...a bit o' biffo
T'was a time when there was honour in biffo.
Nowadays all honour has gone and in it's place is something insidious. In the 21st century when a man is knocked down it is merely the beginning, and the kicking of heads, stomping of ribs, glassing etc ensues. Gentlemanly restraint has died and in it's place is an unfeeling, unfettered bloodlust. Shame on us men! How did we allow ourselves to sink so low?
Put a thousand young men in a room together, add alcohol and history shows us that before the night is out, blood will be spilled. There is nothing new about that. But the fighting of yonder had a code of conduct. The taboos of fighting were important because they helped prevent serious injury and death, and the odd murder charge.
- A bloke had to accept a challenge before fighting even began.
- If he refused, the challenger won the (moral) victory.
- If he accepted, then an area free of obstacles was found.
- Weapons were strictly forbidden.
- Kicking, kneeing, headbutting, punching below the belt and biting were not allowed.
- The combatants didn't need to be told this, it was just the way things were done.
- Once a man fell or conceded defeat, he would not be touched again.
To break any one of these taboos was considered 'dirty fighting' and quite despicable. A man was stripped of his honour, shamed and embarrassed in front of his peers. Today, fighting dirty is the norm, thus the brain injuries and deaths we see all too often. Of course not every fight in sepia tone was so 'civilised' (perhaps I'm romanticising all this a tad) and even with such taboos in place, people did suffer serious injuries... even the odd death, but the general incidence of such tragic outcomes was far less than it is today (citation needed - in fact I've really got no idea. I've never seen any stats or anything to back up my claims. I may be completely delusional. But hey, I am a blogger).
I actually don't mind boxing. I'm not interested in watching it, but in an historic and cultural context, it is competition in it's purest and most ancient; a battle of strength, speed and endurance stripped back to it's barest form...a couple of burly blokes in shorts thumping each other, the last man standing the winner. But despite it's primal nature, respecting the rules of the game is as important as having good technique. Perhaps the demise of boxing as socially acceptable recreation has removed the moral guidance and concept of rules in fighting that saved a lot of skulls in the past. Just a theory.
I'm not advocating that young blokes line up to clobber each other in the ring or otherwise, but it's seems some guys will have an urge to fight regardless, and it's probably safer in a controlled environment than doing so at the top of a flight of stairs at 4am after 12 bourbons, 4 Red Bulls, 2 ecstasy pills and 6 hours of sexual frustration with a piece of glass in your hands.
And we should also bring back flogging.... every Friday night 'round at my place ;o)