Gouging: The Old-School American Street Fighting

Tyler Mc.

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There is a form of self-defense that formed as a form of fighting that was around back in the rural portions of the United States, mostly being popular during the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century. However, this form of fighting has been around since the 1730s in the southern colonies of what was then the British Empire. While it was never practiced as an organized sport - since it was designed more as a rough form of self-defense or street fighting instead of focusing on having safe moves for sporting events - there would be some scheduled fights or 'duels' that would happen between people practicing this particular fighting style.

This particular martial art was known as gouging, also known as rough and tumble. The name comes from the fact that one of the main moves of this martial art is one that allows you to quickly gouge out the eyes of your opponent. What makes this a unique martial art is that it is a hybrid of martial arts from Europe, like a form of Irish stickfighting that was around since Celtic times and used by sheepherders to defend themselves & bare-knuckle boxing, and certain moves specific to the idea of 'fighting for survival'.

When fighting to stay alive, sticks and knives, and even firearms were incorporated into certain forms of martial art. Softer versions were used for dueling, but that fell out of favor across the South when the Bowie knife and revolver made dueling with such a fighting style (which again, was not made for dueling but SPECIFICALLY for defending one's self) a death sentence.

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A person working in cybersecurity and living in the United States who loves to write about topics like U.S. history, technology news, and a bit of philosophy.

Wingate, NC
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