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Clip 1 Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestling Revival
Clip 2 Catch the hold not taken
Clip 3 The Wigan Hold
- Granada TV
Clip 4 The Wrestler
- Granada TV
Facebook Introduction Biography Seminars Affiliate Clubs A.W.C.
  • There is a lot talked on the internet of what is and i...
    There is a lot talked on the internet of what is and isnt catch, who is or isnt genuine, what is pro and what is catch. In the end I train and have faith in my coach Roy Wood, he trained with Billy Riley and passes on what he learned under that great man. So if Roy tells me something is so , it is. I have done a reasonable amount of research on historical lancashire wrestling,catch as catch can , all in and pro wrestling to know there has never been anything that came up to counteract anything i have been shown in the gym by Roy. If Roy tells me no strangles, no strangles it is.he doesnt need to give me reasons but the ones he has stack up historically. When i see the material from and talk to our good freind John Strickland who is taught by Billy Wicks, who Ian Bromley is a coach under, and the basics match despite a 100 year sepparation between the lines then that tells you something. Catch unfortntarly since its resergence has been plagued by politics, in the end we know what we practice comes from and thats good enough for me. As for anyone else claiming catch the burden of proof lies with them but never take anything at face value , use a critical mind, ask questions .people with nothing to hide never mind polite questiobs
  • ...

    Llanelli Catch Wrestling and Traditional Japanese Martial arts club
    Just looked at a document supplied by my co-author Mark with his research on the matches by Rileys wrestlers, over 2000 matches catalogued ready for the book
  • Seems the 'Snakepit' trip to LA grows in siz...
    Seems the 'Snakepit' trip to LA grows in size....
  • Walk before you can run ! I thoguht i would post some ...
    Walk before you can run !
    I thoguht i would post some of my ramblings and observations here for all . As some may know I have been involved in martial arts of the Japanese kind for a little over 20 years and have been lucky enoguh to train in japan many times. There is an interesting concept in Japanese martial arts called Shu Ha Ri. Shu means to preserve the form, ha is to vary the form and Ri is to leave the form or kata behind as you have internalised the concepts and made the art your own. I came to wrestling late in life and whilst things like good biomechanical principles are common accross arts, each art is individual, and whilst I can carry my experience accross with me you still need the humuluty to realise you need to place your trust in an individual for them to pass their art on to you , in my case I am lucky enough to have Roy Wood . We all have to realise , even most of the 'seniors' that we are still at the Shu phase of training , i.e. to preserve the form, that is Roy shows us a single leg , a double leg etc and we do as we are shown, in the way he shows it. We are still at the stage where when asked to demonstrate even simple things such as which leg is up on a a single and double leg is done wrong. This is understandable, it is new to some and for others they have practised things in different ways. However you are coming to the gym to learn the specific art of catch as taught by Billy Riley. You have to remember people like Roy had to 'steal' the art from their fellow gym members and literally learned the hard way , we are extremely lucky to be handed this on a plate in the way Roy is doing, for the guys in the gym this was their livelihood and for the miners generations prior it was the way they fed their families, it was not passed on 'whilly nilly' . It is a privaellege not a right to train in teh gym and our role is to do what we are told , yes almost unquestioningly initially. We are not at the stage where Roy can do what was done in Rileys which was just wrestle and have your technique checked, advised whats going on and wrong and ammending it because we are still not drilling the basics enough to even know those yet. YOu have to remember the art is not just composed of a string of different techniques, there are the entries, setups , counters counters to the counters , that is the art . You have Roy who has taught for decades, produced champions is able to look at a persons size them up see what works on them and their possible areas of deficiency. That is what the ART of catch is not the ability to do an isolated technique on a non resisting opponent. If you liken it to music , for example Jazz piano, you start with basics, you work on the names of notes then scales, then playing music, improvising is what comes at the end when you master these things, that is the ART , try before that and its apale immitation or quite frankly a horrible noise. So we are extremely lucky we have Roy who has these abilities to be able to coach us, but we have only just started , lets not get ahead of ourselves, we all need some humility and realise where we are in the scheme of things , get back in the gym drill so that each month Roy doesnt have to continually go over basics that its our responsibility to drill and know and perhps then we can go on to what the ART is .

