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Sunday, January 11, 2015

No Holds Barred: Mike Martelle on Grizzly's Quest to Wrestle in Senegal 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Mike Martelle, the owner and head instructor of the Grizzly Gym.

A martial artist who has mastered numerous disciplines and styles of both grappling and striking, he will be traveling from Kingston, Ontario, Canada, this coming week to Dakar, Senegal, in Africa, to train and compete in the traditional style of wrestling known as Laamb. There he will train with Kairé Deux at the Soumbédioune Training Center (l'écurie Soumbédioune), as well as conduct seminars in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA.

He is working on this project with the Lion Heart Initiative.

We spoke with Mike Martelle by phone Thursday.

"Ever since I was a little kid when I started martial arts decades ago, it was always my lifelong dream to compete on every continent," he said. "This trip to Africa will complete that goal. This will be the last of the six viable continents that I will be traveling to and competing upon."

He continued, "We'll be competing in a traditional form of wrestling, the national sport of Senegal, called Laamb."

There are two versions of Laamb: amateur and professional.

"Essentially you're looking to win via taking your opponent down, or putting him out-of-bounds. And in the professional version, you can also use closed-fist punches to, shall we say, encourage the takedown," he said.

"So I'm very excited about it. It's going to be fantastic."

We discussed more about the Lion Heart Initiative, the potential for Laamb (also called Senegalese Wrestling) to become a popular sport worldwide, why this is "sport at its purest, at its most primal", upcoming plans for catch wrestling and combat wrestling events this year, and much, much more.

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