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  1. Petter is offline

    12th level logic wielder

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    Posted On:
    1/16/2009 7:40pm


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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by DdlR
    I agree that a LPR vs. modern style match would be a really interesting experiment. I'll suggest it to the guys in Boston who are experimenting with the old rules.
    That would be some really interesting video to see. Especially if the people using the modern stance are allowed to train at least a little bit against that stance, and under those rules; like I said, what we're discussing is which stance is better, not whether the old-style stance can mindfuck someone who's never faced it before.
  2. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/16/2009 8:05pm


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    Quote Originally Posted by Petter
    I don't think it should be clean-room in the sense of the fighters being ignorant of each other's styles. In fact, I think that would ruin the sort of experiment I had in mind: If a modern boxer loses just because he had no idea of what to expect, that doesn't tell us anything about the value of stances, but rather about the value of novelty and doing the unexpected. My experiment would have both fighters in each bout fully aware of what the other is likely to do, but one fighting in the stance of an old-style boxer, and the other in a more modern stance. (Preferably, they should have sparred against each other's stances before.)


    Well, we can hardly expect an experiment on the scale or clinical precision of a double-blind medical trial! There's anecdotal and anecdotal, though; there's "lots of people win street fights with *ing *un" (clearly rather weak), and "40% of MMA champions have BJJ experience: Specifically, X, Y, Z, ...; see also [fight record archive]" -- number pulled out of my ass, but clearly this style of anecdote reporting is superior: It's at least possible to verify that the anecdotes really happened, and even anecdotes are better when they're more than two or three.

    Come to think of it, arguments based on fight records could arguably be said to be better than anecdotal, period, as there is less of a selection bias (all championship fight outcomes are known, so it's hard to cherry-pick).

    Thus far, I've seen more of the first 'style', but then, I haven't delved into most of the linked material; there may well be more solid citations, for all I know.
    I don't disagree with any of this.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
  3. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/16/2009 8:10pm


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    Quote Originally Posted by Petter
    like I said, what we're discussing is which stance is better, not whether the old-style stance can mindfuck someone who's never faced it before.
    Well, which is more successful for a given ruleset anyhow, but, yeah, I agree.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
  4. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    1/16/2009 8:14pm

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     Style: Bartitsu

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snake Plissken
    So he was fat and your are a fatty slayer?
    He was a powerlifter - big gut, bigger chest and shoulders. I'm just used to fighting much bigger guys.
  5. Anna Kovacs is offline
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    Posted On:
    1/16/2009 8:28pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Petter
    Well, what do you expect with a thread title of "A Discussion of Boxing Stances Through History"? If you want to pursue martial superiority, this thread is hardly the place for it.

    That said, I do agree with you that the Defendants have failed to provide solid evidence of their thesis -- I don't know enough to be swayed either way.

    To clarify, what I was actually getting at is people who simply look at history and take it at face value that what they did is the best way to accomplish whatever they were trying to accomplish.


    vs someone who is primarily a fighter and more willing to examine "well, which way is actually more effective?".

    Being that the article posted starts off by suggesting that each method has it's advantage in it's paticular ruleset it's more then reasonable to question the supposed advantage.
  6. Anna Kovacs is offline
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    Posted On:
    1/16/2009 8:42pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by DdlR


    Since it is obvious that you aren't prepared to listen to people who have already done that (Ken Pfrenger, Kirk, me)
    All you guys have done is say "this is the way they did it". You have not made any effort at all to explain how doing it that way is actually better for the rulesets in question. You guys have only said "they did it this way...so it must be the way that works best in this ruleset". You don't actually know why that must be the case, you just jumped to a conclusion that you can't back up.

    the idea was that reading the books written by old-school champions would provide you with objective, first-party evidence that Ken was representing their instructions fairly and accurately.
    That might very well be, but the old school champions cannot contrast their way of doing things with todays way of doing things and explain the advantage of doing it one way vs another with the rulesets in question.


    A cynic would suggest that this is a very convenient position to take, especially if you really aren't interested in doing your own homework an are more interested in thread-winning than in learning. You haven't shown any inclination to listen to us and now you claim that the books written by the champion boxers of the 1800s are "irrelevant".
    Unless they're going to contrast it with the modern way of doing things, as Ken did in his article, they are.

    I think that you are still, in spite of all of everything I've told you, assuming that Pfrenger's article was some kind of anti-modern boxing manifesto.
    Not really. I just want to know why he feels the positions in question are more advantageous under the rulesets in question when contrasted with the modern boxing stance. It's him that drew the intial contrast. Not I.

