Martial arts flame wars in 1901
In October, 1901 there occurred a public feud between French savate teacher Charles Charlemont and Bartitsu Club savate and stick fighting instructor Pierre Vigny, via the pages of some of the British physical culture journals.
The gist of it was that Charlemont objected to Vigny being promoted as the "champion in French boxing and single-stick" and said that Vigny had lost to Charlemont himself, M. Mainguet (an assistant at Charlemont's school) and "other boxers in Paris." Charlemont closed by suggesting that Vigny was a "bluffer" who was trying to make a name for himself as a self defense teacher in London.
E.W. Barton-Wright, who was Pierre Vigny's employer at the time, replied that Vigny saw Charlemont as being a "fantastic dancer only, without the slightest right to the title he has assumed" and offered to financially back Vigny in two contests with Charlemont, the first being straight French boxing and the second in which Charlemont could kick and punch, but Vigny would restrict himself to boxing. Barton-Wright further noted that if Charlemont did not accept the challenge, he (B-W) would "allow Vigny to go to Paris and publicly horse-whip him", before closing with a few choice remarks
about the infamous Joseph Charlemont/ Jack Driscoll boxing-savate contest (a very controversial win to J. Charlemont, who was Charles Charlemont's father).
In a follow-up letter to the editor in December, B-W reported that Charlemont
had by then refused the challenge because "he says he is not a pugilist, but a
Professor of Savate". B-W also noted that it had actually been Pierre Vigny's
brother who had lost the bouts referred to in Charlemont's original letter, and
closed with some very disparaging remarks about Charlemont's character. This was a little disingenuous of Barton-Wright; Charlemont was an amateur in an age when there were very clear lines between amateur and professional athletes, and he could not have risked his amateur status by agreeing to a professional prize-fight as proposed by Barton-Wright.
Anyway, the newspaper record does reveal that a fighter named Vigny from Geneva lost several matches to Charlemont and others between about 1897-99, but the reports do not specify whether it was Pierre Vigny or his brother who competed in these matches.
Ah good old fashion trolling/flame war. Good find
Man, to restrict one's flaming to weekly or monthly periodicals must be hella hard on the patience.
Wonder if the ban hammer was in employ back then? :)
"You braggarts have employed my periodical as a medium for your contemptuous rivalries in the final issue, I say! The final issue! I shall strike any further attempts from the both of you with my figurative prohibitory mallet!"
You just gave me a thread idea for Motobu & Funakoshi. Nice writeup.
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