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Emiare_Pac
6/30/2004 8:09am,
recently i've been interested in bare knuckled boxing or Pugilism. any ways i went looking on the net and i cant seem to find a lot of good sites that refer to pugilism. but i found one good site that compares boxing and pugilism (http://www.savateaustralia.com/Savate%20Essays/Bare-Knuckles%20to%20Modern%20Boxing.htm)...



Although boxing is an excellent sport in its own right, it has lost much of its former combative edge. Through the convention of making gloves mandatory, as well as several other modifications, the martial elements of the art were removed, and boxing was brought squarely into the realm of sport and entertainment. For those interested in training in a striking-oriented system, however, bare-knuckle pugilism is perfectly suited to those goals. In learning to punch and defend blows without the safety of gloves, and with the inclusion of grappling and throwing, a student of the old style can be assured of studying material that is both effective and efficient for the realities of self-defense and the modern street fight.

so has modern day boxing evolved in terms of techniques and effectiveness outside the ring since the use of the gloves? has the introduction of gloves actually devolved boxing???

Ronin
6/30/2004 8:18am,
Gloves have allowed boxers to hit harder and faster, without fear of injury, BUT, they have also created some bad "habits".
Covering up they way many boxers do, is NOT a good way to defend when dealing with BARE knuckles.
Hitting to the head they way some boxers do, is NOT a good way when hitting BARE knuckle.
Gloves have made for better conditioned fighter, specially the big ass gloves, but they have caused SOME weakness in the wrists from lack of conditioning in SOME fighters.
In some ways, gloves have decreased the time spent on defense.

The fact that, pugilisim has many more techniques than boxing, is really the biggest factor.
The grappling and low kicking adds more "realisim" obviously, and knowing HOW to hit without gloves is an asset to even pro boxers, as they well suffer less damage to their hands IF they know how to hit more "correctly".

blankslate
6/30/2004 9:27am,
Ronin is correct.

I've been interested in this ever since reading "Championship Streetfighting" by Ned Beaumont which talks about taking boxing and using it on the street as an effective martial art.

It seems that bare knuckle boxing had more dirty techniques in it "Pre- Marquis of Queensbury Rules" and the fighters had to use a vertical fist hitting with the lower three knuckles in order not to injure their hands.

Punches were thrown more like a fencer attacks with the sword only using the vertical fist similar to wing chun.

This is precisely why I started looking into Mark Hatmaker's material. His striking arsenal for NHB and street is based on old school western boxing (pugilism) and he teaches all the bare knuckle mechanics as well as dirty stuff, throws and kicks.

And actually if you train boxing and MT you are pretty close to that as well.

I don't know if boxing has lost its effectiveness compared to that time...maybe some of the useful street techniques are not trained enough in the amateur and pro ring I make sure to train elbows, gouges, knees, forearms, and headbutts. But I am also concerned about the knuckle placement which is why I train with open hands sometimes without gloves.

blankslate
6/30/2004 10:24am,
http://ahfaa.org/unarmed.htm

DespoticEdit
10/08/2006 1:15pm,
I'd say in my experience that Pugilism is an out-fighters game. With emphasis on streight punches, stops and counters. In fighting was discouraged and not thought of as boxing. At least not by Professor William Edwards. Besides, if the going gets tough when in fighting, just clinch and cross-buttock the guy, try to land with your elbow on his sternum or better yet his neck. Nowadays when I watch modern boxing it seems that everyone is just waiting to get inside and land all those hooks. I'm biased but I do believe that classical pugilism is more scientific than modern boxing. American heritage is a good site I just wish they'd update every once and a while.
Broughton, thought of as one of the greatest bkb of his time, a student of James Figg, the man who supposedly started it all, was an advocate of striking down your opponents blows before they could land. Intercepting fist anyone?

CanucKyokushin
10/08/2006 2:24pm,
I think you've made some good points.But this is a 2 year old thread.You could have just started a new thread and link it with this one.

However,since this subject is up again.I'll give my 2 cents,I don't totally agree with the OP had to say about classical/boxing having lost it's "edge".

