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Catch Wrestling

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I've done a little MMA in the past and started doing some BJJ at a local school.  Not trying to compete just to stay active.  So lately they've gotten onto the "catch wrestling" bandwagon or idea.  Some of it looks great, but I was wondering if anyone had experience with this. 

 

The reason I ask is because it does appear to be wrestling based, but the wrestling fundamentals are not very high level.  For example, I was taught an arm drag where instead of dragging the arm by, you step in so you wind up almost in a Greco chest to chest position, then drop without really changing levels to a high single, and finish by twisting them to the mat by bringing your feet incredibly close together and pivoting.  Switching to a double from that position (also something I was taught) seems to be more of using strength and not technical skill.  Instead of cutting to an angle and running across the hips, you're supposed to basically stay in front of the person and try to lift them with your arms and hips and try to finish from there.  It works if your partner doesn't resist much or doesn't know how to wrestle or what a sprawl is, but most people even low level BJJ guys know that.  

 

A few weeks ago they were teaching us a whipover/cow catcher, whatever you want to call it.  But instead of grabbing the chin and trying to twist the head down, they wanted us to reach as far across the back as possible and use that instead of the head/neck wrench to bring somebody over without stepping in too fet or trying to circle.  The footwork was weird because instead of keeping a wide base, they almost want us to keep the feet close together.  I can't figure out why.   

 

The guys who teach there are really nice and they know a lot about grappling and submission holds and are fantastic at that.  But they are apparently deriving most of their wrestling knowledge from the catch wrestling people.  The basic stance is not at all what you'd see in wrestling, it's basically an invitation to get double legged, and a lot of the holds and techniques seem to be geared towards people who are very big and strong.  Like you wouldn't be able to properly do them to a resisting opponent unless you were very strong and able to force it. 

 

Here's a link to some of the takedowns I was taught. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WU3o4vgaiM&nohtml5=False

 

I know that Wade Schalles teaches or taught these kids of things. 

 

 

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Think about how much lower the participation levels are in BJJ than Wrestling. Then imagine that those practicing or claiming to practice Catch is astronomically smaller than even BJJ. 

 

How many Catch Wrestling tournaments are there? How many people compete in them? The numbers are tiny.

 

So, that's not to say people claiming to teach "Catch Wrestling" might not have good ideas, but the proving ground to show that they work at a high level against skilled opponents is limited at best.

 

That would not be as big of a problem, but it's compounded by the total lack, as far as I am aware, of any universally accepted teaching syllabus or promotional structure/requirements. BJJ lacks this, but there are well attended tournaments every weekend (like in wrestling) where you can go see the best compete against each other and what techniques work at the highest level.

 

My experience, 9 times out of 10, is that the people claiming catch are folks with no rank in Judo, BJJ, or any other mainstream grappling art trying to tap into some "ancient and mysterious" BS like Kung Fu guys whose moves are "too deadly" to practice full speed.

 

But when you get down to it, if your legitimacy is tied to pro wrestling or carnival wrestling in the rural United States a century ago, you are really grasping at straws.

 

And before someone mentions Barnett, let's just be clear - his instructor, Erik Paulson, is a BJJ black belt. And Sakuraba was a Freestyle wrestler. There has literally never been a pure "Catch" representative that has competed and done well the way that Royce did for jiu jitsu, Mark Coleman for wrestling, etc.

 

If you want to learn a jiu jitsu style that is more adapted for wrestlers, train with MMA guys. Hayastan/Gokor also have an interesting style, which has been verified at the highest level of the sport.

 

tl;dr catch is a joke, run far away from anyone claiming to teach it to you that isnt named Josh Barnett, and even then, what competitors as Josh produced in grappling?

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If you want a submission WRESTLING style with a decent standup you can try Grappling. Two points takedowns, three points throw and -1 if you jump in close guard...

 

https://unitedworldwrestling.org/sites/default/files/media/document/grappling_rules_0.pdf

 

PS

Barnett is an active fighter and catch wrestler who won a world title in the nogi champion. He isn't a full time coach.

