Wrestler, Deceased Person
1887 – 1966
Who was Ad Santel?
Ad Santel, was a practitioner of catch wrestling. Ad Santel fought one of the early clash-of-the-styles matches in modern martial arts history against Tokugoro Ito, a 5th degree black belt in Judo from Japan. Santel defeated Ito when a slamming takedown rendered the Judoka unable to continue the point and proclaimed himself the World Judo Champion. Tokugoro Ito went on to avenge the loss a few months later on June 10, 1916 by defeating Santel with a choke hold, being one of very few to ever defeat Santel. The founder of judo, Professor Kano sent further challengers from 1914 to 1921. These judoka included 4th degree black belt Daisuke Sakai and Taro Miyake, whom Santel defeated. Ad Santel drew with 5th degree black belt Hikoo Shoji. He also drew with matches with Reijiro Nagata, Tsutao Higami, and Setsuzo Ota. The challenge matches stopped after Santel gave up on the claim of being the World Judo Champion in 1921 in order to pursue a career in full time professional wrestling. The impact of these performances on Japan was immense. The Japanese were fascinated by the submissions taught in catch wrestling. Japanese fighters traveled to Europe in order to either participate in various tournaments or to learn catch wrestling at European schools such as Billy Riley's Snake Pit in Wigan, UK.
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