Posted On:8/05/2010 8:05am
I'm pleased to announce that I've republished "Teacher of Sparring" by Edwin F. Shaw, 1886.
The pdf download is, as always, free:
The Teacher of Sparring by Edwin Shaw
Little is known of Edwin Shaw, save what he writes of himself. That he was an "experienced" boxing instructor, studied under Professor J. B. Bailey, and taught professional at Hotel Berkeley, Evans House, and "elsewhere in Boston" as well as at Harvard College.
His book is somewhat transitional between London Prize Ring rules and amateur boxing rules, focusing on Boxing as a legitimate gentleman’s fitness sport. Interestingly, Shaw also decries professional "Prize Fighting" as ungentlemanly and condemns as, "low, savage, barbarous, and disgusting" engaged in by the "bully" and best being thoroughly discredited.
Shaw’s manual contains a wealth of unusual information, documented in clear "cuts" illustrations, supposedly from photographs at great expense, and succinct instruction. This includes grapples, throws, and even the seldom heard of, and less often instructed "chopper."
Altogether, this manual represents a rare and important documentation of pugilistic evolution, sure to please.
Peace favor your sword,
pro nonsense self defense
Posted On:8/08/2010 4:35pm
Style: FMA, dumbek, Indian clubs
Thanks for posting, here's the same thoughts I posted to the historical pugilism group:
I always like seeing the physical culture side of these manuals, and here's another example that stresses how the key to boxing fitness is avoiding overly stressful exercise like weight lifting or wrestling (Fitzsimmons had similar notions about how you shouldn't lift more than 3 pound weights and shouldn't exercise more than a half hour a day). I'm not saying that they were right; I just think it's interesting to see the training mentality of the day (also I suspect that in an era with such odd medicine, insisting that people to take it easy was probably a good idea). Also he mentions how chest expansion exponentially increases the surface area of the lungs, which seemed to be a popular notion of the day and I haven't really heard much about in the modern day. Maybe I'll try to research the medical understanding of that throughout the ages. Also this quote really seemed to express a sentiment you see a lot more in Eastern martial arts:
"Most exercises, after a time, become mechanical; we can indulge
in them, and at the same time be thinking or fretting about other
matters. Hence, we can readily understand why boxing is preferable
to almost any other form of exercise, because it actually compels
one to forget for the time being everything but the wholesome
occupation of both body and mind, or receive punishment at the
hands of his opponent."
I really can't seem to get used to guarding "the mark" instead of the chin. When I trained for san da, dropping my right hand often lead to me getting counter hit (the worst was when they'd use a lead leg kick to shift their head out of the way and using a roundhouse as a single time counter to the face, which isn't really an issue for boxing but it was still painful and jarring). I prefer to use my elbow/forearm to defend body blows so that I can keep my hand high to protect my face, but since I've been adding the classical pugilism training in, I can see how a lot of the body parries actually keep you from absorbing the strike on the arms, which gets old when you're not wearing gloves.
The 7th parry is something I find interesting, because the modern tendency would be to cover with the elbow in a palm in fashion, like in Rodney King's crazy monkey material. I feel that the palm in parry is more useful in that if you anticipate a high punch and it comes low, you'd have a better chance of stonewalling it than if you had raised elbow style, but if you block as he described your arm would be positioned to counter with a chopper (although it would be a backhand chopper instead of the one he described).
The 8th parry, with the guy bent at the waist to catch an uppercut, reminds me of the low blocking motions in krav maga, which I never got used to because my martial arts background would stress staying upright and dealing with ascending lines by moving around them, but since I've gotten out of that I've been relearning the value of the crouch at different points in time.
I like the parts on countering. I'm a fan of the inside counters, but have never gotten comfortable with the cross counters. I'll probably start throwing those into training regularly. The counter left hands and the ones where you move thier arm down and punch over it were my favorite techniques the few times I tried out karate point fighting tournaments. The chopper position with the glove behind the neck is something I've never seen before, so I played around with it with a training partner, and I found that the keys seemed to be making sure you're moving your head forward as you chamber it, and turning such that your left arm position protects the body. I love the term "rib bender" for a hook to the ribs. The elbow as a counter to the chancery is something that I've used to good effect when I used to spar a judo friend weekly at the park- he would try to get a grip for something like a head and arm throw, and whenever I could see it coming, I would just try to strike the body as soon as his arms weren't covering it, and it would usually take the mustard out of his attack. His technique to prevent a backfall throw is something I used in the same circumstance if I was a bit too late to do the first, and it also works against a chancery if they haven't broken your posture too much.
All the old ads at the end were cool too. Overall, I really enjoyed going through it, and I liked the drawings for their timeliness and clarity.
Posted On:8/09/2010 7:31am
Chest Expansion: Yeah, breathing exercises were quite the rage. See it in lots and lots of Physical Culture stuff going all the way into the 30's or so, at least. Some have speculated on how similar it look, in pure mechanics, to certain Chi Kung exercises.
Chopper: I think his chopper looks wonky but I haven't had a chance to try it out yet.
Grappling Counters: Yeah, I like them too. Especially his counter for chancery.
Peace favor your sword,
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