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REH's Fighting Styles


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#81 the black stone

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 04:31 AM

kortoso, going to work, will write back later--ralph g

#82 the black stone

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 02:35 PM

bowie knife by raymond w.thorpe 1948--covers history, types, invention, how it was used, famous duels and some of bowie's life--pretty good

#83 Almuric08

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 10:07 PM

First, let me say that I just discovered this forum. I'm glad it exists. You guys rock. I was also happy to see Mark Finn posting here. His book, Blood and Thunder, is excellent.

But in viewing this thread, I have to say a few things.

As a martial artist who trains with the Chief Instructor of the Ghurkah Infantry and the Senior Instructor of the South Korean Special Forces 27th Anti-terrorist Division (same guy, named Ebe Gansah), I must let you know that MMA is real martial arts. Special Forces units train to grapple, groud fight, break spirits, break bones and punch and kick. There's no magic in real martial arts. People who practise a traditional art always find themselves in a scary, alien world when they fight someone who has been trained to FIGHT. This holds true of pure BJJ practisioners, too. You can learn alot about martial arts by watching the development of the UFC.

That wasn't just a rant. It was meant to back up Mark Finn's point. Howard wasn't an idiot. He had seen fist fights, probably been in them, and he knew how to translate that knowledge into a fight with swords. The mechanics of fighting someone apply to any weapon, which is why Special Forces units can fight bare-handed or with whatever they find on the floor. A sword is just a sharp piece of metal in the eyes of a real fighter. It isn't magic. It isn't special. It's REAL.

Speaking as a writer, I can see a very clear reason why REH's fight scenes are vibrant and alive. As a martial artist, I always wanted extra-realistic detail in my fight scenes. My mentor is an amazing novelist named Scott Bradfield. He always hated my fight scenes, and one day he explained it in a way I understood. He said, "Your readers don't care about that stuff. They aren't experts in martial arts rhetoric. Your readers want to know what is happening between the characters, quickly."

Howard was a master of suspense, and of action. Sure, he could be eccentric with his adjectives, but he stretched his 'yarns' on purpose to make more money. He paced a scene beautifully, and he knew the power of minimalism. In a Howard fight scene, the reader is not bombarded with detail. Howard moves the camera back the exact right distance. Details are sparse, but powerful. Graham Greene did the same thing. So does Terry Pratchet. The fights seem real because the writers are skilled, and Howard was one of the best action writers in history.

#84 Kortoso

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 12:44 AM

Welcome Almuric, interested to read your ideas.

#85 the black stone

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 01:38 AM

fighters should train in all facets [weapons, stand-up, aremi-waza, jointlocking and breaking,boxing, kicking , shime-waza , ne-waza] mma is nothing new [guys have been doing this through out history. bartitsu, defense dans la rue, kano-ha jiu jitsu and possibly the oldest , pankration . i agree to a certain point----the only thing i think is that on the battlefield a skirmish should never be brought down to ne-waza on purpose. you should fight stand -up in but always practise ground grappling and ground fighting [there is a difference] IN CASE THE FIGHT GOES TO THE GROUND . firearms, bludgeons, edged weapons should all be part of your tool box---howard probably saw a a bit of old style boxing, southern gouge and bite[yes there was a system] and bowie/arkansas toothpick work. i agree with almuric about howards being a great action writer----ralph g

#86 RafaelKayanan

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 01:59 PM

firearms, bludgeons, edged weapons should all be part of your tool box---howard probably saw a a bit of old style boxing, southern gouge and bite[yes there was a system] and bowie/arkansas toothpick work. i agree with almuric about howards being a great action writer----ralph g


True, there's a difference between MMA trained specialists and warriors (elite soldiers), there's many tried and true moves in empty hand striking and grappling that cannot be used with an edged weapon in one's hands, or fighting someone with an edged weapon.

What Almuric stated is a great tip for writers. In comics, a good writer describes where the protagonist has to be at the end of the fight, the essence of it and trusts the artist (especially one who trains in this stuff) to visualize it and add the details in. In prose, REH's action is less on combat technique but on describing just enough to allow the reader to imagine how the action unfolds.

