Forgotten Fight Science: Far Side Bar Arm
Dan Kanagie shows us the Far Side Bar Arm, a lost technique from the Bare Knuckle era.
Over the past few months I have discussed the benefit of learning 18th and 19th century Bare Knuckle Boxing for modern MMA. With MMA’s inclusion of fighting in the clinch, it is better to look to the past for forgotten knowledge, than it is to “reinvent the wheel”. We will finish out this brief look at clinch fighting in Pugilism by looking at a “lost” clinch from the era: the Far Side Bar Arm.
The clinch we’ll be looking at, as far as I can tell from my research, had no name, but I refer to it as a “Far Side Bar Arm”. A number of the old manuals mention it, but we will be using Owen Swift’s “Art of Self Defence” from 1885, as his draws from earlier works (Sir Thomas Parkin’s and Daniel Mendoza’s in particular). For his end, Swift offers commentary as to how clinching and wrestling “depend chiefly on strength, height, or power” and less on skill.
He goes on to quote Parkin, “When your adversary’s body and yours are almost in contact…dart your left under his right arm, and bringing it round his back, seize hold with your hand of the inside of his left arm near the elbow, taking care at the same time to throw your left leg behind him, by which means you pin down his left arm, and disable his right one likewise from striking…and support his body on your left thigh, while you smite at his face and stomach with your right hand”.
Swift goes on to add from Mendoza, “But if his left arm be too much forward for you to be able to grasp it, you may remedy the inconvenience by seizing hold of his wrist with your right hand, and thus push it back so as to place it within reach of your left hand. All this may be accomplished in an instant”.
What we have is a standing clinch that pins both of your opponents arms down while keeping one of yours free for striking. Now, the above description is relatively clear, but we’ll walk through an updated version that would work in modern Mixed Martial Arts competition.
1. We start in an over-under clinch.
2. I grab George by the elbow, pushing it back.
3. I reach across his back, grabbing his arm from the inside, stepping behind his near side leg as I do.
4. I pull George’s weight back onto my thigh, simultaneously pinning both of his arms and exposing his side and head for short punches and hammer strikes .