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PHYSICAL ENERGY

Photo by Basil

Fontispiece

BOMBARDIER BILLY WELLS

PHYSICAL ENERGY
SHOWING HOW PHYSICAL AND MENTAL ENERGY MAY BE DEVELOPED BY MEANS OF THE PRACTICE OF BOXING
BY

B O M B A R D I E R B I L LY W E L L S

LONDON

T. W E R N E R L A U R I E , LT D .
30 NEW BRIDGE STREET, E.C.4.

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PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY THE DUNEDIN PRESS LIMITED, EDINBURGH

PREFACE THIS book has been written in collaboration with an eminent medical authority, to whom I am indebted for those physiological allusions which are essential to a clear understanding of such a subject as boxing in relation to the development of Physical Energy. Throughout these pages I have aimed at emphasising the prime importance of developing mental alertness and celerity, While at the same time rendering fully efficient the purely physical machinery of the human body. Recognising that mind is after all the dominant factor in the production of Physical Energy, it has been suggested that Psycho-Physical Culture through boxing would be the most suitable title for this little work. But while descriptive it is scarcely sufficiently concise. My intention has been to demonstrate how boxing may be used as the basis of the most rational method of physical culture. It is in my estimation, as a means to the maintenance of health and efficiency, far superior to the old 5

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methods designed mainly for the mass-production of muscle or the forcing of the superweight-lifter. As an illustration of the mentally recreative effect of boxing I may mention that during my army service (1914-1918) nothing used to put so much new life into men coming out of the line shaken, dirty, depressed, exhausted, and blind to the world, as a bout with the gloves. I used to have from 300 to 400 men per day engaged in this way. Boxing has undergone many vicissitudes, but nowadays—thanks largely to the Earl of Lonsdale—its prestige is firmly established as one of Britain’s most manly sports. Nobody has done more for the noble art than this sporting Peer, who by his influence and example has encouraged and stimulated all that is best in the interests of the ring. To all those children of men who are interested in clean sport of all kinds, be it the turf, the ring, the cinder-track, or any other, he has been a sporting parent indeed, and in this as well as in his championship of the rights of our dumb friends he exhibits that broad humanitarianism which endears him to all.

CONTENTS
CHAP. PAGE

I. MAINLY ABOUT MYSELF . . . II. THE INADEQUACY OF PRESENT METHODS OF PHYSICAL CULTURE . III. WHERE AND WHY OLD PYSICAL CULTURE METHODS FAIL . . IV. THE INFLUENCE OF MIND ON BODY . V. THE IMPORTANCE OF DEVELOPING RAPIDITY OF REACTION . . . VI. MY PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE EXPLAINED . . . . VII. HOW THE NEW PHYSICAL CULTURE CURES ILLNESS . . . . VIII. ADVICE TO THE UNFIT . . . IX. HOW THE NEW PHYSICAL CULTURE MAINTAINS HEALTH AND FITNESS . X. THE NEW PHYSICAL CULTURE IN AILMENTS DUE TO SPINAL NERVE PRESSURE . . . . . 7

11 28 47 61 78 93 103 121 129 146

ILLUSTRATIONS BOMBARDIER BILLY WELLS PHYSICAL ENERGY . . . . . . . . . . Frontispiece.
FACING PAGE

. . . . . . .

. . . .

32 48 62 82

By G. F. Watts. (Photo by Fred Hollyer.)

THE FARNESE HERCULES . THE GLADIATOR: A STUDY .
(Photo by Basil.)

(Anderson Photo.)

THE STRAIGHT LEFT THE UNORTHODOX . THE PARRY . .

. . .

(Photo by Basil.)

. 104 . 122 . 144

(Photo by Basil.)

(Photo by Basil.)

ON GUARD: THE ORTHODOX
(Photo by Basil.)

