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Thursday, April 05, 2018

No Holds Barred: Arthur Andre and Maher Aseeri of Grapple Asia 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Arthur Andre, head of operations, and Maher Aseeri, head of the referee committee, of Grapple Asia.

Established in 2014 and based in Singapore, Grapple Asia has hosted numerous grappling competitions under varying rulesets, including the first-ever ADCC event in Singapore, the ADCC Singapore Open 2018 on March 10.

We spoke with them by Skype Tuesday.

"We are grapplers organizing and helping out the grapplers in the region" of Southeast Asia, said Arthur Andre.

"We have to address that the thing is pretty new here. For example, the amount of black belts that we have here, compared to, let's say, the States, for example, the numbers are just way different. So the thing here is really new, still on the rise, still gaining popularity."

While competitions there are not as frequent as in other regions, he noted, "We are giving platforms for competitors and as well giving them that opportunity to live that jiu-jitsu lifestyle."

We discussed how the reaction of MMA fans in their region to grappling has sharply changed over the years to become positive; the important influence of Evolve MMA and ONE Championship in building understanding and interest in grappling; why grappling as a sport stands alone and separate from MMA; why the creation of a major professional grappling organization "is going to happen"; how the Grapple Asia tournaments have evolved since 2014 and now emphasize no-gi grappling; why the ADCC ruleset is the most neutral in grappling and does not favor one discipline over another; the role of Synergy Jiu-Jitsu, which was named best team at the ADCC Singapore Open 2018; how catch wrestling is a "sister sport" to grappling and how catch wrestling matches have fit into their tournaments; the growth of boxing in Singapore, including the role of the undefeated Muhamad Ridhwan; plans for upcoming tournaments including kids' competitions and a possible return of ADCC; and much, much more.

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