Dr. Benjamin Roller

Posted on Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 by John Wood
Dr. Benjamin Franklin “B.F.” Roller was an early catch wrestler who sparred with the likes of Frank Gotch, George Hackenschmidt, The Great Gama, and Stanislaus Zbyszko. Aside from wrestling, Roller was a great athlete in other sports, captaining the football and track teams at DePauw University where he attended in the late 1800’s. Roller briefly held the world record in the discus.

Roller was actually a legitimate Doctor having graduated from medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. Roller played a bit of professional football to pay the bills after that but eventually accepted a professorship at the University of Washington. Shortly after, in a rather interesting twist, he instead chose to chase fame and fortune — mostly fortune — as a professional wrestler.. Roller’s first professional match was against Jack Carkeek whom he defeated in two falls after 17 minutes and for which he received $1600 which was a rather princely sum in the early 20th century.

Roller was a very good (but not great) wrestler although he did win his fair share of matches, and held the American Heavyweight title on three occasions. Roller wrestled the likes of Farmer Burns, Fred Beell, Raymond Cazeaux, Hjalmar Lundin, Raoul Le Boucher, George Lurich, Jim Londos, Ed Lewis, and Joe Stecher (among others.) Eventually he became a training partner for George Hackenschmidt during the time Hack famously tussled with Frank Gotch.

In the years after, Roller wrote a syndicated column for newspapers around the country on health and physical culture topics and even came up with his own training system dubbed “Rollerism.”

The Great Gama in Training

Posted on Friday, March 10th, 2017 by John Wood
A look at The Great Gama in training in his akhara in Patiala, Northern India, circa 1928. It was said that Gama performed 3000 dands (pushups) each day. So much for the theory that “bodyweight-only” training can’t build muscle mass… Gama clearly didn’thave any trouble doing so.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Levering The Gama Club

Posted on Tuesday, July 12th, 2016 by John Wood

To my knowledge, I am the only man in the world to accomplish this feat: a picture perfect to-the-nose-and-back lever of the Gama Club. The “Gama Club” is a modern representation of the trophy from traditional Indian wrestling called a Gurz, which can be seen here. No idea about the original, but the ‘Gama Club’ pictured above weighs 32 pounds with a 1-1/2 inch thick handle.

It’s a little shorter than a regulation sledge hammer but a lot heavier. Like I said, a lot of strong people have attempted to do this but no one so far has been able to… I think the Hammer Man would be proud.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

The Great Gama: Lion of The Punjab

Posted on Sunday, March 4th, 2012 by John Wood

The Great Gama: Lion of The Punjab

Ghulam Muhammad, The Great Gama, is the greatest Pehlwan, or Indian wrestler, who ever lived. He is the only wrestler to remain undefeated throughout the course of his entire career which spanned over 5000 matches.

The Great Gama publicly challenged all comers and easily defeated the likes of the American Champion Dr. Benjamin Roller (who he “threw” 13 times in 15 minutes), Stanislaus Zbyszko of Poland, the European John Lemm of Switzerland, and Maurice Deriaz of France. Interestingly, Gotch and Hackenschmidt refused to face him.

Gama’s daily training routine consisted of thousands of traditional squats and pushups… and after seeing him train, many would-be challengers wanted no part. The object Gama is seen holding here was not a piece of training equipment but an ornamental scepter known as a Gurz, the Indian Wrestling version of the Championship Belt.