Anderson Townsend to coach historic U S Grappling World Team

By Gary Abbott | Aug. 14, 2007, 2:55 p.m. (ET)
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. - USA Wrestling, the national governing body for amateur wrestling, has named Bob Anderson of Redondo Beach, Calif. and Jason Townsend of Las Vegas, Nev. as coaches for the U.S. Grappling World Team, which will compete in Antalya, Turkey on Sept. 9.

FILA, the international wrestling federation, has named Grappling (also known as submission wrestling) as an international wrestling style. This will be the first Grappling World Championships hosted by FILA, as part of the World Wrestling Games which also features Sombo, Beach Wrestling and Pankration.

"We are confident that the coaching staff assembled for this historic competition will provide athletes with a wonderful opportunity to reach the podium at the World Championships," said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender. "USA Wrestling is firmly committed to this program and all disciplines of international wrestling."

Anderson and Townsend both have considerable experience in coaching Grappling and wrestling, and have been instrumental in the development of USA Wrestling's new Grappling initiative.

The World Team Coaches will conduct a training camp for the USA Wrestling Grappling World Team Trials champions at the NOLIMITS training center in Irvine, Calif. prior to the U.S. team's departure to Turkey.

The coaches selected for the U.S. Grappling World Team were approved by USA Wrestling's ad-hoc Grappling Committee.

Bob Anderson, Redondo Beach, Calif.

Anderson serves as the Head Wrestling Coach for No Limits Mixed Martial Arts, teaching wrestling and Grappling to the students there. No Limits athlete Don Ortega won the USA Wrestling Grappling World Team Trials, and will represent the United States at the World Championships in Antalya.

He has a long history as a successful coach within amateur wrestling and the martial arts, including mentorship of numerous champion athletes in many styles.

"We will have a tough challenge at the Worlds with Brazil and other nations," said Anderson. "The USA will be up for this challenge. We will show the Grappling world that America's martial art is wrestling. I believe wholeheartedly that we have the athletes to win it."

Anderson served on the coaching staff of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman Team which competed in Atlanta, Ga. He was also a coach on a number of U.S. World Teams. Anderson served on the coaching staff for the 2004 Greco-Roman World Cup as well as the 2002 Junior World Greco-Roman Championships. He served as a coach at the 1990 U.S. Olympic Festival, and has coached U.S. teams in Italy, Romania, Guatemala and other nations.

He was the founder and director of the Junior Elite Wrestling Systems (JETS) club, which won 12 age-group national wrestling titles and developed dozens of All-Americans. Anderson is a Gold Certified Coach within USA Wrestling's National Coaches Education Program, the highest coaching achievement in the sport.

Henderson coached U.S. Olympic Team Greco-Roman wrestlers Dan Henderson, Heath Sims and Jason Gleasman. Among the other top international wrestling stars he has mentored include Olympic and World champion Rulon Gardner and World Team member Randy Couture. Both Henderson and Couture have gone on to become champions in Mixed Martial Arts.

Anderson served as head wrestling coach for Kaahumanu Hou Christian School in Hawaii from 1992-2000. He also served as a coach at Adams State Univ. and El Camino JC, as well as a number of high schools in California.

He also has an extensive coaching career in Sombo, serving as the coach and a competitor for the 1977 Pan American Championships Sombo team, which won the team title in Mexico City, Mexico. He was also a coach with the 1979 U.S. Sombo World Team which competed in Madrid, Spain. During this time, he was a friend and mentor for the martial arts legend Hollis Gracie. Anderson is credited with developing the "Americana Arm Bar" submission hold. He also studied judo under respected coach Gene LaBelle.

He was a Veterans World freestyle wrestling champion in 2003 and Veterans World Greco-Roman runner-up in 2004. He competed in freestyle, Greco-Roman and Sombo on the national levels. Anderson won national titles within the U.S. Wrestling Federation, the AAU and the YMCA programs.

Anderson competed in wrestling at Adams State, where he was an All-American in the NCAA Div. I Championships and the NAIA Championships. He was the first Adams State wrestler to be a Div. I All-American. Previously, he attended El Camino JC, where he was a two-time California Junior College state champion.

"I am excited to coach this U.S. team," said Anderson. "To be able to go to the first World Championships and get back into what I did as an athlete and coach in the 1970's is a great honor."

Jason Townsend, Las Vegas, Nev.

Townsend is a Wrestling/Grappling Coach at Xtreme Couture MMA in Las Vegas, Nev. working with Mixed Martial Arts legend Randy Couture, who was also a U.S. Greco-Roman wrestling World Team member.

He serves as Head Wrestling Coach at Marc Laimon's Cobra Kai jiu-jitsu in Las Vegas, Nev. Cobra Kai jiu-jitsu placed two athletes in the finals of USA Wrestling Grappling World TeamTrials, runners-up Jeff Glover and Simpson Go. Glover will compete at the Grappling World Championships in Turkey.

"I am honored to be able to represent the USA as a coach of the first-ever U.S. Grappling World Team. It will be nice to use my knowledge of the rules to develop strategies, techniques and training methods necessary to defeat our foreign competition and bring home gold medals for the United States," said Townsend.

Townsend serves as a member of the FILA World Grappling Committee, the group within international wrestling which manages Grappling worldwide. Within the committee, Townsend serves as Technical Director for coaches and officials education, as well as rules oversight. He is one of the authors of the FILA Grappling Rulebook.

He was the founder and President of the International Submission Wrestling Association, a Grappling organization that hosted competitions, as well as trained officials, coaches and athletes. With the ISWA, Townsend developed the rules of Grappling which have been adopted by FILA. The ISWA ceased operation after FILA and USA Wrestling adopted Grappling as a style of wrestling.

Townsend has been a key individual in putting together USA Wrestling's existing Grappling program right from the start of organizational meetings this winter.

Townsend served as an assistant wrestling coach at Cal-State Fullerton from 2000-2005. He was a varsity wrestler for Syracuse Univ. and Hofstra Univ. Townsend was a two-time Maryland state high school champion, and was an All-American in freestyle at the Junior Nationals and Espoir Nationals.

"This is huge for the development of Grappling as a legitimate international amateur sport," said Townsend. "USA Wrestling has become a leader in the Grappling movement and a model for the implementation of this style into existing national wrestling federations around the world."

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