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  1. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    5/13/2010 12:47pm

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     Style: Bartitsu

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kung-Fu Joe View Post

    We see a resurgence of wrestling with the fighting manuals of the medieval and renaissance period, but most of what I've seen from these works consists of standing techniques. Throws, disarms, and standing joint locks. Are you aware of any ground fighting techniques from this time?
    Yes, but not much. Best evidence is that the recreational wrestling of (for example) the Renaissance period was mostly in the nature of standing-to-first-clean-throw.

    There is a sub-set of ground grappling techniques shown in various German combat treatises but almost all of them are geared towards armed/armored fighting; you're not so much applying, say, an extended arm bar as a submission in the modern sense, as to immobilize the other guy long enough to jab a dagger in to his unarmored underarm. There was also a class of pretty sophisticated techniques designed as counters/reversals to these "pin and kill" maneuvers.

    On the other hand, there are also scattered and pretty anomalous records of Renaissance German subs and pins that could come right out of a ko-ryu jujitsu kata, including a couple of illustrations in which one defender locks up two (or even three?) opponents on the ground.

    Continuing through to the late 19th Century, we start to see Wrestling becoming popular again, as a sport; however, it seems to be mostly stand-up grappling, with the ultimate goal of "throwing" (as opposed to "pinning") one's opponent. It's not until the 1890's that mat wrestling seems to have gotten much re-development.
    I think that there's plenty of evidence that folk-wrestling styles were there throughout, it's just that they weren't often detailed in technical manuals until the latter 19th century. This might have more to do with increasing levels of literacy, ease of publishing etc. than the actual incidence or popularity of the wrestling styles.

    Lancashire catch was a notable exception to the throwing rather than pinning rule, likewise the rural French "lutte a mains platte" (which was later re-branded as "Greco-Roman wrestling").
  2. JudOWNED is offline
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    北斗十字固拳

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    Posted On:
    5/13/2010 12:49pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kung-Fu Joe View Post
    DdlR, that would certainly make sense with what I have intuited, as well.

    There's very descriptive evidence for submission wrestling, including testimony regarding strangle hold which bear uncanny resemblance to the modern method of effecting an RNC, in Greek texts even up to the fifth century, AD.

    Then the record disappears for some time.

    We see a resurgence of wrestling with the fighting manuals of the medieval and renaissance period, but most of what I've seen from these works consists of standing techniques. Throws, disarms, and standing joint locks. Are you aware of any ground fighting techniques from this time?

    Continuing through to the late 19th Century, we start to see Wrestling becoming popular again, as a sport; however, it seems to be mostly stand-up grappling, with the ultimate goal of "throwing" (as opposed to "pinning") one's opponent. It's not until the 1890's that mat wrestling seems to have gotten much re-development.
    I think you might find your answer in armor. As armor got heavier and better on the battlefield, ground grappling became less and less useful. As armor started to disappear again, you see ground grappling making a come back. And I find that is true in both the east and the west. Though, in Japan, for example, it had to do less with armor evolving out of the technological picture, and more to do with MA switching from armored battlefield use to unarmored civilian use.
  3. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    5/13/2010 12:55pm

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     Style: Bartitsu

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    Quote Originally Posted by JudOWNED View Post
    I wonder how those Judo v Wrestling matches would have gone if the wrestlers had been allowed to (and had any concept of) ground and pound. Even in Judo, I find that pins are a natural position from which to start hitting your opponent. And we all know subs from the bottom come a lot harder and a lot less frequently when the person on top can pummel you.
    That was one of the major reasons why it took so long for actual jujitsu vs. boxing contests to take hold (and even then, many of them seem to have been exhibitions rather than serious contests). During the boxing vs. jujitsu debate in London, it was frequently pointed out that a competition combining boxing and wrestling (jujitsu) would probably have been banned as "brawling in a public place" under Edwardian English law.

    Things were less restrictive elsewhere and there are plenty of records of what were called "Merikan" contests in Japan, Hawaii and elsewhere during the early years of the 20th century. "Merikan" seems to have been Japanese slang for "American (fighting)" and was literally boxing vs. judo/jujitsu. I contributed a long post about it here, years ago.
  4. Kung-Fu Joe is offline
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    Posted On:
    5/13/2010 1:51pm


     Style: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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    Quote Originally Posted by DdlR View Post
    I think there's plenty of evidence that folk-wrestling styles were there throughout, it's just that they weren't often detailed in technical manuals until the latter 19th century. This might have more to do with increasing levels of literacy, ease of publishing etc. than the actual incidence or popularity of the wrestling styles.
    Very true. I didn't mean to imply that Wrestling had disappeared, but rather that descriptive treatises on technique and theory seem to have gone out of vogue. I would speculate that this is due to the rise of Firearms negating the need for well developed close combat systems. Their return is quite likely due to the increased literacy and ease of publishing, which you mentioned, combined with the rise of popularity for Physical Culture and sports, in general.

    Lancashire catch was a notable exception to the throwing rather than pinning rule, likewise the rural French "lutte a mains platte" (which was later re-branded as "Greco-Roman wrestling").
    Even in these two systems, it seems like the throw was the emphasis, originally, and that mat-work was a later, incidental development. William Miller's 1878 manual, Art of Wrestling, seems to describe Ground Wrestling as an entirely independent subset of wrestling; rather than coming to the ground from being thrown, he describes the wrestlers as starting on the ground. Notably, he offers no technical discourse on ground wrestling (after many pages of technical discussion of throws) and he implies that the stronger man generally wins ground wrestling.

    Dick's Art of Wrestling (1887) is even more exclusive, referring to mat wrestling as "unseemly pulling," and suggesting that practitioners end the match whenever coming into contact with the ground to avoid such mat-work.

    Even well into the 20th Century, when mat wrestling has become more established and developed, newspaper articles and wrestling manuals generally refer to Wrestlers as attempting to throw their opponent. For example, a 1903 bout between Tom Jenkins and John Piening was declared a draw after "it was evident that neither man was capable of throwing the other." This language is used despite the fact that several takedowns occurred, and mat-wrestling certainly followed. But, since neither man had gotten his opponent's shoulders to the mat, the writer said neither was "thrown."

    Similarly, the manuals written by the champion wrestlers of the early 20th review the rules of Wrestling and emphasize that wins result only when an opponent "falls." A "fall" is then defined as both shoulders coming into contact with the mat.

    My hypothesis is that ground work developed as a result of people gaming the system. First, a man would argue that both his shoulders had not touched when thrown. Then, wrestlers began to control opponents after the throw, so as to force both shoulders down and prevent argument. This would lead to wrestlers learning to escape such holds and reaffirm their claim that both shoulders had not touched. This would continue in a build-a-better-mousetrap fashion until the matwork was considered just as much a part of the sport as the throws. However, terminology lagged behind technique (as it often can) and the terms "throw" and "fall" were still synonomous with winning at wrestling.
  5. Craig Jenkins is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/13/2010 5:13pm


     Style: Uechi Ryu, Judo

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    Quote Originally Posted by lklawson View Post
    Both. Dr. Milo Thurston of the Linacre School of Defence at Oxford has a raw scans pdf available and has allowed me the privileged of republishing this work. I'll let you guys know when it's finished.
    Thanks very much for your efforts - I'll look forward to that.

    Excellent thread gents - learning a lot.
    Last edited by Craig Jenkins; 5/13/2010 5:20pm at .
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