Many people think octopus wrestling is a prohibitively expensive hobby. The
glitz and glamour of the professional circuit leads the average fan to believe
that a breeding program and large saltwater holding tank are necessary to get
Nothing could be farther from the truth!
Wrestling octopi is a fun and healthy way to spend an afternoon, by following
this guide you can get your start in this amazing hobby right now!
The most important part of octopus wrestling is finding the right octopus. It
may be tempting to just gallivant into the nearest body of water and begin
splashing about.
If you’re lucky it’ll just wind up being a waste of time. If you’re not so lucky
you’ll discover wild octopuses grow much bigger than domestic ones and have a
nasty pension for submission holds and pecking.
Captive octopodes have been acclimatized to being around humans and often are
de-beaked to make them more amateur friendly.
So rather than becoming another bloated hickey covered statistic do the smart
thing and call your local aquarium. The managers will often set up a match for
you cheaply (15$/hour at my local aquarium) or even free if the octopus is in
need of the exercise.
The rules of octopus wrestling are simple, to win you must suspend the octopus
entirely out of the water for no less than a ten count. It is considered good
sport to give any octopus under 50% of your weight a knife or bladed weapon.
You should keep in mind that octopuses have no compassion or empathy
for cephalopods or mammals, making them extremely hard to blackmail into
throwing a match. If you ever get your honor stuck up in a pus-wrestling match
keep in mind this simple mnemonic device: PBnJ
P - Punch them in the eyes to stun
B - Berate and belittle (stick to their poor camouflage to start)
n - and
J - Jab your thumbs in their eyes
It’s traditional to wade out into the water nude. If you’re uncomfortable with
that a swim suit is allowed, but adding even more handholds and hiding places
for the octopus is just going to make it harder for you. Plus, it’s not like
the aquarium managers haven’t seen it all before. The octopus will camouflage
in an attempt to ambush you. Remember the octopus has better eyesight than you,
but the reflection from the under-surface of the water prevents it from seeing
where you’re looking and splashing the surface of the water and kicking up silt
will farther reduce it’s visibility and force it to strike.
The textbook octo-strategy is to entangle one leg then parlay into tripping
you into the water. Once in the water all hope is lost so keep a wide
stance and avoid attempting to kick off an octopus attached to one of your feet.
Rather grab the limbs near the body and peal back and away like popping open
a can of biscuits. If the octopus attempts to tap out, it’s a trap, signal the
manager or referee that the octopus is untrustworthy. Rather, with short sharp
jerks pull the octopus free from your legs and kettle bell swing it out and
away from your body before pulling it in for a headlock.
If you drop your octopus or accidentally throw it (we’ve all been there) it’ll
again attempt to hide and ambush you. Simply return to splashing and kicking up
silt and be more careful next time. If you did manage to correctly headlock it
use your non-dominate hand to wrap the tentacles and prevent them from hanging
into the water and start your count. It’s important to keep in mind even
the pacific street octopus is only as smart as a gibbon or pig. So if you stay
calm and remember your training this can be an exhilarating and fun experience
for everyone.