Edited by WreslingSuperior

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It just seems like they have a lot of unnecessary motion or wasted movement and a lot of their technique seems to be geared towards people who are very strong.  Like the arm drag setup from the collar tie, why extend all the way out just to come back down to the wrist?  It seems like such a wasted motion.  I asked one of the instructors and he said that was how they were taught and they weren't going to deviate from it because that was how they had been taught to do it.  It seems inefficient, like lifting somebody in a double leg head on instead of looking for an angle and trying to use leverage to finish instead of strength. 

 

The guy in the video link wrestled for the Air Force, it says on the catch wrestling website he was a 3x All Air Force team member and lists his coach.  The only results of his for wrestling I could find were the military dual meet championships from a few years ago. 

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It just seems like they have a lot of unnecessary motion or wasted movement and a lot of their technique seems to be geared towards people who are very strong.  Like the arm drag setup from the collar tie, why extend all the way out just to come back down to the wrist?  It seems like such a wasted motion.  I asked one of the instructors and he said that was how they were taught and they weren't going to deviate from it because that was how they had been taught to do it.  It seems inefficient, like lifting somebody in a double leg head on instead of looking for an angle and trying to use leverage to finish instead of strength. 

 

The guy in the video link wrestled for the Air Force, it says on the catch wrestling website he was a 3x All Air Force team member and lists his coach.  The only results of his for wrestling I could find were the military dual meet championships from a few years ago. 

 

Their technique is different because of 1) trying to look different for marketing and 2) being untested in competition.

 

With factor 1, that HAVE to do it differently, because otherwise it would look just like BJJ, or Judo, so there goes their marketing angle.

 

With factor 2, it's kind of like how you see certain moves taught and executed in JV Wrestling that are very rare or very different at NCAAs.

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If you want a submission WRESTLING style with a decent standup you can try Grappling. Two points takedowns, three points throw and -1 if you jump in close guard...

 

https://unitedworldwrestling.org/sites/default/files/media/document/grappling_rules_0.pdf

 

PS

Barnett is an active fighter and catch wrestler who won a world title in the nogi champion. He isn't a full time coach.

 

Who teaches "grappling" - the same gyms where people train UFC?

 

Find a BJJ instructor that wrestled free/folk/greco or did judo.

 

Sambo is also totally legit as a combined grappling art, although most people in the US assume sambo is like 100% leglocks, which is not how its done in the Former Soviet Union. 

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Who teaches "grappling" - the same gyms where people train UFC?

 

Find a BJJ instructor that wrestled free/folk/greco or did judo.

 

Sambo is also totally legit as a combined grappling art, although most people in the US assume sambo is like 100% leglocks, which is not how its done in the Former Soviet Union.

Riky Lundell is a Grappling coach, Ricardo Liborio was the USA Grappling national coach. Randy Couture has also experience in Grappling and Catch Wrestling. Grappling is a very open style with techniques from Bjj to Luta Livre.

Grappling is popular in Russia and Europe. Now Iran, Pakistan and India have a national Grappling program.

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Riky Lundell is a Grappling coach, Ricardo Liborio was the USA Grappling national coach. Randy Couture has also experience in Grappling and Catch Wrestling. Grappling is a very open style with techniques from Bjj to Luta Livre.

Grappling is popular in Russia and Europe. Now Iran, Pakistan and India have a national Grappling program.

 

You have to be trolling. Ricky is a BJJ black belt under Pedro Sauer. Ricardo is a BJJ black belt. Randy is a folk/greco wrestler.

 

Just like there are MMA coaches, there may be "grappling" coaches - but nobody trains "MMA" - that is a rule set, not a style.

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I don't have any experience with catch wrestling other than that of a fan of Barnett and Sakuraba and reading some of the history in various books.  Maybe the techniques are different because you have to consider submissions?  A single or double leg and the setups become a very different animal when your opponent can use a standing choke to defend (I still can't believe Rothwell caught Barnett this way!!!!).  

 

The history is fascinating.  Especially the matches against representatives of judo. Please keep us posted with your experience as you progress!     

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I just re-read NotReady's post again.

