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Physical Chess: My Life in Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestling [Kindle Edition]

Billy Robinson , Jake Shannon
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $14.95 What's this?
Print List Price: $19.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Book Description

In this fascinating autobiography, professional wrestling and mixed martial arts (MMA) guru Billy Robinson recounts his upbringing amid a family of champion fighters, his worldwide travels, and his time as a pro-wrestling television star. The memoir fills a crucial gap in the history of catch-as-catch-can wrestling while simultaneously chronicling the subject’s life in his own inimitable voice. Starting with Robinson’s upbringing in a working-class family in post–World War II England, the record journeys through his career as a professional wrestler, concluding with his current profession as a highly sought-after MMA coach, training legends such as Kazushi Sakuraba and Josh Barnett. For the first time, this narrative sets the record straight on the author’s infamous street fight with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson's grandfather and the accomplishments of some of the world’s greatest competitive grapplers. Both eye-opening and inspiring, Robinson’s story spans wrestling from before its first appearances on television to its presence in today's social media, demanding a unique place on the bookshelves of pro-wrestling and MMA fans alike.

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Editorial Reviews


"[A]n opportunity to learn about a legend not only in professional wrestling internationally but in mixed martial arts as well . . . I would recommend this book to anyone who was interested in learning about the early days of Catch-As-Catch-Can Wrestling." —

"In this book Billy Robinson takes the opportunity to set the record straight on a number of subjects, but it is much more than that. It is an opportunity to learn about a legend not only in professional wrestling internationally but in mixed martial arts as well. . . . I would recommend this book to anyone who was interested in learning about the early days of Catch-As-Catch-Can." —

"Along the way we hear great stories about some of the legendary wrestling cities and stars like Karl Gotch. At 141 pages it's a great quick read with great stories for anyone that is a fan of catch-as-catch-can (today MMA) and pro wrestling." —

About the Author

Billy Robinsonis a British professional wrestler and catch wrestling instructor. He has trained in Japan with mixed martial arts fighters in catch wrestling, and he has won titles nearly everywhere he has wrestled, including the United States, Europe, North America, Asia, and Oceania. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. Jake Shannon is the author of "Say Uncle!" and the founder of He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3690 KB
  • Print Length: 152 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1770410627
  • Publisher: ECW Press (June 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008U2HYDG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,625 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Billy Robinson is a legend June 14, 2012
Robinson is a bonafide wrestling legend, and with the help of Jake Shannon, tells the story, not just of his own career, but of British wrestling. Robinson and his mentors and peers were a unique bunch of tough blokes, capable of taking the average man and twisting him into pretzels.

Catch wrestling hasn't been very careful with its heritage. These great legitimate wrestlers were about to be lost to history. I'm glad that Robinson and Shannon grabbed them in a front facelock and dragged them into the limelight.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun read September 7, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book and a fascinating read for anyone who wants to know the history behind catch as catch can wrestling. As a practitioner of the grappling arts it is great to get a different perspective than the one that I had heard of in terms of the origin of the moves that we are doing in Brazilian Jiu jitsu.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars June 4, 2012
This book is a gem. Besides being a biography of one of the greatest men to ever wrestle, it is a time capsule into an oft times forgotten era of both British and American Pro Wrestling. Billy discusses men such as Billy Joyce and Billy Riley, Jack Dempsey, Gideon Gida, all true greats who have almost been lost to time and marketing trends. Billy Robinson is a living legend who has led a life to be celebrated. Jake Shannon did us a favor in helping record forever the life of a Catch-as-Catch-Can master.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great History on Catch Wrerstling. September 4, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book to be a great historical read on Catch Wrestling. It's not so much a history of Billy Robinson as it is him paying homage to all the great Catch Wrestlers that trained him. He talks a lot about the mental game of chess wrestling and the strategy that goes on. I liked how he talked about how he was humble and his coach never gave him praise until he won Nationals. I think his quote from Billy Riley was "I'm hear to tell you waht you did wrong. Not wht you're doing right." Very good book and quick read as I read it less than a day. If you liked the Snowden book called "Shooters" than you will really like this book also.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read August 8, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Book is a wonderful read it is like sitting with Billy Robinson himself. Too bad it's not a longer book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars well written wrestling read January 12, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Should remind the current crop of indy kids what those who paved the way for them went through. A great testament to professional wrestling.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Physical Chess: My Life in Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestling December 31, 2012
By olson4
Format:Kindle Edition
Billy 's love and enthusiasm for catch-as-catch-can wrestling is obvious from page one. By itself, that passion makes this book appealing. Adding Billy 's life experiences and how they intertwined with other famous grapplers rates "Physical Chess" 5 stars. Although there is little talk of his professional (AWA, etc.) wrestling relationships in the U.S., being even a fringe fan of Billy 's makes this a captivating read. Thank you, Billy Robinson, for sharing your life story with us!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Phusical Chess: My life in Cath-as-Catch-can Wrestling
Wonderful book about A Wrestling Icon. Was very interesting and I couldn't put the book down. I read over 80 pages the first time I picked it up. Read more
Published 23 months ago by masterhubbard
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Billy Robinson is an international legend in professional wrestling and was a pioneer trainer in the Japanese mma scene. Read more
Published 23 months ago by matmanhatton
5.0 out of 5 stars Cheers To The Great Billy Robinson!
If wrestling is an art form, then Billy Robinson is an artist. This book is an easy read about the lost art of wrestling. Read more
Published 23 months ago by C. DeSpirito
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book!
If you claim to be a fan of mma, bjj, or grappling in general. This book is a must read. This man was a pioneer to the sport. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Sexual Chocolate
5.0 out of 5 stars Great review of wrestling!
Billy was a champion. I couldn't put this book down. I still eat at his table every day. I bought it from him after his marriage dissolved. Read more
Published on August 4, 2012 by Brooks Butler
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool book!
I really enjoyed this book and wish that it was longer. Great stories from one of the last Old School Catch Wrestlers.
Published on August 2, 2012 by Cid
4.0 out of 5 stars "Physical Chess," As Told By One Of Wrestling's Grand Masters
In this memoir, Billy Robinson gives a unique insight into both "show," and "catch" wrestling. A product of the legendary Wigan style. Read more
Published on June 17, 2012 by fred vallongo
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More About the Author

"The man to see when you're ready to be free."

Hypno-Wordsmith, Anarchist Financial Engineer, Discordian Libertarian and Catch Wrestling Revolutionary Jake Shannon is the founder of, inventor of the Macebell, is a former Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Utah, co-founded the reverse mortgage industry's leading analytic consultancy and founded The Institute for Hypnosis.

He earned his Master of Science in Financial Engineering in 2002 from Golden Gate University, San Francisco and his B.A. in English from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1995. At the University of Colorado he was a President's Leadership Class scholar and co-founded the CU Zen Society. Jake currently lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and three children.

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