Discussion in 'Grappling / Brazilian Ju Jitsu / Wrestling' started by Andrew Green, May 9, 2006.
Pretty cool find, Andrew. I have never seen any of the catch-wrestling stuff before.
Dude, that's awesome. I have looked into him before, and I personally prefer his methodology over a lot of other ones out there. I plan to go out and train with him at some point, as he is in Chicago I believe, which isn't too far from me.
Excellent stuff. Nice find.
Thank you for sharing. Great stuff!
Another great find. Thanks!
He doesn't actively teach at a school or club. If you are in Chicago or you know when you will maybe PM and I can get a get together set up. Tony is a very good friend of mine and I have known him close to ten years. Although I am a Kenpo man, my ground game comes from him on the various seminars and times I made it down to actually train.
Granted this is all speculation on my part. I need to get in touch with him first. Lots of political crap has gone on in the catch world. Seems to be tappering down and people are training and moving past. Its very solid and functional stuff. More then anything the rides and reversals helped my ground and pound more then any submission(hook) I could ever see. Then again Im not a grappler more of a ground survivor LOL.
Cool Mike. I really appreciate that. I am not sure when I will be in Chicago next, but I will definatily contact you and see about meeting up with him. Thanks again!
A BJJ purple belt on another forum watched this and wrote his thoughts. I think I should share them:
I was bored, so I found myself willing to sit through 16 minutes of that....
Anyways, Tony apparently likes to poke fun at the "jiu jitsu" guys. Whats even funnier is that his assumptions and accusations that hes making of the jiu jitsu guys are his misconceptions of jiu jitsu because of his lack of understanding in grappling.
Anyways, on to the technique critique
Lets just say that the omoplata at @ 3:20 is nothing short of atrocious. With such a loose hold on the shoulder, nothing is preventing his opponent from simply circling his arm out and coming back up to a neutral position. As you can clearly see, hes relying on his grip on his opponents wrist to attempt to prevent him from escaping the omoplata. Your grip on a sweaty wrist vs the leverage of your opponents entire body.....
The correct way locks the shoulder with your legs, and by engaging your abs and sitting up, you effectively trap your opponents wrist between your abs and your thighs.
Side Control @ 3:43
Here Tony critiques jiu jitsu fighters for staying on their knees from cross side. I find this rather amusing, since there are a variety of positions with which to hold cross side. Tony's cross side control is atrocious- the person demonstrating has his hips way too low to have his weight on his opponent. If his opponent attempts to escape, the man on top is holding with his arms, contrary to Tony's belief that hes using his body. The PROPER positioning of the hips for the top man is to have the point of his hips on the point of his opponents hips. This will maximize the pressure the top man can have on the bottom man. You could say that Tony's not the one demonstrating the technique, but he is the one directing the control of the person in the top position. That cross side hold down might stop a white belt, but the amount of space available for an elbow escape back to guard from that position is atrocious- I could drive a truck through there.
By the time one becomes an experienced blue belt or by the time they're a purple belt, jiu jitsu fighters are well aware that they want to keep their knees off of the ground so as to keep the weight on their opponent, but now why do we still see BJJ fighters controlling from cross side on their knees? The answer is to set up various attacks from cross side. When an opponent exposes his arms and limbs from cross side, he starts to open himself up for attacks. The problem with the man in the top position when he was on his knees is that he was not tight enough to secure his opponents limbs. Watch the clip and notice how far away his knees are from his opponents head- he should be trying to touch his head with his knees- now his left arm secures head control and hes once again able to use his body to lock the right arm of the man on bottom, allowing for various submissions and positioning techniques.
Want a closer look? Watch the few tapes of Rickson when he fought Funaki or in Choke when he fought in Vale Tudo 95- he uses his knee to open up his opponents elbows- this prevents any possible form of elbow escape and allows for an easy transition to the mounted position. You can also watch Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Mirko Cro Cop- notice how Nog uses his left knee to open up Cro Cops elbow and allow for an easy mount?
Kimura @ 6:20
This one kinda surpised me, since catch wrestlers are often reknown for having good kimuras- Tony's details are horrendus.
