Gangs of New York

The Barbary Coast or something like that.

Trying to post an URL when the site won't let me even post one in text form...

www dot greatmodernpictures dot com
apboxing dot htm

The first pic is kind of neat, in that it appears to be an "action shot."

I'm still beating myself up over not being able to find that 18th century manual I found online that listed the three most common stances used in boxing at the time, the rarer of which was that "fighting irish" stance... very few boxers used it, apparently, because of the attributes necessary to make it effective. But there was one famous guy who fought like that and I can't find any of my references, even the stuff I thought I'd burned to a CD.

A few people recommende the book. I assume the title is Gangs of New York. Anyone have an author for me?

So why were the hands, especially the right, held so low? BKB was supposed to be higly defensive, but i always found punches a LOT easier to block if i held my hands high.

Martin Burke can answer this one best.

Another issue is the concept of "barring the mark." The right arm was kept close to the body to guard against solar plexus punches.

Relevant to that is the time to come to scratch- under London Prize Ring Rules, you had a 30 second rest between rounds plus another 8 seconds to come up to the scratch line. (Average round lengths then were around 1 or 2 minutes, although they could be much longer since there was no set time.) It was much harder to KO someone with a head shot then, b/c their seconds had 38 seconds to get their fighter awake and toeing the line.

The strategy was therefore to wear down the body with throws and body punches, especially the solar plexus shot to affect the breathing. Enough body shots and the guy's body just shuts down. Reading the accounts, you read probably as many KO's by body shots as you do by head shots. That, just plain exhaustion, or the corner throwing in the sponge b/c their fighter is a bloody mess with eyes swollen shut. They really could be ridiculous, sometimes fighters even puked up blood.

Hi all,

Some good points about the reasons for keeping the hands low.

Another would be to stop someone having a go at the backs of your hands with their knuckles. With an old time guard, an opponent must fully breach distance to hit you giving an opportunity at a stop hit.

Yet another reason is IMHO related to footwork. I have one manual in my collection that refers to the footwork associated with the left hand lead. Imagine a fencing lunge without the left foot grounded. The attack is IMHO done this way because taking the rear foot off the ground leads to better weight transfer into the blow as well as more range on the attack.

This additional range means that the distance one needs to keep to offer a threat is longer. In addition a reactionary gap for throwing attempts can be kept. Being grappled and thrown onto hard dirt isn't anyone's idea of fun.
Remember we are not dealing with timed rounds here. A fighter can take his time in a fight. This means that a "flichy modern defence is neither required nor desired and the hands can be left where they are best situated for offence. The punch from hip level is most difficult to track as the forearm is already directed at the target in many cases.

I finally saw it last night. I liked the movie but alot of it was far-fetched of course.

Here is a neat little page from "National Geographic" on the subject.

It's cool Martin, I can see how that is confusing.
You basically push off the rear foot and land on the front foot. Yes, both feet are off the ground for a time.

Stu, is the motion you're describing anything like a drop-step?

How people pose for pictures isn't really how they fight.We should probably start another thread about this, b/c I think I'm going to have to disagree a little with you and to a certain extent martinburke on this, as I think there is some pretty good evidence that BKB'ers did fight using that as their position. See, e.g., Mike Donovan's The Science of Boxing (1893) and Bob Fitzsimmons Physical Culture and Self-Defense (1901). BKB'ers also have some unexpected techniques, such as rising and outside blocks identical to classical karate and spinning elbows and backfists ("pivot blows"). INteresting stuff and I don't think we've had a thread on the topic recently.Jason


Having read Dempsey's method and compared it to Donelly, the methods seem to be somewhat similar although Donelly seems to be more of a "jump" than a step.

I agree with Jason on this one.

Even many of the old time movies I saw show fighters in their respective stances during their fights.

I don't see why they wouldn't fight with their guard up.

" "

I mean no offense whatsoever, but I'm surprised that there is actually a market for these knives. I am ignorant of the knife scene, but they look like nothing special, what this guy is selling. Can someone explain it to me? Who buys these knives and why?

Hey Ron,

It's like asking why people actually learn the entire "Klingon" language!?!?!!? and of course there are people there who speak "elvish" as well!?!?!!?

Why do people go right into the blackpowder guns, when you can do more with a modern rifle!?!??

Why do people collect stamps? or match boxes???

Different horses for different courses, I guess........

I think the movie was actually an accurate copy of an inaccurate book.

finally saw the movie this weekend, and all I could think of during the fight scene was "yeah, someone should have a shield";