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  1. Sir Ocelot is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/10/2006 2:11pm


     Style: WMA (various)

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    From a source c. 1800, some material attributed to Mendoza, online:

    http://www.sirwilliamhope.org/Library/Mendoza/

    A few points of similarity to modern methods:

    1. The straight punch is distinguished from the "round" punch (typically a swing rather than a hook) and is held to be advantageous against people ignorant of boxing, who tend to rely upon the latter.

    2. Left and right hand are both used to punch, and the head and body are both targeted -- though the lesson sections always start with face shots rather than body shots.

    3. There are feints.

    4. There are combinations.

    5. Evading blows is preferred over blocking. (Though in this case, evasion is done by "throwing the head and body back", something Dempsey, for example, didn't much like.)


    One important difference is the footwork. For one thing, this text expects you to be equally comfortable boxing from either right or left foot forward positions. For another, here when advancing you're to step with the rear leg first, and when retreating you step with the front leg first.
  2. Sir Ocelot is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/10/2006 4:40pm


     Style: WMA (various)

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by NoMan
    Most of today's power punching derives from Jack Dempsey, who figured out how to use his entire body in punching to generate momentum from the hips rather than using the shoulders to punch harder and to outlast opponents who still punched wildly. I'm not sure when bobbing, slipping, weaving, and the other mechanics of boxing began coming into play, but I've never heard them referenced in older boxing sources.
    Not trying to pile on here (since DdlR and VikingPower already addressed this issue) but Dempsey himself didn't take credit for inventing his material. In Chapter 3 of Championship Fighting, he gives credit to many different people, among them "Trainer Deforest, one of the best instructors in the world", whose "career went clear back to the days of Peter Jackson and London Prize-ring rules." He goes on to say something very interesting with respect to the subject of this thread:

    "[S]ince I was six years old, I'd had the opportunity to learn punching from a long parade of guys who had studied it. [. . .] And let me emphasize that in the days when I was drinking in all that information, the fighters, trainers and managers knew much more about punching than they generally know today. [. . .] While I was coming up, the technique of the old masters was still fresh in the minds of the fighting men. [. . .] [T]he punching technique of the old masters -- Sullivan, Corbett, Bob Fitzsimmons, Tommy Ryan, Joe Gans, Terry McGovern, and others -- seems to have been forgotten."

    (N.B. "Today" here would mean c. 1950.)

    Dempsey does seem to take credit for the bob and weave, though he describes it as an adaptation of something he copied from a schoolmate of his named Charley Diehl.
    Last edited by Sir Ocelot; 10/10/2006 4:47pm at .
  3. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/10/2006 6:08pm

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     Style: Bartitsu

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Thinkchair
    That was a pretty comprehensive list of books. I just finished a term paper on the history of boxing and this book is highly regarded by historians:

    Gorn, Elliott J. The Manly Art: Bare-knuckle Prize Fighting in America. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell
    University Press, 1986.

    It is under three hundred pages and very well researched.
    Another excellent modern source is Bob Mee's "Bare Fists: A History of Bare Knuckle Prize Fighting". It's a history of the sport in both England and the USA and includes a chapter on modern-day MMA and unlicensed boxing matches.
  4. G8 is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/10/2006 7:02pm


     Style: BJJ

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Ocelot
    Not trying to pile on here (since DdlR and VikingPower already addressed this issue) but Dempsey himself didn't take credit for inventing his material. In Chapter 3 of Championship Fighting, he gives credit to many different people, among them "Trainer Deforest, one of the best instructors in the world", whose "career went clear back to the days of Peter Jackson and London Prize-ring rules." He goes on to say something very interesting with respect to the subject of this thread:

    "[S]ince I was six years old, I'd had the opportunity to learn punching from a long parade of guys who had studied it. [. . .] And let me emphasize that in the days when I was drinking in all that information, the fighters, trainers and managers knew much more about punching than they generally know today. [. . .] While I was coming up, the technique of the old masters was still fresh in the minds of the fighting men. [. . .] [T]he punching technique of the old masters -- Sullivan, Corbett, Bob Fitzsimmons, Tommy Ryan, Joe Gans, Terry McGovern, and others -- seems to have been forgotten."

