Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by iwrite

  1. How about "The Epic Struggle" showing Doug Blubaugh pinning the 5-time world champion from Iran in the 1960 Olympics in Rome? Awesome photo,.... Doug's arm looked like it was made or iron.
  2. Actually, I wanted it to be an award for domination -- and, of course, pinning is a big part of that. -- Mike Chapman, creator of the Dan Hodge Trophy.
  3. Kyle Snyder is a huge talent and a great heavyweight. But Lou Banach was amazing during his 3 NCAA tournaments. Weighing around 215 pounds, he won 2 titles at hwt and was third as a junior while battling a severe shoulder problem. He was so good on his feet and he never stopped moving, scoring points in bunches in nearly every match. Here are his NCAA tournament scores: Sophomore year (1981) -- pin, 24-6, 12-5, 20-10 and pin (over Bruce Baumgartner, who outweighed Lou by 40 pounds). Junior year (1982) 18-14, pin (over 400-pound Tab Thacker), 12-4, 6-2 and 11-10. He also pinned Steve "Dr. Death" Williams in a dual meet that year, giving up about 45 pounds to the 4-time All-American. Senior year (1983) -- pin, 26-12, pin, 3-1 (over 395-pound Mitch Shelton), pin (over Wayne Cole). He won the award for most falls. I have been to 47 NCAA meets and I feel Lou is the best-moving hwt I ever saw.
  4. Tobus Rex -- your last sentence is right on the mark, good analysis. BTW, I have known Gable for 50 years and have never heard him offer an excuse. I have known Owings for several years and have never heard him brag about the match.
  5. Totally agree with the posts above by D3UC157 and ironmonkey. They both make great points. Folkstyle wrestling evolved from catch-as-catch-can, which has been a part of the American sports culture for nearly 300 years. And from another standpoint, controlling a foe after he has been taken down is an essential part of being a martial art, which wrestling certainly is.
  6. Most stunning -- Lou Banach (who went 1, 3,1 in NCAA) weighing about 215, pinning 400--pound Tab Thacker, pinning 250-pound Bruce Baumgartner, pinning 260-pound Steve "Dr. Death" Williams, beating 395-pound Mitch Shelton, running over much larger Wayne Cole 3 times, and beating highly-favored Greg Gibson in the Olympic trials.
  7. Doc -- thanks. The Chuck Jean stories are part of wrestling folklore, including the infamous deer roasting story. Chuck was a terror on the mat and a nice guy off the mat but could go off the rails from time to time. I have known both Chuck and Ray Brinzer for many years, and communicate with Ray regularly yet today. He is VERY intelligent -- we talk more about philosophy and history than we do wrestling!
  8. Chuck Jean, 2-time NCAA champion at Iowa State who transferred to Adams State and won 2 NAIA titles, would get my vote, with Ray Brinzer second.
  9. Ooops -- gotta add Doug Blubaugh to toughness, for sure! Ask anyone from his era -- like Wayne Baughman and Gray Simons and they will tell you! And BadgerMon has added some great names. AKHunter -- many years ago I was in a national sombo tournament with Wade (different weights) and he breezed into the finals where he faced a legendary black belt in judo. After a wild flurry, the black belt had Wade locked up tight in a behind-the-back arm lock and some were yelling for Wade to tap out. Instead, Wade initiated another wild flurry and suddenly he had the judo expert in the same hold...and made him tap out. It was one of the greatest displays of mental toughness and mat sense I have ever seen. And watching Mark Ironside for 4 years, I agree with Schute all the way.
