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  1. SBG-ape is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/13/2009 10:48am


     Style: Jiu-jitsu & HEMA

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Greek Boxing with Cestae

    Someone posted a link to this in that new "we're no longer ARMA" forum. I thought it was quite interesting although it raises many questions.
    YouTube - ACTA Ancient Greek boxing at Dijon 2009
    I have my own opinions on this but I have to get to work & will post more later...hopefully this doesn't qualify as a low content thread.
  2. kwan_dao is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/13/2009 11:12am


     Style: sambo, stuff

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    So, according to these guys, the ancient greek totally sucked at boxing?

    Do you happen to know what kind of sources they base their "knowledge" upon? I mean... I know little about the old greeks martial sports. But I find it very hard to believe, that the greek would have fought in such a goofy way.

    Those guys look like an ill percieved crossbreed between _ing _un and drunken boxing (western drunken boxing, where you leave out the whole kung-fu training stuff and just get totally drunk).

    It also looks like they put a lot of effort into "lets try our best to look different then boxers today".

    Edit: Is that a "foom foom foom" near the end?
    Last edited by kwan_dao; 5/13/2009 11:14am at .
  3. JohnnyCache is offline
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    Posted On:
    5/13/2009 11:14am

    supporting memberforum leader
     Style: MMA

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I would be curious to know the build of their equipment and their backgrounds.

    Edit: By "their equipment" I mean the cesti, you sick bastards.
    There's no choice but to confront you, to engage you, to erase you. I've gone to great lengths to expand my threshold of pain. I will use my mistakes against you. There's no other choice.
  4. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    5/13/2009 12:19pm

    supporting member
     Style: Bartitsu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Dredging my memory on the subject, I think that ancient Greek boxers were recorded to have used their left arms primarily for defense and to have favored hammerfist-type punches, swiping overhand rights and right hooks. On that basis, I guess this looks as I'd expect it to.

    Here's another modern take on it: not too impressive IMO, but it does look like they're working from the same sources -

    YouTube - PIGMACHIA - ARES

    And another one from 0.45 or so -

    YouTube - Ars Dimicandi lottatori - fighters
  5. 8bit is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/13/2009 1:50pm


     Style: wing chun

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by DdlR View Post
    Dredging my memory on the subject, I think that ancient Greek boxers were recorded to have used their left arms primarily for defense and to have favored hammerfist-type punches, swiping overhand rights and right hooks.
    Sounds like an empty hand version of sword and shield.
  6. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/13/2009 7:05pm


     Style: Bowie

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    From Owen Swift's "Hand-book to Boxing"

    CHAPTER II.
    ANTIQUITY OF BOXING
    PRIOR to acquainting my reader with those precepts and instructions which
    it is the main feature of this work to convey, I deem it essential to present
    a brief notice of the origin and progressive rise of boxing. I am enabled to
    do so by reference to a work of immense research and merit just published.*
    a book, by the way, of so much worth, that no sportsman’s library can be
    considered complete without it. So perfect are all the observations it contains
    upon “modern boxing” that I should say the pen of the great sporting chronicler,
    Mr. Dowling, the editor of “Bell’s Life in London,” could alone have supplied
    them.
    With regard to the antiquity of boxing, it requires no strength of imagination to
    come to the conclusion that it is coeval with the existence of man himself; and
    that as the fist is the first weapon with which man was provided, either for offence
    or defence, it takes precedence of all others. There can be no doubt that our
    forefathers, even from the days of Adam, settled their differences, or displayed
    their powers, in jest or earnest, with this weapon, and it is equally clear that
    with this, as with other weapons of a more deadly character, it was not till civilization
    had made extensive advances that it’s use and cultivation as a source of honour
    and renown became an object of public encouragement.
    THE CLASSIC AUTHORS afford abundant proofs of the high estimation in which the
    use of the fist was held; and if we are to take these as our data, we find that Pollux,
    the twin brother of Castor, was the first who, in Pagan times, obtained distinction by
    the use of his fists, conquering all who were opposed to him, and with Hercules, obtaining
    a place among the gods for his sparring qualities. It would seem, however,
    that Pollux and his compeers were not content with the use of the simple weapon of
    nature, but “following the march of improvement,” increased its power and formidable
    character with the additions of the cæstus, an artificial covering to the hand composed
    of several thicknesses of raw hide, bound by thongs to the wrist and arm,
    which gave fearful and fatal effect to the blows that might be dealt.
    Of the cæstus there were various sorts, of which a few are here selected. The
    first is a representation of the most tremendous kind of CÆSTUS. The original
    in bronze, was found at Herculaneum. It is of a proportion above the natural
    size, and appears to have belonged to the statue of some gladiator, armed for
    the fight.
    This cæstus was composed of several thicknesses of raw hides, strongly
    fastened together in a circular form, and tied to the hand and part of the forearm;
    and yet, to prevent its hurting the metacarpus, a glove of thick worsted was used
    for the occasion, ending in a sort of fringe, called vellus. (Voyage Pittoresque
    de Naples et de Sicile, par l’ Abbe St. Non, vol. ii., p. 49)
    The second, however terrific in its operations, was not so destructive and
    injurious as the preceding one, and is copied from plate 20 of Lenn’s Costume
    des Peuples de l’ Antiquite Leige.
    The thrid represents a cæstus of nearly the same kind, and capable of administer-
    ing the most death-like punishment. It will be seen in the first volume of Bronzi
    de Museo Kirkeriano, where Amycus is discovered fighting with this armour
    in his conflict with Pollux.
    The fourth, materially different from the three preceding ones, though gene-
    rally destructive in its operation, is copied from a bas-relief, found also at Her-
    culaneum. It is also engraved as a tail-piece in the second volume of St. Non
    Voyage Pittoresque de Naples el de Sicile, p. 51.
    And here we have two of the members of the ancient prize-ring” in actual
    combat, provided with these terrific aids to Nature.
    The use of these ponderous gauntlets many of them being armed with knobs
    of brass, blunt points of iron, plummets of lead, &c., led to the adoption of a
    species of armour for the head called amphtides, and the object of
    which was to protect the temporal bones and arteries. They encompassed the ears
    with their thongs and ligatures, and were buckled under the chin, or behind the
    head, They were not unlike helmets, and were composed of hides of bulls,
    studded with knobs of iron, or strongly quilted, in order to blunt the impetus
    of the blows.
    To pursue the ancient history of these games, is, however, foreign to the pur-
    pose in view; it must suffice to say, therefore, that both among the Greeks and
    Romans the practice of pugilism, although differing in its main features from
    our modern and less dangerous combats, was considered essential in the education
    of their youth, from its manifest utility in “strengthening the body, dissipating
    all fear, and infusing a manly courage into the system.” The power of punish-
    ment, rather than the Art of Self Defense, however, seems to have been the main
    object of the ancients; and he who dealt the heaviest blow, without regard to pro-
    tecting his own person, stood foremost in the list of heroes. Not so in modern
    times; for while the quantum of punishment, in the end, must decide the ques-
    tion of victory or defeat, yet the true British Boxer gains most applause by the
    degree of science which he displays in defending his own person, while with
    quickness and precision he returns the intended compliments of his antagonist, and,
    like a skilful chess-player, takes advantage of every opening which chance pre-
    sents; thereby illustrating the value of coolness and self-possession at the moment
    when danger is most imminent. This short reference to the boxing propensities
    of the ancients, as contrasted with the practice of Englishmen in modern times,
    leads at once to the Modern History of Boxing.

