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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

No Holds Barred: Kazu Watanabe and Steve Koepfer on Sambo, Japan, and Catch Wrestling 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with three-time Japanese national sambo champion Kazu Watanabe and Sambo Steve Koepfer of New York Combat Sambo.

Kazu Watanabe has been visiting New York recently, both teaching sambo classes at New York Combat Sambo and acquainting himself with the culture and many attractions of New York.

We spoke with both Kazu Watanabe and Sambo Steve Koepfer Sunday at New York Combat Sambo in midtown Manhattan. Steve also helped explain some of the questions, which were all in English, to Kazu.

Although he started training in judo first, Kazu Watanabe has become a big devotee of sambo.

"Sambo is very creative," he said. He had trained at the famed Kiguchi Dojo near Tokyo for about 20 years in both sambo and judo. Two years ago, he retired from active competition, but he still trains other athletes in sambo and judo.

This year will be a big one for sambo in Japan, as the 2014 world championships, sanctioned by FIAS, the international sambo federation, will be held there. The dates are November 20-24, 2014, in Narita, Japan.

Another topic we discussed was catch wrestling. Sambo Steve, who also teaches catch wrestling, had several wrestlers competing at the 2014 Catch Wrestling World Championship, presented by the Snake Pit U.S.A., held July 27 at the MMA World Expo in New York.

Speaking of that tournament, the first real catch wrestling championship in New York in 94 years, he said, "I was pleased. I though it turned out really good. I think it exposed a lot of people" to catch wrestling.

"There was a huge crowd standing around the catch mat watching, much more than any other event going on at the Expo, I think. So it was fascinating to people."

In addition, we discussed the status of sambo and catch wrestling in Japan, why Steve believes that putting sambo in the Olympics might "ruin" the sport, Japanese food and tea, and much more.

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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 Liberty Bell Classic / King of Catch Wrestling Tournament, presented by the North American Catch Wrestling Association and Scientific Wrestling. In this tournament, you can only win by pin or submission, with no points. It all takes place Saturday, August 30, at Primal Gym, 231 Bakers Basin Road, Lawrenceville, New Jersey 08648. For more information, go to kingofcatchwrestling.com.

Snake Pit U.S.A., whose primary mission is to breathe new life into real catch-as-catch-can wrestling and help lead the catch wrestling revolution for martial artists and those pursuing recreational training and fitness alike. For more information, 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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