Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Historical Discussion of Catch Wrestling

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Historical Discussion of Catch Wrestling

    Originally posted by Goju - Joe
    Catch as catch can says they can catch a submission from any position, and that the goal is to constantly inflict pain and damage.

    It is much older than pro wrestling or BJJ.
    It's only relatively recently that Catch-as-Catch-Can has become equivalent to sub wrestling.

    It seems that until sometime in the early- to mid-twentieth-century, Catch-as-Catch-Can, like most other forms of Western wrestling, was centered around securing pinfalls. There are numerous Wrestling manuals dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries which describe the rules of Catch-as-Catch-Can in full. There were no provisions for submission, and chokes were specifically banned from the sport. Furthermore, I've yet to find a single early Catch manual which advocates using a hold for the sake of securing a submission-- as opposed to using it to put the opponent on his back for a pinfall.

    It is my most humble of opinions that Catch began to evolve when it started cross-pollinating with Judo. Catch wrestlers saw the Japanese applying an ude-garami and said to themselves, "Hey, that's the exact same grip as a Double Wrist Lock-- but instead of just using it to put the other guy on his back, that Judo guy is forcing his opponent to give up!"

    A number of techniques in early Catch were very similar in grip to Judo kansetsu-waza. The only difference was in the intent of the application. As more and more guys started to realize this, Catch wrestlers began to evolve into Submission wrestlers. Unfortunately, this evolution coincided historically with the point at which Professional Wrestling started to become worked. Hooking and true submission wrestling was forced off the stage, and never really came into its own outside of a handful of practitioners.

    Fast-forward to the 90's and the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu boom. Suddenly, ground fighting is becoming popular, and latent memory of backstage sub wrestlers is brought to the foreground. Some guys who trained in hooks come to the foreground to get their voices heard. Other guys begin trying to reconstruct a modern style of Catch based on modern sub grappling.

    The simple truth of the matter is that practically no one trains Catch, now, the way it was trained 100 years ago, and the idea that Catch was an original form of Submission Grappling seems to be in error.

    --Joe

    #2
    Originally posted by e.kaye
    Kung Fu Joe-That is an interesting theory except that the facts do not agree with it.
    Yet what you go on to provide has little to do with KFJ's post...

    The first Judo-Catch match is credited as a jacket match between Ad Santel and Ito in 1914. Santel won.
    Right, and? Not that it matters but Santel lost the rematch. But what does this have to do with what he said? Quote what you are responding to, please.

    American CACC goes back way before that. Your assertion that the rules were geaerd toward pins is correct for a very particular type of match in a particular time frame.
    Can you provide another set of rules backed by historical documents that are more in line with submission wrestling?

    BUt American wrestling had other "style" names in the past, such as Rough and Tumble, Collar and Elbow etc. All sorts of "dirty" fighting went on. The knowledge of submissions and hooks goes way back.
    Collar and elbow goes back to britain... and the names don't matter, the rules do. Do you have evidence that submissions were sought and explored in and of themselves and not as a means to a pin?

    And I disagree that Catch relies more on size and strength than BJJ.
    I would personally characterize it as Catch more openly supports the usage of strength and size as worthwhile attributes in a match.

    KFJ: have you considered Ed "Strangler" Lewis? It seems that there must have been some allowance for win by submission or he wouldn't have become named so, as I can't think of any strangles that lend themselves that well to pins except the arm triangle.

    Comment


      #3
      Forgive me, guys. I know it's been a few days since you replied to my last post; I normally try to reply more quickly.


      Originally posted by e.kaye
      Kung Fu Joe-That is an interesting theory except that the facts do not agree with it.

      The first Judo-Catch match is credited as a jacket match between Ad Santel and Ito in 1914. Santel won.

      American CACC goes back way before that. Your assertion that the rules were geaerd toward pins is correct for a very particular type of match in a particular time frame.

      BUt American wrestling had other "style" names in the past, such as Rough and Tumble, Collar and Elbow etc. All sorts of "dirty" fighting went on. The knowledge of submissions and hooks goes way back.
      By no means am I claiming to be an expert on the subject-- I may very well be completely wrong.

      Do you have any evidence to show submission fighting in Western wrestling predates the cross-pollination with Japanese wrestling? Any accounts of matches which ended by submission? Any listing of rules which make provisions for submission holds? Any mention of "hooking" prior to Japanese influence?

      I'm not trying to be belligerent here-- I'm genuinely interested. If submission grappling was once represented by the Western martial arts prior to Japanese influence, I'd love to know.

