Greetings From Stockton UK!
I got into Stockton easy enough, it was only a short train ride down from Edinburgh. It was probably my shortest trip in the UK. Stockton is a small town, I don’t know if it’s smaller than Wigan but there’s not a lot going on in this town. That’s ok though, I could use a break from sight seeing.
It was a nice sunny day, I was supposed to meet up with Chris at the train station so I hung outside for awhile, texting him to let him know I was in town now. While I was waiting I looked at the map on my phone for what was around the area and how far I was from the gym. I decided since it was only a few minutes away and on the way to gym, I’d walk up to the Burger King and re-charge my phone, and use their wifi with my laptop. I was there for a while, probably 2 hours even, and still I wasn’t getting any response from Chris. So I decided I would walk up to the gym, by the time I got there it would be about 7:30, prime time for classes, hopefully someone would be there. But no one was. Now I was getting annoyed. I was stuck in a town with no one to contact, I was supposed to be put up by Chris and his club so I didn’t have a place to stay let alone train at. What do I do? I decided I’d try my luck with some of the hostels, or guest houses as they were called, and I went by 3 different places, no one had room. Apparently there are a lot of of town workers, contractors, that come in and stay in these guest houses during the week. I ended up having to take the city bus to Middlesbrough, which is right next to Stockton, and get a room at a hotel that was out of my usual price range but was my only option. At this point, after checking into the hotel and finally being able to drop my bags off after carrying them while marching around town for a few hours I got a message back from Chris. He was in Italy for a seminar and just came back. I was battling between being mad and concerned during this whole ordeal. I was mad for being stood up, and also at myself for not sending a message the night before to confirm everything before leaving, but I was also concerned that nothing serious had happened to Chris or his family.
As it happens Chris was thinking I was coming another week and didn’t get back into town until evening time. After we got in contact with each other we made plans for training the next day, and Chris would set me up to stay somewhere else for the remainder of my time in Stockton. I didn’t just get set up at a friend’s couch or at the gym mats, Chris and another student, Amin came to pick me up the next day, both of them by the way are huge guys, I don’t think I ever felt so small as with these guys (well, other than being at James Foster’s in Seattle), anyways, they came and picked me up from the hotel in Middlesbourgh and brought me to a really nice hotel in Stockton that is way out of my budget and set me up there for the next few days. It was pretty awesome and totally not what I thought was going on, I actually figured I’d be camping out on the mats at the gym. Chris really took care of me, once we got the miscommunication out of the way and met up it was a great stay, and I learned so much from him too. I’m seriously thinking of going back for a short camp and learn some more Catch Wrestling from him. Thanks for everything Chris!
My Introduction To Catch Wrestling With LPW – Legit Pro Wrestling
Chris Crossan is both a veteran of Catch Wrestling and a BJJ black Belt so he has a lot of experience and insight into grappling and a very different style. This allowed him to be able to really pick part my game and show me techniques that would work perfectly with me. When Chris and Amin picked me up and checked me in the hotel, we then went to the gym. LPW – Legit Pro Wrestling is a unusual set up, it’s not in fitness gym or sharing a space with another martial arts club, it’s in a community church, Sowing Seeds Ministries. The two rooms for the gym are large mated areas, with lots of space to roll and train techniques on. Chris and Amin brought me to the upstairs space, which is a bit smaller then the main floor space. With just the three of us I had basically I own private introduction to Catch Wrestling. We starting some warm up drills, working pummeling and arm drags, and then moved to testing me with some positional rolling and then showing me some techniques to help each position. We went over different techniques with Chris taping them and then replaying them for me to see where I need to fix it, for at least an hour. I learned a lot of cool tips that have really helped my game as well as get a great introduction to Catch Wrestling.
BJJ VS Catch Wresting
The next day I went to the open mat and got to try out my new techniques and tips I was shown the day before. I was looking forward to working out my no gi game against catch wrestling and seeing what different things they would do. I will admit the first few matches I was pretty lost, just not used to how they reacted to my game or the move sets they used, but as the matches went on I found my footing and was able to work my game. As I was rolling with the class for the first few minutes I thinking maybe they were wanting to take it to the “new guy” and were be being overly rough or just doing ‘dick moves’, but I quickly came to my senses and realized, this isn’t BJJ. Submission wrestling plays with different moves, a different move set and objective from BJJ. In the Jiu-Jitsu community you hear of ‘dick moves’ and lot of them come from a wrestling, or other grappling sports, background. This got me thinking, what if a lot of these ‘dick moves’ that the Jiu-Jitsu community says not to do in the name of safety, are really more about shutting down submission wrestling to make it less effective against BJJ. It’s just a thought I’ve had since my time with LPW. I understand there are some moves that are definitely frowned upon in the interest of safety, like neck cranks, but there are also a lot of moves I wonder why people call them ‘dick moves’ and we’re told not to do them. Footlocks and wristlocks are frowned upon or just not studied depending on the club, which to me is really weird, they’re out there and they’re allowed, especially at non IBJJF events which are gaining more popularity now a days. Things like using your elbows to break guard or ‘pie-facing’ to control the opponent’s mobility definitely aren’t fun moves when they’re done to you but they’re not actually hurting you and they work. Using your elbows to break guard was actually the way I was taught in traditional Jiu-Jitsu make in the 90’s, then when I started in BJJ later on I was told ‘it doesn’t work’ and that it’s a ‘dick move’.
I remember the first few times I got armbarred by a wrestler who would ‘pie-face’ as he put the submission. It sucked, and I would think ‘why does he have to fight dirty to get the technique?’ but let’s look at the technique. putting my weight on your head to control your spine so you don’t move while I lock up a submission seems pretty logical to me. In BJJ we use shoulder pressure when in side control, that’s not a ‘dick move’ so why would me putting my weight down on the side of your head while in half guard to keep you from getting deep half or sweeping me be considered such? I’m not saying I agree with everything, I’m not a fan of slamming for instance, to me that’s a safety thing (except for jumping guard, I that’s most stupid move ever and they deserved to get slammed for it, and then put to sleep with the Million Dollar Dream), but there seems to be some moves that people don’t allow in BJJ more because it shuts down BJJ than safety or any other factor, which just reminds of the Jim Carrey Sketch of ‘You attacked me wrong!‘
Chris Crossan and Catch Wresting Techniques
At the end of the open mat Chris and I did a video together where he explained to me about Catch Wrestling and his school as also showed me a few moves. It was cool getting some details from him on video. I got Chris to show me the double wristlock, or as the BJJ community knows it as, the Kimura. There’s a large variety of move sets, both offensive and defensive, from the double wrist lock in catch wrestling and if you watch old pro wrestling highlights, like the Lou Thez highlight, you’ll see it used from practically every angle. Chris was also happy to show me the Lancashire Grovet, the signature move of Catch Wrestling, it’s basically a neck crank guillotine. Check out the video below, it was a lot of fun and going forth I may try to get more moves on video for the articles, whenever I can manage to get a video done.
To see the video head over to the Panda’s Odyssey YouTube Channel and watch it there, and while there show some love by liking, commenting, sharing and subscribing, thanks!
After an all too short stop learning some Catch Wrestling I was on my way back to London, the last stop of my UK and Ireland trek, to meet up with a friend from BJJ Globetrotters, some old friends from Canada and also meet an artist and Jiu-Jitsuero that I’m a big fan of, Meerkatsu!
Until next time,
see you on the mats!
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