Capturing the feeling/attitude of Howard's action scenes is equally as important as staying close to historical manual technique (which is up to interpretation anyway). Imagine trying to describe NFL football with engravings by artists who often lacked the atmospheric emotion and mastery of figural gestures like Frazetta. Now imagine Frazetta capturing the emotion and attitude of football... which is closer to the real thing? Probably a bit of both.

#87 the black stone

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 08:10 PM

Capturing the feeling/attitude of Howard's action scenes is equally as important as staying close to historical manual technique (which is up to interpretation anyway). Imagine trying to describe NFL football with engravings by artists who often lacked the atmospheric emotion and mastery of figural gestures like Frazetta. Now imagine Frazetta capturing the emotion and attitude of football... which is closer to the real thing? Probably a bit of both.

raf,good post--ralph g

#88 nephron

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 09:40 PM

I practice Wing Chun, & have always thought WC had a lot in common with Old-Timey, bare-knuckle boxing so I like to read and learn about bare knuckle too. As a WC practioner I think it's interesting when one stumbles across WC principles and ideas from a completely non-WC tradition. Today I stumbled across a couple things where WC & Bare Knuckle Boxing converge (again). Anyway, this thread has some references to old-school boxing, & I found it interesting, so I figured I'd share.


Do gloves make boxing more dangerous?

(from: http://www.independe...ons-767122.html )

"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."


No doubt some of the stuff that guy said about gloves/no-gloves is relevant to the similarity of WC & Bare Knuckle stances vs. the hunched-over, arms-in-close, Modern-Boxing stance.

Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image


The Vertical Fist (the following is about boxing, but WC uses the vertical fist for the same reasons)

(from http://cbd.atspace.c...xingstance.html )

"Now what about the hands? Why did they hold them vertical or with the knuckles pointing at the other guy? Until the use of gloves became common in the ring, pugilists struck with a vertical fist nearly all the time. Why did they use the vertical fist? First reason is that it is just plain safer to hit with a vertical fist than a horizontal one. There is less chance of injury, especially on any swinging type of punches. They did use a horizontal fist when the target warranted one. The side of the neck is a good example of such a target. Another benefit of the vertical fist is the slight reach advantage you get when using it. It is not a huge difference, maybe just an inch, but every little bit helps. That punch that might have only been a glancing blow with a horizontal fist now catches with a vertical fist.
Let's do a little experiment on the difference in reach between a vertical and horizontal fist. I think you will find this interesting. Go to a wall and place your fist horizontally against it with your arm completely extended, as if at the end of a punch. Keep firm pressure on the wall. Now, take your horizontal fist and rotate it clockwise to a vertical position. You should be able to feel your body pushing away from the wall. Now, just for kicks, keep rotating your fist to the palm up position and note the extra little bit of reach that is gained.

While you are still at the wall, look at how your hand connects with the flat of the wall. If you have your fist made correctly and your wrist tight, you will notice that the knuckle of your index finger will not touch the wall. Why? Because it does not line up with the bones of the wrist and forearm. In order to get the full benefit of skeletal alignment, punches should land focused on the knuckels of the middle, ring and little finger. This goes against the common idea of hitting with your first two knuckes, but, it gives you proper skeletal alignment which will not only add to the stiffness of your punches, but, will lessen the risk of injuring yourself. When hitting a surface that is not flat, but covered in different curves or angles like the human body is, you will hit with your index finger knuckle; it is unavoidable. Just make sure not to target with the first two knuckles."

Edited by nephron, 18 April 2010 - 09:47 PM.


