Catch Wrestling & Legitimatcy

TiTTy for Gaymida Gaydan, besides having a great screen name, an all around great guy.

Ippon BJJ,
First let me say that BJJ is way too broad of a sport now to describe or better yet generalize. However I will explain my experience with both. I say this to avoid the typical arguments that tend to arise.

Taking the TD's out of the equation is like taking the submissions out of BJJ, it doesn't make sense.

First BJJ: In my experience, almost 13 years of BJJ I feel I can sum up a lot of BJJ (not all) into a few sentences. BJJ is a path of least resistance art which utilizes leverage to defeat stronger and bigger opponents. It also takes great pride in being "smooth" with the technique which means you are using less energy thus using more technique. BJJ originally was for Self Defense so time limits were not an issue and even some tournaments didn't have time limits so it originally, at least was a very passive art looking to save energy while your opponent wastes his.

Catch: In my experience, and let me say, there are many more experienced than me is very similar when it comes to leverage . Both have this in common! Catch puts a lot more emphasis (generally) to making your opponent uncomfortable. With the exception of Cyborg you rarely see any BJJ guys put their Knees on some ones face. Also, in Catch they believe the bottom guy has to work harder so they would rather fight back to their feet and submit from the top however in transitions as seen by Sakuraba they can be on their backs and are great scramblers. In my Catch experience, it tends to be very scientific in it's teaching, emphasizing how the body works when teaching.

You can see many BJJ guys who have parts of there game that is a little more like Catch, for example Cyborg with the knee on the face or Marcelo trying to never be on his back (ie sitting guard). Not that these guys train Catch, just saying that there is not as much of a "line in the sand" as people think.

Now BJJ has so many different influences that it's hard to sum it up into certain categories. BJJ is so resourceful!

There are many more things that I want to say but I can't type everything. One day I will write it all down!

BTW BJJ is great and has helped me win many fights. I still train my BJJ 75% of the time. I just end up tweaking a lot of it with Catch. I still use the guard and so do my students. With Billy being in the International Wrestling Hall of Fame he helps a lot with the MMA guys too!

Its odd posting here these days, but I find the problems that have often plagued the catch community both sad and interesting. In many ways, catch seems to have suffered from a traditional martial arts problem of focusing on lineage. And it seems a number of those who wanted to bring catch to the public, fluffed their credentials (or let others falsify them without repudiating it). In some ways, that even suits the other root of catch wrestling, which is the worked wrestling world in which it lived. Karl Gotch took the Gotch name to imply a connection to Frank Gotch. What various modern catch people have done, whether Tony, Matt or Kris, has a long tradition. Its a shame, but strangely apropos.

What is lucky is that there are a small number of people left like Billy who can directly show how they approached things. However, as many people have said grappling will adapt to the rules and goals. In the past, wrestlers didn't share their techniques widely because they were an advantage to their livelihood. What Billy knows isn't the same as what Tragos or Pesek would have known.

The hope should be in those like Roli or anyone who tries to apply what they consider the philosophy of catch, to look at wrestling as the base, and grow new catch styles, including obviously incorporating and adapting their BJJ game, just as BJJ has incorporated what was of value that its practitioners encountered.

That said, lets hope Billy and those who connect the present to the past stay around and healthy a good while longer. Its a joy to read about his knowledge being passed on.

As MMA and grappling continue to thrive, and the grassroots spread of students continues to grow, they will likely be practiced in greater percentage by young wrestling students and be seen as a viable path at the college and post-collegiate level. Its already happening of course, but is likely to increase. It will be interesting to see in 20 years how submission grappling looks when you have a full generation of wrestlers and trainers studying submissions alongside their wrestling from youth. Regardless of who is teaching it, or what they claim their style is or who is derives from, that will be catch.

Wildcard, WOW, great points. I pray my son decides to wrestle. If not, he will be one hell of an artist! My wife is :)

I live in Atlanta and train at the best BJJ school in the USA, but my brother lives up in Asheville NC and was interested in some training.

Can you guys tell me if this school is legit catch?

WNC Combat Club

John Husky and Patrick Green are the instructors, they learned from Billy Wicks.

Billy Wicks is legit but I don't think he ever trained in Wigan.

Do you know about Asheville? Or have you heard of either of those instructors? Thanks!

I don't really know the catch guys, I don't run in the catch circles. I'm just a BJJ guy that got lucky and has Billy Robinson in his gym. The other members on the forum will know though!

 look at my lil Roli, hes hte authority on Catch Wrestling now ;-)

dont forget, in BJJ you rarely here the coach say, "NO YOU BIG DUMMY!!!"

I am not sure about Patrick Green but John Husky is certainly legit.

Billy Wicks is legit!!

Wicks is a tough old bastard, I had the pleasure and extreme good fortune to do a free seminar with him when I was training at the Tool and Die in Chicago. Tony brought him up for a week or so, that guy has probably forgot more ways to inflict pain than I'll ever know.

If your brother can train there, he'll be in good company.

There was talk several years ago of Billy Wicks and his top student, Johnny Huskey, doing a catch wrestling vid; but for some reason nothing ever came of it, as far as I know.

Roli - thanks for your reply. Very informative to someone that doesn't know about catch.

So is there no guardwork in catch? What's the protocol when someone has you mounted or side mounted? Get to your knees and stand?

 Billy has a whole method for standing up the right way to protect yourself from subs as your standing up. 


Matt is correct. Ít's a real pace, you can break a guys will if he can't keep you down.

A different mentality. Def no reason to argue one over the other. Just different.