 

The guy who teaches/owns the place I'm training at is a legitimate BJJ black belt and I don't know if he has one in Judo as well but he has some experience.  He's a skilled grappler.  You can say what you will but he does have legitimate skill.  As far as where or what he's competed in, I don't know.  The other guy helping him, I have no idea.  I think he's either a purple belt or a brown belt in BJJ.  He doesn't roll much because he has some kind of injury, so he only occasionally drills.  There's another guy who comes in who just got a black belt, but he hurt his knee so he hasn't been seen for a while. 

 

I think one of my biggest problems is that there's very little of anything done in neutral.  Almost every technique we are taught, except for the rare takedowns, is on the mat.  When we actually go live we start on the knees and don't come up to standing.  The takedown he taught us is basically a watered down version of an arm drag to a high C and finish by doubling off.  Maybe as somebody said, in junior high you can get away with staying right in front of somebody, but against anyone decent you're going to get big brothered over because you're attacking somebody at their most powerful and stable point.  I kind of wonder whether I should tell these guys any of this or not.  It's not that I know better, it's just what high level coaches will teach you, guys who've won NCAA titles and things like that.  I just want them to be able to do better in competition, and not worry about getting some kind of certification in catch wrestling. 

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WrestlingSuperior - Do you work for UWW? LOL

That's a real possibility, the guy should know by now that grappling is a genre which has species like bjj, judo, sambo, all forms of wrestling, etc.

Edited by Axe_Spartan

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There are differences in grappling arts like in striking arts. Muay Thai is different than karate or savate. Different ruleset, different history...

 

PS

 

Grappling is an UWW Wrestling style contrary to Catch Wrestling and Combat Wrestling. I like very much these two grappling's forms.

Edited by WreslingSuperior

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I just re-read NotReady's post again.

 

The guy who teaches/owns the place I'm training at is a legitimate BJJ black belt and I don't know if he has one in Judo as well but he has some experience.  He's a skilled grappler.  You can say what you will but he does have legitimate skill.  As far as where or what he's competed in, I don't know.  The other guy helping him, I have no idea.  I think he's either a purple belt or a brown belt in BJJ.  He doesn't roll much because he has some kind of injury, so he only occasionally drills.  There's another guy who comes in who just got a black belt, but he hurt his knee so he hasn't been seen for a while. 

 

I think one of my biggest problems is that there's very little of anything done in neutral.  Almost every technique we are taught, except for the rare takedowns, is on the mat.  When we actually go live we start on the knees and don't come up to standing.  The takedown he taught us is basically a watered down version of an arm drag to a high C and finish by doubling off.  Maybe as somebody said, in junior high you can get away with staying right in front of somebody, but against anyone decent you're going to get big brothered over because you're attacking somebody at their most powerful and stable point.  I kind of wonder whether I should tell these guys any of this or not.  It's not that I know better, it's just what high level coaches will teach you, guys who've won NCAA titles and things like that.  I just want them to be able to do better in competition, and not worry about getting some kind of certification in catch wrestling. 

 

Re-read your OP, and this one, so I think maybe I took the opportunity to go on a tangent about catch wrestling than try to answer your question. Sorry about that.

 

To your point, I think 3 questions need to be asked to determine the "legitimacy" of a BJJ school or the curriculum it focuses on, to be precise 1) what has the coach accomplished in competition 2) what have his students accomplished in competition 3) what is the lineage of the instructor. 

 

Now, legitimacy and a school you enjoy are two different things. Taco Bell might not be "legitimate" Mexican food, but many people love it.

 

Barring injuries, instructors should roll with their students. PARTICULARLY if the instructor and/or the students are not actively competing. And, this is just my opinion, but that includes live goes starting on the feet.

 

It's pretty hard for an instructor to gauge the ability of their students without rolling with them. If your instructor rolls with you, from the feet, he would catch on that you have something to offer there. Now, if you are scoring, making him work - a good jiu jitsu instructor will ask you to show him what you did, and probably ask you to show the class as well. That said, even if he is just watching, he should be able to notice this and make use of your particular skill set.

 

All that aside, if people at your school want to compete, they need to start on the feet to learn how to pull guard. Once you hit a brown belt level, perhaps even purple, if you just sit with no grip fighting, some folks will pass or pull before you hit the mat.

 

I'm not trying to attack your instructor or the school. In some ways, takedowns have to be modified for BJJ/MMA/Grappling from wrestling. One example being head position on a double, being aware of the guillotine. That said, good grappling is good grappling and bad technique is bad technique, for the most part.

