No Holds Barred: Steve Koepfer on 2017 USA Combat Wrestling Nationals and Team Trials

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No Holds Barred: Steve Koepfer on 2017 USA Combat Wrestling Nationals and Team Trials

Post by nhbnews on Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:30 am

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Steve Koepfer, the owner and head coach of New York Combat Sambo.

He also serves as the Secretary General of USA Combat Wrestling.

USA Combat Wrestling is the official governing body for combat wrestling in the U.S. and the U.S. delegate of the International Federation of Combat Wrestling (FICW).

On Saturday, July 29, USA Combat Wrestling will be hosting its 2017 Nationals and U.S. Team Trials, along with the first annual FICW Pan American Open Championship.

This event will take place at the Parkway West High School, 14653 Clayton Road, Chesterfield, Missouri 63011, near St. Louis.

The winners at the U.S. Team Trials will represent the U.S. at the 2017 World Combat Wrestling Championships, October 21-22, in Honjo, Japan.

We spoke with Steve Koepfer by phone Monday.

Since USA Combat Wrestling was started in 2014, "It definitely is bringing a wide variety of people together under a ruleset that offers a little bit to everyone. So there's something familiar to everyone in there," he said.

"You can win with wrestling if you're a wrestler, because unlike catch wrestling there are points, there's s spectrum of points for the quality of takedown. So if that's you game, you can win using that game.

"You can win using submissions. If you're coming from a jiu-jitsu, BJJ background, we do give points for back takes and mounts, so that's something that they're familiar with.

"So there's something that everybody will be familiar with. It's not a completely unfamiliar environment, which is nice. So it's less intimidating for people to try if they're looking to step outside the box of what they're used to."

These rules have thus attracted a mixed group of athletes who have trained in various styles of  wrestling, jiu-jitsu, grappling, sambo, judo, and MMA.

Among the competitors in this year's tournament are Niko Koliastasis, who was a gold medalist at 90 kg at last year's combat wrestling worlds, and Aaron Butler, who was a silver medalist at 82 kg at last year's worlds. Team USA also won the team title at last year's worlds, and is currently ranked second in the world.

We also discussed much more detail on the rules, how this event is a "dry run" for the 2018 worlds which will be held in the U.S., the structure of USA Combat Wrestling as a nonprofit national governing body for combat wrestling, the importance of video and live streaming in the growth of combat wrestling, and much, much more.

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No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

The Catch Wrestling Alliance, resurrecting and promoting the sport of authentic catch-as-catch-can wrestling. The Catch Wrestling Alliance provides tournaments, seminars, and training as well as education about catch wrestling. Join the movement and keep real wrestling alive. For more information, go to

Skullz Double-End Bags, the perfect bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve timing, distance, and hand and eye coordination. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. For more information, go to

USA Combat Wrestling, the official U.S. governing body for combat wrestling and U.S. delegate of the International Combat Wrestling Federation (FICW), which was founded by the legendary wrestler Noriaki Kiguchi of Japan. For more information, go to

Thanks, Eddie Goldman

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