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  1. A.M. is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/09/2009 2:21pm


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    Late Nineteenth Century Rough and Tumble Fight

    Here is a account of a rough and tumble fight that I found in the book The Duel: A History by Robert Baldick on page 157 of the book. The fight took place in the Missouri Valley in the late nineteenth century.

    "The place of the fight was agreed upon as half-way between the respective residents. A man from Loveland seconded Moss, and Points' brother acted as his second. The fight was not to be conducted according to any specified rules, but in the most approved rough-and-tumble style. About sixty people were on the ground, among whom was the girl over whom the contest was caused, to witness the brutal affair. The seconds stood with cocked revolvers in hand and warned no one to interfere. The men commenced fighting fiercely. They used fists, heels and teeth; and in clinching and tumbling about rolled over a large area of ground. The fight lasted fifty-five minutes, and throughout was one of the most brutal character. It was brought to a fatal conclusion by Points' strength entirely giving way, and then Moss, with the last efforts of his madness, stamped upon his prostrate foe and crushed in his breast and kicked in his head. The spectators at this overpowered the seconds and dragged the men apart. Points was dying when picked up, and expired soon afterwards. Moss had been severely bitten by his antagonist, having had two fingers, an ear and his nose taken off, and was in a deplorable condition from other injuries."

    The book says the account of the fight comes from a Sioux City newspaper and that the two men fighting were named Duggan Points and Will Moss.
  2. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/09/2009 2:49pm

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    Thanks, very interesting stuff.

    For some reason, the American South of the 19th century seems to have been one of the few cultures that socially sanctioned lethal unarmed combat in a dueling system, as opposed to teaching it as self defense or limiting it to combat sport.

    There's an excellent article on rough-and-tumble (a.k.a. "gouge fighting", etc.) at http://ejmas.com/jmanly/articles/200..._gorn_0401.htm .

    *Edited to add; it's never made much sense to me. Here you have small wilderness communities that surely needed every able-bodied man they could get their hands on, sanctioning duels of honor that stood a good chance of leaving one or both fighters either permanently disabled (thus a burden on the community) or dead. Weird system ...
    Last edited by DdlR; 6/09/2009 2:56pm at .
  3. A.M. is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/09/2009 3:20pm


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    I wouldn't be surprised if rough and tumble lasted into the nineteen twenties.
  4. Permalost is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/10/2009 1:18am

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    Does anyone know of any training during this period for fights like this? I've read that people employed duelling instructors to teach them to fence with swords or bowies before they went to a duel, but I've never heard of this extending to unarmed combat.

    Also, I can't imagine a worse death than getting your chest stomped in.
  5. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/10/2009 4:07am

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    I can't recall ever reading of fighters training specifically for rough and tumble "duels", but I assume that individual fighters would have used whatever bare-knuckle boxing, wrestling, purring (low kicking) etc. they might have picked up.

    You get very occasional references to "lumberjack style" fighting scattered throughout early 20th century folklore and literature, implying roughly the same thing as "rough and tumble"; anything goes unarmed combat combining wrestling, boxing, kicking and dirty fighting. I believe that when pro-wrestling matches first started incorporating kicks and punches, those matches were sometimes also referred to as "lumberjack style". Whether it ever approached being a codified "style" in the modern MA sense is open to speculation.
  6. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/10/2009 4:26am

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    From "Roosevelt's Writings", a compilation of essays by Teddy Roosevelt published in 1920:

