The History of Catch Wrestling is murky at best and downright fraud at worst so we have decided to create a website to clear up any misconceptions about the art and promote it's legitimacy as a Martial Art in the 21st century... so let's get to it's origins!
What is exactly is Catch Wrestling?
Catch Wrestling is but it's basically defined as a loose set of wrestling rules based on several different styles not at all dissimilar to today's Mixed Martial Arts. In the 1800s Wrestling was at it's height of popularity in England and different regions had their unique styles that all came together to create the 1st incarnation of Catch Wrestling*.
Back in the early 1900s from Grapplers all over the world would compete under these rules against the famous Pro Catch Wrestlers & along the way exchanged many ideas which would lead to the second incarnation of Catch Wrestling. Some of these styles included Greco-Roman (George Hackenschmidt) from France, Pehlwani (Great Gama) form India, Judo (Mitsuyo Maeda) & Jiu Jitsu (Yukio Tani) from Japan.
3rd Incarnation (Modern)Edit
Now a days Catch Wreslting is approaching it's 3rd incarnation in the form of "Submission Wrestling" and "Grappling" which hold the spirit of catch & are heavily influenced by it's predecessors American Folkstyle, International Freestyle & Greco-Roman along with various other arts including Russian Sambo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & Luta Livre which also have roots in Catch Wrestling themselves.
So basically if George Hackenschmidt who practiced Greco-Roman Wrestling & Judo became a Catch Wrestling champion it means you can too & all you have to do is compete in CACC event's just like he did!!
Gentleman George Silver releases a Fencing manual that includes a few esoteric Sweeps, Trips, Throws & Standing Arm Locks in it.
Zach Wylde of England writes a Fencing manual with the most extensive Wrestling section to date encompassing several different regional styles including Cornish & Cumberland and is the first description of the Cross-Buttock, Flying Horse, Flying Mare, Suplex & Full/Double Nelson called the "Cornish Hug" & "Pillory" respectively.
Sir Thomas Parkyns of Bunnyp Cornwall who was a Physics student of Sir Isac Newton released "Progymnasmata, or Cornish Hugg Wrestling" that is the 1st Full Wrestling Instructional meant to aid his students in the art and includes moves like, Flying Horse, Flying Mare, Hanging Trippet, In-Clamp, Back Clamp, The Pinnion, The Gripes, Hold by One Arm, Hold by Both arms, The Buttock, The In-Lock, The Out Play or Loose Leg, Hair Grip, Hand Choke & Standing Guillotine Choke. It also includes a transcription of Sir Issac Newton's physics lecture that he used to add to his wrestling style as well as a mention of style vs style matches that were popular & would remain so for more than a century later in Britain.
Charles Layton "The Game Chicken" published a book on now extinct art of Cornish Wrestling that is comprised of 6 techniques in total, all of which are trips which is quite peculiar and they are, The Trippett, The Loose Leg, The Double Touch, Howard's Hank, The Flying Hobby & The Blackguard Snatch.
Donald Walker writes a book on various Wrestling Styles from all throughout Great Brittan including Cumberland, Westmorland, Cornish & Devonshire styles which contain dozens of throws all together.
Now with all the styles available throughout England and the style vs style matches being more popular than ever, it was only inevitable that a new style combining elements from all styles would be born. That style would be called "Loose Wrestling" which was mostly a standup affair until the the addition of ground fighting from Lancashire Wrestling which would herald in the birth to "Catch-as-catch-can Wrestling."
==***MORE TO COME SOON*** ==
* According to E.R. Pelton's A Handbook of Wrestling printed in 1897 Catch Wrestling & Lancashire are two different but similar styles with the former being influenced by the latter long with Cornish, Devonshire, Cumberland, Westmorland, Norfolk, Irish & Scottish styles to create a catch anywhere system.