 

Anyhow, hope that helps. Just something to consider.

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Appreciate the reply.

 

To answer those 3 questions, I actually don't know what he has done competition wise.  He did compete in a catch wrestling tournament placed 2nd, but I take him at his word.  I have rolled with him a number of times and have only come close to submitting him maybe twice.  And I think it's because he allowed me to get into a position where that was possible.  I have gone neutral against him when nobody else was there maybe 2 or 3 times and he's pretty solid, extremely strong.  He also has about 60-70 lbs on me too.  He did throw me from a position that I normally am pretty good from.  As far as what his students have done, apparently we've done well competing.  There's a bunch of medals hung up out front so I see them anytime I go in there.  His lineage as an instructor, from what he's said is legitimate.  He mentioned who they're affiliated with/under and it's legitimate.  I have no reason to question his black belt at all. 

 

One of the problems I seem to face is that few people even from the knees will want to do anything but pull guard.  One guy says it's just easier than fight me for the takedown because the few times he's done that he winds up in his guard anyway.  The assistant guy who sometimes teaches on his own actually has us do takedown drills from the feet, but I've never rolled with him before.  He's in pretty good shape, but the only people I've seen him go live against are guys smaller than him or people who aren't really explosive enough to aggravate whatever injury he has.  I think it's his back.  Part of it too is I don't think some of the people who train there appreciate the wrestling attitude.  One guy flat out just refuses to ever roll with me because the one time we did I attacked him with stuff he'd never seen before, since he never wrestled.  He said I was "being too rough" and was afraid I'd hurt him.  I know a few other people don't like to roll with me, probably for similar reasons. 

 

The instructor has had me show a few things in the past, but seems less interested now.  A few times he's said for people to just do what he's teaching and not try to change it even if we think we know better, which is a not so subtle jab at me for helping one guy correct his positioning on a sit out drill.  It's like they have the right idea on these things, which is good, but they don't really understand the proper way to do them.  Like they just do the sit out, but don't move the hips out and away, and they don't explain why you're supposed to do that or just ignore that part completely.  Or if somebody is in a base position, none of them can break down a good wrestler from there.  They throw the legs, or try anyway without any real understanding of why you're supposed to keep your hands under the elbow, or even basic hand/wrist control from the top.  And then they accuse me of "wrestling stuff" when it takes me all of 2 seconds to reverse them to their back because they don't know how to maintain control from the top. 

 

I can say one thing that did bug me and I never said anything, was rolling with the instructor once I kind of turtled up in the base position.  And he wasn't having much luck breaking me down.  So he's trying a bunch of stuff, pulling on my neck, shin across the calf, and I'm just scooting forward, not trying to escape or anything.  So finally he realizes I'm not really trying to get out or improve position, so he jumps on top of me with both knees in my back and starts trying to reach for my head to pull me over or something.  And he's not a small guy, he's probably about 280?  Fortunately I'm not small either, but it was annoying and it did hurt, but it wasn't really necessary. 

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I just re-read NotReady's post again.

 

The guy who teaches/owns the place I'm training at is a legitimate BJJ black belt and I don't know if he has one in Judo as well but he has some experience.  He's a skilled grappler.  You can say what you will but he does have legitimate skill.  As far as where or what he's competed in, I don't know.  The other guy helping him, I have no idea.  I think he's either a purple belt or a brown belt in BJJ.  He doesn't roll much because he has some kind of injury, so he only occasionally drills.  There's another guy who comes in who just got a black belt, but he hurt his knee so he hasn't been seen for a while. 

 

I think one of my biggest problems is that there's very little of anything done in neutral.  Almost every technique we are taught, except for the rare takedowns, is on the mat.  When we actually go live we start on the knees and don't come up to standing.  The takedown he taught us is basically a watered down version of an arm drag to a high C and finish by doubling off.  Maybe as somebody said, in junior high you can get away with staying right in front of somebody, but against anyone decent you're going to get big brothered over because you're attacking somebody at their most powerful and stable point.  I kind of wonder whether I should tell these guys any of this or not.  It's not that I know better, it's just what high level coaches will teach you, guys who've won NCAA titles and things like that.  I just want them to be able to do better in competition, and not worry about getting some kind of certification in catch wrestling. 

