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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by e.kaye
    KUng Fu Joe-I have that book.

    Hancock and Harrison had similar attitudes about Ju Jitsu and wrestling. I always felt that they had a bias toward the Japanese.

    As far as the Gotch book, it literally says that he won three falls by submission and that he used strangualtion holds.
    Thanks, e.kaye. I'm definitely gonna try to get my hands on that one, now.


    I found another gem while searching through the archives of the New York Times. Here's an article which recounts a jiu-jitsu rules bout between an Englishman named Will Bingham, a known exponent of jiu-jitsu and a catch-as-catch-can wrestler, and a Japanese man named Aryo Toko. The relevant portion follows:
    Quote Originally Posted by New York Times (1913 Mar 01)
    Will Bingham, the middleweight English wrestler and expert of the jiu-jitsu style, tried conclusions with Aryo Toko, a son of Nippon, and delighted the crowd with exhibitions of ground and lofty tumbling without which no jiu-jitsu contest would be complete. The Englishman finally made the Japanese cry quits, which announcement was made by his frantically slamming his right hand to the floor just before being put out with a strangle hold, which is not barred in the rules of the game.
    Direct link here: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstrac...659C946296D6CF

    This seems as yet more evidence that Americans weren't familiar with submission wins. Those familiar with submission grappling understand that there is no more shame in losing by tap-out than there is by losing through pinfall. However, the language the author utilizes implies desperation on the part of the Japanese grappler. Certainly not the most convincing evidence, but the author of the article definitely seems much less familiar with the rules and techniques of jiu-jitsu than he is with catch-as-catch-can.

    --Joe

  2. #52
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    Ddlr's explanation makes the most sense- I'm not exactly sure what would happen if you had a submission hold like a hammerlock without a rule that allows you to tap out- could you just crank the hell out of the arm? Pain holds as a way to lead into a pin makes sense with the given info.

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    I just found this thread and have found it very informative.

    Kung-Fu Joe, please check out this link that I found in the NY Times Archives. It is dated 1885. I'm not sure if this predates American exposure to Ju-Jitsu or not. Have we established when this might have been? This article clearly describes some kind of windpipe strangle, and not a blood choke. The win was by submission.

    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive...649D94649FD7CF


    I haven't gone through all of them yet, and this is the first clear submission that I have found. It certainly looks like most matches were won by 2 out of three "falls". "Fall"s appear to be pins most of the time, but some matches were also one by "throws".

    Pretty fascinating to read these old articles.

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattmo
    I just found this thread and have found it very informative.

    Kung-Fu Joe, please check out this link that I found in the NY Times Archives. It is dated 1885. I'm not sure if this predates American exposure to Ju-Jitsu or not. Have we established when this might have been? This article clearly describes some kind of windpipe strangle, and not a blood choke. The win was by submission.

    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive...649D94649FD7CF
    That's exactly the kind of find I've been looking for! Not sure how I passed over that one, as I tried searching through Evan Lewis articles, but I'm very glad that you found it!

    I'd say that 1885 surely predates the major cross-pollination from Japanese arts. This seems to show that-- prior to its being banned in the 1890's-- there was at the very least a known danger from the Stranglehold, and that the wrestlers had a signal for quitting the match. While I'd still argue that the vast majority of wrestlers sought pinfalls over such victories-- especially given the exceptional nature of Evan Lewis-- this certainly removes some of the skepticism I've had regarding early Catch-as-Catch-Can.

    I haven't gone through all of them yet, and this is the first clear submission that I have found. It certainly looks like most matches were won by 2 out of three "falls". "Fall"s appear to be pins most of the time, but some matches were also one by "throws".

    Pretty fascinating to read these old articles.
    I noticed that, too. It seems like early wrestling matches were often decided at the Takedown-- much as in modern Judo. In later articles, dating towards the 1920's, I've seen such scoring referred to as a "flying fall."

    --Joe

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    There was a small population of Japanese immigrants in California by the 1880s though and immigration form Japan to the U.S. mainland dates back to the late 1860s. So jiu-jitsu was probabilly being practiced somewhere in the U.S. at that time. Although it might not have actually had a influence on catch wrestling.

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    Nice.

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    *Subscribed*

  8. #58
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    There's a comment in this video (skip to 2:50):

    YouTube - Learn to How To Learn - Billy Robinson, Scientific Wrestling

    ... where Billy Robinson says that many of the old Catch sub setups depended on the kinds of mistakes a guy would make while avoiding a pin, and that he and the other old timers are working to adapt their game to a ruleset that lacks the pinfall. Interesting stuff.
    “Most people do not do, but take refuge in theory and talk, thinking that they will become good in this way” -- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, II.4

  9. #59
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    After eight-and-a-half years, I'm necro'ing this old thread for two reasons. Firstly, because I still think it is incredibly interesting, and I've been wanting to return to it for some time. And secondly, because I have finally gotten my hands on a copy of Frank A. Gotch: World's Champion Wrestler, by George Robbins, the book which e.kaye had mentioned as recording Gotch winning by submission.

