Bringing back the forgotten system of Catch Wresting

Martial artist Paul Bridges is introducing the almost forgotten British fighting system of Catch Wrestling to Hastings.

Paul Bridges presented with his certificate by Jake Shannon and Sam Kressin.

The head instructor of the Gracie Barra Hastings Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy has become a certified coach in the art, which dates back to the 1800's.

“I am very patriotic and want to help keep this British style of fighting alive,” he said. “I’ve always been fascinated by Catch and am looking forward to passing on the knowledge.”

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Bridges learned a variety of fighting techniques, pinning combinations, takedowns and conditioning techniques on an intensive course in Harlow, Essex.

“Embracing other styles of fighting has been very important in the history of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and I believe Catch will be a major benefit to our school’s students,” he said.

Catch, or Catch-as-Catch-Can, to give it the full title – is a grappling style of combat that was developed in Britain and exported around the world.

Bridges searched for the most authentic methods and discovered the style of Billy Riley, a legendary wrestler, was being taught via Scientific Wrestling. (

Riley’s skills were passed down to the late Billy Robinson, another star wrestler and trainer, and then on to current instructors, Jake Shannon and Sam Kressin.

Wrestling is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, thanks largely to the success of practitioners in the international sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

There is also a lot of links between techniques used in the various ground fighting arts.

For example, Bridges said the armlock known as the ‘Kimura’– after Judo champion Masahiko Kimura used it to defeat BJJ pioneer Hélio Gracie - was originally developed by Billy Riley.

“Wrestling has long been an important part of combat and I am always interested in exploring various styles and learning different approaches,” he added.

Bridges will be running the classes on Tuesday evenings at the GB Hastings academy, which is in Earl Street, Hastings.

If you are interested in giving it a go, then ring Bridges on: 07967 659867 or visit