Totowa MMA: A look inside NJ United Mixed Martial Arts Academy

Popular “Wrestler vs. Mountain Lion” Story is a Hoax! What We’ve Learned.



Robin Olson preyed upon the susceptibility of martial arts communities via his tall tale about killing a wild mountain lion with a headlock.

Over the past couple days, one of the little, viral stories that began circulating through the internet was that of a man being assaulted by a mountain lion and then using a headlock to break the animal’s neck. Here, KSBY News reported that former NCAA wrestler Robin Olson had been hiking outside of a designated trail area in Prefumo Canyon, California, when a mountain lion attacked him. Allegedly, Olson fought with the animal and endured several scratches before catching it in a headlock and breaking its neck. However, Olson’s story was revealed to be a hoax less than two days ago. There’s a simple lesson in play here: Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. But Olson’s story is indeed possible. Sure, mountain lions are capable of being choked-out or headlocked, and life is full of stranger stories that have happened. Regardless, training a martial art smartly and consistently will give you the discernment needed to identify the false advertising done in the name of the martial arts that you love.

The 80s were a hotbed of mullet-sporting martial arts hoaxes that people got a kick out of debunking decades later. Now that the public’s perception of practical martial arts is more informed, it’s much rarer that we read stories or watch videos of Chi-masters stepping up to well-trained strikers or grapplers and getting comically decimated. But in our search for good stories that help us preach the gospel of modern martial arts, it’s wise to be selective and to ask other martial artists about a given story’s plausibility.

I’ve been practicing wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for a quite a while, and I’ve been put in many headlocks by many skilled and strong fighters. But honestly, I’ve never felt that my neck was about to snap from any of them. By extension, a mountain lion should have better headlock-survival potential than little old me. I imagine that if I had possessed claws when I was getting headlocked, then my headlock escapes would have been utterly amazing! So when and blow up with a story about a mountain lion getting its neck snapped Steven Seagal-style during a scuffle with a wrestler, I’m more than a little skeptical.

dont_believe_everything_you_read_on_the_internet_2_inch_round_button-r5165d6d9d73a474c9f39842baf85ddbd_x7efx_1024Can a human or animal suffer a broken neck from a headlock? Absolutely. But is it likely given the specifics of Olson’s story? I think not. I love good self-defense stories about the grappling and striking arts being used dramatically and dynamically. However, if you’re not training regularly in a time-tested martial art, then unfortunately you’ll be susceptible to stories like Olson’s. Make grappling and striking part of your lifestyle, and you’ll have the practical knowledge to discern between probable facts, stretched truths, and outright lies in martial arts. If anything, you’ll learn why a rear naked choke or a guillotine will serve you better than a headlock or kesa gatame in your next mountain lion fight on the mean trails of Prefumo Canyon.

JJ Mike


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