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Top Amateur Grappling Venues

By Cliff Montgomery,
You may be thinking, 'Well now, how does an ambitious person like myself get involved in a sport which will eventually allow me to make other people cry in public for money?' If you're essentially a grappler, it can be tough; most every amateur fighting event showcases the punchers. So where do you go to make a start? We have five solid choices for you below...

World Kickboxing Association - USA Tournaments

It may seem strange to have the 'World Kickboxing Association - USA' listed as sponsoring some of the most promising competitions for grapplers, but this year WKA has introduced a National Submission Grappling elimination division. This chance for national exposure, as well as the organization's noted support for amateur athletics and the popularity of anything surrounding kickboxing, should make this one hot ticket for grappling specialists.

In July 2005, WKA held an elimination tournament which also displayed its first Amateur MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), "Novice" Kickboxing (Competitors may not have more than three wins in any combative sport) and Submission Grappling competitions. The show was billed as "Three days of the best amateur matches in the USA."

Day three (July 31, 2005) was the amateur submission grappling tournament. It was open to all experience levels and age groups (see This was also a 'No Gi' single elimination event.

USA Mixed Martial Arts Tournaments

Last Call Entertainment is the primary sponsor of USA Mixed Martial Arts (a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the sport of amateur mixed martial arts). USA MMA sponsors and holds numerous competitive amateur events, seminars and fund raisers in Washington State and Oregon.

Among its events are the Valor Fighting Championship: Mayhem in Medford, Medford National Guard Armory, Medford, OR, which was held on July 16, 2005, and the The Northwest Invitational to be presented by USA Mixed Martial Arts & KO Sports, 7 Cedars Casino, Sequim, WA between November 11-12, 2005.

MACS Extreme Challenge Grapplin' Championship

In Goldsboro, NC there is a grappling competition known as the MACS Extreme Challenge Grapplin' Championship. It's normally not a overly large event, which could be good for the nerves if you're just breaking into the sport, but it's known to provide the grappler with some tough matches.

The promoter puts on the event every two to three months or so. This is a great "get your feet wet" event; something to help you know the kind of competition you're sure to face if you pursue this as a way of life, as well as an excellent learning experience for those who have never competed before.

Capital Grappling Classic

Held near the U.S. capitol of Washington D.C., this appears to be one of the larger single east coast tournaments catering solely to the amateur grappling combat arts. It is located at Woodbridge, VA, which places it close to the middle of the eastern seaboard -- not bad if you also hope to catch a few sights north or south during the trip.

The tournament competition is normally limited to about 350 competitors.

FEES Men's $45 for advanced registration, $60 at the door. Women's and Kids' $35 advanced registration, $50 At the door.

START TIMES Weigh-ins from 9 to 10am. Matches begin at 10am promptly.

Hospitality housing is usually found for contestants searching for sleeping accommodations. But don't expect a bed & breakfast: its website reads, "Two showers are available for use. Please bring your sleeping bags!"

Phone: 301-990-1563 Event Email: Event Website:

ISCF (International Sport Combat Federation) Tournaments

Directly associated with the IKF (International Kickboxing Federation), the ISCF (International Sport Combat Federation) is a style of fighting based primarily on the grappling arts, with elements of stand-up fighting skills. It is therefore a mixed martial arts sport, combining styles such as Pancrase, Shootfighting, Muay Thai, Judo, Wrestling, JuJitsu and other martial arts.

IKF-related organizations have one extremely valuable tool many other fight-related organizations do not--organization. The IKF has developed a complete and detailed ranking system from amateurs to pros, separating all 4 styles of kickboxing into their own ranking divisions.

In addition, the IKF has listed phone numbers and e-mails for each of its fighters, "to make them easy to contact for matchmaking worldwide." They have detailed listings of each fighter's complete record, height, weight, age and even their trainers' names. All this has made the IKF "the fastest-growing Kickboxing Sanctioning Organization in the World today."

The ISCF site adds, "It is with the request of those involved in Submission Fighting that the IKF was asked to place all these fighters into a ranking system, so they can now know who their competition is and where they rank among their peers. As these rankings grow, the ISCF will ensure the safety of all competitors and the credibility of the grappling arts as a competition sport."

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