Self defense & English antisemitism
Was just reading Geo. McDonald Frazier's Black Ajax, one of his few serious works (his Flashman series is the funniest stuff I have ever read, and I mean that. If you haven't read them, start with The Flashman Papers. "Can a man who fights lies, cheats, steals, fights fixed duels, seduces his father's mistress, and betrays his country on the battlefield ... be all bad?"
His novels are based upon some pretty solid historical research. Black Ajax is a novel about an American ex-slave who went to Britain and tried for the boxing championship, toward the end of the Napoleanic Wars, when bare knuckle fighting was the obsession of the nobiity and, indeed, just about everyon, right up to the prince regent (de facto king, George III being insane).
One brutal sport it was ... you fought until one man or the other could not stand -- the ex-slave kept in his second championship fight with a broken jaw and two broken ribs -- his opponent, the champion Tom Cribb, had his eyes swollen shut so that his seconds had to lance them, and drain the blood so he could see.
The novel points out at one point that Jews were unsafe on the streets -- a dog would not be used as they were (I think one of Dave Kopel's writings picked up on this).
Then a Spanish Jew, Mendoza, became a major boxing figure, and set up a school. London's jews decided to join the fad and studied under him. (One of his invention was Mendoza's Chop ... when the other guy swings a right at you, instead of blocking it with your left, you use your right fist to hammer his forearm and drive it away. Two or three of those and the other guy's right becomes very weak).
As a result, in a matter of a few years, London's jews were treated quite politely. An antisemite had to worry whether the fellow he meant to harrass had spent a few months with Mendoza, and was well suited to hammering the stuffing out of him.
Rather like CCW permits in that regard.... only a minority of the population has them, but who's to say whether this intended victim is part of it?
[Update in light of comments] The book suggests, and I've heard elsewhere, that boxing was highly developed at the time. There was one fellow who stand with one foot on a handkerchief, and bet that you couldn't hit him (I assume there was some limit, like you had to aim for the head or upper torso), use both hands, keep going till you give up, and he almost always won the bet. He was simply too fast.
That's not to say it wasn't brutal. As I noted, fights kept going until one man couldn't stand up. Some wrestling throws were allowed. If one got the other in a headlock, he was entitled to keep pounding him; referees didn't break it up. No gloves to protect body, or hands, and special measures (such as soaking the hands in brine) to try to toughen them up. ]
Seems like to me when he chopped across with his right he'd leave that side open. Didn't they have left hooks in those days?
Posted by: Gordon at September 3, 2006 11:25 AM
Anyone so amateurish as to swing around wide enough that you could hammer him like that, isn't going to be savvy enough to hook you!
Posted by: erdos at September 3, 2006 11:33 AM
depends entirely on how much body your target put into his punch initially and your body position, if you switch your right side forward as you counter, you can still rotate your arm and bend it to use your elbow to deflect any counter to your counter. it would disrupt your chop, but it would also disrupt the initial attack by your target and waste more of his/her energy than yours... but then of course if your target knew what you were up to then the first blow would be a feint and instead he would take the blow intentionally and use the force in it to spin his torso, while throwing the punch with the other hand.. getting more power in that punch for less effort.. a little tricky to catch the Mendoza's Chop just right...
but anyway there is a helluva lot more to it than than my short description.. everything has a counter and it's counter has a counter and so on.. nothing is cut 'n dried better or weaker in general as it depends on the differences between muscle strength, muscle speed, bone strength, mental speed, height, weight, and your remaining energy..
(and that's not a complete list either, leaving out things related to style and psychological options)
Posted by: Dcreeper at September 3, 2006 11:47 AM
And, BTW, this Mendoza must have been the basis for the hero in two of David Liss' excellent novels, Benjamin Weaver, a Sephardic Jew who Anglicizes his name, becomes a champion prize fighter, then a 'thief catcher' (a sort of private eye/enforcer-for-hire). Check 'em out; good historical fiction.
Erdos: I agree but I'm not up on the history of prize fighting in that time; I have the impression boxing as we know it now came along later and fighters then were big guys who just pounded away. Do you know?
Posted by: gordon at September 3, 2006 11:50 AM
Grand Alliance of Jews, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs
It is time to form a Grand Alliance of Jews, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs to fight and resist the clear and unacceptable Islamic threat to our cultures and our democratic ways. If our governments and leaders won't properly recognize the threat and defend us, then we owe it to our families to rise to our own defencse. Spread the word throughout the internet, and let this idea take root and grow.