I'll admit my knowleged of Boxing history is limited but I will venture a guess and assume that in the more recent history of the style - last 300 years.Boxing has always been considered a sport in that time.

DdlR
10/08/2006 2:35pm,
http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/classicpugilism/?yguid=958601 - a YahooGroup email list that's probably the best source for info. on classical pugilism as a sport and as self defense. Most of the modern-day practitioners and teachers hang out on that list.

James Figg was certainly the most prominent promoter of pugilism in England during the 1700s. Figg was a veteran of the Prize Fight ring at a time when prize bouts were fought with weapons (quarterstaff, backsword etc.) and his success at promoting boxing is sometimes credited for the fact that duels of honour, typically fought with swords and resulting in the deaths of one or both fighters, declined in England during the 1700s and 1800s. However, bare-knuckle pugilism (as a sport) was old in Italy before it was new in England.

DespoticEdit
10/08/2006 3:16pm,
DdlR, are you talking about Pygmachia as italian boxing?

DdlR
10/08/2006 3:46pm,
No, although the stuff I'm talking about *might* have descended from Pygmachia.

I was in Italy recently and did some training with Maestro Antonio Merendoni, who is one of the leading researchers into traditional Italian MA. He also publishes a journal called "Scrima" and the latest issue includes a 12 page scholarly article on Italian pugilism as practiced between 1200-1800 A.D. It provides an overview of various styles of boxing developed in different regions and cities (Tuscany, Venice, Rome) and a large number of pictures taken from historical sources, portraying various boxing techniques.

The best (pretty much only) source on traditional Italian pugilism in English is Robert C. Davis' "the War of the Fists", which thoroughly details the Venetian sport/ritual combat of fighting between individuals or large groups to gain control of bridges within the city. These battles were originally fought with clubs and shields, and boxing started to replace these weapons during the 1600s - see http://www.thearma.org/essays/BridgeWars.htm for an overview.

NoMan
10/08/2006 6:14pm,
My two cents. In some ways boxing has evolved, in some ways it has devolved. For example, the standard jab that boxers employ was *not* used in bare-knuckle brawling. In those days, the lead hand was posted as a stiff-arm and the other hand was used to punch the fighter. "The Gentleman" Jim Corbett is credited with inventing the jab as a lethal weapon, as well as using superior footwork to outbox a slugger in his match-up against John L. Sullivan.

Since there were other weapons that were used in close-range combat, the hook and the uppercut were also not used as much. This is similar to how Muay Thai fighters generally prefer to use elbows and knees rather than punches for their close-range fighting. Having a far-out guard would actually make you eat punches, but would save you from the dirty in-fighting that was typically utilized.

Most of today's power punching derives from Jack Dempsey, who figured out how to use his entire body in punching to generate momentum from the hips rather than using the shoulders to punch harder and to outlast opponents who still punched wildly. I'm not sure when bobbing, slipping, weaving, and the other mechanics of boxing began coming into play, but I've never heard them referenced in older boxing sources.

So, as far as pure "punching" goes, boxing is now a better sport and comes equipped with more for the punching arsenal. However, for a total "fighting" package, the old-school style of pugilism had more weapons in total. This is the reason that cross-training is done currently to absorb the most elements from seperate sources. So, it's a little better and a little worse.

Thread necromancy for the win.

IzzyDaHedgehog
10/08/2006 7:44pm,
I think you've made some good points.But this is a 2 year old thread.You could have just started a new thread and link it with this one.

Nah, it's fine to resurrect an old thread as long as you're not just posting something like "Old skool boxing sux. Mike Tyson FTW!!!" At least people are using the search function.

VikingPower
10/08/2006 8:21pm,
My two cents. In some ways boxing has evolved, in some ways it has devolved. For example, the standard jab that boxers employ was *not* used in bare-knuckle brawling. In those days, the lead hand was posted as a stiff-arm and the other hand was used to punch the fighter. "The Gentleman" Jim Corbett is credited with inventing the jab as a lethal weapon, as well as using superior footwork to outbox a slugger in his match-up against John L. Sullivan.

