Armwrestling is a typical combat sport. Fights last from a couple of seconds to several minutes! Victory is decided on technique, tactics, specific strength, speed and mental strength – just like in wrestling or judo. Fights are conducted in standing position, on a special table affixed to the floor. Seated fights used to take place until not long ago, but nowadays standing position dominates, it being more spectacular and demanding.
Both women and men start in tournaments. Weight category are a standard. Left and right – hand bouts are fought separately, so that one can be a champion in one hand and not fight with the other at all. The best proof that armwrestling is a combat sport are OVERALL fight (no weight categories). 60 – 70 kg people facing 100 kg opponents… and sometimes winning!
Armwrestling is a sport for everybody – juniors up to 18 years old, seniors and masters (fighters past 40 years of age). It’s also a sport for the disabled.
Armwrestling wakes up and develops natural body strength, enhances stamina, physical condition and motor skills. It forges strong will, dedication, teaches responsibility – characteristics useful in everyday life. To practice armwrestling one doesn’t need a lot of knowledge or money. A special table is enough, and one can make that oneself for training purposes.
Armwrestling tournaments are very spectacular. Great fights, exciting events and emotions that are not present in every sport. Many spectators are drawn to those events and the public is very much emotionally engaged. It is a one-of-a-kind type of event. On one side it’s a discipline with Olympic aspirations, on the other it’s a type of subculture.
History of armwrestling is as long as the history of mankind. Testing oneself in combat is as obvious as anything. There is no man on earth who hasn’t been through this test at least once. It’s usually associated with pub games and country fairs – and so it was until 1951, when two guys from California, Dave Devoto and journalist Bili Soberanes, decided to organize a tournament for truck drivers. They got the backing of trade unions in this, and so the first ever armwrestling tournament came into being. It was such a great success that it was obvious to everyone a new sport was born – armwrestling.
In the late 50’s the first federations were formed, and in 1962 in Petaluma, California a first international tournament was organized. To commemorate this event, a statue was erected in honor of the living heroes of the sport. Since that day the expansion of armwrestling began in earnest.
These days the proper evolution of armwrestling is being overseen by the World Armwrestling Federation (WAF), assisted by the European Armwrestling Federation (EAF), formed in 1991.
Besides WAF and EAF, there’s also the PAL (Professional Armwrestling League), formed in 2002, with four offices in Bulgaria, Poland, USA and Arabian Emirates. It’s the biggest organization in the world, with contracts with the world’s top fighters. It allows contestants to fight at the professional levels in six-round fights all over the world.
Poland is represented at the world arena by FAP, Polish federation formed in 1999 by Igor Mazurenko, an active armwrestler and world-class promoter and activist.
Poland has many events organized all year round – regional, national and international – Polish Championships, Polish Cup, European Championships, Professionals’ World Cup and the World Championships. Each event is a huge dose of emotions and adrenaline on world-class level.
1200 people from 49 countries fought at the XXXV World Championships that took place in Gdynia in 2013. This was the biggest event in the history of WAF, honored with a special prize from the city council.
Gdynia is he capital of Polish armwrestling. The “Zloty Tur” club operating from Gdynia is the organizational body behind most of events. It was founded by Igor Mazurenko, president of FAP and the club itself. To this day the club offers training facilities, referee seminars and coaching lessons.