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CHAPTER I
MAINLY ABOUT MYSELF

IT was in the days of my youth when at school that I first developed a liking for boxing. In the rough and tumble of the playground, with its frequent bouts of sparring, half in jest and half in earnest, I must confess I often had the worst of it. And this it was no doubt that stimulated me to give some serious thought to the whole subject of attack and defence with Nature’s own weapons, the bare fists. Doing my own thinking on these problems I gradually became absorbed in the whole subject of the art of boxing, and I think I may date the incident which in the end influenced my choice of a career from the day when a pair of real boxing gloves was introduced into the school. The sight and the feel of those gloves seemed to rouse in me a fighting spirit even 11

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more irrepressible than that which had already existed, determining me, then and there, to study and learn everything I possibly could, in every way it presented itself, about the art of self-defence. And here let me say at once, having no one to teach me even the most elementary rudiments of boxing, I had to learn every move in the game from the careful study of books on boxing, of the accompanying pictures and diagrams, and of illustrations of famous fights and fighters in the illustrated papers of those days. In a word, I was what is called graphically, if somewhat loosely “self-taught.” It is to this intensive study and reflection, this building up from the depths as a result of my own hard and determined mental efforts, of a solid foundation of scientific method expressing my own individuality, that I attribute whatever subsequent success I had. Reading over the accounts of the old-time fights in which the names of Bobby Dobbs, Marvin Hart, Jeffries, Corbett, Sharkey, and others appeared, I would, from the descriptions given, get into the positions described, and imagining myself both as attacking and

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attacked, would go through whole Homeric combats with an imaginary opponent, as is done in shadow-boxing. It was not always easy to visualise the various positions adopted, the foot-work done, or the punches landed, from the printed descriptions alone. For this reason I had perforce to cultivate a very lively imagination in respect both of the strategy and the tactics of a boxing contest, and in this way I became accustomed to thinking out for myself each successive step in an imaginary fight; the making of lightning decisions of how best to counter my opponent’s lead, to feint, to catch him off his guard, and how to anticipate in a flash what the other man was going to do. In those days books and newspaper articles on boxing did not enjoy such a wealth of illustration as they do to-day, otherwise my task of finding my feet in the boxing arena would have been very much simplified. Such as they were, however, those pictures of the heroes of the ring in their varied fighting attitudes were a source of infinite joy and instruction to myself, teaching me as they did

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many valuable lessons which I was quite unable to obtain in any other way. They proved incontrovertibly to my mind that one single picture of a boxer at work was worth pages of descriptive matter as far as concerned its practical value. This youthful experience of mine I have determined to turn to practical account in the teaching of boxing, and thanks to the cinematograph I am able to put before my pupils the most graphic living pictures procurable, illustrating fully those rapid and intricate movements of which it is nowadays essential that every boxer should be master. Meanwhile, by dint of reading, reflecting, and practising on my fellow scholars I taught myself, so to speak, by teaching others. After leaving school I joined the Boys’ Club, Which was run by Mr C. Mills, and of which Professor Chambers was gymnastic instructor. While there, at the age of seventeen, I had my first match with the once Amateur Champion of England, and wanted to go in and fight the Heavy Weight P.C. Hazell in a men’s heavyweight competition. I went in and lost on points after three rounds. At that time I was

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only seventeen, while Hazell was certainly some years older. Going to India later my first contest was in an open competition in the 4th Divisional Championship at Quetta, and this I won. In September, 1908, I won both the open novices’ competition and the open catch-weights, beating in the latter no less a redoubtable opponent than Sergeant Bateman, the winner of the Heavy-weight Championship of India, and also the special Viceroy’s Cup as the most scientific boxer in the championships. At Poona, in March, I was among the competitiors in the All-India Championships, and here I pulled off the trophy by beating Gunner Turner (knocked out in the third round), Private Jarvis (knocked out second round), and Private Tansell (knocked out third round). Again, in September of that year, at Simla, Where the big affair at which the Viceroy’s (Scientific Cup) and the Championship, or Viceroy’s Staff Cup, are put up, I met Corporal Goulburn (Champion of Burma) whom I defeated in one round, and coming up against Staff-Sergeant Gale in the semi-

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final I won with a knock-out in the first round. In the final, Private Clohessy (Munster Fusiliers), lasted out the three rounds, only to lose on points. Meeting Clohessy again in the final round of another competition at Lucknow, in February, 1910, he gave in after two-and-a-half-rounds. Running up against me at Lahore shortly afterwards in yet one more final he declined to box on the ground that it wasn’t of much use. In November, 1908, at Quetta, I had chanced to meet my friend and manager, Jim Maloney, and had discovered that we were both old members of the Broad Street Club, and had already fixed up a pretty warm friendship, short as our acquaintance was to prove at the time, for Maloney had to move on to Sialkot in the following month. Returning to England Jim was re-engaged for the next cool season as travelling tutor for the various depots, and on arriving at Amballa in November, 1909, he wrote asking me to pay him a visit. Jim, it seems, had come out to India expressly in search of a real good heavy-weight,

