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‘Rough-and-Tumble Fighting’
'Hints’ from Colonel Thomas Hoyer Monstery for Gentlemen

Quotes taken from Self-Defense for Gentlemen and Ladies, edited by Ben Miller, 2015, Blue Snake Books, pages 134-5

Trained fighters, particularly prize-fighters have advantages over untrained fighters even when functioning outside the bounds of their sport or art. However, such a pattern-welded combatant does operate under disadvantages engendered by his art when called upon to fight outside its ritual context.

Generally speaking, over-specialization at the highest levels is bad. Champion boxers of the “slick” type know instinctively that they are masters of gaming a system and avoid combat outside their art. Ironically, the rougher sort of pressure fighter that these men victimize I the ring tends to translate well to a street combatant.

This marks boxing s the true child of fencing, its rules permitting a man to prevail fistically in the manner that a swordsman once did. A man that prevailed in both types of encounters and in the military setting as well, Monstery advised:

“If a man fights in the negro style…Wait for him, right foot foremost, and strike up with the right knee with all your force in his face, holding both hands to shield the “mark” [your solar plexus, or “wind”] and stooping forward. The knee will sicken any man, even a negro, from butting, unless he be enormously powerful and you very weak, in which case it is life or death, and a pistol the best protection.

“…my advice is keep clear of such rough-and-tumble fighters, or shoot them down, for they are horrible beings, bent on murdering or maiming their fellow creatures, and worthy of no better treatment than men give to wolves—that is bullet or steel.”


1. While rough-and-tumble fighting among blacks entailed the head-butting crude grappling, among poor whites it revolved around eye-gouging! Such fighters were known to sharpen their fingernails to be used as thrusting and slashing and gouging weapons.

2. Rocky Marciano was said to have ducked a brawl with a local Baltimore street fighter with only moderate ring accomplishments.

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Add Comment
SteveRogers42July 13, 2017 4:10 PM UTC

Scholarly discourse on rough 'n tumble. Very interesting:
Sam J.July 12, 2017 6:47 PM UTC

I could see from a fighters perspective that it does him no good to fight in the streets when he gets paid for it in the ring.