Starting on the knees is the thing that I absolutely hated the most.  It's stupid because guys just jump to guard right away and play the who can flop to their back the fastest because they can't handle neutral.

 

When I first started BJJ ages ago, I'd get takedowns so easy on guys because I'd stand up just to be in neutral position.  Of course then when the instructors would spar with me, they'd insist that I start from the knees because they didn't want to get taken down or thrown.  I'd tell them-If you got into a fight on the street, would you be fighting from your knees or your feet?

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There are differences in grappling arts like in striking arts. Muay Thai is different than karate or savate. Different ruleset, different history...

 

 

Yes, of course there are differences, and you just confirmed my point of grappling being the genre which contais species like bjj, wrestling, judo.... The same applies to striking, which is the genre that contain species like boxing, kickboxing, muay thai, etc.

 

There is no style like "grappling" or "striking".

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Starting on the knees is the thing that I absolutely hated the most.  It's stupid because guys just jump to guard right away and play the who can flop to their back the fastest because they can't handle neutral.

 

When I first started BJJ ages ago, I'd get takedowns so easy on guys because I'd stand up just to be in neutral position.  Of course then when the instructors would spar with me, they'd insist that I start from the knees because they didn't want to get taken down or thrown.  I'd tell them-If you got into a fight on the street, would you be fighting from your knees or your feet?

 

The worst excuse for this is when they say starting on the knees is to avoid injuries due to takedowns.

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Yes, of course there are differences, and you just confirmed my point of grappling being the genre which contais species like bjj, wrestling, judo.... The same applies to striking, which is the genre that contain species like boxing, kickboxing, muay thai, etc.

 

There is no style like "grappling" or "striking".

According to UWW Grappling is a specific submission wrestling style with a specific ruleset. It is also a generic term. I'm agree.

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Appreciate the reply.

 

To answer those 3 questions, I actually don't know what he has done competition wise.  He did compete in a catch wrestling tournament placed 2nd, but I take him at his word.  I have rolled with him a number of times and have only come close to submitting him maybe twice.  And I think it's because he allowed me to get into a position where that was possible.  I have gone neutral against him when nobody else was there maybe 2 or 3 times and he's pretty solid, extremely strong.  He also has about 60-70 lbs on me too.  He did throw me from a position that I normally am pretty good from.  As far as what his students have done, apparently we've done well competing.  There's a bunch of medals hung up out front so I see them anytime I go in there.  His lineage as an instructor, from what he's said is legitimate.  He mentioned who they're affiliated with/under and it's legitimate.  I have no reason to question his black belt at all. 

 

One of the problems I seem to face is that few people even from the knees will want to do anything but pull guard.  One guy says it's just easier than fight me for the takedown because the few times he's done that he winds up in his guard anyway.  The assistant guy who sometimes teaches on his own actually has us do takedown drills from the feet, but I've never rolled with him before.  He's in pretty good shape, but the only people I've seen him go live against are guys smaller than him or people who aren't really explosive enough to aggravate whatever injury he has.  I think it's his back.  Part of it too is I don't think some of the people who train there appreciate the wrestling attitude.  One guy flat out just refuses to ever roll with me because the one time we did I attacked him with stuff he'd never seen before, since he never wrestled.  He said I was "being too rough" and was afraid I'd hurt him.  I know a few other people don't like to roll with me, probably for similar reasons. 

 

The instructor has had me show a few things in the past, but seems less interested now.  A few times he's said for people to just do what he's teaching and not try to change it even if we think we know better, which is a not so subtle jab at me for helping one guy correct his positioning on a sit out drill.  It's like they have the right idea on these things, which is good, but they don't really understand the proper way to do them.  Like they just do the sit out, but don't move the hips out and away, and they don't explain why you're supposed to do that or just ignore that part completely.  Or if somebody is in a base position, none of them can break down a good wrestler from there.  They throw the legs, or try anyway without any real understanding of why you're supposed to keep your hands under the elbow, or even basic hand/wrist control from the top.  And then they accuse me of "wrestling stuff" when it takes me all of 2 seconds to reverse them to their back because they don't know how to maintain control from the top. 