    Steve Greenfield

Welcome to all. If you have got this far I can only assume that you have a love for Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestling. Well you are right at home! We are passionate about Catch and it's in our blood and our shared passion for the sport brings us together. Our roots trace back to Riley's Gym in Wigan, United Kingdom, the historic coal mining town where some of the greatest wrestlers in the world originated.

Well the good news is we are looking for the next generation to keep Catch alive. Catch is at risk of being forgotten as there are only a few remaining people in the world who carry the knowledge of the sport, a sport which goes back to the earliest of times and was about to be forgotten. The time is now and we are taking action!

That's right this is where the UK revival kicks off! Roy Wood has agreed to coach Catch to a select group of people who can be trusted to not dilute, change or distort the original sport of Catch. He wants to get this ball rolling quickly as at the age of 69 he has a lifetime of knowledge to give out and is acutely aware that this information needs to be passed to the right hands. The good news is…. Roy is the fittest 69 year old man you will ever meet and when you see him on the mat demonstrating throws, take downs and submissions we promise you … you will be in awe. This sport is not for the faint hearted or for spectators. It is for only those willing to have a "no holds barred" attitude and willing to get on the mat and speak through their actions not their words. If that's you then …a huge welcome from Coach Roy Wood. Feel free to browse the rest of this website and ultimately submit your application to attend The Snake Pit Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestling seminars.

Coach Roy Wood

Coach Roy Wood, who turns 70 this year, is a man of great knowledge. He is from a family of 5 brothers, one who died young and the remaining brothers all participated in boxing during their younger years. Boxing also played a part in Roy's life but he was the only brother who found and loved the sport of Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestling at Riley's gym, Wigan, under the guidance of Billy Riley. Roy had the opportunity to be part of a club that would leave a legacy and would produce world class wrestlers including Bob Robinson (Billy Joyce), Karel Istaz (Karl Gotch) and Billy Robinson to name but a few.

Roy has given his life to wrestling. The youngest wrestler himself at the age of 17 in Riley's gym, Roy went on to reopen the gym after its closure and he has continued tirelessly coaching wrestling ever since to keep Wigan on the map. He has already given back tenfold what was given to him and is our very own unsung hero.

His voluntary commitments to freestyle coaching led to him producing numerous champions both nationally and internationally. It has also led to him receiving numerous awards, including Coach of the Year and Man of the Year, Wigan, for his endless service to helping others.

His unquestionable skills led to Team Great Britain also selecting him to take the Commonwealth Junior freestyle team to India in 2010.

Roy has achieved all that he has ever wanted to achieve in the freestyle world and Roy's next chapter is to revisit and re-ignite Catch Wrestling and set the record straight once and for all as to what Wigan Catch Wrestling is. Despite his accolades and abilities in the freestyle world, Roy's background is in fact Catch and it was bred into him during his younger years. It is in his blood! For Roy, there is no sport like Catch and even freestyle pales into comparison when it comes down to what is the toughest sport in the world.

Make no mistake Coach Roy Wood is a tough but fair man. More importantly, he is here to revive Catch and remind us all how effective Catch truly is!


Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestling seminars will be delivered at the Snakepit club in Wigan.

Please note that our seminars are extremely intensive and will include fitness, drilling and competitive catch techniques to give any fighter that all important competitive edge.

If you have any injuries we would ask that you inform the coaches prior to the session.

No photography or filming is permitted during any seminars except by our own media team. It is our express policy that delegates must not post techniques on the internet of through any other media channels. Failure to conform would mean the termination of your membership and risk legal action.

Should you wish to attend these seminars we are confident that you will find them inspiring and motivating. You will see techniques never seen before and will have the chance to be part of history in putting Catch back on the map for this generation and future generations to come. All you need to do is click on the "Seminar Application" form below and someone will get back to you.

