Club has a strong focus

Mayhem Arm Wrestling Club members (from left) Callum McConachy, club captain Joshua Thomson-Mende and Bradie Burs are training for the arm wrestling South Island Championships in August.

MAYHEM Arm Wrestling Club captain and coach Joshua Thomson-Mende’s lifetime goal
has been to beat his brother in an arm wrestle.

He started arm wrestling when he was 16, when his brother Luke introduced him to the sport.

Alongside professional arm wrestlers Devon Larrat and Monster Michael Todd, his brother
was also one of his inspirations.

‘‘My brother was the same size as me now, but out of 2000 arm wrestlers of any weight category, he only ever lost twice.’’

After last year’s arm wrestling Otago Championships, Thomson-Mende decided to start
a club in Invercargill.

There were nine people involved in the group and trainings happened in Thomson-Mende’s garage.

The club members were in the process of training for the South Island Champs which were due to be held in Dunedin in August.

‘‘To prepare for the tournament we have been practising the fundamental moves and working on strength.’’

There were several different techniques the arm wrestlers were working on — top roll, pronation, riser, cup and more.

‘‘We are getting into proper training and defining our own styles and really focusing on that,’’ Thomson-Mende said.

‘‘With the new guys, we try to get them to do as many moves as possible at least for the first month, and then they work on others so that they can get used to it.’’

He felt people had misconceptions about arm wrestling in that it was not a sport.

‘‘There’s a lot of people out there that may not consider it a sport and some think that is funny that some people are arm wrestling.

‘‘But it’s a very exciting sport to watch when you get to know what you are doing, and you get to see all the technical moves.’’

He described the sport as ‘‘primal’’, but that it was also about sportsmanship and community.

‘‘The community is awesome and it’s probably the best out of any sport.

‘‘I would encourage people to come and do it, even if you come for a week to test your strength, just give it a try.’’