He talks about not sitting up like the "jiu jitsu guys." Once again, the jiu jitsu guys sit up to isolate the limb and attack with the lock. Good ol' Tony thinks that with the tweak of his wrist, he can break a resisting opponents posture and pressure allowing for an easy kimura-I've been doing kimuras for awhile, its not that simple. The other mistake that Tony is making is that his hips are still flat on the ground. Once you lock your arms together in a kimura, the fight is NOT with your arms, but rather with your hips. From this position, Tony would be best suited escaping his hips further towards the side of the kimura (so that his left hip is on the ground and his right hip is facing up). This will maximize the leverage for the kimura.
Without sitting up for the kimura, your opponent is simply going to drive back into you and pin your hips to the ground. This is why the fight is with your hips and not your arms. Look very closely at 8:57 and you will see that Tony does indeed have his hips flat against the ground.
Kimura @ 7:41
I couldnt believe this one- Tony has the guard and elects to give the cross side in order for a kimura attempt. Essentially what hes doing is jumping to cross side to give himself leverage (or what he thinks is leverage) for a kimura. We're all taught never to attempt to attack from cross side in BJJ, and for a good reason- it exposes you to to attacks. The counter to this attack is a beautifully set up armbar where the man on top need only swing his hips in a circle. If you'll notice, Tony uses a rather crude hook that merely prevents his opponent from rolling out of the kimura, but in this counter, you're not rolling out but simply circling to the side, to which Tony has no defense.
If you're still having troubling picturing this counter, just watch the submission that Matt Hughes used against GSP- Pierre was attempting kimuras the entire round against Hughes (and trying them from half guard). At the end of the round, St Piere locks on in, but Hughes slides out of half guard (putting him in the exact position Tony is showing) and spins around for a beautiful armlock submission.
Armdrag from guard @ 11:07
Once again, Tony's details are focusing on the wrong things. From here, Tony describes the important details of the position as grabbing your opponents waist- this is incorrect. The important detail is sitting up to close the distance between your opponent torso and your own. Even if you grab at your opponents waist, wirery guys can still swim their arms through and grab your waist and go back to the guard- this has happened to anyone who's ever attempted an armdrag. Essentially, what one wants to do is to sit up so that your chest is on your opponents back. This way, you're using your chest and the strength of your entire body against your opponents counter and him trying to bring his arm back. If you use Tony's method, hes using the strength of his arms to take the back as opposed to the method taught in jiu jitsu where you use your entire body.
So, Tony likes to rag on the jiu jitsu guys and claims they use their limbs to control their opponents- lets do a little recap here:
From his cross side position, elbow escape back to full guard is an easy and obvious option- Tony's method of holding cross side involves using your arms to hold the person in tight (even though he says otherwise). The jiu jitsu method has you use your hips on your opponents hips utilizing your entire body against your opponents.
His kimura's rely once against on the strength of his arms to pry the arm up and apply the lock- the jiu jitsu guys maneuver their hips so as to keep their own arms tight to their body (your arms are stronger when they're closer to your body as opposed to extended away from your body). This allows for one to use their entire body rather than just their arms.
Tony's omoplata relies on wrist control to prevent an opponent from escaping. The jiu jitsu technique allows for locking the technique with your legs (stronger than your wrists) and utilzing your entire body to apply the technique.
And he says jiu jitsu guys rely on their limbs to control their opponents.....
I have heard some negative things about Tony. The explanations from the purple belt seems to point some holes in his (Tony's) conceptual underpinnings for catch.
Well; I don't know how productive a 'style vs. style' arguement would be here. I personally would borrow from any grappling system with anything good in it - BJJ, JJ, or Catch. But, hey, what do I know...
Nah, BJJ guys will notice the things that they consider most important, Catch guys the ones they do.
As far as technical details go, BJJ seems to be more detail orientated though, but catch definately has it's own strengths
I hope Mr. Cacchine isn't using negative marketing tactics, though (like Catch is better then BJJ because...).
What I like about competitive circles is that there isn't as much of the "my style is better" crap among competitors. There isn't dumb conversations and wars over "the intricacies of the technique" and other such silly things. You work against resistance and you find out what works. Period end of it. Sure, there are ideals ways to perform a technique, but the ideal rarely happends in a bout. So to really hammer someone for certian technical intricacies can be about as useful as argueing over a hip twist in a kata.
I should also mention; the thing that I liked about Catch, from what I heard from reliable sources, is that the overall strategy is to control the opponent from the standing position, from the beginning of the fight. This way, you control the opponent on the way down to the ground, setting him up for an immediate "hook" that would end it quickly.
