Thread: "French boxing at the Alambra"
1/23/2011 11:36am, #1
"French boxing at the Alambra"
An article from Bartitsu.org describing the outcome of a savate exhibition at the Alhambra music hall in London during 1898, with speculation on the origins of the British prejudice against kicking in combat sports.
Here's an excerpt:
The origins of the middle-class, urban Anglo-Saxon bias against kicking are obscure. Striking an opponent with the feet had long been banned by the conventions, if not literally the rules, of boxing. Neither the revised Rules of the London Prize Ring nor those dedicated to the Marquis of Queensberry specifically prohibited kicking, presumably because it was simply taken for granted that boxers would not kick. Certainly, late-Victorian literature makes much reference to the act of kicking an opponent as being “unmanly”, “brutal”, etc.
At least one British method of antagonistics had cultivated the art of kicking, though by 1898, the fearsomely weaponised shoes of rural Devonshire wrestlers, which had played merry havoc with their opponents’ shins in bloody purring contests throughout the first three-quarters on the 19th century, had become the stuff of folk memory. Even during their heyday, when chanced upon by literate urbanites who deigned to record these matches for posterity, the gory mess that was made of Devonshire wrestlers’ lower legs seem to have inspired greater revulsion than the “spout of claret” occasioned by a boxer’s stiff left lead-off or right cross-counter. Ultimately, it is likely that kicking fell out of fashion due to the same civilising impulse that eventually replaced bare-knuckle prize fighting with gloved boxing.
1/23/2011 10:23pm, #2
- Join Date
- Aug 2009
- Oakland, CA (East Bay Area)
I wanna learn more about Devonshire wrestling now, this site says they fought for ippon.
"The former forbore from kicking (Cornwall) whereas kicking, and that with shoes specially hardened for the purpose, was allowed to the Devonian. The combatants had their legs swathed in hay-bands (skillibegs). The great achievement of the wrestler was to "show the white horse" This consisted in elevating his antagonist over his shoulder and flinging him on the ground upon his back. Too often the result was fatal; the spine was either broken or so severely injured that paralysis ensued".
1/23/2011 11:28pm, #3
Devonshire wrestling was rough stuff, but also kind of a spectator favorite in that the "out play" style (kicking and tripping) was reminiscent of fencing. It was similar to the Norfolk style described here: http://www.the-exiles.org/manual/norfwres/norfwres.htm .
Most English folk-wrestling styles were essentially fought for ippon, the major exception being Lancashire catch-as-catch-can, which included groundfighting and was won by pin-fall.
1/25/2011 10:27pm, #4
- Join Date
- Mar 2010
- Charlotte, NC
It seems ippon is a common victory condition in folk wrestling the world over, I would venture to say more common than pinfall. I believe Schwingen is won by ippon for instance but I'm not sure. I'm not sure how Glima goes beyond the fact that there isn't any groundfighting.
Speaking of which, does anyone know of any good text resources for the techniques of Irish collar and elbow wrestling?
1/25/2011 10:36pm, #5
Yep - "The Magnificent Scufflers" is all about the collar and elbow style, and it's now available to read online at http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?i...size=100;seq=9
1/27/2011 8:10am, #6
Music Hall was the TV/Film and Radio of its day and a vital diversion from the rigour of everyday life. The Alhambra was also notable for its high class prostitutes who would promade at the higher tiers to attract admirers.
Music Hall really was the proverbial Palace of Varities and included Wrestler and Ju Jitsu exhibitions with challenges being accepted from the audience. Yukio Tani and Ueyinshi (sp?) both featured. Boxing also had its place but only on an Exhibition basis, for example, Jack Johnson. Competitive boxing tended to catered outside the Variety bill. :happy7: