Singapore, Part 2: Caught Up in Catch Wrestling
In addition to kapap, the Modern Street Combatives academy in Singapore teaches two versions of catch wrestling: One is for sport, and one is for selfdefense. For those who are unfamiliar with catch wrestling, here’s a brief history.
The grappling art was born in England in the latter half of the 19th century. It’s a composite of styles, including Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, Cornwall wrestling, Devon wrestling, Irish collarand-elbow wrestling, Greco-Roman wrestling and Lancashire wrestling. Because of the shared emphasis on submissions, Lancashire wrestling is often used as an alternate name for catch wrestling. It is, however, a slight misnomer because catch contains elements of all those other styles.
Surprisingly, Greco-Roman wrestling predates catch wrestling by only 20 years. Like Lancashire, Greco-Roman exerted a lot of in�luence on catch — for instance, bear hugging, upper-body control, throwing and ways to win by pin. Irish collar-and-elbow wrestling also made its mark on catch; it’s the source of the common tie-up in which each person places one hand on the back of the opponent’s neck and the other on an elbow.
Greco-Roman and catch migrated to America after the Civil War. The public quickly deemed catch wrestling more exciting to watch, and it surpassed Greco-Roman as a money sport.
Although it’s less prominent today, catch is the most important wrestling style of the modern era. It was featured in three of the early modern Olympics, but then the International Olympic Committee judged it too brutal for the Games. They removed the submissions but kept the freedom of movement and techniques — and created the art of freestyle wrestling. Freestyle and Greco-Roman have been in the Olympics ever since.
Catch became the style of choice for professional wrestlers in the WWE and other organizations. With the advent of MMA, the world saw a resurgence of interest in catch wrestling, in part because of athletes like Josh Barnett, Kazushi Sakuraba, and Ken and Frank Shamrock. IN CATCH WRESTLING, wins come from submissions or pins. This is one of the biggest differences between catch and jiu-jitsu. A catch wrestler would never pull guard because it would put him in danger of being pinned. Catch