The Catch Wrestling Approach

By: Aaron Cohn


The art of Catch Wrestling is slowly, but surely rising back from the grave. While there aren't many fighters that use Catch Wrestling as their ground game (with the exception of Josh Barnett, and Kazushi Sakuraba among others) many are starting to incorporate techniques into their regimen. What makes it different from other styles like BJJ or Judo? All three have their share of similarities, but what makes Catch Wrestling far different from the more known systems is the philosophy, and approach. While Brazilian Jiu-jitsu focuses on "position over submission", Catch on the other hand goes more on "submission over position." This is commonly misunderstood, and one of the many reasons why it's misconceived as an ineffective grappling style.

What many people do not understand about wrestling philosophy is that it's always about gaining "control" over an opponent, as opposed to "position" which can be anything that doesn't definitively end a fight. While BJJ is known for its uses in "superior" positions, it doesn't necessarily equal control. Matches can consist of being in the guard for the majority of the round without any result. The idea of Catch Wrestling was to finish your opponent as quick as possible despite what position you're in, but control was always a necessity before you could even attempt a hook. It is a far more aggressive and quicker approach to a submission. You make the opening for a submission, not wait for it. You could be in a spot that would be considered inferior, yet still be in command of the fight. That was the whole idea of Catch Wrestling, fast and crippling.

Another misconception of Catch Wrestling is that it's about being tremendously big and strong. The fact is you don't need immense size and strength to pull off any technique in Catch. All you really need is a great understanding of human anatomy and leverage (with lots of practice). Some may ask, "If Catch Wrestling's so great then why aren't many people using it?" Simple, it's not as popular as other styles which have been exposed numerous times to the masses. The Gracies made their mark in the martial arts world thus claiming BJJ as the "best" fighting art. There was even a time when Karate and Kung Fu were thought to be the best fighting styles simply because they looked spectacular on the big screen. Unfortunately, popularity has a lot to do with how people conceive a martial art whether they have heard of it or not. It's understandable, you'd figure if no one uses it then it must suck right? Though that kind of thinking will only limit your potential as an evolving martial artist. Every art has something special and unique if you take the time to look for it. As far as Catch Wrestling goes it will only continue to rise and gain in popularity as more people discover it's potential.

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The MartialE Guy is a martial artist, and an enthusiast of all fighting arts. He shares his opinions and views of the martial arts at his Martial Element website.

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