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Olympics Highlight Need for Catch As Catch Can Wrestling


How many points can you score in six minutes? That is how many Olympics wrestling matches are decided. Getting points for passivity and pushing your opponent out of the circle are not in the spirit of wrestling. If the goal of wrestling was to pin your opponent, then adding points and short time limits change the goal. A wrestler can win by out scoring the opponent. It seems like the rules of freestyle are designed to make sure that the wrestling event is over quickly. An example of this would be the aforementioned push out, or awarding a point if a wrestler cannot score after being put on the shot clock.

The tragedy of wrestling and grappling events is that wrestlers and fans are emotionally devastated when a wrestler loses by a small difference in points. Catch Wrestler, and former captain of the Michigan State wrestling team, Curran Jacobs stated in a recent interview for Takedown Wrestling that he always fell short of becoming an All American wrestler because of a slight point differential.  

Rules change the sport. Taking away submissions, adding points, and time limits changed Catch Wrestling, the results were Olympic Freestyle and American Folkstyle. Olympic Freestyle was first called Amatur Catch as Catch Can at first. These modern versions are a far cry from what Catch Wrestling is. They are good sports and much safer to practice, but they are not Catch Wrestling. While a wrestler can win by pin in Catch Wrestling, they can also win by a submission hold, this is another way of demonstrating control.

An emotional Jordan Burroughs expressed his sorrow over his failure to medal at the Rio Olympics, but he lost his first match by push out and appreciation points, not by pin. Strategies to win by points in amatur wrestling and grappling have no place in Catch Wrestling because it has no point system. It is ok to let your opponent take you down if you know how to counterattack once you both hit the mat. Also, by having a longer time period, or no time limit at all, this allows the wrestling to unfold naturally. Catch Wrestling’s lack of point system and time limits allow for the real winner to be known. The one who demonstrates control of the opponent will always win.

While there is a place for Freestyle, a place needs to be made for Catch Wrestling.

Dr. Raul Ramirez is the director of the Catch Wrestling Alliance and head coach of Catch Wrestling Los Angeles


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