  10. Fun topic -- talking folkstyle only! Takedowns -- John Smith, Randy Lewis, Uetake, Cael, Taylor (saw them all) Mat -- Gable (24 straight pins at one point) Hodge, Retherford, Lee (saw them all but Hodge) Leg -- Mike Sheets, Mark Churella, Cary Kolat Toughness -- Hodge, Gable, Tom Peckham, Wayne Baughman, Ed Banach, Mark Schultz, Tom & Terry Brands (saw them all but Hodge) Fireman's -- Tom Huff (if you ever saw him you know what I mean), Dave Schultz
  11. jross: Some people are asking outrageous prices for "Two Guys Named Dan", that's for sure. As an alternative, you might try my book "Legends of the Mat" as it has chapters on both Dans and also on Doug Blubaugh, Robin Reed, Lee Kemp, John Smith, Bill Smith, Bruce Baumgartner, Mark & Dave Schultz, Ed & Lou Banach, Rulon Gardner and many others. It is much cheaper....34 legends in all. You can find it many places, including my web site -- www.mike-chapman.com
  12. Thanks, Katie. Speaking of folkstyle's early history, if you go on You Tube, you can see videos of Curran Jacobs, former Michigan State star (captain of the 2012 Spartan team and round of 12 at NCAA) showing catch wrestling moves. Also some of his great matches at the United World Catch Championships in 2018 when he defeated three much much larger wrestlers, all of whom had extensive submission backgrounds. Each match went about 30 minutes. Curran is undefeated in catch matches and also 5-0 in MMA, and has spent time with Randy Couture and Dan Severn discussing old -style wrestling. Then if you type in Curran's name and my name on the same line, you will see him in my den sitting in Frank Gotch's favorite chair, doing curls with a barbell given to me by Lou Thesz, and also trying to squeeze the headlock machine developed by Ed "Strangler" Lewis and owned for many years by Dan Hodge. I have written 31 books, including biographies of Gotch, Hodge and the great Earl Caddock a legend from the 1915-1920 era -- Mike Chapman
  13. Headache- -- Good way to put it..."He energized the sport like no other." Marcus -- Thanks for the nice comment. I've been writing about the sport in various ways for 50 years, including my first book in 1976 called "Two Guys Named Dan". You can probably guess who it was about. Medicine Man -- THAT IS TRULY AWESOME!
  14. First, let me say this is a very interesting topic and I respect all of the opinions expressed. As an FYI, I have attended 47 NCAA tournaments and talked to most of the great coaches and champions from the 1950s-2000s in my journalism career. When Katie mentioned Frank Gotch, I thought of a comment in 1933 by Nat Fleischer, founder of The Ring magazine and the most respected boxing-wrestling writer of the first half of the 20th Century --- "It was Gotch's victories .... that made him the most popular mat star in America and started a movement among college men to take up wrestling." Also, Paul Scott, coach of the 1947 Cornell College team that won the NCAA title; Dave McCuskey, coach of the 1950 Iowa Teachers team that won the NCAA title, and Dr. Harold Nichols, coach of the great Iowa State teams of the 1960s, all told me that it was Frank Gotch who they they admired most as young boys. Ed Gallagher had a tremendous impact on college wrestling during his career at Oklahoma A&M. He used to take long trips in the summer to Vermont to learn the techniques and tricks of the great collar-and-elbow stars and then put that knowledge to use at Oklahoma A&M to build one of the first true dynasties in college sports. Dan Hodge's impact has been immense for over 50 years. He is still the only wrestler to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated and the biggest trophy in college wrestling bears his name. He is the only athlete to ever win national titles in both boxing and wrestling and is an icon in the MMA world. For 20 years-plus, Dan traveled the nation to inspire young wrestlers. BTW, in 1956 he won the NCAA title, national freestyle and national G-R tournament, all with pins! Dan Gable took the sport to a new level as a pure freshman when he won the Midlands (when it was arguably the toughest meet in the nation) because the media began following him like no other wrestler since the days of Gotch back in 1910. He was featured in many of the nation's major newspapers and magazines, including Sports Illustrated and even GQ magazine. He was the guest on several TV shows and film stars like Tom Cruise gushed over him. The Wall Street Journal called him "Super Wrestler" in an article and two books were written about him. During his career at Iowa State, Gable drew huge crowds and at one point had 24 straight pins. He was 118-1 and defeated a total of 5 NCAA champions, including three who were 2-timers!. His senior year he moved up a weight to take on the defending NCAA champion at 150, Mike Grant of Oklahoma, and beat him, 9-4. Gable inspired so many young boys to take up the sport. President Bush even appointed Dan to the President's Council on Physical Fitness . ... showing his enduing impact on the sport. And Cael Sanderson -- can there be any debate?. Going 159-0 and being named OW 4 times and winning the Dan Hodge Trophy 3 times.. Sports Illustrated said his college performance is the second most impressive college feat in history, only behind Jesse Owens setting 4 world records in track on the same day for Ohio State. So, I agree with Gockes when he listed Ed Gallagher, Dan Hodge, Dan Gable and Cael Sanderson. And that is not to slight other great wrestlers like Pat Smith, Lee Kemp, Tom Brands and Kyle Dake. If the criteria was Americans in freestyle, then John Smith, Bruce Baumgartner, Mark and Dave Schultz, Lee Kemp, Jordan Burroughs and Kyle Snyder all enter the conversation, IMO. Again, great topic. Keep it going!
