Allen Fisher Takes Arm-Wrestling Behind Bars in Mission of Outreach

April 3rd 2015

“Mr. Intensity” Allen Fisher is a dominant force in the World Armwrestling League’s lightweight division. He stalks the table and tries to shake it off its moorings before doing battle.
 
For Fisher, who came in second in the lightweight right hand competition at the 2014 Championships after giving his all against Janis Amolins, that fiery passion for the sport is born out of love for it.
 
Part of that love involves making converts of people who have never experienced the arm-wrestling.
 
That has led the 59-year-old to travel to prisons in California numerous times in recent years to win over the hardest-core audience around.
 
“When we arrived at the prison for the very first time, it was kind of scary,” said Fisher, who goes on the outreach trips with his wife, Carolyn.
 
“We figured this was where god wanted us to be,” the married father of two recalled.
The Fishers set up a table and began doing demonstrations with some of the inmates.
 
Despite his crazy table demeanor and sizable arms and hands, Fisher said it was intimidating the first time he stepped into a prison for an arm-wrestling demonstration.
 
 “We got in there and you would not believe the size of these guys,” Fisher said. “We’re talking rippling muscles, veins sticking out. And this is all their doing. They’re in there for life. They’re doing everything to build that muscle.”
 
Fisher would let the inmates arm-wrestle against him. He would chat and let the guy think he was going to beat him.
 
Then Fisher would pull through his bicep. Game over.
 
He teaches the inmates basic things, but avoids having them go at it too hard for fear that they would break an arm.  
 
“It’s a kick, man,” Fisher said. “If I wanted to, I could go through these guys like nothing. But there’s no point.”

An ardent speaker about his Christian faith, Fisher said he also mixes a message of hope beyond the prison walls, and learning to find hope within the penitentiary for those who aren’t going anywhere.
 
He said he hopes to eventually be able to go in more regularly and teach the sport’s fans on the inside.
 
The visits haven’t all happy, feel-good times though, he said. Fisher said the “yard went down” twice while he was there, where there’s been an incident and everybody has to hit the deck.
 
Fisher said he initially would bring his table into the prison, but that he forgot it one time and the guys just arm-wrestled on the concrete benches.
 
“You can’t move anything there,” he said. “If you can move something, you can hit somebody with it.”
 
The inmates also responded to the strength and conditioning moves Fisher showed them.
 
“They were just blown away,” he said. “They’re already big, but when you put them through something, doing a pull that’s going to create endurance and power and strength in on short exercise, they were coming along.”