    Quote Originally Posted by e.kaye View Post
    As far as the Gotch book, it literally says that he won three falls by submission and that he used strangualtion holds.
    Having read the relevant passages, finally, it seems that e.kaye may have been reading into things a bit too much.

    On page 30, we read this anecdote from Ben Barth about Frank Gotch's first ever professional match:

    "Some time after that Gotch wrestled Marshall Green, a chicken picker in Humboldt, and defeated him. They wrestled at catch-as-catch-can style and Gotch won three straight falls, all with the strangle hold. I guess that was the only catch-as-catch-can hold Gotch knew at that time."

    Barth notes that "we wrestled side holds in those days," and that Gotch didn't really know catch-as-catch-can.

    On the next page, Gotch recounts the story in his own words:


    "I was only twenty years' old and I didn't know any more about professional wrestling than a dog about singing or a pig about Latin. I had wrestled side holds with Barth and the other big lads of the neighborhood and played rough and tumble at the auction sales, but what I didn't know about real wrestling of the Farmer Burns kind would fill a mighty large volume...

    "I didn't know enough about training to last ten minutes in a professional match with a top-notcher. I did know how to run and tumble around, so I spent several days imagining I was training for the big event. They told me the match was to be a rough and tumble encounter at catch-as-catch-can. I didn't know what they meant, but imagined I was training for that thing, whatever it was...

    "I wore overalls and when the men who had arranged for the match arrived they told me to put on my suit and get ready for the bout. When I told them I had come to wrestle in my overalls, they were nonplussed. After a special session of the wrestling committee of Humboldt it was agreed to cut off the legs of my overalls just above the knees and allow me to use these as tights. I consented to this compromise and when the referee was ready I climbed on the mat and took a look at my opponent. He looked as big as a house and I imagine my hair was 'on end,' but I had plenty of nerve and went into the match to win.

    "It is no credit to me that I defeated Green in three straight falls with strangle holds. We didn't know any better and I guess one was as ignorant of the catch-as-catch-can code as the other. I kept after Green every minute. I didn't give the 'picker' a chance to pluck any feathers from this chicken. When I fastened the strangle to him all he could do was submit or die and he decided to submit. When I had strangled him into submission in the first two falls, he was nearly exhausted and it was easy for me to gain the deciding fall with the same hold."

    Now, the book does not-- unfortunately-- paint us a detailed picture of just what it meant for Green to "submit." Perhaps Green gave some sort of signal to the referee indicating that he was quitting, as occurs in modern submission grappling. While I haven't been able to find much which would support this idea, there is a line in a New York Times article from December 23, 1885, which says that Tom Cannon quit a fall while wrestling Evan "Strangler" Lewis by "clapp[ing] his hands frantically in the air" when the latter wrestler had gotten a strangle hold.

    Another possibility, however, is that Green simply allowed himself to be put on the ground in order to get Gotch to release the strangle. This seems the more likely scenario, in my opinion. Gotch, by his own admission, knew almost nothing about catch-as-catch-can wrestling. He was only familiar with side-hold wrestling, which has the goal of throwing one's opponent to the ground; and he was no stranger to rough-housing with "the other big lads." Gotch quite explicitly notes his youthful ignorance and lack of technical skill, clearly inferring that the strangle hold was not to be considered good wrestling. While I cannot claim this with absolute certainty, it seems more likely to me that Gotch would try to use the strangle hold to wrestle his opponent to the ground than to attempt to score a tap-out (or some similar signal).

    I still don't believe that there were any formal rules for submission grappling in Western styles of wrestling prior to the cross-pollination with Judo. Indeed, these passages do yet more to confirm the idea that such "rough" techniques like those we employ in submission grappling would have been looked down upon as brutish and unbecoming of a catch-as-catch-can wrestler at the turn of the century.

  10. #60
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    A few more corrections, now that I actually have the book in question.

