1. #1

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    Fencing influence on early boxing.

    I have always heard that early boxing's development was influenced by fencing or sword fighting in general. I am aware that several early champions such as Broughton were fencers of some sort or another, however I am totally ignorant of fencing as an art. Could anyone here point out to me some of the more obvious influences of fencing on historical pugilism, or link me to some reading material that could enlighten me?

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    DdlR's Avatar
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    I've read a bunch of old boxing manuals over the years, though it's been a while since any of it was fresh in my mind, and the only really direct parallels along those lines that I can recall were in a mid-20th century manual on military bayonet combat. That manual pointed out the mechanical similarities between various actions in boxing and bayonet fighting, basically making the case for more emphasis on boxing in basic training.

    In terms of the much earlier material, I can't recall any one manual that drew explicit parallels between fencing and boxing, though someone else might be able to.

    It may be worth noting that the earliest form of what we'd think of as "modern boxing" in Europe - i.e., as distinct from ancient Greek and Roman pugilism - probably evolved in various regional styles in Italy before being transported to England in the 1700s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DdlR View Post
    I've read a bunch of old boxing manuals over the years, though it's been a while since any of it was fresh in my mind, and the only really direct parallels along those lines that I can recall were in a mid-20th century manual on military bayonet combat. That manual pointed out the mechanical similarities between various actions in boxing and bayonet fighting, basically making the case for more emphasis on boxing in basic training.

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    So it is more likely that this is just something that is said rather than something that actually happened? I seem to recall a web board where I read that there were parallels between the spanish school of fencing and early boxing, however I don't recall where or what exactly these comparisons were, though I suppose I could google it. I recall a couple of early writers on boxing calling it fencing with the fists, though now that I think about it I suppose that doesn't mean they were implying a connection. I guess another reason I drew this connection in my head was that when looking over medieval works like Talhoffer and Fiore it seemed like the strikes that were shown were weapon motions performed without the weapon, I thought perhaps this had carried forward so to speak.

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    My Boxing coach always talked about how the foot work in fencing is good and applicable to boxing. I can see similarities especially in amateur boxing and fencing, the wide sideways stance with quick lunges forward and backward..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkansan View Post
    So it is more likely that this is just something that is said rather than something that actually happened? I seem to recall a web board where I read that there were parallels between the spanish school of fencing and early boxing, however I don't recall where or what exactly these comparisons were, though I suppose I could google it. I recall a couple of early writers on boxing calling it fencing with the fists, though now that I think about it I suppose that doesn't mean they were implying a connection. I guess another reason I drew this connection in my head was that when looking over medieval works like Talhoffer and Fiore it seemed like the strikes that were shown were weapon motions performed without the weapon, I thought perhaps this had carried forward so to speak.
    I'd say that there may very well have been direct, deliberate technical crossovers between fencing and boxing at various points in history (as distinct from natural mechanical and tactical parallels) but that it's difficult to demonstrate in terms of what was written down.

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    I fenced foil and epee for a couple years when I was younger and I also box. The footwork for a boxing jab is basically the same as an attack (not lunge) in fencing. The front foot slides forward and the power comes from the the push on the back foot. You also have to stay on the balls of your feet while fencing as in boxing. When I started boxing, the footwork for the jab was already engrained into me.

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