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269933.  Sat Feb 02, 2008 6:31 pm Reply with quote

This kind of thing was a regular topic of conversation with my boys during the school run:

Who would win in a fight between a lion and a bear? (Ans: the bear, apparently - it's been tried)

Between Muhammed Ali and Bruce Lee? (Ans: Ali, easily. Never tried, strictly speaking, but he did pound other kung fu / kickboxing guys)

Spiderman and Batman? (a matter of opinion, but my money's on Spidey)

Anyway, don't know about the last one, but I have good research on the other two.

269944.  Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:02 pm Reply with quote

There's a TV show on UK Dave Discovery +1 (or something like that) called animal face-off.

They don't actually fight - it's all done on a computer; here's leopard vs gorilla

270644.  Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:20 am Reply with quote

If fighting can be held to include boxing (and we haven't already done that) there's some interesting stuff in the Wiki article on ancient Greek boxing.

Rules inferred from the available images are:

* No holds or wrestling
* Any type of blow with the hand was allowed but no gouging with the fingers
* No ring was used
* There were no rounds or time limits
* Victory was decided when one fighter gave up or was incapacitated
* No weight-classes, opponents were selected by chance
* Judges enforced the rules by beating offenders with a switch
* Fighters could opt to exchange blows undefended if the fight lasted too long

Further interesting bits about Greek boxing from the general article on boxing:

Although gloves were used in practice,[1] in competition fighters wrapped their hands in strips of hardened leather which protected the fist and caused unpleasant injuries for the opponent.[1]

Homer's Iliad (ca. 675 BC) contains the first detailed account of a box fight (Book XXIII).[2] According to the Iliad, Mycenaean warriors included boxing among their competitions honoring the fallen, though it is possible that the Homeric epics reflect later Greek culture. Another Greek legend holds that the heroic ruler Theseus, said to have lived around the 9th century BC, invented a form of boxing in which two men sat face to face and beat each other with their fists until one of them was killed. In time, the boxers began to fight while standing and wearing gloves (with spikes) and wrappings on their arms below the elbows, although otherwise they competed naked.

Boxing was first accepted as an Olympic sport in 688 BC, being called Pygme or Pygmachia. Participants trained on punching bags (called a korykos). Fighters wore leather straps (called himantes) over their hands, wrists, and sometimes breast, to protect them from injury. The straps left their fingers free. Legend had it that the Spartans were the first to box as a way to prepare for sword and shield fighting.

i. Encyclopaedia Britannica entry for Boxing
2. Homer, Iliad, 23.655-696

270769.  Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:18 pm Reply with quote

Q: Why do boxers wear gloves?
F: To protect the person who's being hit
A: To protect the person doing the hitting, according to this extract from Stumped! by Nicholas Hobbes:
Promotional posters for boxing matches in the 19th century followed a formula: the two adversaries would be depicted squaring up to each other, with heads tilted slightly backwards and their fists held low, the knuckles pointing out and upwards. The pose looks comical nowadays, as if they are actors in a silent movie rather than pugilists.

The stance and guard were low because bare-knuckle boxing consisted largely of striking the opponent's body. The skull is an extremely hard object, and a full-force punch to an opponent's head could easily result in a broken hand. This is why so many bar-room brawls end after one punch. The "boxer's fracture" – a break behind the knuckle of the little finger – is regularly seen in hospital casualty departments at weekends.

The Marquess of Queensberry rules took off not because society viewed the new sport as more civilised than the old, but because fights conducted under the new guidelines attracted more spectators. Audiences wanted to see repeated blows to the head and dramatic knockouts.

By contrast, the last bare-knuckle heavyweight contest in the US in 1897 dragged on into the 75th round. Since gloves spread the impact of a blow, the recipient of a punch is less likely to be blinded, have their teeth knocked out or their jaw broken. However, gloves do not lessen the force applied to the brain as it rattles inside the skull from a heavy blow. In fact, they make matters worse by adding 10oz to the weight of the fist.
A full-force punch to the head is comparable to being hit with a 12lb padded wooden mallet travelling at 20mph. Gerald McClellan took around 40 such blows over the course of his world title fight against Nigel Benn in 1995. Even the most hardened spectators were shocked by its brutality.

Neither fighter made any great attempts to defend himself. Instead, the two stood toe to toe, trading punches. As a result, McClellan suffered brain damage that left him blind, 80 per cent deaf and paralysed.

