Presidents Day Grapplers

Presidents Day Grapplers

This Presidents Day, Matguard’s giving a little history lesson: in some of the most badass US presidents in history! We’ve got ourselves a list of the US Presidents who grappled their way into recognition. On the list include presidents such as:

George Washington, who, “later in life, as the commander of the Continental armies, Washington, then 47, used his superior wrestling skills to defeat SEVEN consecutive challengers from the Massachusetts Volunteers.”

Teddy Roosevelt: “The ‘Tennis Cabinet’ began early in Roosevelt’s presidency as a group of men who, as the name would suggest, played tennis with the president in the afternoons… pretty soon, the daily tennis sessions were replaced by what Roosevelt called ‘rough, cross-country walks,’ which would be like describing the IDITAROD as a nice sleigh ride.”

and Andrew Jackson: “Andrew Jackson was the first president on whom an assassination attempt was made. A man named Richard Lawrence approached Jackson with two pistols both of which, for some reason, misfired. With the possibility of an assassination taken off the table, Jackson proceeded to beat Lawrence near death with his cane until Jackson’s aides pulled him off the assassin.”


  • Chester Arthur
  • Calvin Coolidge
  • Dwight Eisenhower
  • Ulysses S Grant
  • Andrew Jackson
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Teddy Roosevelt
  • William Howard Taft
  • Zachary Taylor
  • John Tyler
  • George Washington

Needless to say, the men on this list were as formidable in a grappling match as they were with every other aspect of their lives. Below are a few links on some reading material regarding their wrestling history (those of Lincoln’s and Roosevelt’s are particularly entertaining), but there’s more after that! As a celebration of Presidents Day, we’re doing a match-up of some of these presidential grapplers, and want to know who you think would come out on top! Comment Below!








As president, Andrew Jackson strengthened the power of the presidency, defended the Union, gained new respect for the United States in foreign affairs, and pushed the country toward democracy. Jackson was different. No one like him had ever served as president. He made executive decisions based on his personal beliefs and did what he could to protect the common man. Besides the tremendous work he achieved in office and in the military, President Jackson left a legacy resulting from his unorthodox, action-first mentality that pushed the boundaries for what both the president and the nation could achieve.



Andrew Jackson- 7th President of USA (1829–1837).

Weight: 154

Height: 6′ 1″

Quote: “One man with courage makes a majority”

Nick Name: “Old Hickory”

Lean, mean with a bit of a nasty streak. Jackson, who was born a fighter. His Dad died before he was born and he had to work hard for everything. In his youth, he and his brother were known to be tough wrestler’s, which back in the day essentially meant they would have backyard brawls and fights to see who was the strongest and toughest. Jackson’s childhood wrestling background helped him earn a reputation for not backing down.  A couple of illustrations demonstrate his tough guy swagger…

  1. Jackson killed a man in a duel.
    The fiery Jackson had a propensity to respond to aspersions cast on his honor with pistols. Historians estimate that “Old Hickory” may have participated in anywhere between 5 and 100 duels.
  2. He was the target of the first attempted presidential assassination…
    As Jackson was leaving the U.S. Capitol on January 30, 1835, following a memorial service for a congressman, a deranged house painter named Richard Lawrence fired a pistol at the president from just feet away. When Lawrence’s gun misfired, he pulled out a second weapon and squeezed the trigger. That pistol also misfired. An enraged Jackson charged and beat the potential assassin with his cane and fists until the shooter was subdued.
  3. He was a tough kid…
    During the Revolutionary War, the 13-year-old Jackson joined the Continental Army as a courier. In April 1781, he was taken prisoner along with his brother Robert. When a British officer ordered Jackson to polish his boots, the future president refused. The infuriated Redcoat drew his sword and slashed Jackson’s left hand to the bone and gashed his head, which left a permanent scar.

Andrew Jackson was not afraid to compete or fight when challenged. His wiry frame and quick temper would make him the aggressor in any match. He would look to shoot early and often, and wrestle every second. Do not expect him to back off after going up a few points, he will keep attacking until he gets his opponent to quit or until he had to be pulled off his opponent.


Teddy Roosevelt


Theodore “TR” Roosevelt was an American statesman, author, explorer, soldier, naturalist, and reformer who served as the 26th President of the United States from 1901 to 1909. As a leader of the Republican Party during this time, he became a driving force for American Prosperity in the United States in the early 20th century. Born a sickly child with debilitating asthma, Roosevelt successfully overcame his health problems by embracing a strenuous lifestyle. He integrated his exuberant personality, vast range of interests, and world-famous achievements into a “cowboy” persona defined by robust masculinity.



Theodore Roosevelt- 26th President of USA (September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909)

Weight: 200

Height: 5′ 10″


Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”,  “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

Nick Name:  “TR” and “Teddy”, although he hated the nick name Teddy…

Roosevelt was the Thinking Man’s Wrestler. The image many have of Roosevelt is that of a ruggedly masculine man with a Rough Rider hat atop his head and a metaphorical “big stick” in one hand. His passion for hunting is well-known. His love of the written word is evident by his prolific authorship. A multifaceted man, Roosevelt had a great appreciation for wrestling. As David Shoemaker noted in The Squared Circle, Roosevelt was quoted as saying, “If I wasn’t president of the United States, I would like to be George Hackenschmidt.” Hackenschmidt was a broad-chested strongman from the Russian Empire who defeated Tom Jenkins in 1905 and became pro wrestling’s first recognized world heavyweight champion.

Here are some things to consider about Teddy’s toughness…

  1. TR, the original MMA fighter
    Theodore Roosevelt, the United States’ 26th president, found solace on the sweat-soaked wrestling mat, joy in the art of the armbar. The fiery, mustached statesman was a fan and student of wrestling. As a young man in search of increased bulk, as Governor of New York and eventually as president, he took time to dive into wrestling, grappling, jiu-jitsu, boxing, or any form of mixing it up with a worthy adversary. Roosevelt exercised regularly and took up boxing, tennis, hiking, rowing, polo, and horseback riding.  He also practiced judo, attaining a third degree brown belt
  2. He was the target of an attempted presidential assassination…

On October 14, 1912, while campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Roosevelt was shot by a saloonkeeper named John Flammang Schrank. The bullet lodged in his chest after penetrating his steel eyeglass case and passing through a thick (50 pages) single-folded copy of the speech he was carrying in his jacket. Roosevelt, as an experienced hunter and anatomist, correctly concluded that since he was not coughing blood, the bullet had not reached his lung, and he declined suggestions to go to the hospital immediately. Instead, he delivered his scheduled speech with blood seeping into his shirt

  1. He was blinded by a punch to the face…
    As governor of New York, he boxed with sparring partners several times each week, a practice he regularly continued as President until being hit so hard in the face he became blind in his left eye (a fact not made public until many years later).

Roosevelt would be a tactician, studying his opponent, exploiting their weaknesses and ready to counter anything thrown his way. TR would use his bulk and energy to his advantage, ready to pounce when the opportunity presented itself. He would be a relentless fighter, but probably slap you on the back and buy you a beer afterwards. Don’t underestimate him, because you might find yourself cross-faced with his big stick!



MONDAY – JAN 22nd!