Let us ally ourselves, and give those who threaten our safety the jihad they so desire - culturally, politically, and physically - before it is too late.
"Lead, don't appease."
Posted by: Rosemont at September 3, 2006 12:08 PM
Boxing gloves and the breaking of the fight into rounds both made the sport more brutal, not less. They both are intended to let the boxers hit harder, more times, so that you have more knockouts (meaning more serious head injuries). Hitting someone on the point of the chin or on the forehead with your bare fist can easily break your hand, so the gloves are there to protect the hand, not the head. Gloves may lead to less serious superficial face injuries, but they lead to more concusions too.
The one-minute rests between three-minute rounds are there to let the boxers recover their strength so that they can come out hitting at full strength again.
So although there were aspects to bare-knuckle boxing that were more brutal than the modern sport, I think on balance they are both about equally hard on the participants.
Posted by: Doc Rampage at September 3, 2006 02:02 PM
As for Hindus and Jews, that could be considered as in place. There are good relations between Israel and India at the present.
Posted by: Harry at September 3, 2006 06:34 PM
On CCW, I always tell folks I'm a Boojum... just to see how literate they are.
Posted by: DaveP. at September 3, 2006 06:39 PM
Actually, boxing gloves increase the weight of the fist, slowing punches considerably. This is important, as a 6' 220 lb man punching bare fisted will generate sufficient hand speed and punching power to kill an opponent every once in a while.
The gloves were designed to reduce the severe concussions (as well as to protect the hand). Two men slugging on each other with bare hands would be brutal, indeed.
Posted by: Some Guy at September 3, 2006 09:21 PM
Posted by: Mike at September 3, 2006 11:26 PM
Actually, boxing gloves were developed to protect the *hands*. If you take the weight of a punch on one knuckle very often, the metacarpal will break, leading to a short career.
That's why bare-knuckle fighters had stances that look goofy to us today; they were trying to spread the weight of a blow across all the knuckles. Boxing gloves, by nature, distribute the weight evenly.
If a boxer fought in the modern style, but without gloves, the odds are very great he'd break both hands before he did appreciable damage with the extra power. And if his opponent figured out the best defense is blocking punches with the crown of his skull (as all old-time boxers knew), the modern guy might not last a round.
As you can imagine, concussions were about the only thing bare-knuckles boxers were *not* worried about. Cuts abounded, most soft tissue was pounded into pulp, and some forms of wrestling holds and gouges were legal. Don't know about hitting opponents with a folding chair...
Once you get used to them, 8oz gloves don't slow down your hands at all. The 16oz amateur gloves don't exactly slow you down, but they are cumbersome, like giant marshmallows; the reason they are safer is mostly the extra padding.
Daniel Mendoza was known as the "father of scientific boxing" and had an amazing and improbable history, well worth reading. Wikipedia is a good starting point.
Posted by: Ryuo at September 3, 2006 11:31 PM
I second Gordon on the David Liss novels, and he's got an even better novel called "The Coffee Trader" about the early Dutch stock market.
Posted by: Ryuo at September 3, 2006 11:37 PM
"de facto king, George III being insane"
I believe you mean "de jure king". If George III was king-in-fact and not just king-in-law the Prince Regent would not have had the power you correctly ascribe to him.
Posted by: Flea at September 4, 2006 07:57 AM
Lacunist: a form of troll. A person who, for his own amusement, uses an imcomplete quote to argue a point or falsely accuse another person of being wrong. Example: RYUO above. A fuller quote is "...right up to the prince regent (de facto king, George III being insane)." On the scale of joke annoyance falls between puns and fart jokes.
Posted by: Neil at September 4, 2006 08:50 AM
Um, Neil, that wasn't me, it was FLEA - the posting header comes *after* the post. Maybe I'm a different sort of troll.
Posted by: Ryuo at September 4, 2006 09:35 AM
Very sorry, RYUO. You are undoubtedly the good kind of troll.
Posted by: Neil at September 4, 2006 09:48 AM
Boxer's Fracture is, in fact, the name of a hand fracture which is not uncommon when one hits a hard object with a closed fist. Amazing that they had any hands left at all.
Posted by: JAL at September 4, 2006 10:43 AM