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Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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    Friday, July 11, 2014

    No Holds Barred: Antonio Graceffo, the Brooklyn Monk, on Wrestling and China 

    On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with the writer, web show host, MMA fighter, and wrestler, Antonio Graceffo.

    Born in Brooklyn, known as the "Brooklyn Monk", and raised in Tennessee, he is in the process of completing his Ph.D. at Shanghai University of Sport in Shanghai, China, and is a member of the traditional wrestling (Shuai Jiao) team there.

    We spoke with him Thursday in New York while he was in town.

    "My Ph.D. thesis topic is comparing Chinese traditional wrestling with Western wrestling," he said. "My professors want me to write about history, culture, rules, competition, techniques, training, all different aspects. And they sort of expanded that and they wanted me to write a lot about Greece and Rome for some reason, but that led me to writing now about Pankration: ancient Greek wrestling, and then Pankration, and then Pankration into the Roman era, which becomes like the gladiators. So actually it becomes very interesting, a lot of fun for me to write it."

    He continued, "But then it also means it's expanded, the types of things that I need to go do in addition to my reading, that I need to go experience, catch wrestling for example. And they also want me to write about pro wrestling. And of course as soon as you include pro wrestling as sort of a modern evolution of wrestling, if you want to call it that, and in a way, the modern pro wrestling is the gladiatorial games of the Romans."

    Thus, on this trip back to New York, he sampled training in several different styles. He attended a training session in catch wrestling with Sambo Steve Koepfer at New York Combat Sambo, as well as one in judo at Long Island Judo with Sensei Gary Rasanen, and even met with a group which performs the staged pro wrestling.

    We also discussed the status of wrestling and grappling in China, how there is not now a large feeder system there on the amateur and youth levels of wrestling, how children in regular schools do not play sports, why it would be difficult for catch wrestling to succeed in China at present, his future plans, and much, much more.

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    No Holds Barred is free to listen to and is sponsored by:

    MMA World Expo. The mixed martial arts community comes to New York City July 26 and 27, 2014, for the fifth annual MMA World Expo, featuring the Fighters Source U.S. Nationals amateur MMA tournament, two days of ADCC no-gi and gi grappling tournaments, MMA fighters, seminars with world-class trainers, vendors, panel discussions, catch wrestling competition, and much more. The MMA World Expo takes place Saturday, July 26, and Sunday, July 27, 2014, at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.

    American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

    The 2014 Catch Wrestling World Championship, presented by the Snake Pit U.S.A., taking place Sunday, July 27, at the MMA World Expo at the Jacob Javits Center in New York. You can only win by pin or submission. Best two out of three falls. All styles welcome. For more information or to register, go to snakepitusa.com.

    The Catch Wrestling Alliance, a catch wrestling promotion that works with the highest level catch wrestlers from around the world with the goal of reviving the great sport of catch-as-catch-can wrestling. The Catch Wrestling Alliance organizes catch wrestling sporting events, and its primary organizer is Dr. Raul Ramirez. For more information, go to catchwrestlingalliance.com.

    Takedown Wrestling Media, America's wrestling TV and radio shows, which are hosted by founder Scott Casber, and have been airing on radio and Internet for over 17 years. Takedown Media produces a weekly TV program seen in 54 million homes in the U.S. on DirecTV, Dish Network, and cable affiliates around the country, called Takedown TV. Takedown Media also produces the weekly USA Wrestling TV show for the governing body of the sport, USA Wrestling. For more information, go to http://takedownradio.com.

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