Dry Neiffels - Scottish Boxing!

Discussion in 'Western Martial Arts' started by Louie, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. Louie

    Louie STUNT DAD Supporter

    In the 1700’s the Scots called the art of boxing 'dry neiffels'
    “He challenged his elder brother John to a combate, as he called it, of dry neiffels.” (1701)

    Neiffels meant fists, punching & pummelling
    Dry meant 'bloodless' probably because no pointy weapons were involved which dominated all other forms of combat.

    Scotland’s first champion pugilist, William "Billy" Marshall was born in Ayrshire around 1672. During the eighteenth century there were bloody conflicts between rival gypsy clans and for much of his life Billy reigned over a powerful gang of gypsy tinkers in Carrick and Galloway, enjoying the title of the Caird of Barullion, and King of the Randies. He saw service in the army as a private in King William’s army at the Battle of the Boyne and served in a number of continental campaigns, reputedly deserting from the army no less than seven times and from the navy three times. This military training helped him organise the Levellers, dispossessed tenant farmers who levelled sections of the newly built stone dykes erected by landowners to enclose land. He became a well known figure to all ranks of society and was commonly accepted as being one hundred and twenty years old when he died on 28th of November 1792. (Billy himself claimed to be born in 1666). He is buried in St Cuthbert's Churchyard on the outskirts of Kirkcudbrightshire.

    The earliest forms of 'boxing' included kicking, wrestling, punching and rounds with weapons, my latest article lists some of these 'boxing/prizefights;


  2. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    Fun. This shows the strong influence on the british isles from Norse influence... Guess what a hand/fist is called in norwegian? "Neve"!

    We allso have an ecpression; "Å slåss med bare nevene" = To fight with your bare hands.
  3. Louie

    Louie STUNT DAD Supporter

    Very, very interesting Stolenbjorn....

    NIEVE; . A fist, clenched hand NEIFF; to strike with the fist

    So the English didn't invent boxing!!!! :D

    For this word(s) to survive from the viking era through to the 1700's and beyond suggests that a European form of 'boxing' has been around a long time...

  4. WhiteWizard

    WhiteWizard Arctic Assasain

    mwahahah us Ayrshire people have a lot to answer for then :D
  5. Stick

    Stick New Member

    What makes boxing 'Scottish' or 'Irish?' How different is the each style?
  6. Louie

    Louie STUNT DAD Supporter

    Hi Stick...

    In the earliest forms of pugilism, up untill rules were introduced in England, it was a case of 'anything goes' Kicks, throws, pulling hair, chokes, etc. Regions of the UK & Ireland may have had variations in the wrestling trips & throws that they used but I imagine there wouldn't have been that much of a difference in techniques.

  7. Stick

    Stick New Member

    Is it a different style or just boxing by different rules? As a wrestler/grappler I have to say wrestling is just wrestling, judo, sambo, catch, jiujitsu...its' all wrestling by different rules.
  8. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    It's as you say, depending on how you define it. I'm sure a lot of the local boxingtournaments around the local countryside all in all can be categorized under the same style if you want to. But then it could be interresting to try and find out why the people actually practicing it or attending to the tournamants as audience had different names on it; My theory is that they had rules different enough to them not beeing compatible.

    In Mendoza's boxingtechniques from the 17ht/18th century, you have flat strikes towards hard areas, fist-strikes towards soft spots (like the throat, abdomen) and kicks towards the knees + some grappeling techniques.
  9. Louie

    Louie STUNT DAD Supporter

    I have had a rethink on the meaning of Dry Neiffels...

    Neiffels meant fists, punching & pummelling

    Dry could mean 'bloodless' but it could also refer to 'something on
    it's own - without anything else' (We still use the term 'a dry roll'
    when asking for a bread roll with nothing added).

    So 'Dry Neiffels' could mean fighting with just the fists-
    While fighting with fists, knees & feet was referred to as 'Possing'
    during the same period.


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