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Sunday, July 12, 2015

No Holds Barred: Luis Ciraiz on Catch Wrestling, Grappling, BJJ, and MMA 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with catch wrestler Luis Ciraiz.

Based in Guatemala, he has been visiting North America the past few weeks on a catch wrestling and grappling tour. He won a championship in the master's division at the NAGA U.S. Open Championship on July 4 in Winter Park, Florida, USA. Then he traveled to Mike Martelle's Grizzly Gym in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, to hold a seminar on July 11 as well as a small catch wrestling tournament.

We spoke with Luis Ciraiz by phone Saturday night after the seminar and tournament.

"It was really cool," he said. "I got to meet many people. It was really awesome to have the opportunity to teach in Grizzly Gym. Actually that is the headquarters of our whole organization around the world."

For the seminar and tournament, "We had even the Grizzly Gym people from Philadelphia coming over, Professor Allen Chambers and one of his guys," he said. "We just had a lot of fun."

We discussed the importance of catch wrestlers entering grappling tournaments like NAGA's and "doing catch wrestling" to show its effectiveness even under rules where there are no pins and some submissions are not allowed. Many of the people in these tournaments have jiu-jitsu backgrounds, he noted, and are not used to the takedowns and leglocks of the catch wrestlers, as well as the physicality many wrestlers have.

While he will not be competing in this year's ADCC World Submission Fighting Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil, August 29-30, he noted that this is the "best level of competition" in grappling in the world, and he would like to qualify for this event in the future.

We also discussed how the victories of catch wrestlers like Josh Barnett in martial arts tournaments have helped raise awareness of the value of this sport; how there have been tournaments for the past eight years in Guatemala, including this year's Let's Shoot catch wrestling tournament with over 100 competitors; how catch wrestling is actually bigger than jiu-jitsu in Guatemala; his experiences as an undefeated MMA fighter mainly using his grappling techniques, which some promoters don't like; the need to develop a more standard set of rules for catch wrestling; and much, much more.

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