As the bare-knuckle campaigner Dr Alan J Ryan pointed out: "In 100 years of bare-knuckle fighting in the United States, which terminated around 1897 with a John L Sullivan heavyweight championship fight, there wasn't a single ring fatality." Today, there are three or four every year in the US, and around 15 per cent of professional fighters suffer some form of permanent brain damage during their career. Worldwide, there have been over 400 boxing deaths in the last 50 years alone. The total would be far higher were it not for the advances in medical care that saved the lives of fighters such as McClellan and Michael Watson. A return to bare knuckles would be bloodier and less acceptable to mass television audiences, but one has to ask whether wheelchairs and life-support machines are any easier on one's conscience.

271116.  Tue Feb 05, 2008 5:06 am Reply with quote

The skull is an extremely hard object, and a full-force punch to an opponent's head could easily result in a broken hand. This is why so many bar-room brawls end after one punch. The "boxer's fracture" – a break behind the knuckle of the little finger – is regularly seen in hospital casualty departments at weekends.

I have heard it said* that if you punch someone in the face while their jaw is shut tight, you are very likely to break your hand. By contrast, if their jaw is slightly open, you are much more likely to break their jaw (assuming you hit them hard enough). The legend is that Reggie Cray was aware of this and always made a point of offering someone a cigarette before punching them. As they opened their mouth to put the cigarette in it, he would then punch them secure in the knowledge that it would be their jaw and not his hand that would be broken.

However, anything told to me in a pub that concerns the Cray twins should probably be taken with an extremely large helping of seasoning.

*But have no idea how true this is

271315.  Tue Feb 05, 2008 10:38 am Reply with quote

I reckon that's good enough to go into the notes in the form "it's said that ...", ie an interesting thought which we don't vouch for.

271666.  Wed Feb 06, 2008 4:08 am Reply with quote

I'll have a bit of a dig around between job applications to see if I can find any more concrete sources for that particular rumour.

272463.  Thu Feb 07, 2008 6:24 am Reply with quote

Wasn't hard to find.

This article on mentions that Reggie Kray* developed the punch and "practiced it for hours on a punch bag." It says that he would offer a cigarette with his right hand, and then deliver a left hook. It also notes that "An open jaw fractures easily."

This tactic, named the "cigarette punch" is also mentioned in the obits for Reggie Kray in The Independent and The New York Times.

There's no hard evidence that this isn't just another myth that grew up around the Krays and has taken on a life of its own, but it sounds like the kind of thing a crazed psychopath would get up to :)

*Not "Cray" as I originally posted. There I go getting East End gangsters mixed up with supercomputers again!

301880.  Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:01 pm Reply with quote

Fred the Monk: a guy with the handle "streona" popped up on the outer board, posted twice and disappeared but sounded as though he knew what he was talking about when he said that Edmund Ironsides is reported by a chronicler to have been assassinated by a crossbow shot up his arse as he sat on a booby-trapped privy. Could you have a look at the post and confirm/deny/equivocate as appropriate?

post 225267

Frederick The Monk
301965.  Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:18 am Reply with quote

Interesting, particularly as Gaimar claims it was one of the sons of Edric Streona who did the killing. I'd heard he was killed by one of Canute's soldiers who shoved a sword up his arse whilst he as on the toilet but it seems rather early for a true crossbow. Gaimar is not 100 percent reliable and is writing inverse over 100 years after events. I'll try to dig out a copy of his chronicle and have a look.

302010.  Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:16 am Reply with quote

So either way it was a Carry On-style lavatorial nemesis, and that can't be bad.

303029.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:40 am Reply with quote

Apparent-leeeee ......

As they have done for millennia, the Zo’e [a rain forest people of Northern Brazil] live in straw huts. Parents do not necessarily share a hut with their children, for the only concept of family is that of the greater clan. The tribe has no notion of monogamy, nor any phrase for ‘thank you’, as everything is shared. Any quarrel is resolved by the disputants being pinned down and tickled until they start laughing.

S: Sunday Telegraph, 23 March 08.


303040.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:47 am Reply with quote

Quite similar to Flash Towers except that monogamy is quite rigorously enforced here.

308890.  Wed Apr 02, 2008 6:38 am Reply with quote

When threatened by larger predators, such as birds, many ground beetles discharge a noxious and highly irritating fluid from glands in the tip of their abdomen, and many also regurgitate gut fluids from their mouth. Females employ this tactic to deter over-amorous males.

S: “Springwatch poster,” a supplement to the Radio Times, 2007.

Sounds like a night out in Newcastle toon centre ...

332109.  Wed May 07, 2008 8:32 am Reply with quote

Dembe is the Nigerian version of boxing, it is pretty nasty. There's some stuff from the beeb here.

Before the bout starts, the boxer will wet the flax cord wrapped around his hand and cover it in sand to maximise the pain he can inflict.

Wrapped inside his fist are small animal skin packets containing bird feathers or other charms the boxer believes protect him.


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