    I'll say it again, for the record; the article is a condensed explanation of why old-school boxers stood and punched the way they did. It was written, in part, to save people like you the effort of doing all of the research and testing that Ken went through.
    But it does not actually explain the technical details. It says "this way was better for maintaining range, this way was better with standing throws allowed" but it does not explain WHY those positions are supposedly advantageous over standard orthodox modern position. It simply says "this is the case" without explaining why. Thus the article failed at accomplishing what it supposedly is intended to do. It does not actually explain why.

    I haven't offered a technical explanation for the stance in that picture because Ken already did that in his article.
    No he didn't. Not really. I can explain why, in great technical detail, I feel that modern orthodox position is superior in basically all striking rulesets. The original article did not get into technical detail at all.
  7. Anna Kovacs is offline
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    Posted On:
    1/16/2009 8:43pm

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    To make it simple i'm just going to break down the original article point by point to explain my issues with it.
  8. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    1/16/2009 9:04pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by AnnaTrocity
    To make it simple i'm just going to break down the original article point by point to explain my issues with it.
    Go for it. Based on your recent responses I'm pretty sure you're just trolling, but if you come up with any good, intelligent points that we haven't already answered at least once, I'll be happy to discuss them with you.
  9. Anna Kovacs is offline
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    Posted On:
    1/16/2009 9:19pm

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    --
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    "They stood that way because their skills were primitive."
    "A modern boxer would eat that guy up."

    Both of these statements prove to be false when you look at the reasons such stances were used and contrast them to the sport of Modern Boxing.

    So here we have it. The purpose of this article is 1.) To prove that old school boxing was in no way more primitive then modern boxing and 2.)Disprove the supposition that a modern boxer is superior. The article intends to prove it's point by contrasting the old school styles with modern boxing.

    As such it's completely reasonable to have disagreements with the articles "contrasts".



    Fig 2 and 3 show this strange extended lead stance with the arms held relatively low and the legs very straight... Does this mean it was not as effective as the modern stance? No, it just means that boxing had different rules, and like the modern stance, the older stance catered to the rules of the game.

    Let's take a quick look at what was deemed illegal under the LPR.

    No butting
    No hitting a downed man
    No hitting below the belt
    No gouging or biting
    No kicking or falling on an opponent knees first
    No grabbing from the waist down

    All these thing are illegal in modern boxing just as they were in the LPR, but look at the holes these rules leave in regards to grappling and rabbit punching. Various throws, such as the crossbuttock and back heel, were employed with great success if one of the boxers got too close to the other. Infighting was a totally different concept back in the day than it is now. No referee to break up a clinch, only a cheering crowd wanting to see one of the boxers get dumped. This vastly changed the concept of boxing range in the period. Arms were positioned to accomodate the rules since an extended guard is more favorable at the longer range that the fighters found themselves punching from. Boxing under the LPR was very much a range game.
    So to break it down, the extended guard is supposedly better at keeping an opponent at range, and/or better at ensuring that when a clinch does occur that one winds up in a favorable position to dump the other boxer.

    Starting off with the range thing. Boxing is still just as much a range game. In fact pretty much any striking art is "very much a range game" and timing and distancing skills reign supreme even over good technique. There are a great many modern boxers who rely on keeping their distance from their opponent so as to avoid their opponent doing any kind of in-fighting. Why then would these modern boxers who are very dependent on maintaining as much range as possible not use this position if it is actually superior at maintaining range?

    Secondly, we get into the clinching aspects. How does this guard actually help insure that one can do these throws better then they could be preformed from a modern guard? In what way is one better positioned to maintain clinch superiority?


    Now what about the hands? Why did they hold them vertical or with the knuckles pointing at the other guy? Until the use of gloves became common in the ring, pugilists struck with a vertical fist nearly all the time. Why did they use the vertical fist? First reason is that it is just plain safer to hit with a vertical fist than a horizontal one.
    Well, I'm totally down with the vertical fist. Due to pre-existing injuries to both hands I have to be pretty careful about how I make impact with a target so as not to agitate my old breaks so I wind up using the vertical fist a lot, but these vertical fist punches can be thrown just as easily, and in my opinion easier from modern orthodox position. I don't actually see any advantage to holding your knuckles towards the opponent. The author seems to feel that adding rotation to your punch makes it hit harder but I really just don't feel it with the vertical fist. The only reason rotating your fist adds power vs the vertical fist is because turning the punch all the way over brings everything more in line with your shoulder so the impact is stiffer. This is not the case rotating from knuckles down to vertical. I through a bunch of punches just to see if I could feel the difference and I really just can't feel any added power twisting to vertical position.