  15. iwrite

    Lee Kemp

    Force 118 and Peso -- I was in the Iowa room a lot during that time period as a sports writer for the Iowa City paper and knew both Joe Wells and Dan well. Joe was very, very tough, a guy who really loved the sport and all it stood for. We would sit and talk for hours back then, in the wrestling room and at a pub downtown. He was one of Gable's primary workout partners when Dan came to Iowa City to coach and Joe told me many times that working out with Gable was the toughest thing he had ever done. Regarding the Kemp-Gable match -- Dan had not competed for a long time and was suffering from a pinched nerve in his neck the week before the tournament and even spent some time in traction in a hospital that same week. Several of his friends tried to talk him out of going to Madison but he felt he had to keep his commitment. He knew after the match that it was time to move on and focus entirely on coaching. Both Dan and Lee are true icons of the sport and deserve all the adulation that comes their way..
  16. There is a book published in 2019 called "Wrestling Tough: Dominate Mentally on the Mat" by Human Kinetics of Champaign, Illinois, one of the largest publishers of sports books in America. It is a revised edition of the 2004 book of the same name. It is 228 pages long and is loaded with stories and quotes from such legends as Gable, Smith (Bill and John), Sanderson, Kemp, Schultz, Brands, Ryan, Robinson, etc. Kyle Snyder is on the cover. It is available in every Barnes & Noble and on my web site. -- Mike Chapman
  17. Yes, Katie, that is true. Curran Jacobs, captain of the Michigan State team in 2012 (round of 12 at the NCAA) is the big star of catch wrestling right now. He has won the Frank Gotch Championships in Humboldt, Iowa, twice and won the United Catch World Championships in 2018. You can go on You Tube to see his matches and to see him training. Randy Couture is one of his mentors and Curran is also 5-0 in MMA, choking out his last foe in 58 seconds.. Catch wrestling was very popular in the early 1900s when men like Frank Gotch, Tom Jenkins (who went on to coach at West Point for 37 years), Earl Caddock and Joe Stecher drew huge crowds and were household names. Over 30,000 fans saw the Gotch-Hackenschmidt match in Chicago in 1911. Also, Dr. Raul Ramirez in LA is head of the Catch Wrestling Alliance so you may want to check out his web site too. For two years, Raul had a booth at the WIN show during the NCAAs and hundreds of people came by to learn about catch wrestling. BTW, Curran is available to give seminars. -- Mike Chapman, author of 31 books, including bios of Frank Gotch and Earl Caddock.
  18. MadMadigan: To read about older wrestlers, try the book "Legends of the Mat: Stories of 34 of America's Greatest Wrestlers of all Time", written in 2006. It starts out with Earl Caddock, an Iowan who was undefeated as an amateur and won 3 AAU national titles but lost his chance to compete in the 1916 Olympics due to WW I ,then turned professional when it was still legitimate and won the world heavyweight tile. Earl served as a dougboy in WWI and suffered lung damage. Also in the book are Robin Reed, Jack Van Bebber, Stanley &Josiah Henson, Henry Wittenberg, Bill Koll, Glen Brand, Bill Smith, Dan Hodge, Doug Blubaugh,Terry McCann, Gray Simons, Bobby Douglas, Rick Sanders, Wayne Baughman, Dan Gable, Chris Taylor, John & Ben Peterson, Wade Schalles, Lee Kemp, Bruce Baumgartner, Ed & Lou Banach, Dave & Mark Schultz, Randy Lewis, Ken Monday, John smith, Kevin Jackson, Tom & Terry Brands, Rulon Gardner, and Cael Sandeson. I wrote it with the primary purpose of keeping alive the stories of these amazing men. -- Mike Chapman
  19. "Pumping Iron" with Arnold and Big Lou gave the world its first real look into the world of bodybuilding and the intensity, determination and pain tolerance that is required to reach the top levels.