      Originally posted by Blue Negation
      KFJ: have you considered Ed "Strangler" Lewis? It seems that there must have been some allowance for win by submission or he wouldn't have become named so, as I can't think of any strangles that lend themselves that well to pins except the arm triangle.
      From what I understand, Ed Lewis first took the "Strangler" nickname in homage to Evan "Strangler" Lewis, a Catch-as-Catch-Can champion from the late 19th Century, due to the fact that many reporters found Ed to be very reminiscent of the earlier wrestler.

      Later on, Ed Lewis began utilizing a maneuver that was alternately called a "neck yoke," a "neck lock," and a "head lock," depending on who was describing it. In its article on Evan Lewis, a Wikipedia author claimed that the "neck yoke" is old terminology for what we now know to be a rear naked choke; however, I find this to be doubtful for a number of reasons.

      As I mentioned earlier, all versions of the Catch-as-Catch-Can rules I've ever found are geared toward Pinfalls. Even if one made provisions for Submissions, the fact of the matter is that one can very easily succumb to a pinfall even when applying the very best of Rear Naked Chokes. It would make for a poor maneuver, when your goal is to keep your shoulders off the ground.

      Secondly, there is a description of Ed Lewis' version of the "neck yoke" in the Chicago Sunday Tribune's November 30th, 1913, edition (Neck Yoke Helps Strangler Lewis In Bid For Honors). This same maneuver is described, with pictorial illustration, in Paul Prehn's Scientific Methods of Wrestling, published in 1925 and available for free at Kirk Lawson's Lulu storefront. Both descriptions fit more closely with a side headlock than with any sort of finishing stranglehold, as can be seen in this picture taken from Prehn's book:


      Thirdly, once again, are the published rulesets for Catch-as-Catch-Can that I've been able to locate. Paul Prehn's aforementioned book, Earle Liederman's The Science of Wrestling and the Art of Jiu-Jitsu (1923), and Ed James' Boxing and Wrestling (1878) all specifically mention strangleholds as being illegal maneuvers.


      Finally, there are the accolades of the first "Strangler," Evan Lewis.

      There is an account of Evan Lewis in a bout against Matsada Sorakichi, from the January 29th, 1886, edition of the New York Times (A Brutal Wrestling Match). The article describes Matsada Sorakichi being choked into unconsciousness by Evan Lewis. In their next bout, apparently Mr. Lewis leglocked Mr. Sorakichi, doing enough damage to his knee that he was unable to continue (New York Times, February 16th, 1886: Sorakichi's Leg Broken).

      While this may, at first, seem like evidence that Catch-as-Catch-Can was, indeed, submission oriented, I think such a claim would be glossing over a few incredibly important facts. We cannot ignore the outrage at Evan Lewis' usage of such techniques. That tells us more about the sport than the fact that he used them. Sorakichi, a very accomplished Catch-as-Catch-Can wrestler in his own right, disdained the attacks as poor sportsmanship and unfair. The crowd booed, hissed, and cursed at Lewis after he leglocked Sorakichi-- a clear indication that such a thing was not commonplace in Catch-as-Catch-Can wrestling.

      There's also the fact that Sorakichi didn't submit as a result of the attacks. Any novice submission grappler knows to give up when he can't escape a good choke or joint lock. Since Sorakichi certainly wasn't a novice, and since he didn't submit, we can assume he had no idea submission was an option.

      It seems very likely that Evan Lewis was the exception to the rule. While he obviously knew how to apply holds in a punishing or damaging fashion, it was clearly not the rule of the day to do so. In fact, many point to Evan Lewis as being primary amongst the reasons the stranglehold became banned from Catch-as-Catch-Can wrestling in the 1890's.

      This all seems to point to the idea of submission holds being an alien concept in Western wrestling, at the time.



      --Joe

      Comment


        #4
        Hey Joe,

        I don't know much about CACC, but I have seen some things that lead me to believe there was some kind of submission grappling in the US at the end of the 19th Century. In particular, I've found old archive photos at the New York Public Library that show what look like crude submission holds.