    Another benefit of the vertical fist is the slight reach advantage you get when using it. It is not a huge difference, maybe just an inch, but every little bit helps. That punch that might have only been a glancing blow with a horizontal fist now catches with a vertical fist.
    Well, I did the experiment the article mentions and try as I might I sure could not eek an extra inch out by rotating my fist vertical. I really really just couldn't. Maybe chalk it up to a difference in male/female skeletal structure. In any case. Given that boxing is just as much a range game now as it was before...why would modern boxers not use the vertical fist for extra reach? We're still trying to hit each other, after all.


    The author also never explains the supposed advantage to standing very upright with the knees straight. Frankly it's just asking to get dumped. it offers absolutely no superiority in mobility (which is vitally important in a "range game" and it doesn't offer a low center of gravity to avoid being tripped to the ground. So what's the advantage vs modern boxings orthodox position?

    The stances used under the Broughton Rules look slightly more familiar to the eye than those of the LPR era. Hands are held a little higher than during the LPR. Stance has a little more spring to it. Why was the earlier stance different from the later? The Rules!
    The author offers practically no real contrast or reasoning for the conclusion the paragraph draws. After this the article seems to fall apart and becomes more a matter of history and anecdotes then an actual technical comparison. It seems to me that the author doesn't really come to these conclusions through pressure testing. He just makes assumptions that seem like they should make sense without actually backing them up with technical explanations or the promised contrast with modern boxings way of doing things.
  10. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    1/16/2009 10:42pm

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    Good stuff. OK, now that you seem to be taking this more seriously, let's dig in:

    Quote Originally Posted by AnnaTrocity
    So here we have it. The purpose of this article is 1.) To prove that old school boxing was in no way more primitive then modern boxing and 2.)Disprove the supposition that a modern boxer is superior. The article intends to prove it's point by contrasting the old school styles with modern boxing.
    You seem to be taking Pfrenger's assertion that the statement "a modern boxer would eat that guy up" is false, as a challenge to modern boxing. I don't think that it was intended that way; his point is that it doesn't make sense to judge the techniques of LPR boxing without understanding the rules that those techniques were optimized for. As I said, he wrote the article as a partial answer to the common critiques from people with some knowledge of modern boxing when they first see pictures of LPR-era fighters; they tend to jump to conclusions, because they aren't familiar with the rules of the older styles.

    As such it's completely reasonable to have disagreements with the articles "contrasts".
    Yes, with you there.


    So to break it down, the extended guard is supposedly better at keeping an opponent at range, and/or better at ensuring that when a clinch does occur that one winds up in a favorable position to dump the other boxer.

    Starting off with the range thing. Boxing is still just as much a range game. In fact pretty much any striking art is "very much a range game" and timing and distancing skills reign supreme even over good technique. There are a great many modern boxers who rely on keeping their distance from their opponent so as to avoid their opponent doing any kind of in-fighting. Why then would these modern boxers who are very dependent on maintaining as much range as possible not use this position if it is actually superior at maintaining range?
    LPR boxing was "very much a range game" because it was fought at a much greater range than are most modern boxing matches. You can see the historical tail-end of that in some of the YouTube clips I posted earlier (note, again, that those matches were fought some seventy years after the heyday of the LPR, and about forty years after the introduction of the Queensberry rules).

    It's not that the guard position was "superior" at maintaining range, nor did Ken actually claim that it was "superior" in comparison to, say, modern boxing; you really need to get that "challenge" thing out of your head. The extended guard was simply a by-product of the fact that they stood and punched at a longer range than is typical in modern matches.

    That begs the question of why they punched at a longer range, and the answer is twofold: Ken already explained this, but I'll be happy to clarify.

    1) because they fought without gloves; therefore, as I said right back at the start of this thread, distance and deflection were their main defenses. Bare fists cause lots of cuts and fractures. You don't want to be hit. You lean slightly backward and maintain an extended guard to maximize the distance between your face and the other fighter's fists, and because the position of your arms makes it easier to deflect (rather than absorb) their bare-knuckle punches.

    2) because their concept of infighting included clinching and throwing. That is why BKB is sometimes characterized as "throwing bombs and wrestling". In other words, rather than risking getting tenderized by your opponent's bare knuckles at the infighting range, you clinched and grappled for a throw. Now, they did also punch at close quarters, but they spent far less time punching at the infighting range than do most modern fighters; the strategy was clinch-and-throw.

