Jake Shannon and Josh Barnett Working to Keep Catch Wrestling Alive

Starting in April, Scientific Wrestling’s Jake Shannon and head coach Wade Schalles will join forces with former UFC heavyweight champion and King of Pancrase Josh Barnett in a series of catch wrestling seminars under the Pin & Submit moniker.

Speaking to MMAWeekly.com, Scientific Wrestling founder Shannon discussed the upcoming seminars, Schalles and Barnett’s involvement, and what people can expect when they attend.

MMAWeekly.com: Firstly, Jake, give us an overview of the Pin & Submit seminars and what people can expect from them.

Jake Shannon: We’ve been doing our training camps since 2006/2007 and Billy Robinson was our coach for years, but when he passed, we were lucky to get Wade Schalles, who is a legend in wrestling circles, but also this year Josh was able to make some time in his schedule for us and decided to come with us on tour.

They’re going to be three-day training camps around the US, London and Doncaster (UK). People will be able to learn how to pin and submit from some of the best in the game. People can expect three days of hands-on instruction with Wade and Josh in all the various areas of grappling. Anyone serious into wrestling and grappling are going to want to be involved.

MMAWeekly.com: Considering the lineage of those involved in the seminars, will people be learning some of the techniques that go back to the origins of catch wrestling in addition to recent developments?

Jake Shannon: I was very fortunate to be friends with Karl Gotch for a couple years up until his passing, and with Billy for seven years until his passing, and Wade’s credentials are without peer, and Josh learned from Billy and a host of incredible people.

Josh is a really amazing catch wrestler. He’s been able to prove that not only in MMA stuff, but had been on a tear through a lot of high-end jiu-jitsu tournaments and events like Metamoris.

People can expect very much a catch wrestling camp. Catch wrestling has a lot of applications to many combat sports, but people are doing catch wrestling for itself. It will be all the old school stuff in addition to the more modern stuff.

MMAWeekly.com: It’s been a couple years since Robinson’s passing and Schalles taking over as the new head coach of Scientific Wrestling. What are things like under Schalles’ leadership?

Jake Shannon: I was very fortunate that a month before Billy’s passing that Wade had contacted me and mentioned how he wanted to get involved, so I already knew Wade was interested. We figured it out, and the past few years Wade has been at the helm and it’s been amazing.

Wade has done all these great things in freestyle wrestling and folkstyle wrestling, but he’s also a black belt in Sambo and has travelled the world doing that, he’s done Judo and Greco (style wrestling) and has placed at very high levels, so the guy really is a genius when it comes to wrestling.

Billy was really a savant with catch wrestling and Wade is the same way. And God love Billy, but he was very old school and kind of harsh. If things weren’t going well, he would call you an idiot or hit you with his cane or something like that. That appealed to some people, but Wade has spent the last 20 years coaching young people, so he’s really taken all his expertise and is able to do it in a way that’s not quite as harsh as Billy could be.

MMAWeekly.com: Thanks for taking time out for us, Jake. Is there anything you’d like to say about Scientific Wrestling in closing?

Jake Shannon: My main goal with the whole project was for people understand what catch wrestling really was; kind of in a broader historical context, but then also to get the first-hand experience of it as a sport. As well we went to preserve the cannon and knowledge. There’s so many great techniques and great wrestlers that nobody has ever heard of.

With Billy’s passing, things have been kind of rough, but the community gets along and is friendly, so there’s not much contention, so that’s nice. We’ve really been keeping our thumb on the pulse of things and have been helping with tournaments and have been travelling the world doing seminars and doing DVDs and stuff like this.

There’s a lot of grass roots support and participation, but there’s just not that angel investor to come in to throw a bunch of cash and faith into a revival. At the same time, I like where it’s at now and I’d to have money come in and turn it into something it’s not, like an American Gladiators type thing or something.

We’re trying to get more people involved. There are hardcore people who enjoy the sport of catch wrestling itself, not as a supplement to jiu-jitsu, MMA or Judo or something, but in its own right. People are clamoring for a pro organization like the UFC or an amateur organization like USA Wrestling, and we’re doing our best to generate interest to get funds to open this up to a wider audience.

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