 

I can say one thing that did bug me and I never said anything, was rolling with the instructor once I kind of turtled up in the base position.  And he wasn't having much luck breaking me down.  So he's trying a bunch of stuff, pulling on my neck, shin across the calf, and I'm just scooting forward, not trying to escape or anything.  So finally he realizes I'm not really trying to get out or improve position, so he jumps on top of me with both knees in my back and starts trying to reach for my head to pull me over or something.  And he's not a small guy, he's probably about 280?  Fortunately I'm not small either, but it was annoying and it did hurt, but it wasn't really necessary. 

 

Dude, you sound like a nice guy, so I'm not trying to be a jerk, but from what you describe, the gym you are at and the instructors are not very good. Seems like you are trusting and take what they say and present as face value, and just my two cents, but I get the feeling they are taking advantage of that with you and others.

 

There are so many random, small BJJ tournaments, let alone "catch" tournaments where there are so few competitors you automatically get a medal, even without having to win a match. Or just win one match to get a medal. You could rack up an "impressive" display pretty quickly. So, don't take that presentation as an automatic sign of legitimacy. Somebody could display all their PeeWee wrestling medals at the front of their gym and that would look impressive to the untrained eye too. But what if they had no State medals, or anything beyond that?

 

Some affiliations in jiu jitsu can be bought and sold quite easily, with no quality control. The seller gets money, and the buyer gets legitimacy - but the students get the short end.

 

In jiu jitsu, technique is king. If the only person that can "out technique" you is 60-70 pounds heavier than you that's not a good sign. The other thing about jiu jitsu is, not everyone competes. That's so different than wrestling. In wrestling, you spar with competition intensity because everyone competes. In jiu jitsu, you have to learn how to roll with competitors differently than you would casual practitioners. It would basically be like rolling with a middle school kid the same way you do a college wrestler. Jiu jitsu rooms are much more diverse in skill level, background, talent, etc than a wrestling room, which is generally fairly homogenous. If people claim to be "competitors" at a gym, but complain that you go too hard, that's another bad sign. Some BJJ gyms are very competition focused, others not so much. You'll never find a wrestling club that "doesn't compete".

 

The guard pulling thing can be annoying for wrestlers, but as long as guard pulling is not penalized in bjj competition, people would be dumb NOT to do it. Wrestling has 1 not 2, the guard pull in BJJ is basically 0 not 2. It is what it is, learn to pass guard and love that game is my only advice. That's still not an excuse for many gyms to never start from the feet, or do so very rarely. Especially around 180 pounds and up, takedowns decide lots of matches in bjj.

 

Like I said, I'm not trying to come off too harsh, but as long as you were respectful in the way you roll or offer advice, you should not have been rebuked or cast off the way you were. A bjj gym is lucky to have someone with extensive wrestling experience, but some instructors are threatened by that since it shows a gap in their skill set. There's a lot of fog and mirrors in jiu jitsu, and some folks cling to the mystique they create for themselves. 

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The worst excuse for this is when they say starting on the knees is to avoid injuries due to takedowns.

 

I've actually seen lots of beginners get hurt in class and in competition when they start on the feet. They don't know not to post their hands out, where not to step, how to sprawl right. It sounds crazy to wrestlers but I've seen it enough to take it seriously.

 

Starting on the knees makes sense for beginners basically as training wheels to learn the proper reactions, and for those with limited mat space. Check out Erik Paulson's DVD on takedowns from the knees if you are curious. 

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Starting on the knees is the thing that I absolutely hated the most.  It's stupid because guys just jump to guard right away and play the who can flop to their back the fastest because they can't handle neutral.

 

When I first started BJJ ages ago, I'd get takedowns so easy on guys because I'd stand up just to be in neutral position.  Of course then when the instructors would spar with me, they'd insist that I start from the knees because they didn't want to get taken down or thrown.  I'd tell them-If you got into a fight on the street, would you be fighting from your knees or your feet?

 

Well, luckily BJJ is not MMA, and MMA is not a street fight.

 

When you wrestled, were strikes involved? Why not? If you got into a fight in the street, wouldn't the other guy be trying to hit you?

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