Moment Of Force


May 18, 2010 by David Gillaspie


Why are wrestlers so smart?  Because they work with science all the time.  They may not know what T = r x F = r F sin() means right away, but they apply it regularly.

The definition of ‘torque’ is a measure of how much a force acting on an object causes that object to rotate.  In other words, how hard is it to turn an opponent.  I’m pretty sure no coach writes  T = r x F = r F sin() on a blackboard and expects his team to get fired up.  And they don’t shout that equation from the corner. 

Just know that T = r x F = r F sin() is a way torque is expressed in physics and mechanical engineering. 

Hard science for wrestling goes beyond physics and engineering.  Biology is the basis of all good mat care and skin care.  Is there another sport more concerned with the competitive environment?  The next time a B-baller gets a skin check will be the first. 

Fortunately tattoos are not contagious.

Every wrestler knows the benefits of anti-biotic soap.  If they don’t, their mom does.  They don’t want anything to do with the creeping crud if they can avoid it.

While hard science impacts wrestling, from the correct angle to walk an arm bar over, to the amount of pressure to force a half, soft science also plays a part.

If sociology is the scientific study of human social behavior, what better test tube to observe it than a wrestling match.  Does the aggressive wrestler win more often than the passive?  Is the wrestler who relies on counter-moves more successful than one who initiates?  Show me a graph.

 Economics as defined by Webster: “a social science concerned chiefly with description and analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.”  A marketplace definition can be boiled down to Supply and Demand. 

The wrestling definition is easier: when an opponent makes demands, you supply a butt-kicking.  If an opponent supplies a two-on-one up your arm then pivots away and down to apply pressure to your elbow that bends the other way, you make demands on him.

This is an issue of sportsmanship.  If you think an opponent intentionally puts you at risk of injury, what do you do?  Go out of your way to retaliate?  Do the same back to him?  Run away and hide?

The correct answers are no, no, and no.  The sneakiest competitor will always try to make you think of them instead of the match.  Once they get inside your head, they have an easier time.  If you want to get even you’ll lose track of what you went out on the mat to do, which is competing to the best of your ability. 

If a guy rips on you, and his moves aren’t part of your arsenal, stick to what works for you, stick to what you practice.  In other words, listen to your coach.

The run away and hide option isn’t worth mentioning.  Where do you run to on a wrestling mat?  Where do you hide?  You can’t just fall down in front of a guy and call it a block like a football lineman taking a play off.  You can’t foul a guy you can’t guard like a poor defender in basketball.  You can’t swing at a bad pitch just to strike out against a pitcher you’re afraid of. 

Instead, you go science on your guy, from evolution (self-preservation), to applied force (snap down to a front head lock and run to the leg), to philosophy (it is better to strive and fail than to not strive at all.)

Why are wrestlers considered the most intelligent of athletes?  Because their sport requires using everything available to succeed. 

Now load up and prove it.  Then do it again.  Write your own formula and share it.      


One thought on “Moment Of Force

  1. David Gillaspie says:

    I called 1080 The Fan, an all sport talk radio station (, when Primetime with Isaac and Big Suke talked about how much to push kids as a dad.

    I told how I pushed my kid to the point where he set me up for a belly to belly and launched. I’d been bugging him and he ran his mouth, so I searched for an off button by tapping on his head. After enough tapping he stood up and we started tapping on one another. Anyone who’s grown up with brothers knows this routine by heart.

    Tapping leads to slapping, but not in a bad way, just slap and block, working the elevation, moving in and out. Then its grabbing and shoving. Don’t friends and family always get rough?

    He jammed me and I leaned in and took a flyer. I didn’t hit the floor. Instead I caved in my wall with my head, rolled into the tv table, made a big mess, and sprung to my feet.

    The younger son said later, “Yes, you got up faster than I thought you would. What’s that, a redneck reaction?” That gave me chance to explain that it’s always good to be on your feet as fast as you can after bouncing off a wall.

    That boy could throw pretty good. He put Tyrell Fortune on his back in a state semi-final match the next year. I like to think I helped.

    After I sprung up my wife said she would call the police if we didn’t stop. Sonny and I looked at each other, then her and said, “calm down, we’re only wrestling.”

    But it was more. I pushed too far. I annoyed him on purpose and rode the consequences into the wall. Now what?

    This is where dad-genius emerges. Either you’ve got it or you don’t, and you never know until you need it. It’s easier to go berserk, but how pissed can you be when you started it. First I hit the garage and benched until I got an idea, or got too tired to do anything I’d regret, like smacking into another wall.

    Then I talked to my son from the door to his room, saying, “We learned two things tonight. I didn’t fly out of control, and you didn’t try a knee-drop when I landed.”

    The seventeen year old kid, the two hundred and fifteen pounder, was in there in the dark and said, “Why would I? You’re my Dad.”

    Hearing that was enough. I’d pushed him too far, further than I planned, and didn’t know what to expect when things calmed down. I hoped for the best and got it. I was talking to a man who gets it.

    “One last thing,” I said. “Next time we do this, we go outside. The walls can’t take it, and neither can I eventually, so lets not do it again.”

    We said goodnights and Iloveyous. On reflection, it was a good thing to have happen, but I can’t see it working out for any dad but a wrestling dad. Extreme sports breed extreme actions and reactions. I’m not extreme, but a year later I round-robined with a few of the big boys, mine included.

    What I meant to tell Isaac and Big Suke was wrestlers push themselves, dads are just there when they need a throwing dummy. You teach your kid to be a man by engaging him in what you think he needs. Mine needed to break through to his potential. Every kid does. Now we know ‘break through’ is better as a metaphor.

Your Comments Go Here Please

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 91 other followers

Click It

Good to see you



An Oregon Thing

VooDoo Duck


%d bloggers like this: