Over at damage control MMA, a website run by a couple of CSW coaches Brian Yamasaki and Brandon Kiser, there’s a great article reflecting on the future of Catch As Catch Can Wrestling and its current status as an endangered species in the world of martial arts.
Particularly interesting I thought was how Muay Thai in terms of a structure and organisation was in a similar predicament not so long ago until a coach took steps to bring order to the sport.
For Catch Wrestling Jake Shannon has been developing a Scientific Wrestling Certification program where you can be accredited by the legendary Billy Robinson or famed carnival wrestler Dick Cardinal. Coach Kris Iatskevich I believe is also doing something similar through Catch Wrestling Canada / the International Submission Wrestling Alliance and there may be other Catch Wrestling coaches trying to do something similar but I believe ultimately there needs to be some unity in what is a heavily fragmented community that often ends up arguing amongst itself.
It is possible to form a recognised and unified association, as we’ve seen Stephen Koepfer do with the American Sambo Association though his circumstances may have been different and opposition minimal. For Catch Wrestling it may take an independant entity that can claim objectivity and show no bias other than to help the sport / art survive and grow. Through an association a syllabus of fundamental concepts and principles can be established so that the core essence of Catch Wrestling remains intact wherever it is taught and learned.
Some worry Catch Wrestling is becoming too hybridised with other arts but I believe Catch Wrestling was never meant to be static but something that should be allowed to organically evolve through time on the mat and time in competition – whether the rules dictate classic Catch Wrestling competitions, current submission wrestling competitions or even how it can be used in MMA. What I will say though is it’s important that any hybridisation doesn’t undermine or contradict the fundamental concepts and principles and should at the most supplement them.
The future of Catch Wrestling may end up like some of the great philosophical discussions that could possibly go on forever without resolution but like those philosophical discussions it’s definitely one worth continuing to have.