Rough and Tumble fighting, a brutal form of martial art that we have talked about previously on Mint Message, was popular in the American South during the 18th and 19th centuries. This unique fighting style combined elements of boxing, wrestling, and brawling, making it a fierce and unpredictable combat system. Participants were permitted to strike and grapple with any part of their body, leading to ferocious battles that often resulted in severe injuries or even death.
Originating in the rural areas of the South, rough-and-tumble fighting gained popularity due to its accessibility and appeal to the working-class population. The rules of engagement were minimal, with combatants focusing on overpowering their opponents by any means necessary. Popularized by backwoods fighters known as "roughs," this martial art became a staple of Southern culture.
Another interesting thing is how rough and tumble became somewhat popular in the 1730s in the southern colonies before the United States was even considered to be an independent nation. In fact, there was a war that ultimately helped to make the martial art super popular: the American Revolution! The American Revolution was a war for the United States of America to become independent from the British Empire that occurred between 1775 and 1783, leading to the creation of the United States as we know it today. This war made it very useful for people to learn a martial art like rough and tumble for guerilla warfare and to fight professional soldiers who might be better trained than the average conscript or militia member. There is even a channel on TikTok called Aberance that has short videos about this topic!