or to a training session elsewhere! 5) Multi-purpose, meaning one can use the CC Handle instead of conventional implements to train the same movements/exercises. For example, seated rowing, seated or standing pull downs, pull-ups, 2 handed deadlifts, wrist curls with band attachments and so many more! One thing I especially like is attaching bands to the CC Handle and performing my movements with a different type of resistance that more closely mimics the elastic composition of muscle tissue! To me this is a huge benefit of attaching bands (overcoming a resistance) instead of weights (overcoming gravity).
(Q) What are your thoughts on the Country Crush adjustable load pin?
(A) The Country crush Adjustable Loading Pin is a great addition to the Country Crush lineup for several reasons: 1) the height of the pin is adjustable to allow for more or less weight. 2) The upright pin is the standard 1” diameter but the support plate welded to the bottom of the shaft is large enough to accommodate Olympic size plates as well! I personally tested this adjustable weight pin with 350 pounds in both static and dynamic situations and the pin never gave any indication of failure of any type! Based on my own testing and experience with the CC adjustable weight pin I can say that I believe it’s a WINNER!
(Q) What devices would you recommend for maximum grip strength?
(A) Depending on what aspects of grip strength (crushing, pinch, support, etc) you are speaking of there are many devices that allow one to train for maximum grip strength. For example, any type of thick bar (revolving or non-revolving) implements give great results for increasing one’s overall grip strength and it carries over nicely to the other areas of grip as well! Another example would be pinch training with block weights rather they be blobs, steel block weights, loadable blocks, weight plates with smooth sides out, etc. This in my opinion is one of the most effective ways to strengthen ones grip overall for several reasons: 1) one can vary the thickness of the implements to train specific ranges of motion from narrow to wide. 2) Many exercise can be performed with a pinch specific grip. For example one could perform plate curls which trains a specific component of the grip and the wrist. Deadlifts can be performed with a pinch grip if you have a Apollon’s Axle or a similar device perhaps made from a wooden plank or even attach pinch blocks to weight pegs. It boils down to one’s imagination really! It’s never about the device or implement! It’s about the training method(s) one uses that is optimal for that individual at that specific time. As one progresses the variables can and will change. So again it boils down to what’s optimal for the individual based on their unique and specific needs. Lastly, none of what I just stated really matters if one is not consistent! I cannot emphasis consistency enough in one’s training! Consistency beats intensity every time!!!
(Q) Where would you rank the Country Crush handle amongst the other handles out there?
(A) As far as rating the Country Crush Handle amongst all the other handles out there (most of which are in my collection) I would have to honestly say that each and every handle has its own unique and specific function. I don’t believe in stating there’s a BEST grip implement out there! It’s just not an accurate statement because what may be best for one individual may not be best for the next individual! Plus there is so many factors one would have to sort out to conclude that there’s a BEST implement out there! A better question would be, BEST for whom and for what specific need? What may be a need today may not be a need in 3 months. Hope this makes sense!
(Q) How long have you been collecting grip devices?
(A) I have been collecting grip devices since the early 90’s. My mentor and dear friend Richard Sorin gave me my first taste of the Grip Addiction and I have been addicted ever since! It all started when Richard sent me a series of grip articles from various magazines. I already had several original Iron Man grippers I had bought from Warren Tetting (which I now regret selling or giving them away back in the day)! Then I started to buying grippers here and there and the next thing I know I have a bunch of grippers and grip devices so I thought why not just collect them? The accumulation of all these grippers gave rise to the idea to start my Grip Museum like I did in early 2012. Instead of just storing them in boxes or leaving them lying around I thought why not display them where others can see and appreciate them as well? Now I have the World’s Largest Private Collection of Hand Grippers/Grips which I officially established on September 1st of 2014. At that time the collection had 338 hand grippers from 17 different countries with over 40 brand names. Now the collection is over 400 hand grippers! This is not counting the hundreds of other grip devices and implements I have in the collection as well as a fairly large collection of historical literature, magazines, books, pictures, cards, etc.
(Q) Have you thought about arm wrestling?
(A) It’s funny you asked if I have thought about arm wrestling! I just assumed you knew that I’m a retired professional arm wrestler and I was a silver medalist (2nd place) in the 1991 AAA Stand Up Nationals in the men’s RH, 90kg weight class in Houston Texas. I arm wrestled from 1979 to 1994. I retired due to shoulder issues from years of pulling and training for arm wrestling. I then begin to referee numerous tournaments of which one was a Texas State Tournament. I would not take for my experiences that I had from my arm wrestling career! I met and trained with so many great pullers and made many lifelong friends! I guess I am considered the older generation of pullers along with other names such as the Patton brothers, Cleve Dean, John Brzenk, Johnny Walker, Al Turner, Bobby Hopkins, Wes Atkins, James Anderson (my mentor in arm wrestling), and so many more!
(Q) In your opinion who has or has the greatest grip?
