American Catch vs. Lancashire

Hello scuffler & everyone else,

I know we've talked about this before, but could you go over again the technical differences between American CACC and Lancashire? Did CACC come from Lancashire? Any info on specific techniques and/or tactical approaches would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,


TFS, in many cases CACC and Lancashire are listed as one in the same. I have no doubt that at it's core base this is true. I do believe however that american CACC and English CACC/Lancashire evolved seperately, thus making the end product somewhat different. Which can be clearly seen by the early 1900's.

The term CACC refers to the starting hold (catch as catch can) as opposed to side holds or collar and elbow. It's known that a style of grappling which featured submission holds and with no set starting position was practiced by american backwoodsmen long before organized CACC was heard of. Therefore I believe that some of the root of American CACC may be different as well.

Side note: submission style wrestling with no set starting position was common in these hills (SWVA.) going back at least as far as the Civil War. The infamous Dr. Marshall B. Taylor (the Red Fox of the Cumberlands) was said to be highly skilled at finishing holds. In fact it is even mentioned in court transcripts from his murder trail in 1892. He was about 60 years old at the time and I assume it wasn't something that he had just learned.

As far as the difference in style goes, the Lancashire/english style CACC wrestlers tended to "chain wrestle" more while the American CACC style was a bit more direct. An example would be that often the "Wigan" wrestlers will chain holds together untill their man is tied into knots (so to say), while a Frank Gotch or Joe Stecher was more likely to simply slap a hold on you at the first opening.

I hope some of this rambling helped. Some of my opinions are just that and are not always what you will find in (most) history books on the subject.



The book 'Boxing, Fencing & Wrestling' c.1890ish has a chapter compairing Lancashire to Cumberland styles. Do you have this already? If not I will try to think of a way to get it to u.


Wouldn't there have been a lot of cross-pollination? After all, British wrestlers were emigrating to the U.S. since the 1600s. And Americans like Tom Jenkins and Frank Gotch toured the UK in the early part of the 20th century, if not earlier.

How did the two distinct styles stay unique?

I agree with what you are saying Oblongo. From the small bit of info I have on Australian wrestling cross pollination seems to have occurred here as well. We are also a country of immigrants and while the anglo celtic population eventually became one ethnic group and the dominant ethnic group, they were distinct groups in our early history, comprising of Irish, Welsh, Cornish, Scottish and all the various English counties. They would have practised their own styles and borrowed from each other. I can see the same thing happening in the USA.

oneonone, I've never even heard of the book. Sounds interesting.

I agree that there was much cross pollination. The many different nationalities which made up the american population would indicate it likely drew from a wider scope of influence than most other places as well.

Wasn't there also a possible connection between Farmer Burns and a Lancashire-style wrestler from England? I remember reading about that somewhere (I think Tony C.'s forum?) but I can't recall the Brit's name.

Donald Dinnie was very early and wrestled a number of different styles. More to the spirit, though, you are probably thinking of Acton, Bibby, and Cannon as some of the early Lancashire guys.

Scuff, the "Boxing, Fencing, Wrestling" book is part of the Badminton Library Series, so you may have heard of it under that name. Armstrong does do a nice job of covering multiple styles in his wrestling chapter. It is excellent, especially for the styles, but there is probably little new in it for you if you haven't seen it before, because he rips off everybody else, including stealing illustrations, IIRC. I'll look when I get home to make sure I'm thinking of the right one. Anyway, there are a couple paragraphs where he kind of says what techniques are the same in different styles (like A tech in X style is the same as B technique in Y style, which is the same as C tech in Z style).


Thanks Jason.

P4P, I remember Mark Hewitt saying something about researching a Burns / Lancashire connection, but never heard anything else after that.