Not that it is better or worse as that would depend on the fighter, but this is a bit more fitting to my personal strategy then some of the other methods.
Well, I don't think Cecchine is "bashing" BJJ so much as he is showing that there are, in his opinion, better ways to apply certain principles of control. Remember, the conceptual underpinning of catch is wrestling. It's not about finding positions, but instead is something more dynamic.
Both catch and BJJ chain moves. But in catch, practitioners are never really looking to get into a predetermined position (say, guard, half guard, etc.,) from which to launch submissions; instead, they are looking to keep active as wrestlers, keep the opponent controlled, and take the submissions where they find them.
Having looked at the clip and at the BJJ Purple Belt's critiques, I admit to being quite baffled by what it is our BJJ friend is even talking about.
1. The object of making an opponent carry your weight is to wear him down. And for any of you who've ever seen Tony's Lost Art of Hooking, you'd know that, in addition to making the man carry your weight, you are instructed to keep him in an unnatural position.
Now, leaving aside the obvious question about why on earth BJJ would teach one thing to lower belts only to reverse course once you have advanced, the problem with control from the knees, as Cecchine sees it (and he explains this in LAOH rather thoroughly), is that you are able to stay more mobile when you are off your knees, and apply more pressure with your hips from the sprawl, provided you keep your center of gravity low and your feet live. If you are faster, you can circle your opponent (rather than, say, hopping over), which sets you up for anticipating movements that lead to locks, half nelsons, neck cranks, etc.
BJJ simply uses different principles of movement. It's up to the individual to decide, ultimately, which he or she feels works best -- but to call Cecchine's control atrocious is to misunderstand it completely. For a more comprehensive take on that principle of control as taught in catch, see, for instance, here:
This is not to say, of course, that there is never a time to knee up. Just that, by advocating staying on your knees, you are trading off leaving your opponent comfortable for the ability to "set up attacks from cross side" -- which is something you can do just as well in catch by quickly moving to the head and arm position, for instance -- not to mention move into near or far side armlocks.
2. Tony details this, again, in LAOH. What you are supposed to do to complete the hook is bridge. He uses almost no strength at all. It is all leverage.
What Cecchine is showing here is how to use both of your arms, and with the twist and the right angle, you can see how it takes very little pressure to get the submission because the lock itself (with the arms) is applied better technically.
"Good 'ol Tony" is correct about the twist. Try it yourselves. The twist is, in fact, the essential component to making the dwl strong. Hell, even Gene Simco has taken to teaching it that way now: pinkie up. As for his sitting back and pinning you, you can simply extend your leg to control him.
The idea is to get the angle on him, which is important no matter what style you use. If you have the proper fulcrum and control (which you will with your leg), it'll be over fast. Here, Cecchine doesn't need to bridge because the hold is on tight enough for the submission.
Besides, Cecchine is simply demonstrating the hold and the frame for the hold. He's not showing every counter and counter to the counter, ad infinitum.
Here's a bit from that same seminar (and recall, this is 1999), in which Cecchine shows how to close space and tighten the hold on the twl, for instance:
3. I'm not sure quite what our BJJ friend is talking about at 7:41-7:53 when he writes:
There is so much wrong with this characterization as to beggar belief, honestly.
First, review the clip. Tony doesn't give up the cross side -- at least, not it any way I understand cross side (chest to chest). Instead, the guy is kneed up alongside him. And note, too, that Tony has him in half guard when he goes for the lock. He is monitoring his opponent's leg, and can always tighten that "crude hook" should the man attempt to walk around.
In the Hughes-St. Pierre match, GSP gives up the guard entirely. In essence, Hughes is free. GSP sits up with no control whatever and begins fishing around for the lock. When he grabs it, Hughes is already on GSP's left side (not, as here, where the opponent is on the right and in half guard).
But for the sake of argument, let's say Cecchine misses the hold, is unable to secure the foot, and his opponent begins trying to walk up to his head. Look at Cecchine's body position. What he'd do is simply release the arm and he'd have his opponent's back -- because he's already 3/4 of the way out from the bottom. And if he anticipates his opponent's response will be to post, once he gets the back, he'd be waiting and would instantly apply some other lock.
This is rather typical catch chaining, in fact.
Our BJJ friend notes that Tony is using a rather "crude hook" to secure his guy. Well, okay. But that's because he's demonstrating the wristlock, not leg control -- at least in this clip. So keep it in context.
