The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Friday, June 19, 2009

18th Century Boxing

As the last post had to do with Western martial arts, so does this one. This time, I want to direct you to an article about 18th century western boxing. The article is a reprint of a contemporary book on fisticuffs. It makes for some interesting reading. You can find the entire article here.

Mendoza's Treatise on Boxing -A Few Extracts-

The First Position or setting to of Humphreys & Mendoza at Stilton Humphries (L) and Mendoza (R) at Stilton, 1789.

The following extracts are taken from a chap-book published c.1800 that includes Mendoza's advice and lessons in the science of pugilism. I have been unable to find the original book by Mendoza, but material seems to have been freely borrowed from it for both this and other anonymous publications.

Thanks to Rob Lovett of The Exiles for the lessons in HTML format below.

Please note that comments in square brackets, [thus], are my additions.


In the preceding pages is given a system of Boxing as generally practised by the most celebrated pugilists of the present day; we shall now add Mendoza's treatise on the subject, which, as the reader will observe, is comprised in a very short compass, and differs not very materially in general principles from the foregoing. The six lessons that form an essential part of his treatise are however well worth the notice of the reader, and an attention to them must be a very material help in acquiring a knowledge of the science.

The first principle to be established in Boxing (says he) is to be perfectly a master of the equilibrium of the body, so as to be able to change from a right to a left handed position; to advance or retreat striking or parrying; and throw the body either forward or backward without difficulty or embarrassment.

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