#89 the black stone

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 03:22 PM

nephron, i am a big fan of chinese systems [wing chun/pakua/hysing-yi /san soo--although wing chun looks a great deal like old bare knuckle boxing , they have very little in common except for the use of the vertical fist and the upright stances, somethings in old chinese long fist/white crane and lama pai are more akin to some of the old bare knuckle boxing. the reason bkb stood and held there hands like that is because 1] the vertical fist [without gloves] is better to hit with without hurting your hands 2]they threw choppers[hammerfists] from that position also 3]3]they had to contend with throws[grappling] and fist blows in that time period as well, the hands held out and a little lower prepared them for takedowns and clinches coming their way--rg

#90 monk

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 03:35 AM

topping this thread.
"I live, I BURN WITH LIFE, I love, I slay, and am content."
"Here's to brother Painbrush, we drink to his Shade..."
"All Art Is Martial"- RZA

"Our basic purist premise:
ROBERT E. HOWARD, ENTIRELY ALONE, WITHOUT ASSISTANCE FROM ANY OTHER PERSON, CREATED THE CHARACTER CONAN OF CIMMERIA. NO OTHER PERSON OR PERSONS SHOULD BE INTRUDING THEIR WORK INTO THE VOLUMES OF HOWARD'S CONAN STORIES.
In essence, we believe that the work of any creative artist -- writer, painter, illustrator, musician, what-have-you -- is a unique expression of an artistic point of view. It should not be appropriated or altered by others without the artist's consent. No other writer has Robert E. Howard's unique point of view, and no other writer knows what Howard would have done with his character had he lived. Upon his death, his canon, the expression of his artistic vision, became fixed. Tampering with it now is desecration."

#91 Konorg

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:17 PM

Greetings!

If we say martrial arts in eastern terms,then are missing a lot.There has been plenty of martial arts in the west.Gun-fu being the most noticeable in the US! Posted Image
Your right Sharn,eastern MA's were brought over here after WW2.But in my discipline Aikedo,I have seen very few white/black/brown/green being promoted to 6th Dan(Master)They don't mind a 5th running a school,you just can't give out a 1st Dan(Black belt) a 6th can only do that,...

I do not why it should be.There are only two types of attacks,Liniar and circular.


That's funny.I have seen many Karate/MMA digress into a simple brawl.



Tu


Hey Tu,

Were you drunk when you responded? Posted Image Chinese martial traditions were likely known in the US as early as the late 1800's: but only amongst the Chinese. There was no interest in teaching gwailo the fighting traditions of China. As to Aikido, I'm not really sure WTH that has to do with REH... Posted Image

You do not see why it should be that swordsmanship went out of vogue in the 1930's? First take a look at the Siegfried Line during WWI. The whole noble charge nonsense was tried ad naseum there. It was found that German machine gunners are very handy at dispatching sword wielding types...so, the gun killed the sword or any interest of practical usage in war...that is why western military traditions of swordsmanship essentially died out by 1920.

Also , there's a bit more to swordsmanship than swinging the blade around or poking it at someone. I won't bother going in to the details...look up Fiore di Liberi or Hans Talhoffer. Perhaps George Silver, Saviollo, Tibault...just to name a few. Ther are only two types of attacks! Ha!

You know what Tu? You're right!!! Even dedicants to the esoterism of Eastern Martial Arts systems find that a fight in general spirals toward a chaotic brawl...as happens in MMA (8 out of 10 matches I'd say). This has nothing to do with the above question either...but hey.


The Siegfreid line was built by the Nazi's prior to WW2 it was not in existance during WW1


The aveage civilized man is never fully alive;he is burdened with masses of atrophied tisse and useless matter.Life flickers feebily in him;his senses sre dull and torpid...In devloping his intellect he has sacrificed far more then he realizes."

#92 Fierro

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:55 PM

Presumably meant Hindenburg Line.

#93 monk

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 12:24 AM

an interesting resource....

http://www.militaryh...tures/saber.php
"I live, I BURN WITH LIFE, I love, I slay, and am content."
"Here's to brother Painbrush, we drink to his Shade..."
"All Art Is Martial"- RZA

"Our basic purist premise:
ROBERT E. HOWARD, ENTIRELY ALONE, WITHOUT ASSISTANCE FROM ANY OTHER PERSON, CREATED THE CHARACTER CONAN OF CIMMERIA. NO OTHER PERSON OR PERSONS SHOULD BE INTRUDING THEIR WORK INTO THE VOLUMES OF HOWARD'S CONAN STORIES.
In essence, we believe that the work of any creative artist -- writer, painter, illustrator, musician, what-have-you -- is a unique expression of an artistic point of view. It should not be appropriated or altered by others without the artist's consent. No other writer has Robert E. Howard's unique point of view, and no other writer knows what Howard would have done with his character had he lived. Upon his death, his canon, the expression of his artistic vision, became fixed. Tampering with it now is desecration."