  20. Two more movies to consider: "Jim Thorpe:All American" (1953), starring the great Burt Lancaster. It takes us through Thorpe's amazing career in the Olympics, football, track and baseball, and holds nothing back when dealing with his personal problems. Great acting. I knew his daughter, Grace, who said Jim was a very good "backyard style wrestler" who loved to grapple. "Running Brave" with Robbie Benson as Olympic 10,000-meter champion Billy Mills was also a good film. Also agree with 1032004 that "Win! Win" was a very good wrestling film. And "Secretariat" is off the charts good.
  21. This year, Penn State brought its 4 Hodge Trophy winners out at halftime of the Penn State-Ohio State meet in front of nearly 16,000 fans. From left: Bo Nickal, Zain Retherford, David Taylor and Kerry McCoy. Quite an impressive group!
  22. Robin Reed won the Olympics at 134 pounds and walked around at about 145 pounds. While writing my book "Legends of the Mat", I interviewed two men who knew Robin Reed personally -- Dale Thomas, the longtime coach at Oregon State, and Earl Conrad, a grizzled old pro from Reed's era. They both held him in the highest regard, bordering on awe. Thomas, a very tough guy himself, said Reed was as mean a man as ever walked on a mat. Conrad said Reed's favorite move was the double wrist lock and he used it with full force and ferocity: "Reed had a real mean streak," said Conrad. "There was never any doubt that he would just as soon break your elbow as put you on your back." Reed turned pro after the Olympics and had a solid career, but was no match for the great John Pesek, a "shooter" that other pros feared and avoided. Reed went to train with Pesek at his Nebraska ranch and was beaten up. He later told historian Don Sayenga that Farmer Burns (the trainer of Frank Gotch) and Pesek were the masters of wrestling. I talked in person to Mary Lee Pesek, John's daughter, who remembered Reed well from his visits to the ranch. Regarding the Gable-Kemp match, Dan had not competed for almost three years and I was with him in Iowa City the week before the match. He was really suffering from a pinched nerve in his neck and could barely lift his right arm. He spent some time in the hospital that week in traction. Several of his close friends tried to talk him out of going but he felt obligated because he said he had committed and they had a near sellout. Lee Kemp is also a friend of mine and he told me personally that it was a much different outcome at the World camp. To the great credit of both of these true icons, Dan has never offered alibis for the first match and Lee has never bragged about it because he felt Dan was below par at the time. -- Mike Chapman, author of 31 books.
  23. When Dan Gable was in Munich for the 1972 Olympics, Kirk Douglas was there also and wanted to meet Gable. Kirk contacted the US Olympic committee to arrange a meeting with Dan just prior to the start of the Games. But somehow it never happened due to a time mixup. I just talked to Dan a few minutes ago and he said he was sorry he missed meeting Kirk Douglas as he admired him..... "but at the time I was pretty focused on my wrestling and the gold medal," Dan said..
  24. Great photo, dmm 53. Lou Thesz was a long-time personal friend of mine and was known as a "hooker" who knew all the submission holds. He told me he had great respect for Kirk Douglas, both as a man and an actor. "And he wasn't a bad wrestler, either," sad Lou. "He knew all the basics." For a little perspective -- Dick Hutton, 3-time NCAA champion at Oklahoma A&M, wrestled pro for many years and said Thesz was the best wrestler he ever knew, or saw. Also, in the movie "Spartacus", Kirk's big rival in a gladiator scene was the very muscular Woody Strode, who was a great athlete at UCLA and wrestled pro for several years between film gigs.
  25. And this is where I remind people that the NAIA wrestler recorded a 50-0 record that season with 24 pins, and won three top-level tournaments -- the Las Vegas Invitational, the Midlands Championships and the All-Star Classic. Along the way, Emmett Willson defeated wrestlers who finished third, fourth, sixth and seventh in the NCAA Div. 1 tournament and placed ahead of Div. 1 champion Damion Hahn at Vegas. Dan Hodge thought Willson was an excellent choice for the trophy named in his honor! All the Division 3 wrestler Nick Ackerman did was attract national acclaim outside the sport by winning the national title with no legs below the knees. Two Olympic champions, Doug Blubaugh and Randy Lewis, pushed hard for Nick to have the trophy as a recognition of the fact that this sport allows just about anyone to excel who works hard and dreams big. As creator of the Dan Hodge Trophy, I am very proud that we selected both Emmett and Nick ( co-winner that year with Cael Sanderson). -- Mike Chapman, (BTW, no relation to jchapman)
  • Create New...