        For example, here are some lads from a NY State reformatory (c. 1920), posed as if one has taken the other's back and applied a shoulder lock:



        And here's Joe Stecher sloppily back mounting and applying an armlock (c. 1912):



        Stecher vs Caddock, January 30th 1920 (NY Times coverage), the first pro wrestling match filmed:

        YouTube - Oldest Pro Wrestling on Film: Caddock vs Stecher, 1920

        ... it's hard going, given the bad film quality, but worth watching from around the 20:00 mark. There's loads of turtling and back taking, but it seems clear that the RNC is either unknown or against the rules, much as you've suggested (further supported by this photo of Strangler Lewis doing his thing). The fight ends with a pin secured via a wristlock / body scissors combo. :duckie:
        do, but take refuge in theory and talk

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Jack Skellington
          Hey Joe,

          I don't know much about CACC, but I have seen some things that lead me to believe there was some kind of submission grappling in the US at the end of the 19th Century. In particular, I've found old archive photos at the New York Public Library that show what look like crude submission holds.

          For example, here are some lads from a NY State reformatory (c. 1920), posed as if one has taken the other's back and applied a shoulder lock:

          That is a body scissors and half-nelson hold. The attacker uses the body scissors to control his opponent's hips and prevent escape. He then turns his whole body into the direction of the half-nelson to force his opponent's shoulders to the mat and secure a pinfall.

          Earle Liederman describes this exact technique on pages 158 and 159 of his book The Science of Wrestling and the Art of Jiu-Jitsu.

          And here's Joe Stecher sloppily back mounting and applying an armlock (c. 1912):

          Another use of the body scissors, this time with a further bar arm hold. The body scissors serves similar purpose as in the previous technique. The further bar arm hold is not used in the manner we might in Sub Grappling. Rather, depending on which way the bottom man twists, the attacker can perform a number of movements whose end result will be a pinfall. In the picture above, if the bottom man continues bellying down towards his own left arm, the top man can pull him back up onto his left hip by use of the further arm as a lever. If the bottom man, instead, turns back towards the top man, he cannot post on his right arm, leaving his shoulders dangerously close to a pinfall.

          Paul Prehn describes a very similar attack on page 65 of his book Scientific Methods of Wrestling.

          Stecher vs Caddock, January 30th 1920 (NY Times coverage), the first pro wrestling match filmed:

          ... it's hard going, given the bad film quality, but worth watching from around the 20:00 mark. There's loads of turtling and back taking, but it seems clear that the RNC is either unknown or against the rules, much as you've suggested (further supported by this photo of Strangler Lewis doing his thing). The fight ends with a pin secured via a wristlock / body scissors combo. :duckie:
          There's also plenty of passed-up opportunities for armbars from back control, in that video-- though an armbar presents even more of a problem when Western pinning rules are in play than the RNC does.

          Blue Negation PM'ed me a link to this excellent pic of Ed Lewis:

          This is the neck yoke which was described in the articles I mentioned previously. While it certainly bears a resemblance to the Rear Naked Choke that we know and love, today, there are a number of things to note about this technique. First is that Ed Lewis-- unlike his Strangling predecessor, Evan Lewis-- competed at a time when strangleholds were illegal in Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestling. Second is the article I mentioned above, which states that this hold is NOT, itself, intended for securing a fall (and, therefore, not a fight-ending hold).

          Finally, there's a comparison between the technique we see here and modern knowledge of the RNC. When a modern sub-grappler applies the RNC using this method of gripping, there are major differences in the application. Firstly, the hand of the attacking arm would be pressed much closer to the defender's own head and ear-- not out over the far shoulder, as above. Secondly, the elbow of the securing arm would be pressed closely down the back, rather than extended away from the defender's body. Thirdly, the attacker would hip-into the choke, adding leverage to the pressure and pulling the opponent off-balance; whereas, here, Ed Lewis has turned his right hip away from his opponent.

          I fully believe that Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestlers knew holds which were painful and utilized such attacks in their matches. My contention is that securing these holds solely for the sake of causing the opponent to submit was NEVER a goal of American wrestling, and was a completely alien concept to Westerners until the cross-pollination of Judo influenced the sport.

          --Joe
          Last edited by Kung-Fu Joe; 12/11/2008 12:42am, .

          Comment


            #6
            Sweet research, Joe! As I said before, I don't know much about CACC, thus I was probably viewing those photos through the lens of my own sub-grappling experience. Do you have any insight as to where Evan "Strangler I" Lewis may have learnt the strangle and leg lock he used on Sorakichi?
            do, but take refuge in theory and talk

            Comment


              #7
              KUng Fu Joe-I did a quick read through muy collections and found these tidbits. I will endeavour to be more thorough in the future when I have the time.

              It is clear that "locks" and "hooks" existed long before the Japanese co-mingled with the Americans.

              I have one book dated 1897(Leonard), that clearly refers to locks.