#94 deuce

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 06:07 AM

First, let me say that I just discovered this forum. I'm glad it exists. You guys rock. I was also happy to see Mark Finn posting here. His book, Blood and Thunder, is excellent.

But in viewing this thread, I have to say a few things.

As a martial artist who trains with the Chief Instructor of the Ghurkah Infantry and the Senior Instructor of the South Korean Special Forces 27th Anti-terrorist Division (same guy, named Ebe Gansah), I must let you know that MMA is real martial arts. Special Forces units train to grapple, groud fight, break spirits, break bones and punch and kick. There's no magic in real martial arts. People who practise a traditional art always find themselves in a scary, alien world when they fight someone who has been trained to FIGHT. This holds true of pure BJJ practisioners, too. You can learn alot about martial arts by watching the development of the UFC.

That wasn't just a rant. It was meant to back up Mark Finn's point. Howard wasn't an idiot. He had seen fist fights, probably been in them, and he knew how to translate that knowledge into a fight with swords.

Speaking as a writer, I can see a very clear reason why REH's fight scenes are vibrant and alive. As a martial artist, I always wanted extra-realistic detail in my fight scenes. My mentor is an amazing novelist named Scott Bradfield. He always hated my fight scenes, and one day he explained it in a way I understood. He said, "Your readers don't care about that stuff. They aren't experts in martial arts rhetoric. Your readers want to know what is happening between the characters, quickly."

Howard was a master of suspense, and of action. Sure, he could be eccentric with his adjectives, but he stretched his 'yarns' on purpose to make more money. He paced a scene beautifully, and he knew the power of minimalism. In a Howard fight scene, the reader is not bombarded with detail. Howard moves the camera back the exact right distance. Details are sparse, but powerful.


Excellent post from Almuric08. B) Wish he'd pop back in.

* BTW, the "sword throwing" posts have been moved to the "Black Colossus" thread.

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#95 deuce

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 06:55 AM

It's obvious REH was into boxing. But this type of boxing picture looks like the "old style" boxing that
was popular before the (from what I understand) adjustments made from contact with the Philipines.

If you look at boxing stances now I'm sure you'll understand what I mean.

Is it known if he was a martial arts practitioner? I always get the impression he was from reading the stories, as the fight scenes seem to have that extra something in them.

When I ask, i'm not talking about MMA and the sports type of martial arts, but actual combat style martial arts.



A guy having a gun with a knife backup isn't planning on scoring points in a competition, he's planning on surviving an altercation Posted Image



Maybe I should have broken this into a different post, but I'm curious are these guys just goofing off, or did they practice an actual blade style?



Quoting/reposting Nighthawk's cool initial post as a refresher. :)

The "sword throwing" posts have been moved to the "Black Colossus" thread.

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#96 Konorg

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 05:42 AM

fighters should train in all facets [weapons, stand-up, aremi-waza, jointlocking and breaking,boxing, kicking , shime-waza , ne-waza] mma is nothing new [guys have been doing this through out history. bartitsu, defense dans la rue, kano-ha jiu jitsu and possibly the oldest , pankration . i agree to a certain point----the only thing i think is that on the battlefield a skirmish should never be brought down to ne-waza on purpose. you should fight stand -up in but always practise ground grappling and ground fighting [there is a difference] IN CASE THE FIGHT GOES TO THE GROUND . firearms, bludgeons, edged weapons should all be part of your tool box---howard probably saw a a bit of old style boxing, southern gouge and bite[yes there was a system] and bowie/arkansas toothpick work. i agree with almuric about howards being a great action writer----ralph g



Dude you just name doff the art ofSelf Defence I traiing in..Bartitsu


The aveage civilized man is never fully alive;he is burdened with masses of atrophied tisse and useless matter.Life flickers feebily in him;his senses sre dull and torpid...In devloping his intellect he has sacrificed far more then he realizes."

