What is S.A.W.?

Wrestling is nearly as old as humankind itself. Many of the styles of wrestling we know today, find their roots in Catch Wrestling, like Olympic Freestyle Wrestling, where the locks and strangles were barred and new rules were instituted.

Powerful take downs, neck cranks, leg locks and punishing rides, are all common in the practice of Catch Wrestling, an art that employs the principles of leverage and body mechanics, along with superior physical conditioning.

Submission Arts Wrestling (SAW) [サブミッションアーツレスリング] is modern Catch Wrestling based Japanese Martial Art and Combat Sport that incorporates elements from Sambo, Judo and Jiu Jitsu. Founded in the 1980′s by Hidetaka Aso, a student of Karl Gotch, SAW constitutes a NO-GI grappling system that focuses in forcing ones opponent to submit by employing “chains” of chokes and joint locks. One of the trademarks of SAW are its many variations of devastating leglocks. Like its predecessor, SAW supports the belief that a submission can be obtained by establishing either a position or a hold. The practice of Submission Arts Wrestling relies on solid technical principles, live sparring sessions and specific conditioning.

Technical elements of SAW:

  • Kumiwaza (to grapple)
  • Nage (to throw)
  • Osaekomi (to hold down)
  • Suīpu (to sweep)
  • Shime (to strangle)
  • Kansetsu (to joint lock)

Submission Arts Wrestling is practiced on a wrestling mat (tatami). Being a NO-GI hierarchical art, the practitioners commonly wear a t-shirt or rashguard, shorts or tights and a Japanese belt (obi) of the proper color according to its grading system.

The Founder

Hidetaka Aso [麻生秀孝], founder of Submission Arts Wrestling, was born in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan on October 29th, 1950. Aso, a student of Karl Gotch, is a two times All Japan Wrestling Champion and a Sambo World Champion (1981 Sambo World Championship held in Spain). One of his most notable victories came during the Sambo American Championship of 1979, where the heavyweight claimed 1st place after defeating all of his 8 opponents. A 5th degree black belt in Kodokan Judo, knowledgeable catch wrestler, author of many textbooks, and chairman of prestigious martial arts federations and committees; Hidetaka Aso is highly regarded as a guru of the science of submission wrestling.

Aso Sensei’s representative for North America is Mike Martelle from the Grizzly Gym.

Philosophy and Rank Structure

The philosophy of Submission Arts Wrestling (SAW) both on and off of the tatami is to strive to exemplify the characteristics of Bushido. The process of cultivating such virtues, centers in creating a proper environment, where development is encouraged through leadership by example.

The virtues of Bushido

  • Rectitude
  • Courage
  • Benevolence
  • Respect
  • Honesty
  • Honor
  • Loyalty

Submission Arts Wrestling (SAW) employs the traditional Japanese grading system of Kyū and Dan invented in the 17th century by Honinbo Dosaku, and first introduced to martial arts by Judo founder Jigorō Kanō. The rank of SAW practitioners are indicated by a colored belt (obi), awarded according to their practical proficiency and technical knowledge of the art.

  • 6th Kyu : Rokkyu Deshi : SAW White Belt
  • 5th Kyu : Gokkyu Deshi : SAW Yellow Belt
  • 4th Kyu : Yonkyu Deshi : SAW Orange Belt
  • 3rd Kyu : Sankyu Deshi : SAW Green Belt
  • 2nd Kyu : Nikkyu Deshi : SAW Blue Belt
  • 1st Kyu : Ikkyu Deshi : SAW Purple Belt
  • Shodan-Ho : SAW Brown Belt
  • 1st Dan : SAW Black Belt
  • 2nd Dan : SAW 2nd Degree Black Belt
  • 3rd Dan : SAW 3rd Degree Black Belt
  • 4th Dan : SAW 4th Degree Black Belt
  • 5th Dan : SAW 5th Degree Black Belt
  • 6th Dan : SAW 6th Degree Black Belt
  • 7th Dan : SAW 7th Degree Black Belt
  • 8th Dan : SAW 8th Degree Black Belt
  • 9th Dan : SAW 9th Degree Black Belt : Founder Rank (Highest rank in SAW)

All Japan Joint Technique Federation

Also founded by Hidetaka Aso, The All Japan Joint Technique Federation (AJJTF) is an international branch of the SAW Organization with headquarters located in Kansai, West Japan.  Sensei Mike Martelle is Aso Sensei’s SAW representative in North America.  MAUA Founder AJ Weimer and MAUA Director JD Olsen are both registered SAW black belts under Sensei Mike Martelle.

Kaicho AJ Weimer with Sensei Mike Martelle from the Grizzly Gym and MAUA Director JD Olsen at Hidetaka Aso’s Submission Arts Wrestling Seminar