By Zach Arnold | December 22, 2011
There are two groups of people who would like to see some very different visions for the future of fighting. One is hoping for a renaissance of Catch-as-Catch-Can… and the other has a more futuristic view of where the fight business should be heading.
First, the fine group of humans who are interested in catch wrestling. As you can see up above, I highly recommend Jake Shannon’s book on Scientific Wrestling. He and many others are doing their best to emphasize the importance of Catch on the sport of MMA. Randy Couture did an interview with Eddie Goldman last Friday talking about this very issue in relation to his new book called The Last Round w/ Sara Levin (who worked for USA Wrestling). Book ordering/background information can be found on Amazon & Facebook.
In the book, he says the following: “I will always be a wrestler.” Here’s his explanation for why he said that remark:
“I think wrestling is just one of those sports that, once it grabs you, once it bites you, I mean you’re… you’re (hooked) forever, it never changes. I have a wrestler’s mind, I look through wrestler’s eyes, a wrestler’s mentality, and I transfer all those things and used all those things to become a Mixed Martial Artist and in MMA it’s the foundation for my fighting style and I think that, you know, those things will never go away. They become part of my character and part of who I am, so I think for that reason I’ll always be a wrestler.”
Now that he is retired from Mixed Martial Arts, Randy was asked about the state of amateur wrestling and what role Mixed Martial Arts can play in helping bring more attention to the sport.
“I think, unfortunately, Title IX has been pretty hard on our sport over the years and I’ve done some fundraising and been involved in kind of raising some awareness about that and some of the college problems that have been put on the chopping block in recent years like Fullerton and University of Oregon’s program and others and hopefully, you know, through Mixed Martial Arts I think we can turn the tide. I think, again, it’s about the constituencies and what they want and I think wrestling is getting a better nod and being considered more of a martial art now than it ever was in the past because of our exposure in Mixed Martial Arts. In a lot of ways, MMA has become the professional outlet for amateur wrestlers and collegiate and now Olympic-style wrestlers alike and I think all those things are good but… you know, I don’t know what else we can do other than continue to educate people and turn them on to this sport of wrestling. It’s the oldest combative sport around for a reason.”
A big avenue he sees in promoting knowledge about wrestling techniques in Mixed Martial Arts is through education about the Catch style.
“I have my black belt from Neil Melanson and I’ve kind of, him and I worked very hard together in kind of developing techniques that comes from the wrestling world and implementing it into the Catch style. Obviously as a wrestler, you know, that’s where collegiate wrestling came from, from Catch as Catch Can, so it’s something I feel strongly about and I also see that as a big positive thing for collegiate-style wrestling and ultimately Olympic wrestling is kind of resurrecting the Catch style as the submission style for MMA. I think it’s widely used and grounded people just don’t the terms, they don’t know that’s the things they’re doing, we’ve gotten so caught in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu style that we failed to overlook that the original combative sport in the Olympic games was boxing and wrestling and Catch wrestling, Pankration, all those things have a ton of merit. It’s just putting on the right glasses to look through the Catch wrestling in wrestling glasses instead of the Jiu Jitsu glasses and I think in a lot of ways I’m an example of the style and it’s success.
“I would like to see Neil develop either a book or some instructional tapes and help him kind of come up with an outline that, again, further educates on the style, how the style works, how it’s implemented into Mixed Martial Arts and the fight game as a whole.
“With Neil, we’ve had our first tournament at Xtreme Couture under the kind of Catch wrestling rules. Neil kind of came up with some rules and a scoring system that he thinks kind of epitomized what Catch is all about and I think we want to continue to build on that and make it a bigger, more annual type of event and just continue to, again, educate and foster this style.”
The other, more colorful vision of where fighting is going
Japanese engineers and minds of great intellect are involved, of course. Get ready for ‘this is robot entertainment.’
There’s a futuristic world of pro-wrestling & MMA out there involving robot battles and suplex machines ready to rip limbs off and eat metal carcasses. On Christmas day at Buddhist Hall in Tokyo, that vision comes to life. It’s only a matter of time before we get some performance-enhancing cheating scandals.
Background information here on how we’ve gone from robot dancing contests to now having Bantamweight & Flyweight robot wrestling & MMA tournaments. Try measuring up to that, Dana.
On Christmas, we get the ultra-deluxe bombastic edition of robot pro-wrestling & MMA that will make Antonio Inoki completely envious and jealous. Four-legged & five-legged robots unite. You can follow all the action & inside information on this new world of wrestling & MMA on Twitter @IKETOMU.
What the epic Christmas fight card looks like: The main event is for the Kanto Robot Heavyweight championship as Saaga the Suplex Machine takes on Monster. Other fights on the card include a Last Man Standing (Texas Death rules) match, a battle royal match under Royal Rumble rules, a retirement match, and … an Extermination death match (winner must completely physical destroy their opponent). There are also MMA fights on the card and they are under youknowwhat rules (10 minute round).
Even though it’s not the main event, one of the top fights on the card would make Atsushi Onita orgasmic — a Japanese no-rope electrical exploding barbed wire time bomb death match.
When asked for comment, Shinya Aoki was still trying to figure out how to wear the right shoes with his suit in public at Shibuya 109. Over to you, Blake Northcott.