Over at Vice.com’s Fightland section is a thoroughly entertaining 3 piece story / article on the combat sports world’s first introduction to the Grandfather of American Catch As Catch Can Wrestling, Martin ‘Farmer’ Burns.
The first part is especially interesting, as it details Evan Lewis, the original strangler and Catch Wrestling champion of the time, where not only does it suggest Lewis could have been a prototypical Mixed Martial Arts fighter, but also suggests he was among the first documented grapplers to defeat opponents with a Heelhook (emphasis mine):
Lewis’ signature technique, and namesake: the strangle. In 1886, he strangled Matsada Sorakichi until the famed rib breaker’s eyes rolled into his head and he was regurgitating blood. In the rematch, with the chokehold banned, Lewis had promised, “I will not choke you this time, but I will screw your leg off.” Under a minute, and he did just that. The bout made the front page of The New York Times. The injury, the Times reported, reached from ankle to knee and was far worse than a break—joints, ligaments, and muscles were shredded.
Possible hyperbole aside, that certainly sounds like the most feared leglock in the submission game.
So kick back this Monday with your preferred beverage, learn some history and be entertained by the narrative spun from the long gone days of barnstorming across America’s Midwest.