"*%#@ damn you Terry loosen up!!!"
I could hear the damnedest cussing you could imagine coming from the back yard of our home at the Flying Mare Ranch in Umbarger, Texas.
"*%#@ damn you Terry if you don't loosen up I am going to get up and kick the shit out of you.*%#@ damn you Terry turn loose or I am going to kick your ass."
I could hear the voice of my little brother fifteen year old Terry Funk.
"No Dad, I can't turn loose, I know what you will do to me if I turn loose."
"*%#@ damn you little bastard, turn loose now.!!!"
I couldn't imagine what was going on until I walked back behind the house.
We learned to wrestle by wrestling our father. At the Flying Mare Ranch, the two car garage was converted into a wrestling room complete with an amateur wrestling mat and weights for working out. Dad's favorite amateur wrestling hold was the, "top body scissors." He had strong legs and knew how to use his weight and balance to wear you out and then as we say in the business, "Stretch you." Dad's top body sissors combined with a half nelson would make you want to give up, but he would say, "in amateur wrestling there is no submission holds, you can't give up." The result was that it hurt so bad his opponents would try to turn over and pin themselves to avoid the pain. It was either that or pass out.
It sounds tough on kids, but it is the best way to learn. Just ask WWF World Champion Bret Hart. I know he has spent many hours in the basement of Stu's house, or "the pit" as they call it, being "Stretched" by his father and still boss, Stu Hart. I know all of his brothers have also been through the same thing. For me and the Hart family I am sure it teaches you much respect for your father.
Dad's leg wrestling style made him different from other wrestlers and extremely difficult to defend against because most wrestlers worked from the waist up. I had the privilege of learning from my father and other great amateur wrestlers who came by to visit at the Flying Mare Ranch. Among the greats who worked out with me on the mat in the garage were Bob Geigel, (University of Iowa) Verne Gagne, (University of Minnesota) Iron Mike Dibiase, (University of Nebraska) Gene Kiniski, (University of Arizona) Joe Blanchard, (University of Kansas) Kinji Shibuya, (University of Hawaii) and Cowboy Carlson. (University of Hard Knocks)
No matter how hard we tried and some times we did well, Dad would always wind up with the top body sissors on us and then it was time to get "stretched" and learn some more respect.
There was one defense for the top body sissors and we knew it, but Dad would always protect against it and never let his guard down. If the top body sissors is applied and you have the freedom to use your legs, you can double sissors the sissors so to speak. (Bring your leg up and hook it over your opponent's instep and then sissors your own leg) It was difficult to do and you would rarely get the chance, but the "double hook sissors" is painful and with it you can easily snap an ankle.)
Terry knew if he let go, he was going to take a whipping and be "stretched" to the limit.
Dad continued "*%#@ damn you Terry loosen up now!!!"
Terry said, "I can't let go Dad or your going to stretch me."
"*%#@ damn you Terry let me go now or I am going to beat your ass!!!"
"I know you will Dad, that is why I can't let go."
Finally Dad said, "Terry, I promise if you let me go, I will let you go."
Terry let go. You must know what happened next. Dad gave Terry the stretching of his life. He taught him his lesson and like it or not Terry learned respect.
Shortly after the passing of my father, Terry and I were visiting. Terry reached in his pocket and pulled out a packet of cigarettes and lit up. I was shocked as Dory Funk Sr. was adamant that Terry and I not smoke. He would have kicked our tail if he knew. I made a comment and to my surprise, I got no reaction.
I thought to myself, "I guess that's the way it is when the boss is gone. "
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