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Our History

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About Brute Wrestling

Henson Group was founded in 1967, in Virginia, by retired U.S. Navy Captain Josiah Henson. Captain Henson was an Olympic bronze medalist in Freestyle wrestling in 1952 and the first American wrestler to beat a Soviet athlete in a combat sport. Captain Henson’s legend has remained a quiet one because the man himself does not seek attention, but it is agreed he belongs alongside of America’s wrestling greats.

Our President

Henson Group began as the first wrestling mail order business. John Purnell joined the company in 1975 and in 1977 became the President and majority owner. Shortly thereafter, Purnell moved the company to Reading, Pennsylvania to begin manufacturing wrestling uniforms under the brand name Brute Wrestling. At that time, the company began distributing through a network of sporting goods dealers.

Today Henson Group continues to provide a complete line of top quality products and apparel to sporting goods dealers; amateur and professional athletic clubs and teams; and other buyers all over North America. Henson Group determines what innovations will help athletes perform better and develops products that athletes want to wear. Henson Group products use only the best technical fabrics and are constructed with the athletes’ performance in mind. Driven by innovation, we create products for passionate athletes and customers who accept only the highest quality products and services.

Brute Wrestling’s Favorite Charity – R.E.A.C.H.E.S. (Rewarding Educational Athletic Choices Helping Each Sport)is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2007 to promote, protect and preserve the integrity of amateur athletics by providing athletic and educational opportunities to all athletes of all ages and abilities.

This unique experience will provide educational, technical, and lifelong lessons for athletes, coaches, parents and fans that seek to capture meaningful, compassionate, harmonious and active lives.

All profits from R.E.A.C.H.E.S. will be used to support specific needs in each sport to ensure future generations of athletes, fans, parents, and coaches will continue to learn from valuable lifelong athletic lessons. Read more about R.E.A.C.H.E.S.