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if he could find him, the late Major Best of “Boxing” having suggested that he might do a good thing for himself by discovering a good English heavy-weight. Jim told me as soon as those two rounds at Amballa were over that I was the article he had been looking for. After several conversations I agreed then and there that I would return home as soon as I could, and make tracks straight away for such fame as might await me. Here I showed my paces at a private club against Gunner Joe Mills. This little bout introduced me to Mr Eugene Corri, and I was next pitted against Gunner McMurray at Shoeburyness. After that I won the English Championship and the Lonsdale Belt in shorter time than ever I dared hope for. I am often asked what advice I have to give respecting food and beverages in their relation to health, training, condition and fitness. Recognising as I do that one man’s meat is another man’s poison, and that different men may react to the same solids and liquids in different ways, I am reluctant to dogmatise on the subject and can indicate only my individual habits.
B

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I eat only plain food, taking a little beer when inclined for it, but not touching spirits, except as medicine. I have never been a great smoker, but smoke occasionally when I feel inclined that way. From this it will be gathered that I do not stress unduly the importance of any special diet; at the same time I must emphasize the necessity of moderation. I shall deal more fully with this, however, in a subsequent chapter. There is one valuable mental asset, the cultivation of which I consider to be an immense help at all times, and invaluable while training, and that is cheerfulness. “Keep smiling” is one of the most helpful mottoes which anyone who values health and fitness can adopt. It helped us in no small measure to win the war. People I meet sometimes say to me, “Oh, of course you are a boxing enthusiast, and therefore extol it as the finest sport in the world.” I am only too ready to admit that I am an enthusiast. Any one who takes up any kind of activity, be it sport, a game, or business, will never do any real good at it unless

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he is an enthusiast. We are all born to a vocation, but many of us fail to discover what it is until it is too late. Without desiring for a moment to compare my own modest career with that of the great names I mention here, I would like to point out that my youthful talent for boxing was determined to find expression in the same way as the boy Mozart’s genius for music or young Murillo’s for painting. These two prodigies of artistic genius were enthusiasts each in his own way and thereby accomplished great things. I, like them, following on a much lower plane of youthful activity, brought no less enthusiasm to bear in the accomplishment of my humbler ambition, and in due course attained the goal at which I aimed. Enthusiasm is the great dynamo of human endeavour. Having enjoyed every moment of my boxing career, taking alike the sweets of victory and the momentary bitterness of defeat as all in the day’s work, I can affirm with confidence that no other form of sport can equal it in its power of conferring on those who practise it the highest degree of all-round Physical efficiency.

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As I shall show more fully in subsequent chapters, all those stages of preparation and training which slowly but surely contribute to the making of the perfect boxer, make also for the development of the best and most enduring type of mental and physical efficiency. Not only does the ability to put up a fight with or without the gloves at any moment give a man self-confidence when dangerous situations arise: his whole preliminary preparation also plays a very large part in making him a good and useful citizen by inculcating selfcontrol, equanimity in misfortune, rapid judgment, quick decision, rapid perception, prevision, initiative, moral courage, and other mental qualities. On the physical side the trained boxer finds that the correct physical culture methods on which he has been trained, have endowed him with a perfectly balanced physical organisation, without that preponderance of mere masses of unwanted muscle which are to the average man of business only a useless encumbrance, adding to the already heavyenough burden of life. On the other hand, litheness, agility,

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buoyancy, versatility and spontaneity of movement, lightfootedness as of the dancer, lightning co-ordination of hand and eye, arms that flash out with the speed of the electric spark—such are among the qualities of nerve and muscle which combine to make the boxer excel in almost any field of sport as well as in the everyday demands of life. Moreover, with all this outward and visible physical efficiency all is well within. There is none of that stressing and straining which throws such a burden on the heart and bloodvessels, raising as it does the blood-pressure to a degree that is in the long run detrimental to any but the most robust of circulatory organs; nor is there any of that exhausting work with heavy dumb-bells, the physiological effect of which, when employed systematically and with lack of judgment, is to throw a great deal of unnecessary work on the lungs, kidneys, skin and bowels, besides threatening the heart and circulatory organs with that material damage to which I shall have occasion to refer in Chapter III. The light aluminium grip dumb-bells whose use I advocate are in another category

