There’s more to armwrestling than just brute strength and arm muscles. It’s a sport that requires the involvement of the whole body as well as the mind to achieve victory without injury. A professional arm wrestler needs proper training and guided teaching, in terms of both physical strengths as well as learning sparring techniques.

In Brunei, armwrestling used to be called berudi or berambit in Brunei Malay, Gusti Lengan in Standard Malay. In the past, berambit is not limited to the arms, but you could also wrestle with your legs. While the history of armwrestling as a traditional past-time sport is there, professionally, Brunei is still new to the industry.

Photo: Sutera/Safwan Sulaiman

According to Pengiran Haji Mohammad Yusren, the Head of Brunei Armwrestling Association, although they have started to host events since December 2017, they’ve only been officially registered since March this year. He explained further that, “Brunei is still quite new to the field, so it will be difficult for us to catch up.” However, despite this, they had accumulated three gold medals, four silver, and two bronze medals, underlining them as formidable opponents.

Photo: Sutera/Safwan Sulaiman

The Brunei Armwrestling Association is hosting a two-day event competition from 13th – 14th December 2019 in conjunction with the Brunei December Festival 2019. With the aim to invite people to be more active in sports as well as to revive the traditional sport, they hope that with this event, they will be able to help bring more people’s involvement in armwrestling.

Photo: Sutera/Safwan Sulaiman

The competition is held at the Berakas Stadium’s Multi-Purpose Hall. Divided into two main days, the Brunei Amateur Armwrestling yesterday was open only for IC holders of Brunei, seeing at least 30 local contestants. Yang Mulia Pengiran Mohammad Amirrizal bin Pengiran Haji Mahmud, Permanent Secretary for Administration, Finance and Estate at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports was invited as the Guest of Honour for the opening of the competition. Today, the crowd will get to see contestants from the neighbouring regions, Sabah, Sarawak, Labuan, Indonesia too.

Photo: Sutera/Safwan Sulaiman

Pg Yusren is also one of the trainers for Brunei armwrestlers. Coached by Devon Larratt, the World Champion Armwrestler himself, he learned how to spar properly. Now, he uses his knowledge to guide his students. “The key to winning is more than just body muscles. Strength is more important. Together with technique, that’s already 90% of winning probability in your favour. The other 10% depends on your and your coach’s thinking skills”.

Photo: Sutera/Safwan Sulaiman

A sport that requires strength, technique, and a quick mind, armwrestling is proving to be a more formidable sport that it initially appears to be. The sparring might be quick, but it appears to involve more than what meets the eye. So, for those would like to see the armwrestlers of Brunei and the neighbouring regions in action, drop by the Multi-Purpose Hall at Stadium, Berakas today!

Photo: Sutera/Safwan Sulaiman