Tech continues to develop grappling team

May 2, 2013


Staff Reporter


Head locked under a forearm, face pinned to a mat, the art of grappling.


David Johnson, a senior general studies major, said grappling is similar to wrestling.


“Grappling is wrestling with a mixture of other non-striking martial arts like judo and Brazilian jujitsu,” Johnson said.


Although grappling is not recognized as a collegiate sport at Tech, there are still students who participate in the sport.


Johnson, said he and two other guys, Jonathan Long and Donald Harris created the team in the fall of 2010.


“We created the club as a way for us to represent Tech in grappling tournaments,” he said.


As a member of the team,  Patrick Mason, a sophomore aviation major, said he is happy that Tech has a grappling team because he is able to improve his techniques by practicing with the other guys.


“Since we don’t have a collegiate team, the grappling club allows me to practice with guys who are just as dedicated as I am,” said Mason, a sophomore aviation major. “It also helps better the members for competition.”


Mason also said because wrestling or grappling is not a collegiate sport at Tech, members have to compete in open tournaments.


“We have to search the Internet for open tournaments,” he said. “They can be at various times and different places around the country.”


In addition, Johnson said he recently competed in a tournament with Harris, taking home the first and second place trophies.


“I just got back from a Gracie Regional Tournament in Tyler, Texas, ” he said. “ We placed first and second.”


While the grappling team is representing Tech, the recent removal of wrestling as a sport by the Olympic committee has members uncertain about their future in the sport.


Mason said the decision by the Olympic committee is discouraging.


“It’s disheartening that wrestling isn’t recognized anymore, because many grapplers participate in the Olympics or World tournaments once they can’t compete at state or NCAA levels.”


Though grappling is not represented at a collegiate or national level, team members still have hopes for the future


Tagir Bertembayen, a junior computer science major, said he hopes the team will continue to develop at Tech.


“I would like to see the team grow and one day become a collegiate sport,” Bertembayen said.


Similar to Bertembayen, Mason said he would like to see more students try out for the team.


“I know we can be intimidating to some students when they see us, but we’re not,” he said. “We are just very passionate about grappling, so we’re dedicated.”


Email comments to kms042@latech.edu.


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