    Among the men the bravos or bullies often were dandies also, in the backwoods fashions, wearing their hair long and delighting in the rude finery of hunting-shirts embroidered s with porcupine quills; they were loud, boastful, and profane, given to coarsely bantering one another. Brutally savage fights were frequent; the combatants, who were surrounded by rings of interested spectators, striking, kicking, biting, and gouging. The fall of one of them did not stop the fight, for the man who was down was maltreated without mercy until he called "enough." The victor always bragged savagely of his prowess, often leaping on a stump, crowing and flapping his arms. This last was a thoroughly American touch; but otherwise is one of these contests was less a boxing match than a kind of backwoods pankration, no less revolting than its ancient prototype of Olympic fame. Yet, if the uncouth borderers were as brutal as the highly polished Greeks, they were more manly; defeat was not necessarily considered disgrace, a man often fighting when he was certain to be beaten, while the onlookers neither hooted nor pelted the conquered. We first hear of the noted Indian fighter, Simon Kenton, as leaving a rival for dead after one of these ferocious duels, and fleeing from his home in terror of the punishment that might follow the deed. Such fights were specially frequent when the backwoodsmen went into the little frontier towns to see horse-races or fairs.
    Incidentally, Teddy himself was an enthusiastic boxer, wrestler and singlestick fencer who was also one of the first Americans to train in jujitsu. He often brought in private tutors/sparring partners to train with him in the White House gymnasium.
  7. Eddie Hardon is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/10/2009 9:53am

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    Quote Originally Posted by DdlR View Post
    I can't recall ever reading of fighters training specifically for rough and tumble "duels", but I assume that individual fighters would have used whatever bare-knuckle boxing, wrestling, purring (low kicking) etc. they might have picked up.

    You get very occasional references to "lumberjack style" fighting scattered throughout early 20th century folklore and literature, implying roughly the same thing as "rough and tumble"; anything goes unarmed combat combining wrestling, boxing, kicking and dirty fighting. I believe that when pro-wrestling matches first started incorporating kicks and punches, those matches were sometimes also referred to as "lumberjack style". Whether it ever approached being a codified "style" in the modern MA sense is open to speculation.
    RE Lumberjack style etc. If memory serves, in the early 1900s, George Chip won the World WW or MWTitle by KO'ing Al McCoy with the "Corkscrew Punch" or "Pivot Punch". Basically it translates as Spinning Backfist and was declared illegal and Chip was unseated as the Champ. McCoy took sometime to regain consciousness. Chip said he had learned it in the Lumberjack camps.

    :icon_blac
    Last edited by Eddie Hardon; 6/10/2009 10:03am at . Reason: Pivot/WW/Lumberjack
  8. Matt Phillips is online now
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    NOTE TO SELF - MOAR GRAPPLE - GET A NORMAL HAIR CUT - REPEAT

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    Posted On:
    6/10/2009 10:25am

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    I recall reading somewhere an account of a form of eye-gouging fight that was popular in the south and the frontier. Folks did train specifically for this and specially groomed and greased their nails. The object of the "match" was to get the other fellows eye(s) completely out.

    Gross.
    Now darkness comes; you don't know if the whales are coming. - Royce Gracie


    KosherKickboxer has t3h r34l chi sao

    In De Janerio, in blackest night,
    Luta Livre flees the fight,
    Behold Maeda's sacred tights;
    Beware my power... Blue Lantern's light!
  9. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/10/2009 11:27am

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    Quote Originally Posted by War Wheel View Post
    I recall reading somewhere an account of a form of eye-gouging fight that was popular in the south and the frontier. Folks did train specifically for this and specially groomed and greased their nails. The object of the "match" was to get the other fellows eye(s) completely out.

    Gross.
    Yep; read Elliott Gorn's article, linked to above, for historical details on "gouge fighting".
  10. Matt Phillips is online now
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    NOTE TO SELF - MOAR GRAPPLE - GET A NORMAL HAIR CUT - REPEAT

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    Posted On:
    6/10/2009 11:31am

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    Quote Originally Posted by DdlR View Post
    Yep; read Elliott Gorn's article, linked to above, for historical details on "gouge fighting".
    Thanks... maybe after I eat :new_Eyecr
    Now darkness comes; you don't know if the whales are coming. - Royce Gracie


    KosherKickboxer has t3h r34l chi sao

    In De Janerio, in blackest night,
    Luta Livre flees the fight,
    Behold Maeda's sacred tights;
    Beware my power... Blue Lantern's light!
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