    Secondly, we get into the clinching aspects. How does this guard actually help insure that one can do these throws better then they could be preformed from a modern guard? In what way is one better positioned to maintain clinch superiority?
    Why are you still assuming that he's challenging modern boxing? As I've said umpteen times, he's just explaining why the LPR-era fighters used a particular type of guard.

    Well, I'm totally down with the vertical fist. Due to pre-existing injuries to both hands I have to be pretty careful about how I make impact with a target so as not to agitate my old breaks so I wind up using the vertical fist a lot, but these vertical fist punches can be thrown just as easily, and in my opinion easier from modern orthodox position. I don't actually see any advantage to holding your knuckles towards the opponent. The author seems to feel that adding rotation to your punch makes it hit harder but I really just don't feel it with the vertical fist. The only reason rotating your fist adds power vs the vertical fist is because turning the punch all the way over brings everything more in line with your shoulder so the impact is stiffer. This is not the case rotating from knuckles down to vertical. I through a bunch of punches just to see if I could feel the difference and I really just can't feel any added power twisting to vertical position.
    He said that it was safer to hit with a vertical fist, and you seem to agree with that point; I think the comment about rotation was just to reinforce the overall point, which is that punching with the middle, ring and little finger knuckles means that the impact is aligned with the bones of the forearm. I'll address the twisting thing later on.

    Well, I did the experiment the article mentions and try as I might I sure could not eek an extra inch out by rotating my fist vertical. I really really just couldn't. Maybe chalk it up to a difference in male/female skeletal structure. In any case. Given that boxing is just as much a range game now as it was before...why would modern boxers not use the vertical fist for extra reach? We're still trying to hit each other, after all.
    By way of an experiment I just asked my wife to try the same test; she couldn't get it to work initially, but then in watching me, she noticed that my shoulder dropped into the extension as my fist rotated to and then beyond the vertical alignment. When she tried it a second time, she noticed that it was easier to drop her shoulder into the extension as her fist rotated through the vertical, which effectively extends the punch a bit. With me, that happens naturally when I punch with a vertical fist, and that's probably why the experiment works for me; you might try it again from that POV and see if it works.

    As I said back at the beginning of the thread, I don't see that this extra inch or so offers a significant reach advantage, but as Ken put it, "every little helps"; especially, I suggest, if you're fighting bare-knuckle. The extra penetration would be muffled to the point of negligibility through modern gloves, but might be the difference between a bruise and a fight-ending fracture in a bare-knuckle fight. Just a guess.

    The author also never explains the supposed advantage to standing very upright with the knees straight. Frankly it's just asking to get dumped. it offers absolutely no superiority in mobility (which is vitally important in a "range game" and it doesn't offer a low center of gravity to avoid being tripped to the ground. So what's the advantage vs modern boxings orthodox position?
    Again, his point was not to say "old boxing is better than modern boxing". I want to keep underscoring that because I think that assumption on your part is coloring your reading of the entire article. The contrast that he referred to was just a point of demonstration; "here is the modern boxing stance. We all know why modern boxers stand this way. Now here is why the old-time boxers stood the way they did." That's the contrast, and if you're still reading it as a challenge to modern boxing, then I'm afraid you're still missing the point.

    Regarding the knees, mobility and defense against trips and throws; the LPR style was more linear than the modern style. Punches were generally straight and quite often thrown with a lunging step (see above re. distance); again, at close quarters, they tended to clinch and go into a standing grapple for the throw. They did duck and weave, but again, as noted above, their main defence was distance (leaning back and maintaining the extended guard) and deflection (via the position of the arms in the extended guard) rather than the type of mobility we associate with the modern, gloved style.

    Obviously, this position was not maintained in close-quarters, standing grappling. At that range they did as any other fighters would, lowering their centers of gravity, taking a wider, better stabilized stance, etc. That wasn't addressed in the article because Ken was specifically addressing the reasons behind the guard position re. punching and defending against punches.

    The author offers practically no real contrast or reasoning for the conclusion the paragraph draws. After this the article seems to fall apart and becomes more a matter of history and anecdotes then an actual technical comparison. It seems to me that the author doesn't really come to these conclusions through pressure testing. He just makes assumptions that seem like they should make sense without actually backing them up with technical explanations or the promised contrast with modern boxings way of doing things.
    Regardless of what it seems to you, Ken did come to his conclusions through careful research and pressure testing of the techniques advocated by the old-time champions, backed up by his decades of experience in modern boxing.
    Last edited by DdlR; 1/16/2009 10:45pm at .
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