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Historical Discussion of Catch Wrestling

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    #91
    Here are the earliest wrestling rules which I have yet been able to find which make provisions for forfeiting a fall due to a punishing hold. From the 1939 National Wrestling Association rulebook:

    "FALLS AND DECISIONS


    "Both shoulder blades momentarily pinned to the mat shall constitute a fall; flying and rolling falls shall not count. By momentarily is meant pinned to the mat for the referee’s silent count of three seconds. Conceding a fall or quitting because of receiving punishment by means of legitimate holds constitutes a fall.

    "The referee shall slap on the back, or the shoulders, a wrestler securing a fall so that the under man will not be strained by being held too long in a possibly painful position."


    This is, of course, a few decades after the cross-pollination of Western wrestling and Judo began, but it is interesting to note that these rules still do not contain a specified signal for such a forfeiture. There is no description of a tap-out or somesuch as a universal signal for conceding a fall. Presumably, the concession would have been made verbally-- which is more reasonable than it would be in modern submission grappling, since the NWA still banned strangle holds in 1939.

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      #92
      I don't have any evidence to back anything up. But in talks with old timers and those training old timers it was concluded that before the submission was allowed the hold would punish the opponent enough that they would pin themselves to get out. Which is why a lot of the hold (gotch toe hold as mentioned) will move to a position for the pin. This predates CACC.

      As far as the carnival wrestlers they preferred the hook (submission) over the pin. Every now and then they would go against jujitsu guys and amateur wrestlers (no submission knowledge).

      Have you contacted Nathan Hatton or Stephen Greenfield?

      Comment


        #93
        Originally posted by FatC View Post
        I don't have any evidence to back anything up. But in talks with old timers and those training old timers it was concluded that before the submission was allowed the hold would punish the opponent enough that they would pin themselves to get out. Which is why a lot of the hold (gotch toe hold as mentioned) will move to a position for the pin. This predates CACC.

        As far as the carnival wrestlers they preferred the hook (submission) over the pin. Every now and then they would go against jujitsu guys and amateur wrestlers (no submission knowledge).

        Have you contacted Nathan Hatton or Stephen Greenfield?
        Making one's opponent so uncomfortable that they choose to be pinned is still commonly taught everyday at the high school level of wrestling.
        Wrestling is the art of making one's opponent so uncomfortable that they just want to go home.

        Comment


          #94
          The time has come for my once-every-few-years resurrection of this thread!

          I've come across something very, very interesting. It stands in contraposition to everything else which I have found from the period. In a Spalding's Sports book from 1912 called "Wrestling: Catch as Catch Can," credited to Edward Hitchcock, Jr, and Richard Francis Nelligan, we find the following line on page 8:
          This Stop, as is the case with many other Stops and Holds following, is for punishment only. Punishment Holds rarely result in actual falls, but they do not infrequently result in your opponent giving you the Fall by admitting his unwillingness to remain in the position in which you have placed him.
          https://archive.org/details/wrestlin...age/8/mode/2up

          This accompanies a description of a technique which we would now recognize as a guillotine choke offered in response to an Inside Back Heel (an inside leg trip). It certainly sounds like a description of a technique aimed solely at forcing one's opponent to signal forfeiture, though the nature of that signal remains mysterious. The book doesn't mention any such specific signal, but it does describe a number of other Punishment holds. For example, on Page 15, two different strangles are named and pictured, but instead of the usual description of how to apply the technique, the author simply writes, "For Punishment," beneath both entries. Pages 16 and 17 also describe Punishment holds. Pages 59 and 60 describe a toe hold for both turning one's opponent onto his back and for Punishment. Most of the book, however, focuses on the usual method for securing a fall in Western wrestling: forcing an opponent's back onto the ground.

          Though 1912 would be early in the period of cross-pollination of Judo and Western wrestling, I don't see any real Judo influence in the book. There are certainly no explicit mentions of Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, or Japan. None of the punishment techniques shown are inherently Japanese. This now stands as the earliest evidence which I have been able to find for a notion like submission grappling in Western wrestling.

          I still remain somewhat skeptical, given the other evidence already presented in this thread, that the use of Punishment holds to elicit an opponent's signaling of forfeiture was a common goal of wrestling in the period. However, this would seem to indicate that it was, at the very least, something which did occur on occasion.

          Comment


            #95
            Originally posted by Kung-Fu Joe View Post
            The time has come for my once-every-few-years resurrection of this thread!

            I've come across something very, very interesting. It stands in contraposition to everything else which I have found from the period. In a Spalding's Sports book from 1912 called "Wrestling: Catch as Catch Can," credited to Edward Hitchcock, Jr, and Richard Francis Nelligan, we find the following line on page 8:


            https://archive.org/details/wrestlin...age/8/mode/2up

            This accompanies a description of a technique which we would now recognize as a guillotine choke offered in response to an Inside Back Heel (an inside leg trip). It certainly sounds like a description of a technique aimed solely at forcing one's opponent to signal forfeiture, though the nature of that signal remains mysterious. The book doesn't mention any such specific signal, but it does describe a number of other Punishment holds. For example, on Page 15, two different strangles are named and pictured, but instead of the usual description of how to apply the technique, the author simply writes, "For Punishment," beneath both entries. Pages 16 and 17 also describe Punishment holds. Pages 59 and 60 describe a toe hold for both turning one's opponent onto his back and for Punishment. Most of the book, however, focuses on the usual method for securing a fall in Western wrestling: forcing an opponent's back onto the ground.

            Though 1912 would be early in the period of cross-pollination of Judo and Western wrestling, I don't see any real Judo influence in the book. There are certainly no explicit mentions of Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, or Japan. None of the punishment techniques shown are inherently Japanese. This now stands as the earliest evidence which I have been able to find for a notion like submission grappling in Western wrestling.

            I still remain somewhat skeptical, given the other evidence already presented in this thread, that the use of Punishment holds to elicit an opponent's signaling of forfeiture was a common goal of wrestling in the period. However, this would seem to indicate that it was, at the very least, something which did occur on occasion.
            A: awesome post as usual.
            B I get to use the tern punishment hold. Not sure if it will replace me say "trick"
            C: it does seem that Pin fall still seems to be the ultimate goal as opposed to submission.


            Keep up the good work!!!!

            Comment


              #96
              Also of interesting note #41 in the book was illegal if choking in Amateur competition. Not sure if any others where also illegal.

              Comment


                #97
                Originally posted by goodlun View Post
                C: it does seem that Pin fall still seems to be the ultimate goal as opposed to submission.​
                That's my observation as well. Given the primary focus of the text as well as the explicit mention that punishment holds do not result in "actual falls," the fact that a person might forfeit seems more like a concession of possibility than a primary goal. The wrestler's goal was to put the opponent on his back, but occasionally someone would quit before that.

                It's kind of like the notion in modern sub grappling that you can win by Injury Default. If someone gets, say, a gash over the eye that prevents them from competing, that person will lose the match. This does not imply that a goal of modern sub grappling is to open a gash over an opponent's eye.


                Originally posted by goodlun View Post
                Also of interesting note #41 in the book was illegal if choking in Amateur competition. Not sure if any others where also illegal.
                The Full Nelson was also considered illegal in amateur competition. Interestingly, I've seen (and posted) other sources which claim that strangles were barred from Professional competition, as well, particularly after Evan Lewis' career in the 1890's. This is certainly the earliest Western wrestling manual which I've found that describes using strangles for the purpose of strangling and punishing holds solely for the sake of punishing.

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