On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Josh Barnett.
Although he has competed for many years, and still competes, in MMA and various styles of grappling, Josh Barnett primarily considers himself a catch wrestler.
That was particularly evident at the Metamoris 4 grappling event on August 9 in Los Angeles, where he submitted two-time ADCC world champion Dean Lister with a head-and-arm choke with just seconds remaining in their 20-minute, submission-only, no-gi match.
To discuss the significance of this match, and the overall growth of catch wrestling, we spoke with Josh Barnett by phone Friday.
Discussing the finish of the match, he said, “We just call it a head-and-arm. Erik Paulson [his coach] likes to call it the Mark Coleman or fat man choke.” He also explained why this hold is not mainly about power and weight but is about “finesse,” and is most effective after riding an opponent for some time.
This match was arguably the most discussed online of all the matches at the Metamoris 4 event. His successful use of catch wrestling techniques to dominate and then submit such an accomplished grappler as Dean Lister, even under no-gi grappling and submission-only rules, tremendously raised the prestige of catch wrestling among the entire grappling and combat sports communities.
“This match has done more for catch than even any of my fights in the last five years have really done,” he said.
“The grappling community is a fairly strong, tight-knit group, and on that night there was a lot of high-level grappling technique and matches being put on” involving many of the greatest grapplers in the world, he added.
He then noted about his match with Dean Lister, “Even though we’re both very high-level guys and great athletes at what we do, our match didn’t resemble anybody else’s match.”
As for himself, while he plans to compete in many different events, he said, “I’d love to compete in a straight catch wrestling event.” He said that catch wrestling today does “have a good amount of momentum,” but a lot more needs to be done to advance this revived sport. He recommended more seminars, involving more wrestlers in them and the existing tournaments, and more consistency with the holding of these catch wrestling events.
A key area in growing catch wrestling is increasing the involvement of wrestlers who already have backgrounds and accomplishments in other, related styles, such as American folkstyle, freestyle, and Greco-Roman wrestling. He said he is already involved in helping train these types of wrestlers in catch wrestling, while they still compete in these other styles.
Another important observation he made was about the wrestling community. Although catch is a style of wrestling and laid the basis for the development of American folkstyle and freestyle wrestling, today it is the jiu-jitsu community which shows “more interest” in catch than the wrestling community. Thus, increasing the involvement of the wrestling community in catch is essential for its growth.
We also discussed the need for more consistent posting of videos of catch wrestling matches, how the black trunks he wore in this Metamoris match were a tribute to his coaches, what catch needs to do in order to regain its place as a popular spectator sport, what some of his immediate plans are, and much, much more.
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American Top Team. Whether you’re a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at AmericanTopTeam.com/.
The Liberty Bell Classic / King of Catch Wrestling Tournament, presented by the North American Catch Wrestling Association and Scientific Wrestling. In this tournament, you can only win by pin or submission, with no points. It all takes place Saturday, August 30, at Primal Gym, 231 Bakers Basin Road, Lawrenceville, New Jersey 08648. For more information, go to KingOfCatchWrestling.com.
Scientific Wrestling, igniting a revolution in grappling based on the pursuit of traditional Catch-As-Catch-Can wrestling. Our people are legitimate Scientific Wrestling practitioners united around training, competition, innovation, grueling physical conditioning, camaraderie, and the sharing of reliable resources. For more information, go to ScientificWrestling.com.
Snake Pit U.S.A., whose primary mission is to breathe new life into real catch-as-catch-can wrestling and help lead the catch wrestling revolution for martial artists and those pursuing recreational training and fitness alike. For more information, go to SnakePitUSA.com.
The Catch Wrestling Alliance, a catch wrestling promotion that works with the highest level catch wrestlers from around the world with the goal of reviving the great sport of catch-as-catch-can wrestling. The Catch Wrestling Alliance organizes catch wrestling sporting events, and its primary organizer is Dr. Raul Ramirez. For more information, go to CatchWrestlingAlliance.com.
Takedown Wrestling Media, America’s wrestling TV and radio shows, which are hosted by founder Scott Casber, and have been airing on radio and Internet for over 17 years. Takedown Media produces a weekly TV program seen in 54 million homes in the U.S. on DirecTV, Dish Network, and cable affiliates around the country, called Takedown TV. Takedown Media also produces the weekly USA Wrestling TV show for the governing body of the sport, USA Wrestling. For more information, go to TakedownRadio.com.
Thanks, Eddie Goldman