              I was able to find one book(by Dick Cameron), probably from the 1930s that list the rules for a Catch match as being won by falls. But in the definition of falls, was "Submission Fall" where the opponent obviously submits. In two or three other books, the listed rules did not mention submissions.

              Farmer Burns book dated 1911(I have a signed copy) clearly refers to locks and breaks. Burns was born in 1861 and was obviusly doing these things long before the Japanese arrived.

              Gotch's book clearly lays out that his toe-hold if done correctly will break the foot.

              EJ Harrisons books refer to locks.

              Basically, almost every book refers to locks. And forbidden moves that may break, cripple or kiill.

              Evidently, the Full Nelson was banned from competition before the turn of the century because someone was killed with it.

              So while not every legit "Match" may have included submissions, some did have submission falls, and clearly the "Art" included many moves banned from competition because they could main or kill. Among these, the Full Nelson and Strangles.

              Comment


                #8
                good posts guys!

                I've read/heard the same re: "fall"=submission or pin.

                It seems that in many cases, the wrestler would hunt for a pin against a lesser opponent as they were being merciful.
                Many things we do naturally become difficult only when we try to make them intellectual subjects. It is possible to know so much about a subject that you become totally ignorant.
                -Mentat Text Two (dicto)

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by e.kaye
                  KUng Fu Joe-I did a quick read through muy collections and found these tidbits. I will endeavour to be more thorough in the future when I have the time.

                  It is clear that "locks" and "hooks" existed long before the Japanese co-mingled with the Americans.

                  I have one book dated 1897(Leonard), that clearly refers to locks.

                  I was able to find one book(by Dick Cameron), probably from the 1930s that list the rules for a Catch match as being won by falls. But in the definition of falls, was "Submission Fall" where the opponent obviously submits. In two or three other books, the listed rules did not mention submissions.

                  Farmer Burns book dated 1911(I have a signed copy) clearly refers to locks and breaks. Burns was born in 1861 and was obviusly doing these things long before the Japanese arrived.

                  Gotch's book clearly lays out that his toe-hold if done correctly will break the foot.

                  EJ Harrisons books refer to locks.

                  Basically, almost every book refers to locks. And forbidden moves that may break, cripple or kiill.

                  Evidently, the Full Nelson was banned from competition before the turn of the century because someone was killed with it.

                  So while not every legit "Match" may have included submissions, some did have submission falls, and clearly the "Art" included many moves banned from competition because they could main or kill. Among these, the Full Nelson and Strangles.
                  Is there any chance you post any scans from some of these books? Not doubting you, I'd just like to see some more from the older material. Particularly the Farmer Burns book. I take it this is different from his mail order course?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I am not much for scanning, nor do I really have the time to do it. Sorry.

                    Old catch books are available on EBay all the time. There are other sources on the net. One is www.antekprizering.com/bookswrestling.html. Old Boxing stuff too. Some are not that expensive either.

                    Comment


                      #11



                      The pic is from my buddy's site and scans are on this page:

                      http://stickgrappler.tripod.com/catch/farmer.html.


                      There is probably a lot of stuff in Stickgrappler's archive.
                      Last edited by e.kaye; 12/11/2008 3:29pm, .

                      Comment


                        #12
                        There is a website that has an entire wrestling manual penned by Farmer Burns in e-viewable format...I used to be a regular viewer, I'll see if I can find it and post the link. (Allegedly, it's the same manual that Matt Furey used to charge people to buy...) I do remember that Burns specifically says strangle holds are illegal in wrestling, although he does offer a couple of ways to counter them in case you find yourself confronted by a cheater or jujutsu stylist.

                        Oh, and to whoever talked about the Gracies defeating catch stylists...have you ever heard of an Japanese MMA fighter named Sakuraba?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by e.kaye
                          KUng Fu Joe-I did a quick read through muy collections and found these tidbits. I will endeavour to be more thorough in the future when I have the time.

                          It is clear that "locks" and "hooks" existed long before the Japanese co-mingled with the Americans.

                          I have one book dated 1897(Leonard), that clearly refers to locks.

                          I was able to find one book(by Dick Cameron), probably from the 1930s that list the rules for a Catch match as being won by falls. But in the definition of falls, was "Submission Fall" where the opponent obviously submits. In two or three other books, the listed rules did not mention submissions.

                          Farmer Burns book dated 1911(I have a signed copy) clearly refers to locks and breaks. Burns was born in 1861 and was obviusly doing these things long before the Japanese arrived.

                          Gotch's book clearly lays out that his toe-hold if done correctly will break the foot.