    Quote Originally Posted by e.kaye View Post
    Gotch had a fight in the Klondike in 1900 where he submitted a guy with a hammerlock, "Until he cried."
    This statement is more than a little misleading. Yes, this was a fight-- as in, not a wrestling match, but an actual fight with some schmuck of a guy. From Frank A. Gotch: World's Champion Wrestler, page 44:

    The [mining] camp [in which he was working], fortunately for Gotch, had a bully. This fellow was not a wonderful wrestler, but had a habit of intimidating other miners by a show of strength and bulldog courage. Gotch had not been in camp many weeks before he had a "run in" with the bully. Gotch rushed his traducer, grabbed him around the waist and hurled him to the ground. Then he pinned him with a hammerlock until he cried for mercy.

    So, this wasn't a wrestling match. Gotch had a hammerlock, but didn't use it to "submit" his opponent, in the modern sense of the word. We are explicitly told that Gotch utilized the hammerlock to effect a pin. It is unclear whether the bully cried for mercy from pain caused by the hammerlock or from the embarrassment of having been held immobile on the ground for some indeterminate period of time.

    Gotch broke the foot of Italian wrestler Pardello with a Toe hold in 1906.
    This, again, was not a submission attack, in any sense of the term. Pardello had been fouling Gotch throughout their match-- grinding his elbow into Gotch, for example, and even swinging a punch, at one point. From page 97:

    ...Pardello reached over in a fit of rage, grabbed the Iowan by the hair and pulled a whole handful of Gotch's hair from the roots.

    That proved the downfall of Pardello as an aspirant for the highest wrestling honors. In a wild mixup the wrestlers shifted about the mat and in less than thirty seconds Gotch had Pardello's left foot up his back for the toe hold. There was a sharp snap audible to those at the ringside. Pardello, with a groan, fell to the mat in defeat. An examination showed that a ligament had been snapped, but the game Italian came back for the second fall, which Gotch won in a few seconds.

    Gotch made a speech, in which he told the crowd that he deeply regretted the accident to Pardello. It was one of the few times the world's champion has lost his temper on the mat.


    This makes it exceptionally clear that Gotch's toe hold was not supposed to damage an opponent in this way. If one's legitimate goal in a bout is to damage an opponent's ligaments, one does not apologize for then damaging that opponent's ligaments. Gotch very clearly did not think that destroying his opponent's limbs was a goal of his toe hold.

    Furthermore, it is quite noteworthy that the damage to his leg is not what signaled the fall. Instead, Pardello lost the fall after dropping to the mat. Again, it seems that the goal of Western wrestling prior to cross-pollination with Judo was to bring an opponent's shoulders to the ground.

    However, I did find a very interesting passage, a little earlier. On page 88, we read an excerpt from the Montreal Herald about one of Gotch's matches:

    "The match was 'go-as-you-please,' strangle your man, break his legs and arms, any old thing, and a terrific crowd was on hand, for the Turk had done some fierce work in Montreal...

    "Go-as-you-please is Gotch's favorite style and he can kill-- actually kill-- an opponent with any one of his dozens of dangerous locks and bars...

    "Last night he had the Turk all but down thirty times or so, in awful holds, and let him up just to punish him. And he had enough. No wonder, for the crowd fairly trembled to see it.

    "Once-- it was the first fall-- he bent Karry's leg till it creaked; let him go; hammerlocked him within an inch of a break; let him go; pinched his leg with his knees, and all but pushed his head off; let him go; half nelsoned him till his neck just about broke; let him go; full nelsoned and barred him, within an inch of death, picked him up five feet in the air and fell on him with knees and elbows. Go-as-you-please? Eh, what?

    "A good four inches taller, Gotch had the Turk beaten 847 ways on skill, and the second fall, about three minutes long, was three minutes of fearful agony for Mr. Karry. Gotch went after him IN EARNEST, and say, it was appalling. He wouldn't throw him, but just punished him till he quit."

    Interestingly, we are told the exact manner in which Karry quit the match.


    "The Turk quit. Quit cold. He is a Terrible Turk, but not with Gotch. 'I've got enough,' he whispered, and walked off the mat. Gotch laughed and tried to pull him back. No, sir; no more for his'n. Gotch sat down on the mat and grinned; he beckoned the Turk to come on again, but no. No thank you, very much. About a minute before the Turk had lain flat on his back, and Dr. (beg pardon, Alderman) Gadbois, the referee, had failed to blow the wee bit whistle. It was too plain a 'lie-down.'"

    So, first, Karry tried to simply lay flat on his back. However, the referee wouldn't allow a wrestler to give up in such an obvious fashion. So, instead, Karry just walked off the mat and refused to continue. No tap-out. No crying uncle. No frantically clapping hands. No yelling, "I give up!" He just walks off the mat while Gotch chides him. One would think that, if submission grappling was a known goal of wrestling at the time, then competitors would be allowed to actually forfeit the match while still on the mat.

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