Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast and the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

No Holds Barred: Neil Melanson on Catch Wrestling and Grappling 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with the head grappling coach at the Xtreme Couture gym in Las Vegas, Neil Melanson.
Neil had served for seven years in the U.S. Navy and for five years as a Special Agent in the Federal Air Marshal Service, doing counter-terrorism work. His quest to become a mixed martial arts fighter was cut short after he lost sight in one eye due to suffering from Behcet 's disease. Now he trains both professional and amateur fighters and gym students in various styles of grappling, for both grappling competitions and mixed martial arts.
He has also become one of the growing number of devotees of catch wrestling, also known as catch-as-catch-can wrestling. In this style of wrestling, you can win by submission or pin. A century ago, catch wrestling was one of the most popular professional sports in America and the world.
Neil has trained under the legendary Gene LeBell, and now helps train MMA legend Randy Couture, including in catch wrestling and how it applies to mixed martial arts.
In our recent phone interview, we discussed many of the prominent styles of grappling, including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and catch wrestling. We compared the techniques and methods of these great grappling disciplines, and discussed how they applied to mixed martial arts.
We also examined the relatively small but blossoming movement to revive catch wrestling. Could the establishment of a new infrastructure of tournaments and training centers for catch wrestling resuscitate it as both a competitive and spectator sport sometime in the future? Many people would like that to occur, but there is a long, long way to go until anything close to that happens. We thus discussed some of the things that could be done to expand the reach of this sport, the rules for catch wrestling, and more.
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