                          EJ Harrisons books refer to locks.

                          Basically, almost every book refers to locks. And forbidden moves that may break, cripple or kiill.

                          Evidently, the Full Nelson was banned from competition before the turn of the century because someone was killed with it.

                          So while not every legit "Match" may have included submissions, some did have submission falls, and clearly the "Art" included many moves banned from competition because they could main or kill. Among these, the Full Nelson and Strangles.
                          Again, I'm not saying that Catch-as-Catch-Can was devoid of painful holds. Quite the contrary, I fully admit that its wrestlers employed a vast arsenal of techniques which could cause excruciating pain. My contention is that the end goal was always a pinfall, and that the concept of submission grappling was alien.

                          Additionally, I'll posit that the term "lock" had an entirely different connotation to late 19th and early 20th century wrestlers than it has for modern sub grapplers. The way the term is utilized in many early wrestling manuals, it seems to be more in regard to the immobilization of a limb than to the hyperextension of a joint. Many great examples of this can be found in Liederman's book, one of which follows:


                          This is certainly unlike anything we'd normally think of if someone mentioned a Wrist Lock or an Ankle Lock.

                          There are a great many holds and locks from early Catch that are certainly painful in application; however, the purpose of the hold was NOT the infliction of pain, in and of itself. The purpose was to force the opponent onto his back for the pin. Gotch's toe-hold was designed in this manner. Ed Lewis' neck yoke was set to this purpose. Double Wrist-Locks (same grip as Kimura and Americana) and armbars and a great many other holds were used by wrestlers to force other wrestlers into different positions.

                          Originally posted by Jack Skellington
                          Sweet research, Joe! As I said before, I don't know much about CACC, thus I was probably viewing those photos through the lens of my own sub-grappling experience. Do you have any insight as to where Evan "Strangler I" Lewis may have learnt the strangle and leg lock he used on Sorakichi?
                          Unfortunately, I haven't been able to discern exactly where Evan Lewis' neck yoke was learned, or even how it was performed. If I were to go on conjecture alone, I would say that it's quite likely that Evan Lewis just made slight modifications to existing Wrestling techniques. All it takes is one headlock-accidentally-turned-blood-choke for someone to say, "Wow! Let me try that again!"

                          If my guess is right, and these techniques-- though painful-- were primarily intended to secure pinfalls, it may just be that Evan Lewis was one of those sadistic jerks who cared less about winning by the rules, and more about causing his opponent so much discomfort they lose all sense of their own technique. From different descriptions I've read of the gentleman, this certainly seems likely. He was often noted for his brutality and penchant for punishing holds.

                          --Joe
                          Last edited by Kung-Fu Joe; 12/11/2008 10:59pm, .

                          Comment


                            #14
                            KFJ-Sorry that you remain unconvinced. Certainly in matches "holds" were used to get the pinfall. But as I have pointed out at least one source refers to "submission falls".

                            It is more likely that matches had all sorts of rules, agreed upon by the contestants in advance.

                            It is also clear from reading any of this material that the wrestlers were well aware of the potential damage that the holds could inflict. Dangerous holds were banned. How would they know that they were dangerous, had someone already inflicted harm with them. Like the Full Nelson.

                            I will see if I can find any information on Evan Lewis' stranglehold for you. It was mentioned in at least a couple the books.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by e.kaye
                              KFJ-Sorry that you remain unconvinced. Certainly in matches "holds" were used to get the pinfall. But as I have pointed out at least one source refers to "submission falls".
                              Right, but the source you pointed out which contained "submission falls" was published in the 1930's, well after the cross-pollination of Judo and wrestling began. If anyone can find such a reference in earlier manuals, I'd be extremely interested.

                              It is more likely that matches had all sorts of rules, agreed upon by the contestants in advance.
                              I certainly agree with this. It seems that even with established rulesets, like those of the AAU, many wrestlers still clung to their own variations and modifications to the standard.

                              It is also clear from reading any of this material that the wrestlers were well aware of the potential damage that the holds could inflict. Dangerous holds were banned. How would they know that they were dangerous, had someone already inflicted harm with them. Like the Full Nelson.
                              Once again, I completely agree, here. My contention has never been the presence of dangerous holds; I've only made claims about their purpose and application.

                              I will see if I can find any information on Evan Lewis' stranglehold for you. It was mentioned in at least a couple the books.
                              Thanks! That'd be greatly appreciated!

                              --Joe

                              Comment

                              Collapse

                              Edit this module to specify a template to display.

                              Working...
                              X