We look forward to receiving your application and hopefully seeing you on one of our seminars.

» Seminar Application


Membership is agreed via seminar application forms that can be obtained via this site.

Please note that this is not because we are trying to be exclusive or exclude anyone it is simply to ensure that we are right for you and that you are right for us. The more knowledge we can obtain in advance the better as this prevents disappointment from wither party.

Please note that The Snake Pit is not for spectators! It is for those who speak through their ability on a mat and not by what they say. This does not mean to say that you must have any experience in Catch, just simply a fresh attitude and one willing to learn the sport in its entirety.

We look forward to receiving your application and hopefully seeing you on one of our seminars.

» Seminar Application

This is a one chance in a lifetime for Roy Wood to pass on his knowledge and great care is being taken to ensure that only the correct people and clubs are involved in the revival of Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestling.

The Snake Pit seminars are not designed to provide your with certification or approval for a fee. It is something for those with a true passion for Catch and who care that Catch is preserved in its truest form. Accreditation and affiliation to the Snake Pit will only come from endless dedication and hours on the mat!

We have already linked in with great clubs who have been "flying the flag" for many years trying to protect the legacy of this sport but we have no doubt that there are other clubs out there that we are unaware of.

We have highlighted where our current affiliate clubs can be found in the UK. If you are not on this list and you know of a club who could join the revival then all you need to do is drop and email to and someone will be in touch.

» Affiliates


Anyone involved in sport will know that some of the best athletes out there started with someone who believed in them and gave them an opportunity to achieve.

Do you know someone who would benefit from this or is this you? Have you got fire in your belly? The determination to do everything that it takes? Fall down seven times and get up eight? Willingness to beat all the odds stacked against you? Give 100% day in and day out?

Do you ever think.... If only someone would give me a chance?

Well this is YOUR CHANCE!!

The Snake Pit is proud to announce it's scholarship programme which is means and merits based. Should you be accepted please be under no illusions... There will be strict terms and conditions we require from you to make you the athlete we expect you to become.

However, this is our promise to you ...

If you show commitment, we will give you time. If you show determination to win, we will show you how to get there. If you give us your time, we will give you facilities and resources. If you show us a willingness to learn, we will give you world class coaching. If you show a fire in your belly, we will show you how to set the world on fire!

If you wish to receive an application form for the Scholarship Programme please contact us for details.


Aspull Wrestling Club is based at the Snake Pit and is the freestyle wrestling element of the training offered at our facility.

For many years, AWC has been held in high regard across the world and have had their club members and the team successfully compete in many countries including South Africa, Bulgaria, France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and the Ukraine to name but a few.

AWC prides itself on its inclusive policies and has children as young as five years of age who can come and enjoy the sessions. It is the only club that welcomes many children with disabilities and shows that there is a place for everyone to join in sport.

The standards of the club led to it being one of the first clubs to be awarded Clubmark, a kitemark status that represents the high level coaching, facilities, organisation and policies that govern the club and make it the outstanding club it is known to be.

Numerous awards have been given for recognition of the club and it's members including Coach of The Year Awards going to three of the coaches at the club.

» A.W.C.

Coach Roy Wood

Catch is back!

It is funny how things have a way of coming full circle! Roy has always had Catch wrestling as his number one sport but was forced to adapt and change towards freestyle wrestling to save the club. Roy thought that to revive Catch from it’s home in Wigan would be impossible and so he has continued to coach freestyle wrestling.

Roy’s daughter Andrea says “I have spent well over a decade encouraging my dad to coach Catch Wrestling again. I appreciate that his knowledge is unique. It is so important to preserve this fantastic sport both for it’s historical origins and the complex sequential techniques that make it the sport that it is.”

FINALLY Roy has agreed to coach Catch-as-Catch Wrestling again. Roy appreciates that if the few remaining coaches from Riley¹s gym do not pass on their knowledge that the sport will die and will be lost in the pages of history.

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