Dan Gable

The strength of the Gable Grip matches the strength of the character after whom it is named.

 Dan Gable’s determination to succeed can be seen in his matches on the wrestling mats, or in the words of the man himself:

 “Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.”



“The 1st period is won by the best technician. The 2nd period is won by the kid in the best shape. The 3rd period is won by the kid with the biggest heart.”

 “When I'd get tired and want to stop, I'd wonder what my next opponent was doing. I'd wonder if he was still working out. I'd tried to visualize him. When I could see him working, I'd start pushing myself. When I could see him in the shower, I'd push myself harder.”

 “I vowed I wouldn't ever let anyone destroy me again. I was going to work at it every day, so hard that I would be the toughest guy in the world. By the end of practice, I wanted to be physically tired, to know that I'd been through a workout. If I wasn't tired, I must have cheated somehow, so I stayed a little longer.”

 “I’m a big believer in starting with high standards and raising them. We make progress only when we push ourselves to the highest level. If we don’t progress, we backslide into bad habits, laziness and poor attitude.”

 “You can't ever work too much because there's no such thing as being in too good condition. You can't ever lift too many weights because you can't ever get too strong. You can't ever wrestle too much because you can always do better.”

“The obvious goals were there - State Champion, NCAA Champion, Olympic Champion. To get there I had to set an everyday goal which was to push myself to exhaustion or, in other words, to work so hard in practice that someone would have to carry me off the mat.”

“Always remember the pain of defeat, and never let it happen again.”

 Gable’s wrestling career was full of glory. The Iowa native had a 64-0 record in high school. However, aged 15, he had to deal with the loss of his sister, Diane, who was sexually assaulted and murdered.

Gable later went to Iowa State University and racked up a 118-1 tally, winning two national championships in the process. Gable’s only loss at college came in his last-ever match at that level, to Larry Owings of the University of Washington.

Denied a perfect record, he showed remarkable resilience to rebound to win the 68kg division at the 1971 World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria and the 1972 Olympics in Munich. In Gable’s six matches in Germany, he never lost a point.

After retiring as a competitor, Gable became a coach. From 1976 to 1997, he won 15 NCAA Division 1 titles in the 21 years he spent at the University of Iowa. He also coached the USA at three Olympics and six World Championships.

After such a storied career, it is fitting that the Gable name is used every day by grapplers.

The palm-to-palm grip christened after the legendary wrestler allows tight control of an opponent.

In sports where submissions are legal, such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu, it is an extremely effective way of connecting the hands to finish chokes such as the arm triangle, or Japanese necktie.

Every time a grappler joins their palms, they would do well not just to focus on the finish, but to remember the mantra of the great Dan Gable. They must work harder than everyone else and never give up.

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