    (N.B. "Today" here would mean c. 1950.)
    I admit to having no deep knowledge of boxing history, but I can't take this too seriously. I could show you literally thousands of similar comments from old timers in damn near every major sport decrying the skills of younger athletes in an effort to keep themselves relevant. Goddamn, these youngsters today can't bunt or hit and run properly, and none of them can shoot free throws, and nobody knows how to run the single wing or hit a mashie any more ... by cracky, in my day we practiced fundamentals from dawn till dusk, and then Connie Mack and Coach Rockne made us milk the cows and hoe the back forty ...
    In any case, it would be extremely odd, and counter to the principle of natural selection, for effective and important technique to vanish from a competitive, pressure-tested sport. Unless punching technique for some reason became less significant between Dempsey's heyday and 1950, his remarks probably need to be taken with several large chunks of salt.
  5. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    10/10/2006 7:17pm

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     Style: Bartitsu

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I admit to having no deep knowledge of boxing history, but I can't take this too seriously. I could show you literally thousands of similar comments from old timers in damn near every major sport decrying the skills of younger athletes in an effort to keep themselves relevant. Goddamn, these youngsters today can't bunt or hit and run properly, and none of them can shoot free throws, and nobody knows how to run the single wing or hit a mashie any more ... by cracky, in my day we practiced fundamentals from dawn till dusk, and then Connie Mack and Coach Rockne made us milk the cows and hoe the back forty ...
    In any case, it would be extremely odd, and counter to the principle of natural selection, for effective and important technique to vanish from a competitive, pressure-tested sport. Unless punching technique for some reason became less significant between Dempsey's heyday and 1950, his remarks probably need to be taken with several large chunks of salt.
    Yeah, back in my day we trained by pushing frozen turkeys up mountains with our noses ...

    But I think Sir Ocelot's point was just to demonstrate that Dempsey himself credited the earlier champions and trainers with a thorough understanding of punching mechanics, and that he (S.O) made that point to refute MoMan's suggestion that Dempsey was actually the first to discover them.

    To sum up, Dempsey's book "Championship Fighting: Explosive Punching and Aggressive Defence" included some excellent, clear discussion about the body mechanics behind power punching and, because of his fame, his book probably did serve to introduce or at least reinforce these ideas to at least one new generation of boxers, which is, I think, what NoMan was referring to.

    The book was very influential and deservedly so, and it has also been out of print for the past fifty-six years, so it has attained something of a legendary status in modern times. None of this actually means that Dempsey was the originator of power punching mechanics.
  6. Sir Ocelot is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/10/2006 8:23pm


     Style: WMA (various)

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by DdlR
    But I think Sir Ocelot's point was just to demonstrate that Dempsey himself credited the earlier champions and trainers with a thorough understanding of punching mechanics, and that he (S.O) made that point to refute MoMan's suggestion that Dempsey was actually the first to discover them.
    That's the main point, but I do find the idea that knowledge of punching declined to be interesting, too. Dempsey attributes it to the rise in popularity of boxing and the money involved, saying that brought a bunch of unqualified trainers into the sport. He doesn't truly seem to have thought that the knowledge was lost -- he singles out Joe Louis as "a great champion" and speaks highly of his trainers -- just that it had become pretty thin on the ground. I don't know if he was right, but from this angle, it's plausible. (Think of it this way: the strongest karateka of today are probably at least as good as those of a century ago, but with all the modern McDojos and bullshido instructors, the average quality of karateka has probably gone way down. A competitive sport has some innate resistance to this, but not immunity.)
  7. Happycrow is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/11/2006 10:09am


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    It's worse than that, actually. How many fights does a boxer have to have before he can get in on a championship fight? How many in the '50s? In the '20s? Boxing had dilution start to occur... but then the corruption in the sport gave it a bad rep, and between that and all the studies showing how boxers can take a lot of brain damage, the sport basically collapsed. I won't make any friends among the boxers if I point out that to find a good boxer on t.v. nowadays you basically have to go watch the Mexican flyweights and featherweights, or find somebody like KoKo's bout against Lennox Lewis a couple years back... but it's not as far from the truth as I wish it was.
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