But please, do go compare this portion of the clip to the Hughes-GSP fight. The two instances being compared by our BJJ friend are not even REMOTELY similar.
Cecchine does not teach this lock from bottom when you are cross side. Check out the LAOH: he teaches it from bottom when you have your man scissored (in guard). And even in that instance, he regains position (he'll kick his upper body out, grab the arm, then move back under) as soon as he has the lock on.
4. Not much to say here. Kicking out, using your leg or foot to control the guy's hips, and using the seatbelt to control his waist while you escape is pretty standard wrestling technique.
If BJJ guys think that the whole of amateur wrestling is somehow inferior for escapes and control than what it is they are being taught at the purple belt level, well, we'll just have to agree to disagree.
Too, wrestlers have been using arm and wrist control for...who knows how long? Somehow, they've managed to overcome the problem with sweat -- probably by working on their grip strength.
Again, there are many ways to control the opponent -- and wrestling seems to be teaching something different than BJJ, if our friend here can be believed -- so I suppose we should leave it to the individual practitioner to decide which works best for him or her.
And is simply untrue that Tony's cross body / head and arm relies on limb strength.
It relies on applying pressure with the hips, keeping the opponent uncomfortable, and using proper leverage, as the clip I posted earlier illustrates.
But if you need further proof, you can see a detailed explanation of the head and arm position here:
At any rate, you can find a host of other clips at Cecchine's catch channel on YouTube (www.youtube.com/catchwrestle). He's been putting up clips fairly regularly, so if you're interested in American catch style (much of what's out there today come from the British branch of catch by way of Karl Gotch and Japan -- Barnett, Fujiwara, Sakuraba, Billy Robinson; American-style catch has a number of differences) you can always subscribe to the channel and take a look at the clips as they become available.
Hate to say this, but Cecchine is generally thought of as a fraud in the grappling world. The BJJ and Submission Grappling world prides itself on proving it's worth on the mat. Anyone without competition proof, proven lineage, or competitive students who train under them are just not considered as a reliable source.
Take Greg Jackson. Here's a guy who by himself has no straight lineage to any BJJ instruction and has himself never competed. But he produces spectacular fighters and therefor is considered an excellent grappling coach. But where are Cecchine's students? Can anyone name a competitive catch wrestler who has dominated in submission grappling tournaments? If so, then the BJJ and Submission Grappling community would probably feel a little better about Mr. Cecchine.
Well, if you visit this thread, you'll see that the "fraud" allegations are false. I know, because I did the research and have settled most of those questions.
Regarding competition, remember several things: 1) Cecchine does not bill himself as an MMA coach and never has. He teaches catch along with standup striking and "ripping" as part of an overall self defense and streetfighting strategy.
Which is not to say catch can't be adopted for sport (though as Cecchine makes clear in the opening of every DVD in Lost Art of Hooking, the moves he's teaching were meant to maim and break things) -- and in fact, several pro fighters, and a few amateurs, have come to Cecchine for training. Shonie Carter tapped Tony to teach him how to avoid submissions before his fight with Matt Serra, and he vouches for Tony's skills. As do Jason Godsey, Mike Martelle, and others. Cecchine just doesn't advertise it.
Recently, three of his students (two are beginners) won a) the Ohio NAGA, and b) a Hawaii State sub grappling tournament (with gi, even though the kid had never worn one before), and c) Ohio NAGA (intermediate). And no less than Erik Paulson and Josh Barnett speak up for Tony's material -- with Paulson being quite impressed with the wrestling of one of Tony's regular students, Brian Deneve (who has an actual career and isn't much interested in fighting professionally).
Which brings me to my last point, re: competition: even if Tony had a "banner" under which he fielded a fight team (and he does not), there is only one small Tony Cecchine gym on the outskirts of Chicago. Meanwhile, there are thousands of BJJ academies, or fight academies teaching BJJ as the default ground game for MMA. And that dynamic is self perpetuating: there are plenty of guys studying BJJ and becoming high-level belts; but there are very few legit catch guys (Tony has only certified 5 in 10 years, and many of them are Chicago guys who now have families and have no real interest in competition. Hardly surprising, given that they took up catch for self defense, and just to stay in shape and press themselves).
