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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Thursday, May 14, 2009

No Holds Barred: Ricardo Liborio and Gary Abbott on Grappling, Wrestling, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 

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  • On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with two of the most important figures in the world of grappling, Ricardo Liborio and Gary Abbott.

    Ricardo Liborio is a legend in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. A black belt under the late, great Carlson Gracie, in 1996 Ricardo was one of the first winners of the Mundial, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world championships, where he also was voted the most technical fighter. Besides being a Brazilian national champion in both jiu-jitsu and judo, he placed second in 2000 at the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) Submission Wrestling World Championship and third in 1999. He co-founded the Brazilian Top Team, and then became the founder and head instructor of the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, where he still is located. He was voted coach of the year by the North American Grappling Association (NAGA) in 2005, and is a member of the NAGA Grappling Hall of Fame. He is regarded as one of the top coaches of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, mixed martial arts, and grappling in the world. He will also be one of the many international guests at the May 23 Art of War Fighting Championship mixed martial arts card in Beijing, China.

    After wrestling at Boston University, Gary Abbott has served for two decades at USA Wrestling, the national governing body for wrestling in the U.S. and a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. He is the Director of Communications for USA Wrestling, and is one of the key people who is tirelessly working to popularize the sport of wrestling and striving to make sure it is more widely covered in the media.

    Now these two noted people from these two different styles of grappling will be working together. Ricardo Liborio has been named the National Coach for USA Grappling, which is the grappling program of USA Wrestling. This is an important step forward in the cooperation between different styles of grappling, and represents an acknowledgement of the essential unity between all styles of grappling, as well as all styles of the combat sports.

    It was thus a quite lively and informative discussion that we had for No Holds Barred. We spoke about the journey Ricardo had made from the worlds of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Vale Tudo in Brazil, to mixed martial arts, and now to USA Grappling. We discussed all these styles and rules. We stressed the connection of all these styles of grappling, and all the combat sports. We analyzed the prospects for grappling becoming an Olympic sport. And we discussed with Gary the 2009 U.S. World Team Trials, which take place May 30-31 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, to determine the U.S. world teams for men's and women's freestyle wrestling and for Greco-Roman wrestling.

    In addition, the 2009 Grappling World Championships will take place in the U.S., at the Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, Dec. 12-13. We discussed the importance of this international event being held in U.S.

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

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