Is Catch Wrestling Scripted Or Real?

Is catch wrestling scripted?

There is a lot that comes to people’s minds when you talk about wrestling. Some people will think about Olympic wrestling whereas others will think of Professional wrestling as you see on WWE. One is a very competitive sport and the other ( though full of talented athletes ) is scripted. But what about catch-wresting, Is catch wrestling scripted? 

Real catch wrestling is not scripted. In fact, catch wrestling is a real and brutal grappling art still practiced today. Often people think catch wrestling is scripted because many professional wrestlers use aspects of catch wrestling in their matches. This is because catch wrestling influenced pro wrestling. 

In fact, catch wrestling influenced not just pro wrestling but also folkstyle wrestling and freestyle wrestling as well. In fact, catch wrestling is a grandfather art to many of the wrestling styles today. 

Catch Wrestling Vs. Scripted Wrestling

People often think that catch wrestling is scripted. But real catch wrestling has been around for a long time not only as a marital art but as a sport. In fact, people still compete in the sport of catch wrestling today. In catch wrestling, the wrestler must win the match by either submitting their opponent or pinning their opponent. 

This is not too different from the rules of professional wrestling. The big difference being that one is scripted and one is not. The reason for the confusion is that pro wrestling is basically a scripted and more exaggerated version of catch wrestling. 

This is simply because the pro wrestling we are familiar with today was started by people who knew catch wrestling. So naturally many of the moves and even submissions in pro wrestling are mimicking real submissions from catch wrestling.

Of course, many are also exaggerated or unrealistic submissions that would not work in real catch wrestling. That said, real catch wrestling has some amazing takedowns and submissions that have been proven effective against other world-class grapplers. 

Catch Wrestling Has Real Submissions

Catch wrestling has real legitimate submissions that are very effective. This has been proven many times by people such as Josh Barnett and Kazushi Sakuraba ( also known as the Gracie Hunter) in both competitive submission grappling and in the world of MMA. 

In fact, many top grappling today are starting to turn to catch wrestling to improve their submission grappling game. Many of the popular submissions you see today were originally practiced by catch wrestlers. For example, catch wrestlers have been doing leg locks, toe holds, arm locks, neck cranks, and much more for well over a hundred years. 

Catch Wrestling Has Legit Takedowns

Many of the popular styles of wrestling today evolved from catch wrestling. This would include both folkstyle and freestyle wrestling. In fact, the main reason that these styles were created is that catch wrestling was too brutal to be accepted in American schools or by the general public for the Olympics. So to make them more acceptable they removed the submissions and added a points system. 

That said, most if not all of the takedowns found in folkstyle and freestyle wrestling were originally from catch wrestling. So as you can see catch wrestling is a complete and legit grappling art with both amazing submission and takedowns. 

Is Shoot Wrestling Scripted

Shoot wrestling is a style of professional wrestling that came about in the 1970s in Japan. As opposed to more western styles of pro wrestling, shoot wrestling was scripted but made to look more realistic. Shoot wrestling was most heavily influenced by Garl Gotch who was a catch wrestler. 

Carl Gotch taught many of the pro Japanese wrestlers the art of catch wrestling. One of his students actually hosted one of the first MMA matches where he took on other martial artists to showcase the effectiveness of his wrestling style. Though these MMA bouts were not scripted, he would later go on to form New Japan Pro Wrestling.

The goal was to promote a scripted wrestling style that looked more realistic by using real submissions in the match. Though the submissions were real submissions, the winner was predetermined. 

That said, though shoot wrestling might be scripted, these shoot wrestlers were actually trained martial arts who could and often did fight in real matches. In fact, shoot wrestling influenced what we might know today as shoot fighting and shooto

So even though shoot wrestling might be scripted it is based on a real wrestling style. So shoot wrestlers actually do know real submissions and takedowns. 

Can You Still Learn Real Catch Wrestling Today? 

You can still learn real catch wrestling today. Unfortunately however finding a gym that teaches catch wrestling is hard to come by.  You can read more into detail about this in my article: Where and How To Learn Catch Wrestling. But just to keep it short, you should consider yourself very lucky if you can find a legit catch wrestling school near you.

Thankfully, however, this art is kept alive through online resources and a few good schools. For those without a school in their area, they can learn through catch wrestling instructionals and youtube videos. Hopefully, however, catch wrestling will become more and more popular again and we will start to see more coaches and schools open up around the country and around the world. 

We also have offshoots of catch wrestling that you can learn today. A good example would be Luta livre which is a popular grappling art from Brazil that was started by a catch wrestler. In fact, Luta livre was and still is to some extent a major rival to BJJ in Brazil. But like catch wrestling it is also hard to come by in most areas of the world. 

So if you can’t find a school near you then I certainly think it is worth looking into learning as much as you can from catch wrestling through online resources to help improve your overall grappling game. Learning catch wrestling is one of the best arts that BJJ players and other no-gi submission grapplers can learn to improve their game. 

In Conclusion

Real catch wrestling is a legit sport that is not scripted. That said, catch wrestlers did have a lot of influence on pro wrestling. So naturally, pro wrestling does mimic a lot from catch wrestling. Sure much of it is exaggerated and unrealistic. But you can certainly see roots of catch wrestling found in pro wrestling today.

This is especially true in a lot of Japanese pro wrestling. But just because they have scripted matches does not mean real catch wrestling is scripted. In fact, catch wrestling is a very legit grappling art that has both submissions as well as amazing takedowns. In fact, many of the best grapplers and MMA champions got their start in catch wrestling. 

Joshua Paul

Joshua Paul is a BJJ purple belt who lives in Austin, Texas. Joshua loves all forms of grappling and when he is off the mats he is likely spending time with his wife and son.

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