Obi-Thumb Kenobi. Graeme ‘Flash’ Cunningham. Big Didgit. Thumbderbird. Jack the Gripper. Unless you’re a hard-core Thumb Wrestler Groupie, or ‘Finger’, as they’re known, you probably don’t know these names. You probably don’t understand the blood, thumb sweat, and beers that have gone into honing the ancient skill of the Thumb War to such elite levels.
You may not know those names. But the
one name four names you should know, ladies and gentlemen, is are
James. Brent. ‘Tigermonkey’. Isaacs.
JBTMI: It all started with a facebook status… I was going through a pretty tough time; I had had some medical issues throughout the year that resulted in a lot of hopital bills, my car had finally died on me, I was working a dead end restaurant gig, and hadn’t booked a job as an actor in months.
I had this moment where I realized that I was a broke, struggling actor, living in loss angeles, working in the service industry with car trouble. These were just too many cliche’s at once and I couldn’t take it.
One night at about 3am and a few drinks, I made myself think of one thing about me that I actually liked. Something about me that made me special. Something I knew I could do better than anyone else. The only thing that popped in my head was that I had never lost at Thumb War. Not ever. I’ve have been undefeated for almost 20 years.
So I thought that maybe there would be a competition or game or something at a bar somewhere in LA and it would just be a fun thing to do for a night. I googled the sentence “Thumb Wrestling Tournament” and the first and only real link that popped up was the World Thumb Wrestling Championships in Lowestoft, England.
Once again, it’s 3AM, I’m depressed, and I’ve had a few. This was back in December of 2012 and the competition wasn’t until August ’13, so I said fuck it, I’ll save up for it, it’ll be an excuse to get out of LA, and it’ll be something to look forward to for once.
I applied, was accepted, and that was it. The next morning I jokingly put up my status on facebook saying “Ok guys, its official, I’ll be representing the United States in the World Thumb Wrestling Championships this year in England.” And then everything exploded. Not just likes or comments, but phone calls asking if I was serious, and even more asking if I was planning on filming it. Things snowballed from there. Suddenly we were raising money for a documentary, a website wanted me to vlog about everything I was doing leading up the competion and travelling to thumb wrestle people at Renaissaince fairs, Muscle Beach, and Comic-Con. I Thumb Wrestled the TV Highlander. THE HIGHLANDER! FROM THE TV!
It was a pretty whirlwind summer that ended in the best way possible.
JBTMI: Experience mostly. My technique developed in the 3rd grade when my friends and I would thumb wrestle during lunch.
I ended up doing this weird move one day, and haven’t lost since. Once the technique was established, I was able to look at the physics and science of the game, and that just perfected everything.
Also, it’s a great party trick.
DSM: Is thumb wrestling a full time gig or do u do other shit too?
JBTMI: Unfortunatley there isn’t a lot of money in the Thumb War circut. I’m an actor by trade, I also do book review vlogs for the website Geek & Sundry, as well as random videos on my personal channel. I just finished shooting a webseries called “Emma Approved” that’s gotten pretty popular. We’ve had to go to a couple of conventions this summer for appearances. There’s something about being on panels and signing autographs that really make you think you made the right life choices.
DSM: Do you have aspirations to be world champion at anything else rad? If u could be world champ at 2 other things what would u choose?
‘Winning the WTWC was really about proving to myself that I was still capable of doing something with my life, accomplishing a goal. And I did it. I believe in myself again, and that’s the real gift of it.’
That being said: I wouldn’t mind winning the Pride fights in Japan, or, competitive eating. World Pizza Eating Championships? On it!
JBTMI: It’s not about strength or over powering your opponent. It’s about Speed and Agility. The rest I’m keeping to myself.
To see more James Brent Tigermonkey Isaacs personal vlog click here!
To more or even register to ENTER the World Thumb Wrestling Tournament click here!