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  1. A.M. is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/10/2009 1:55pm


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    In "The Gangs Of New York" by Herbert Ashbury he talks about a member of the whyos gang who made a brass eye gouger that was worn on the thumb. Apparently eye gouging was very popular in the 19th century.
  2. Tonuzaba is online now
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    Posted On:
    6/10/2009 2:05pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by A.M. View Post
    In "The Gangs Of New York" by Herbert Ashbury he talks about a member of the whyos gang who made a brass eye gouger that was worn on the thumb. Apparently eye gouging was very popular in the 19th century.
    _un evolving parallelly on 2 continents?!?

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    "Bruce Lee sucks because I slammed my nuts with nunchucks trying to do that stupid **** back in the day. I still managed to have two kids. I forgive you Bruce.
    " - by Vorpal
  3. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/10/2009 2:15pm

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    I'd take Asbury's stuff with a grain of salt; he wasn't above spinning a good yarn. On the other hand, who really knows ...

    The brass gouger reference reminds me of another mean fella, Mike Fink: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Fink . There was a lot of "who's the toughest SOB on the river?" rivalry between keelboat pilots and I seem to recall references to Fink using a similar claw-like weapon. The codicil is that Fink's exploits were written up by dime novelists and balladeers, so again, it's hard to tell whether his "claw" ever really existed.

    IIRC the champion keelboat fighter was the only one "allowed" to wear a red rooster feather in his cap, which is reminiscent of Roosevelt's reference to the winners of rough and tumble fights "always bragging savagely of their prowess, often leaping on a stump, crowing and flapping their arms." Perhaps the equation of top-dog R&T fighters and fighting roosters was part of the R&T "tradition".

    Edit: "Mike Fink's Performance Review" (satire).
    Last edited by DdlR; 6/10/2009 2:21pm at .
  4. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/10/2009 8:15pm


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    Quote Originally Posted by DdlR View Post
    *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 ...
    I've often considered the possibility that the supposed brutality of these fights might be somewhat exaggerated. The reports of them are seldom (never that I've seen) from participants or those brought up in the culture but rather from "outsiders," either "cultured" Europeans traveling the continent or folks from the "more civilized east." These cultural visitors, with similar expectations, might easily misunderstand or simply miss implied or "well known" rules or conventions of combat. On top of that is the tendency to exaggerate for entertainment value and to boost sales. This phenomenon is easily seen in the "eastern" reporting of "Bowie Knife Duels" and "Western Gun Fights."

    On the other hand, these "rough and tumble" fights, complete with bitten-off-noses and eye-balls taken home as trophies are fairly well documented by otherwise trustworthy sources.

    Peace favor your sword,
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  5. A.M. is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/10/2009 11:23pm


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    It probably wasn't that common for rough and tumble fights to go as far as people getting there eyes gouged out and fingers bitten off. Its just that the bloodier fights were the ones that got reported. It was probably especially rare if a rough and tumble fight was set up in any formal way like a duel. A lot of it was probably just spur of the moment brawling. Although reports of the fights seem to follow the same pattern in that they all seemed to have ended up fighting on the ground at some point.
  6. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/10/2009 11:36pm

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    The folklore refers to "fields strewn with eyeballs" ... safe bet that was a tall tale.
  7. Tonuzaba is online now
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    Posted On:
    6/11/2009 3:08am

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    It went so far it affected evolution: there are whole communities in the States now who are already born blind.

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    "Bruce Lee sucks because I slammed my nuts with nunchucks trying to do that stupid **** back in the day. I still managed to have two kids. I forgive you Bruce.
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  8. willieo is offline

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


     Style: BJJ (Blue, yay me!)/MMA

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    Quote Originally Posted by DdlR View Post

    *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 ...
    My guess is that the loss of social standing outweighed the risk. It must have been better to be maimed than endure the "collective hiss of society" for refusing a challenge. Of course, the article mentions that one of the insults is not wiping the mouth of a whiskey bottle before passing it, so I guess the influence of alcohol cannot be discounted.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the champions and frequent fighters weren't actually contributing members of society. It might of been more like a version of "bum fights", but with a rediculous reason to excuse the violence.

    I used to think that pistol or small sword dueling was insane. Its downright humane by this standard.

    My mother's side of the family has lived in the Appalachian mountains since well before the Civil war, so I'll see if there are any family legends floating around. My grandfather and great-grandfather were both prize fighters for a short time, so it'll be interesting.

    Don't think I'll use the term "gouge fighting" though. "Rough and tumble" sounds better.
  9. Permalost is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/13/2009 5:45pm

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    The article noted that men would fire harden, sharpen, and oil their fingernails to be better weapons. This seems relevant in some of those hand conditioning threads floating around. Anyway, anybody have any thoughts on the feasibility of this as helping a rough and tumble fighter?
  10. A.M. is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/13/2009 6:41pm


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    That would be interesting if people were trying to develope their fingernails into claws.
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