To train with Tony requires a real commitment: pick up and move to Chicago, for instance. But with its terrible job market, it's high cost of living, and its abysmal traffic, who is gonna do that? -- particularly after he's spent the last 6 years getting hammered on the internet by a competitor who relied on Cecchine's unwillingness to answer (what it turns out are mostly) false and rathter ludicrous claims.
The BJJ and submission grappling community have been taught to think catch a joke because it has been (fairly in some cases, I think, given who's been driving it recently) tied to pro wrestling; and because Eddie Bravo and Joe Rogan were suckered into attacking Cecchine, with Cecchine's competitors waiting there in the thread to ambush him.
But the real story is, very few pro wrestlers knew hooking, Cecchine doesn't come out of the Gotch school (which brought us Japanese pro wrestling) and Bravo and Rogan never apologized for running a man's name through the mud -- even after it was PROVEN that they'd falsely accused him. Instead, they just slid away and did some bong hits, and the mma.tv thread on which they'd made their accusations was removed.
If you want to judge Cecchine's efficacy, look at what he teaches. Not only did he do an early instructional with a BJJ academy owner (to show how catch can augment BJJ, and vice versa, c. 2001), but it's no accident that many of the links to his videos -- and a host of his sales for LAOH -- come from among the ranks of BJJ practitioners.
Catch is simply a different style of ground game, one that melds with previous training in wrestling. Whereas BJJ can be used almost in isolation on the ground -- which is why it is so useful for, say, strikers looking to add a submission ground game. No need to learn wrestling -- though more frequently now, BJJ practitioners are being taught how to avoid takedowns.
It's a shame that Cecchine got labeled a fraud by a guy who took a single seminar with him (and a faux "wrestling historian"), then lit out on his own and is now the go-to guy for catch. But you won't see Cecchine certifying people after a couple of weekend seminars, and you won't find anyone who's trained with him that thinks he's anything less than the real deal.
You can either trust the word of those of us who know him and can vouch for him, or you can believe the accusations that were leveled at him and that have now, I hope, been countered successfully and convincingly.
But I will say this much: as someone who's trained in BJJ, I find a whole lot of use in catch. And my BJJ instructor, who doesn't follow internet forums, is quite impressed with Cecchine's stuff.
Your mileage may vary.
I have never rolled with Tony or any of his students, so I cannot personally give an opinion on his skills or his teaching ability. I do know that in the 10 years I have been involved in BJJ there has been an incredible amount of controversy surrounding him and some of his cohorts. That doesn't mean that it is all true, but it doesn't mean it's all false either. He is not generally thought of as a legitimate figure in the sport, that's all I'm saying. He might be an incredible grappler and instructor and if that is the case then he will earn his respect back with his actions moving forward. Having credible figures such as Josh Barnett and Eric Paulson supporting him helps for sure.
I agree. And having the stink removed from his name helps, as well.
Cecchine just recently did his first seminars outside of Chicago in 4-5 years. From what I've heard, they went quite well (I believe he was in New Hampshire and Boston).
I believe there is also in the works talk of a follow-up to Lost Art of Hooking. He didn't have creative control over that series, so most people don't know much about his ripping or his stand-up game.
As for how his technique works, well, here's testimony from a guy who doesn't particularly like Cecchine personally, but who nevertheless endorses his material.
Im REALLY confused about this whole thing. See I emailed Tony Cecchine and asked him were in L.A. could i learn Catch Wrestling. He said ask Erik Paulson so i did. Erik Paulson recommended Gene Lebell and a man out of the Inosanto Academy. BUT Gene Lebell doesnt teach anymore. His top student Gokor does.
Forward to the other day, I asked Tony Cecching again who i should ask about Catch because Gene Lebell is retired Im guessing. He told me that Gokor is a good grappler but doesnt know how to hook. He said if you wanan learn hooking or catch wrestling come to chicago thats the only place in the country to learn. Now i think it was someone else responding because i dont think Mr Cecchine would say that.
So i know about how the founder of Scientific Wrestling is kinda a fraud according to Tony which is pretty lame since Tony Cecchine has no wish to bother anyone and has a serious back injury to boot. But im wondering if Erik Paulson does teach hooking or not. I know that on his CSW website he has Catch Wrestling in his class list. And i know that Billy Robinson works for scientific wrestling and Lou Thesz said he knew how to hook. Thus im really confused is scientific wrestling a school worth learning from I mean if you have no other altenative should you go to them to learn Catch Wrestling but should you go directly to Billy Robinson?
Separate names with a comma.