Catch Wrestling

Thursday 20:00 – 21:30 (open to all) & Monday 20:00 – 21:30 (for competitors)

Catch wrestling (or Catch-As-Catch-Can to give it the proper name) is a historical grappling art whose origins are largely lost in history. There is little in the way of written records regarding this unique style of wrestling until the mid 19th century, although there are references to catch wrestling matches taking place dating back to the early 1700’s.

Catch was largely associated with the working classes with bouts occurring outside of coal pits and collieries. This may be one of the reasons why written evidence of the sport is scarce, it is only when it gained more notoriety in the late 1800’s and gradually evolved into fixed outcome professional wrestling performances that it captured the public imagination.

It is a unique system amongst historical wrestling in that it includes ground fighting, a complex series of ​holds, locks, chokes, strangles, rolls, joint manipulations and more that allow you to continue fighting after being thrown. Many other wrestling systems of the time fought to a successful throw; catch wrestling continues on the ground until a pin by both shoulders on the floor is achieved, or in some later versions of a sport your opponent is forced to submit by the careful and precise application of pain.

​Although catch wrestling is jokingly referred to as the ‘violent art’ in the 21st century (often as a witty way to contrast it with the more popular Brazilian jiu-jitsu that is commonly known as the ‘gentle art’) we firmly believe it is a fascinating historical wrestling system that can be studied by all. Thankfully it is gaining popularity again thanks to practitioners such as Josh Barnett who apply their catch wrestling skills in mixed martial arts to great success.

​Although historically catch wrestling was fought on hard floors outdoors and later in tiny shorts in rings in front of a crowd, we aim to pursue the sport with a few concessions to the 21st century, most notably shorts and t-shirts are absolutely fine to train in and we use crash mats to take the sting off being thrown around during class!