I've never heard that he invented the jab before. Which source says this? It seems to me James Figg would be the one who deserves the credit of the jab, as I'm sure it was more than just a stiff arm. With as much wrestling as they did, that wouldn't be advantageous.


Since there were other weapons that were used in close-range combat, the hook and the uppercut were also not used as much. This is similar to how Muay Thai fighters generally prefer to use elbows and knees rather than punches for their close-range fighting. Having a far-out guard would actually make you eat punches, but would save you from the dirty in-fighting that was typically utilized.

Fitzsimmons wons his HW title with an uppercut to the body.


Most of today's power punching derives from Jack Dempsey, who figured out how to use his entire body in punching to generate momentum from the hips rather than using the shoulders to punch harder and to outlast opponents who still punched wildly. I'm not sure when bobbing, slipping, weaving, and the other mechanics of boxing began coming into play, but I've never heard them referenced in older boxing sources.

I don't really agree with that either. Sam Langford knew about the importance of using your hips with your punches, and he was fighting about 10 years before Dempsey was. Watching Jack Johnson in action, you can see he definitely knew what he was doing with his hips too. You can see some falling steps in there as well.

NoMan
10/08/2006 8:32pm,
I've never heard that he invented the jab before. Which source says this? It seems to me James Figg would be the one who deserves the credit of the jab, as I'm sure it was more than just a stiff arm. With as much wrestling as they did, that wouldn't be advantageous.

I actually gleened that from a newspaper article from back when:

http://imagesrvr.epnet.com/embimages/rdk/anh/01feb06/29n1.jpg

It was showcasing the fight between Sullivan and Corbett, w/ the jab being showcased as the primary invention.


Fitzsimmons wons his HW title with an uppercut to the body.

Against Corbett?


don't really agree with that either. Sam Langford knew about the importance of using your hips with your punches, and he was fighting about 10 years before Dempsey was. Watching Jack Johnson in action, you can see he definitely knew what he was doing with his hips too. You can see some falling steps in there as well.

I have to confess ignorance here. From what I've seen of old school boxing manuals, they tended to throw haymakers and rely heavily upon clinching techniques such as shin stomps and elbows. Dempsey's Championship Fighting was the first I could find with the more modern style of boxing outlined.

DdlR
10/08/2006 8:36pm,
The bare-knuckle guard stance wasn't just a stiff arm. The extended lead arm was used to keep distance, but in fact, the primary punch in old school pugilism was sometimes called the left lead-off and was equivalent to the modern jab. It was performed with the lead hand, but it was a vertical fist punch executed like a fencing lunge with full body weight behind it. Favored targets included the mark (solar plexus area), nose and eye sockets.

Dempsey wasn't the first to discover effective punching power mechanics - they had been detailed in books by boxing teachers right back into the 1800s - but his manual did a good job of explaining them clearly.

I've seen old movies of both Jack Johnson and Sam Langford fighting. They had astounding skills.

DdlR
10/08/2006 8:45pm,
I have to confess ignorance here. From what I've seen of old school boxing manuals, they tended to throw haymakers and rely heavily upon clinching techniques such as shin stomps and elbows. Dempsey's Championship Fighting was the first I could find with the more modern style of boxing outlined.

I don't know which manuals you've seen, but I've read a bunch of them and can't recall anything like a haymaker or shin stomp in any early source. The spinning elbow turns up very occasionally in sources like Fitzsimmons, where he refers to it as a pivot punch.

The great majority of early (1800s) boxing manuals describe and illustrate a primarily outfighting style relying on linear punches to the body and face with either hand and a small but effective selection of standing throws for use in in-fighting. An increasing array of infighting punches start to appear over the decades as gloves became more common.

NoMan
10/08/2006 8:46pm,
Dempsey wasn't the first to discover effective punching power mechanics - they had been detailed in books by boxing teachers right back into the 1800s - but his manual did a good job of explaining them clearly.

Do you know any of those old book names? I want to see if any of them can be had on interlibrary loan.