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Catch Wrestling & Andy Crittenden
Catch Wrestling & Me.
I was always a huge Wrestling fan but always was interested in the stuff that looked more real and as i got older learned more and more about Catch as Catch Can Wrestling, first from Dave Turton, then from various video tapes.
One that stood out was WAR by Billy Robinson and i watched it over and over again. I then spend alot of time studying and researching Billy.
I looked at visiting Billy’s camps but they was in the USA and i didnt have the time or money to attend.
I ended up having Johnny Huskey for a seminar at ACMAC and it was amazing, it was a big risk as he was coming from America which always bumps up the price. Johnny has great lineage from Billy Wicks, Henry Kolen and then Farmer Burns.
The seminar was amazing and i was “hooked” I drilled it with my guys and we had Johnny back the following year.
After that Johnny never made any more UK trips and i was deep into Catch with nobody to teach me.
I watched videos, read books and researched on the internet and then i got a group message from Jake Shannon, he contacted everyone who had been in touch with him over training with Billy asking if anyone was willing to take a risk and bring Billy to the UK for a seminar tour.
I never even thought, i just jumped at the chance and thought about the financials after. It was a huge risk and got shorted on one of the seminars leading to the tour costing me but it was an amazing trip.
We went all over the country with Billy & Jake teaching seminars and also visiting some of Billy’s friends & relatives including his cousin Jack and Roy Wood. We also hosted a birthday party for him at the Maple Tree in Balby.
The training was amazing, like nothing i had seen before and Billy was brutal as a coach. I was lucky to train on a few of the seminars as well as having 1 to 1 training with Billy & Jake. I also learnt so much from travelling in the car with Billy, id ask him a question on the motorway and by the time he had finished the answer we would be in a totally different county. He was so passionate and knowledgeable.
On that first trip i have some funny memories at Windsor Castle and a motorway services.
The year after was the first ever UK Catch Wrestling camp which was a crazy experience, 3 amazing but tough days, not everyone survived, i only just did. I would go to bed on a night hearing “Do It Again”
As well as the camps we also had seminars again as well the usual social stuff, this time included a trip to York to meet John Cox and listen to some amazing stories.
As well as that I had a surreal experience at Woodfield Farm where Billy, Jake, Sam and myself met up with Roy & Andrea Wood again but this time joined by legendary Japanese Wrestler Tatsumi Fujinami and his wife and son. To see Mr Fujinami, Billy & Roy interacting was just amazing, Mr Fujinami said to me “he is my hero”
The year after another camp, again great content Billy was assisted by Jake, Sam Kressin & Alex Cook. It was another good group of people on the mat including ACMAC Member Stefan Johnson.
On this trip we had an awesome night in Leeds organised by myself, Peter Thompson and Darren Ward which was an audience with Billy, people came from all over for this and many people that Billy hadnt seen for a long time.
One of those was Marty Jones who is a British Wrestling legend, we had begun speaking about 9 months before the event and i had been over to meet him a couple of times, he also taught at ACMAC a couple of times. He was trained by Billy but had lost touch.
It was a special moment when Marty surprised Billy with a Lifetime Achievement Award, you could see the bond was so strong also present was another legend Johnny Saint and Billy’s cousin Jack. We had a nice picture of Billy’s past and present students.
That was to be the last tour when Billy sadly died. I was heart broken he was such a great guy and I had so much respect for him, we became friends, i will always be grateful for the time i had.
Scientific Wrestling carried on and Catch as Catch Can Wrestling is alive and well at ACMAC through my students passion for learning and also our Association with Jake & Marty.
Myself and my guys have been to Chris Foran’s Premier MMA in London and Danny Mitchell’s Brain & Brawn in Leeds to train with Wade Schalles, Josh Barnett and Marty Jones Squared Circle with Harry Smith, Wade also taught a Camp at ACMAC, he is amazing to watch and we have also recently started having seminars with Ian Jones.
My class will never be big, its never hit 10 people, 9 is the record. But I feel i am passing on the stuff Billy showed me. I love the class and the art of Catch Wrestling.
Through Billy & Jake i met so many great people and learnt so much. I am really grateful.