#97 deuce

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 06:15 AM


fighters should train in all facets [weapons, stand-up, aremi-waza, jointlocking and breaking,boxing, kicking , shime-waza , ne-waza] mma is nothing new [guys have been doing this through out history. bartitsu, defense dans la rue, kano-ha jiu jitsu and possibly the oldest , pankration . i agree to a certain point----the only thing i think is that on the battlefield a skirmish should never be brought down to ne-waza on purpose. you should fight stand -up in but always practise ground grappling and ground fighting [there is a difference] IN CASE THE FIGHT GOES TO THE GROUND . firearms, bludgeons, edged weapons should all be part of your tool box---howard probably saw a a bit of old style boxing, southern gouge and bite[yes there was a system] and bowie/arkansas toothpick work. i agree with almuric about howards being a great action writer----ralph g



Dude you just name doff the art ofSelf Defence I traiing in..Bartitsu


Famous from the Holmes tales. B) REH was a Doyle fan.

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#98 Konorg

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 06:20 AM



fighters should train in all facets [weapons, stand-up, aremi-waza, jointlocking and breaking,boxing, kicking , shime-waza , ne-waza] mma is nothing new [guys have been doing this through out history. bartitsu, defense dans la rue, kano-ha jiu jitsu and possibly the oldest , pankration . i agree to a certain point----the only thing i think is that on the battlefield a skirmish should never be brought down to ne-waza on purpose. you should fight stand -up in but always practise ground grappling and ground fighting [there is a difference] IN CASE THE FIGHT GOES TO THE GROUND . firearms, bludgeons, edged weapons should all be part of your tool box---howard probably saw a a bit of old style boxing, southern gouge and bite[yes there was a system] and bowie/arkansas toothpick work. i agree with almuric about howards being a great action writer----ralph g



Dude you just name doff the art ofSelf Defence I traiing in..Bartitsu


Famous from the Holmes tales. B) REH was a Doyle fan.


But has it's origins in http://www.bartitsu....ndex.php/about/


The aveage civilized man is never fully alive;he is burdened with masses of atrophied tisse and useless matter.Life flickers feebily in him;his senses sre dull and torpid...In devloping his intellect he has sacrificed far more then he realizes."

#99 deuce

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 06:27 AM




Famous from the Holmes tales. B) REH was a Doyle fan.


But has it's origins in http://www.bartitsu....ndex.php/about/


Yeah. We've mentioned its roots more than once on this thread. REH probably first saw it mentioned (if he even knew of it) in a Doyle story, like most people in the early 20th century.

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#100 Bob_B

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 06:11 PM

Swordsmanship was a dying art in the western world(for obvious reasons) and the last hold outs were US Cavalry units. Certainly REH, being as dilligent as he was to find a resource, probably found a basic sabre drill book from the heyday of US cavalry swordsmanship relatively easy to find. He probably spoke with men who had been trained in it's use. Boxing or pugilism was THE western martial art. Even Greco-roman wrestling was not mainstream in his time (though I'm sure 'wrestling ' of various sorts were known). So that leaves a very limited exposure to 'organized' martial training but more along the lines of 'brawling' being the type of 'training' and skill set REH may have been exposed to.
 

I suspect this is probably closest to the actual truth; Fort Richardson was to the North near Jacksboro and had provided a cavalry outpost until the latter half of the 19th century, sporadically being used by the Texas National Guard for mustering even into WWII; Fort Wolters was opened near Mineral Wells in Howard's lifetime and has a reputation for cavalry drill and marksmanship excellence. I imagine that might have been the source of the swords used in the photos. And of course Texas A&M just to the East near Waco continues a strong drill tradition.

 

But as for wrestling, while Greco-Roman as it is known today (I think it is actually a French variation) had not enjoyed popularity, freestyle wrestling (sometimes called carnival wrestling, or catch wrestling) was fairly well known and popular in college in the US during his lifetime; Oklahoma State won the first NCAA freestyle tournament in the 20s, and that popularity did not arise from a vacuum. Possibly not a major influence on REH though.