Wednesday, July 06, 2016

No Holds Barred: Steve Koepfer on Why and How Combat Wrestling Is Growing 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Steve Koepfer, the owner and head coach of New York Combat Sambo.

Among the many types of events in which he is involved is combat wrestling. He also serves as the Secretary General of USA Combat Wrestling.

USA Combat Wrestling is the official governing body for combat wrestling in the U.S. and the U.S. delegate of the International Federation of Combat Wrestling (FICW).

We spoke with Steve Koepfer at New York Combat Sambo Tuesday.

While tournaments were held in Japan in combat wrestling as a form of submission wrestling in the 1990s, run by its founder, Mr. Noriaki Kiguchi, it was only in 2013 that the FICW was created.

In just two short years of fully operating, FICW has held one world championship last year and is preparing for its second world championship October 15-16 in Tamasi, Hungary. There are a growing number of national federations in Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and Australia.

Plus, following the accepted norms for good governance for international sports federations, FICW is a nonprofit organization.

USA Combat Wrestling is also a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization. "We're very transparent. All our finances are transparent," he said. "People can look us up."

In fact, he also noted that this nonprofit status has proved to be key for USA Combat Wrestling to gain sponsors. This year the trips of all members of the USA Combat Wrestling 2016 National Men's Team to the 2016 world championships will be paid for by sponsors, with these sponsors thus receiving a tax break.

Thus both internationally and in the U.S., combat wrestling has made remarkable progress in a relatively short period of time.

"Look what we've done in two years of combat wrestling," he said. "When you have a group of like-minded people who will actually do what they're going to do and make sacrifice and agree that, hey, I don't have to be the top dog in this organization. I can be the secretary and not the president of USA Combat Wrestling, and in fact I don't have to be on the board of FICW. I don't care about that. I just want to see the sport grow."

The USA Combat Wrestling 2016 National Men's Team includes:

62 kg - Tim Setala (American Top Team, Savage, MN)

68 kg - Craig Chiles (Katame-do Jiu JItsu/UFC GYM/Gracie Humaita, St. Charles, MO)

74 kg - Mitchell Hall (Westside MMA, Little Rock, AR)

82 kg - Aaron Butler (Westside MMA, Little Rock, AR)

90 kg - Niko Koliastasis (Championship MMA, Fort Smith, AR)

100 kg - Anthony Pastorello (Legion X Grappling, Colorado Springs, CO)

The Master's Team includes:

74 kg - Stephan Goyne (Bay JiuJitsu/RDojo, CA)

82 kg - Cody Clayton (Quincy, CA)

We also discussed in depth the rules of combat wrestling, where matches are won by submission or points, including points for a pin; the Combat Wrestling Canada Open, which takes place this Saturday, July 9, at the College Notre Dame in Montreal, Quebec; what the disparate and scattered catch wrestling organizations can learn from combat wrestling; how the growth of jiu-jitsu in recent decades has helped the development of many other grappling and wrestling styles and rulesets, including combat wrestling; plans for more tournaments to be held; and much, much more.

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

The Boxing Tribune, boxing's independent media. Unlike every other major boxing website, The Boxing Tribune is not funded or owned by promoters, managers, or networks, and is fully independent and free to write the truth. For independent boxing news and views, go to TheBoxingTribune.com.

The North American Catch Wrestling Association, a grassroots organization designed to help rebuild the sport of catch-as-catch-can-wrestling. For more information, go to their Facebook page at facebook.com/NorthAmericanCatchWrestlingAssociation.

The National Registry for Wrestling, whose mission is to increase wrestling's fanbase, to build a registry of all wrestling fans, to serve as a connecting point for all wrestling fans, and to provide TV and Internet listings for wrestling. For more information, go to NR4W.com.

Thanks, Eddie Goldman

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