CONTRARY to popular belief you don’t need cannon balls for bicep or forearms like Popeye’s to win at arm wrestling.
Philippine arm wrestling champion Mark Ben says that with proper technique, a burst of speed and a little strategy you can beat even stronger opponents.
Ben adds that although not as popular as other institutionalized sports, like basketball and boxing with pervasive media coverage and still without its own national sports association, arm wrestling is actually a very popular everyday activity.
“It’s an instantly recognizable and familiar test of one’s strength. Arm wrestling appeals to a diverse range of people, both men and women alike, irrespective of age, fitness and strength levels. It is a sport of the people, accessible to all who wish to be involved. It is one of the manly feats of strength that every man will face at least once in his life,” said Ben.
“I started to arm wrestle during my school days. It is a traditional way to test your strength aside from brawling to determine who’s the alpha in the class. But as a professional sport my elder brother and I started arm wrestling only in 2012. I’m 25 now and he’s 27.”
Arm wrestling is among the world’s fastest growing sports with competitions and organizations sprouting not just everywhere in the Philippines but all over the world as well, allowing Ben and his brother the opportunity to travel while competing.
They recently competed in Malaysia last December where Ben placed 1st runner up in 75-85kg category beating top Asian arm wrestlers representing different countries.
“The most rewarding part in arm wrestling is when you’ve given every ounce of your strength, physically and mentally, and you see your opponent’s hand touching the pin. Then the ref will raise your hand indicating that you are the winner. That is the most ecstatic, exciting and rewarding part in arm wrestling,” said Ben.
“The worst part is when you lose the match. You feel depressed and you are thinking what you should have done to win. I used to feel that way days after the match. But then I realized that this is just the part where you learn from your mistakes and motivate yourself to grow and become stronger and better.”
The past year 2014 has been rewarding for Ben. Last May he won the heavyweight category of the Philippine national arm wrestling championship. Last September he was the second runner up in the 75-85 kg category in the 11th Pattaya International Armwrestling Championship in Thailand. Last December he was the first runner-up in the 75-85 kg category in the Malaysia International Armwrestling Super Match.
Ben looks forward to more tournaments in 2015. He hopes to compete and win in the 3rd Philippine Nationals 2015 and the 37th World Armwrestling Championship September, 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
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