    There are pics to go along with it.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
  7. kwan_dao is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/14/2009 12:48am


     Style: sambo, stuff

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    What I would like to know is, what is the basis for those guys knowledge on the actual techniques used?

    How do they know what ancient greek striking was supposed to be like? What is the basis for those strange "fondling" motions they do between attacks? How did they get _ing _un like chainpunches (at the very end of the video even accompanied with a "foom foom foom") in there?

    The author quoted above comes from a time when actual scientific work was a problem of other people (18th and 19th century blessed us with heaps of false assumptions and, just as an example for that times quality of work, a common archeological treatment for egyptian mummies was to cut them open as a party gag). He is actually referring to Castor and Pollux as examples, which are mythical characters.

    So what I would really like to know is, what is the base material? How did they conduct what an ancient greek boxers strike would have looked like?
  8. KarelinLifter is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/14/2009 2:06am

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: Wrestling, Judo

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I'm just adding my 2 cents(so please don't kill me)
    Didn't Pankration originate around the same time as this?
    They look totally different though
    I mean maybe the reason this style died out was because it wasn't technically sound

    P.S Although learning this would be cool
  9. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    5/14/2009 2:13am

    supporting member
     Style: Bartitsu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by kwan_dao View Post
    What I would like to know is, what is the basis for those guys knowledge on the actual techniques used?

    How do they know what ancient greek striking was supposed to be like? What is the basis for those strange "fondling" motions they do between attacks? How did they get _ing _un like chainpunches (at the very end of the video even accompanied with a "foom foom foom") in there?

    So what I would really like to know is, what is the base material? How did they conduct what an ancient greek boxers strike would have looked like?
    Fair questions. I don't know much about this branch of HEMA, but assuming that they're following the usual routine, they'd begin by researching the hell out of the subject - studying images on ancient pottery, reading up on any written eyewitness descriptions of pygmachia training/matches, probably cross-reference with other similar styles and pressure-test everything in the gym.

    The general consensus is that the further back in time you go and the less specific your sources are, the more speculative your "revival" becomes. That isn't normally felt to be any sort of problem as long as people are honest about it, i.e., "this is our work-in-progress practice based on these sources" rather than "this is how ancient Greek boxers fought and anyone who disagrees is an infidel".
  10. PointyShinyBurn is online now
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    Gnarly King of Half-Guard

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    Posted On:
    5/14/2009 4:20am

    Join us... or die
     Style: BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    A quick googling produces some images like this:
    which look more like modern boxers and lack the weird 'bow and arrow' stance.

    It actually looks less like empty-handed sword-and-shield than shield-and-spear, which is the primary way a classical-era Greek would be familiar with armed fighting.
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