"Father of American Wrestling"
Born February 15, 1861 in a log cabin to poor Irish immigrants, Martin J.
Burns rose to fame & Farmer Burns. Strong from farm chores, eight-year-old
Martin began his career winning fifteen cents: his first wrestling match.
Though small at 165 pounds, Burns was quick, wiry, and a master of
submissions. He used superior conditioning and strategy to wear down and
defeat larger and stronger frontier brawlers. Burns was U.S. heavyweight
champion from 1895 to 1898. Burns won over 6,000 matches losing only seven
times in his career. He held three world titles at one time: middleweight,
light-heavyweight, and heavyweight.
Burns' greatest contribution was as teacher of scientific wrestling.
Self-taught Martin never had a coach of his own; he invented many of his
famous throws and holds. He was far ahead of his time in teaching technique
and physical training. His School for Wrestling in Omaha was the best known
in America introducing thousands to scientific wrestling and uplifting the
sport. World Champions Frank Gotch and Earl Caddock were his most famous
Martic never drank, smoked, or swore. His lifelong conditioning was superb;
he was always in shape and ready for a match. From his autobiography: "If
you wish to have a healthy body that will quickly obey the orders of the
brain, exercise your body in the open air; keep the mind in action with_
pleasant, hopeful plans of the future."
Martin Burns is buried in Toronto, Iowa. The people of Iowa placed this
memorial on Martin"s grave, "Farmer Burns World's Champion Wrestler
-from John Rauer's 2001 Historic World Champions Card Set