I have republished "The Hand-book to Wrestling" to my lulu site. Download is, as usual, free.
Special thanks to Ken Pfrenger for making this text available to me to republish.
Peace favor your sword,
In 1840, Owen Swift, already a published author and notable boxer, published "The Hand-book to Boxing."
Drawing on his extensive experience as a professional boxer, having killed at least two men in the ring, Swift's ambitious booklet attempts to treat the subject of boxing comprehensively.
Swift first offers a impassioned defense of pugilism, extolling it's virtue and arguing for the legalization of professional prize fighting to the Marquis of Normanby. He follows the plea with a brief history of boxing from ancient greeks to contemporary times, including a treatment of the boxing ceastus and various wraps of antiquity. Swift continues with a discussion and advice for the proper forms to enjoy boxing as an upper class spectator, often called the "fancy." From there he careens into a discussion of boxing schools and the differences between "modern" and "old" style boxing, today sometimes identified as the Broughton era rules and the London Prize-ring rules (LPR). Finally, at long last, he gives instructions for how to box and train to the student, the rules and etiquette for the indispensable job of Seconds, and the "new rules of prize-fighting" (LPR).
Swift wraps up his bold hand-book with a chronology of boxing "from the times of Fig and Broughton to November 1840," in itself an ambitious undertaking and comprising more than half the pages of his book.
All for the paltry sum of two shillings!
With topics far reaching and inclusive, this unique manual is a requisite for classic pugilism enthusiasts, martial artists, and boxing historians alike.