Interview with Mr. Denny Lenormand- 68 kg World Champion
My name is Denny Lenormand and I am the first combat wrestling world champion at 68 kg.
I am an associate instructor under Reilly Bodycomb and currently hold a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under black belt Matthias Meister of NOLA BJJ.
I began grappling in the summer of 2010. Since then I have trained and competed in multiple grappling sports such as SAMBO, BJJ, and submission wrestling. Much of my competition success is due to my focus on dynamic entries and intricate leg attacks. My techniques and approach to grappling are influenced by the teachings of my grappling coach Reilly Bodycomb.
Some of my competition achievements include:
Combat wrestling World Champion 68kg -2015 USA
Combat Wrestling Team Trials 68kg Champion -2015
Arnold Sports Classic Sport SAMBO Gold Medalist 68kg-2015
Arnold Sports Classic Sport SAMBO Gold Medalist 68kg-2014
NAGA No-Gi Expert 149lbs Champion- Birmingham, AL – 2014
NAGA No -Gi Expert 149lbs Champion – Southeast Championship, Atlanta, GA – 2013
I was aware of combat wrestling prior to competing. I have watched videos of combat wrestling in Japan and I enjoyed the behaviors that the rules caused, such as quick submissions and epic leg lock battles. That was my main reason for participating in the US trails.
I was a bit nervous to compete at the trails because winning meant that I would make the US World Team. Once I stepped on the mats to compete my nervousness went away. I had two matches and I finished both with a combined time of a little over a minute via submissions – an ankle and shoulder lock.
I was ecstatic with making the first world team. I could not wait to tell all my friends and family about my achievement. From a spectator’s point of view the trails were amazingly fun to watch. The matches were fast paced and exciting. It is always a sight to see when a person throws another person over their head.
I could not believe that I made the team. It almost did not seem real. My feelings were a mixture of excitement and stress. I was representing USA! About a month before the worlds the stress really began to set in. My main source comfort was the support of all my friends, family, and training partners at NOLA BJJ. Reilly did an amazing job of guiding me through the whole experience.
My experience competing in Varna, Bulgaria was unforgettable. I had a chance create friendships with the US team and the coaches along with a few other teams that were competing. Being there and seeing the competitors and their teams from all over the world was both surreal and intimidating. I was expecting some epic battles and amazing wrestling skills…
That is exactly what happened.
The matches were intense and the competitors were there to represent their countries. Which I think adds extra importance for winning. Similar to the trials I had two matches that I won by submission, ankle locks. When the ref raised my arm after winning the championship match I got the goose bumps. I became the first combat wrestling world champion at 68kg! The feeling was and is incredible! I still find it weird when people call me “world champ.”
While still young I think combat wrestling has a bright future. Seeing a few local competitions around the US would help combat wrestling gain popularity. The rules are fun and inviting for many grappling disciplines. I encourage anyone that is looking to challenge themselves in a different rule set to try combat wrestling.