(A) Who has the greatest grip of All time and who has the greatest grip currently is a difficult question to answer without any qualifiers such as what area of grip so the most accurate answer I can give you is who I believe was strong in nearly all areas of grip. Past greatest from my own research and opinion would have to be Herman Goerner! He had enormous grip strength in all areas of grip! In crushing strength he squeezed a whopping 300+ lbs. on a Collins Grip Dynamometer that was brand new! Edgar Mueller pulled one out of his pocket as a surprise challenge for Herman to see what he could squeeze! Herman gave it a mighty squeeze and in an instant they heard a metallic click and they further noticed that the needle had went all the way around back to zero! After close inspection Edgar realized that Herman not only pegged the dynamometer but he broke it! Herman also pinched 111 lbs with one hand and it seemed as if he didn’t even try according to Edgar Muller in his book, Goerner The Mighty. The weight consisted of weight plates with a wooden peg running the center of the plates to hold them together. The most amazing grip feat that Herman did was a one hand deadlift of 727 lbs. which to date has not even come close by anyone! It should be noted that this was on a revolving type bar at that the time! So you have the 3 main areas of grip (crushing, pinch, supporting) covered in these 3 feats alone not to mention many other grip feats he performed in his career! For the current greatest grip in my estimation would have to be Laine Snook from England! I am in no way disrespecting or trying to exclude many other super strong grip athletes of today I am simply stating my opinion based on my own research and what I have witnessed on video and from witnesses present at the time of his grip feats! Laine has enormous strength in all areas of grip! He has cleaned the Thomas inch DB! Lifted both Millenium DB’s at the same time! Squeezed a level 21 on a Vulcan Hand gripper! Pinch lifted the Blobzilla! Lifted 350+ on Rolling thunder type handle and many more feats that could be mentioned. All one has to do is check out his feats on YouTube and then decide for themselves and compare to other top grip strength athletes! Now if we are talking pound for pound grip athletes then this changes everything as we have the enormous grip feats from the likes of Bob Sundin, Adam T. Glass, Andrew Durniat, Eric Milfeld and a fast rising and ultra strong Darrin Shallman!
I hope this has satisfied your inquiries and questions and I feel honored and privileged to have been asked for this interview for the Country Crush Team! Thanks so much for this opportunity! It has been sheer joy answering your questions!
Stay Strong and Have a Grip Day!!!
I want to say thank you Joe Musselwhite for taking time out of your schedule to let us into the mind of a grip expert. I hope that one day we get to meet.
Interviewed by, James Orlando
First I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to let people into your life. I’m looking forward to learning what it takes to become an elite athlete like yourself. So here we go.
(Q)How long have you been arm wrestling?
(A) I have been arm wrestling professionally for 7 years.
(Q)Who got you started?
(A)I got myself started. I worked security at clubs and bars in NYC and I used to beat all the other bouncers, so I saw a tournament online and I entered the amateur class and went undefeated. 12-0 that
was actually the first time I saw an arm wrestling table. That was April 2009. Next tournament I pulled pro.
(Q)What arm wrestler dead or alive has inspired you the most?
(A)The puller that inspired me the most was Richard Lupkes, watched old YouTube videos of him in 1980s gym pants at the sit down tournaments jacked out of his mind and smashing people.
(Q)What kind of equipment do you use?
(A)I’m not a huge equipment guy when I train arm wrestling, but I do like the country crush and top roller.
(Q)What do you think about the Country Crush Handle?
(A) The country crush handle is a very innovative piece of equipment, it really works your hands wrist and forearms, I definitely advise everyone to incorporate this into their workouts.
(Q)What are your thoughts on the use of steroids in the sport and do you think they should ban them?
(A)It’s a complicated issue and a moral issue. Obviously steroids are in every sport, has been for over 50 years, it’s a personal choice if you want to use or not. Everyone wants an edge and being in a sport where power is 70% of you winning people will do what they have to do to win. Period. No I do not think they should be banned.
(Q)Now there’s WAL,PAL,UAL and so on. What do think about leagues and arm wrestler contracts?
(A) I am signed to WAL for 5 years, and I’m very happy I did. Steve Kaplan is a fair guy, lets us pull in tournaments that are not UAL, PAL which is fine, I mean I was invited to ZLOTY TUR. And Vendetta this year but wasn’t allowed. Whatever that’s the business end I guess, all good.
So are you excited about your super match with Robbie Topie at the Battle In The Desert 2 in September?
(A) I cant wait for this tournament its going to be sick. I’m pulling Robbie Topie (Righty) thank god lol but the amount of talent that will be there is going to be epic. Probably best tournament of 2016
(Q)Where do you see the Sport in 5 years?
(A) I see it growing, there’s a ton of talent coming out.
(Q) Do you think the tv show Game Of Arms boosted the sport?
(A)GOA has definitely boosted the sport big time. we. had over 1 million viewers and it showed people what. arm wrestling is all about. I was glad to be part of it.
(Q)What do you think would help arm wrestling become a mainstream sport like football,soccer,baseball,and basketball?
(A)I hope so! I wouldn’t mind a multi million dollar deal , tanning and waxing gets expensive!
(Q)How long have you been married?
(A)Married to my wife Lenore for 12 years.
(Q)How many kids do you have?
(A)We have 3 boys.
(Q)Where did you go to high school at?
(A) I went to Bayside High School in queens NY ..no I didn’t go to school with Zack Morris and A.C slater.
Well there’s a small part of Mikes life , I hope that you enjoy and learn what it takes to be an Elite athlete.