Nick Biebel, USA: I’m definitely planning to compete again
I discovered mas-wrestling in 2018 at Bodytribe in Northern California, learning from (and sparring with) Lindsay Hall and Chip Conrad. I liked to play, but didn’t compete in a formal tournament until March 2021 at The Training Hall.
Outside of mas-wrestling, I’m an amateur strongman, coach/trainer, and physical culture enthusiast. I co-lead The Strongman Club in Northern California. Mas-wrestling is a nice change of pace from strongman in that I can directly engage with and counter my opponent. I like that movement, defense, and technique are important, aside from pure strength.
I rarely got the opportunity to mas with other middleweight men before this. Not many around/interested in Sacramento yet. But it turns out that learning from and sparring with my nemesis Lindsay Hall and master Chip Conrad the last few years prepared me well. Now I kinda know how I stack up. Thank them much.
Men’s middleweight final from Visegrip Viking Invitational Mas-wrestling tournament. I put up a good fight but lost 2-0 to Jon-Clark, who was the definitely the better and more experienced athlete.
The legend Odd Haugen came over after the match and gave me some advice: “Don’t move unless you have a plan.” That pretty much indicated the mistakes I made. Jon-Clark and I were well-matched. I even had the advantage at times, but I couldn’t finish it. Spurred by desperation and adrenaline in my first formal competition, I resorted to throwing everything I had at him in quick succession - left, right, up, down, twist, shake, etc. I should’ve been more patient and intentional.
The first round I messed up and shot my foot clean above the board. The second round he waited and read my moves until my chaos put me in a bad position. He wasted no time taking advantage of it. He’s also an accomplished grip/armlifting athlete and it was like two unshakeable iron rods ran from his shoulders and attached to the stick.
I’ll share more reflections later, but I loved this and am planning to compete again. My mistakes afforded me a chance to improve as a mas athlete. I’ll have my rematch with Jon-Clark one day.
I appreciated getting to see some folks I hadn’t seen in a while. The communities around mas-wrestling and The Training Hall by Odd Haugen are solid. Also, mas wrestling is a very international sport and it’s cool to know opportunities for international competition await...when I can afford it.
I learned from the couple Pakistanis who made it that their recent national championship had 500 competitors!.
Mas-wrestling is super fun for me. I’m definitely planning to compete again this year. The 1v1 element in which you directly engage with your opponent is an exciting change of pace from strongman. I love strongman as both a training philosophy and sport, but at this point in my journey, I’m honestly more excited to formally compete in mas than strongman.
I’m more gifted as a mas wrestler than strongman. Don’t get me wrong, I’m damn good at some things in strongman. But others are a struggle. Ex: I’ve trained hard for 6+ years and still finish near the bottom in every deadlift event. But in mas wrestling I move around the board, using my longer limbs to my advantage, etc. And interestingly enough, my deadlift is weak but my pull is strongest (relatively) in the stretched position, at the bottom. When I deadlift, deficit deadlifts sometimes feel better than regular deadlifts. So my pull isn’t my forte, but mas wrestling puts me in the position wh ere it happens to be strongest, for me.
I believe God made people to lift, move, and play, and that doing so for the right reasons is part of our purpose in life. Mas-wrestling is one of my favorite ways to move and play.
Country: United States of America