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altogether, exercises with them being entirely without those serious risks entailed by the employment of the heavy kind. When used for the purpose of exercise in the way I advise they develop a nicely balanced and normally adjusted muscular system, acting in harmonious combination with equally developed nerve and brain, ensuring that instantaneous re-action to the stimulus of the will, which is so absolutely essential not only to the direction of intensive muscular and nervous energy to a given objective, but also to its lightning delivery. To make my meaning clearer by adducing as illustrations two concrete types of muscular development whose re-action times are as far asunder as the poles, let me instance the Zoo elephant and the Derby winner. Muscle for muscle and nerve for nerve, anatomatically and physiologically they are fundamentally identical, under their skins. But each has his muscles, nerves, heart, blood-vessels, lungs, and all other working parts developed in his own particular way. The result is that while the elephant is a splendid elephant, as a racer he is nowhere; while the horse that is a winner

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every time, would get left by the elephant at shoving over a small bungalow. Comparisons are always odious, but without any intention of treading on anybody’s toes I think the difference between these two useful and amiable quadrupeds affords a striking, if perhaps slightly exaggerated, illustration of the fundamental dissimilarity of the weightlifter and the boxer. Hence it results that in all those sports and pastimes in which speed, spontaneous coordination of varying groups of muscles, continuous output of energy and endurance are called for, the man who has trained for boxing is far more likely to excel than he who has specialised in the concentrated development of his muscular system. That the boxer is more adaptable to the requirements of games demanding the exercise of skill, and of what I may call the finer or nicer adjustments of hand and eye, as in tennis, of balance as in polo, of muscle-control as in golf, must be obvious to any one who gives the subject a thought. In fencing, swimming, sprinting, vaulting, the long-jump, and so on, the boxer is more likely to excel than the man

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of abnormal muscular development, who naturally finds his masses of living machinery an impediment rather than an aid to versatility of movement. Now, the proof of the pudding is said to be in the eating. I have proved in my own case that the preparation requisite for proficiency in boxing is equally useful in qualifying one for becoming a creditable performer at golf. I took this game up in 1914 and am now scratch, achieving this position in one of the shortest periods on record. I have every reason to believe that the kind of training or physical culture whose ultimate object is the making of the perfect boxer is the very best for building up health, strength, stamina and fitness, not only for the ordinary business of life, the strengthening of resistance to ailments and infection, and quick recuperation after unavoidable illnessess, but also as a preparation for all active outdoor sports and pastimes. Boxing, in a higher degree than any other form of exercise, trains and develops to their fullest extent the individual’s powers of selfcontrol, nerve and muscle control, mental

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concentration, prevision, anticipation, imagination and agility both of mind and body. Moreover, it appeals to the mind of young people of all ages, even children taking an active interest in the sport, which they may be observed very generally practising in a tentative fashion wherever the opportunity presents itself. To my mind, boxing offers exceptional advantages as a method of physical training for children of the age of five or six years and upwards, and is more suitable than the stereotyped forms of set exercises which ignore the instinctive tendency to and enjoyment of spontaneity of movement, of which children never tire. The variety and unpremeditated forms of muscular effort, which the exigencies of a boxing bout entail, partake to a greater extent of the nature of play—Nature’s own physical culture method—than do those too systematic prearranged, rhythmical movements which to a child are monotonous, tiresome, and become largely automatic by repetition. I am convinced that a form of exercise like boxing which makes the youthful tyro think out for himself the precise movement he is

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going to make from one moment to another, to anticipate its likely effect on his opponent, to foresee his partner’s likely re-action to his own move, to judge accurately the force and direction of his well-padded punches, teaches him at least the rudiments of clear thinking. This type of exercise approximates very closely to that kind of play which we observe in what we call the play of all young animals— play which is only one name for the work of Nature in the serious business of speeding up and insuring the full development of all her living creatures. We cannot go very far wrong, in methods bearing on growth and development at least, when we model our efforts on the principles and practice of so mighty a teacher. There are of course many pitfalls to be avoided in the learning of boxing. My own experience has taught me the vast importance of beginning on right methods, learning the correct way to do things from the start so that there may be as little as possible to unlearn afterwards. This is a point which I desire to emphasize as strongly as I can, because I am only too well aware how easily bad habits creep

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in compared with the difficulty of making them creep out again. In the learning of boxing then it is emphatically the first steps that count, and in my scheme of teaching this subject I have taken the greatest care that my instructions and illustrations should be such that my pupils can at once master each move in the game, as I come to it, firm in the conviction that what they learn will never have to be unlearned. Realising that it would in all likelihood be impossible for large numbers of my would-be pupils to attend my School of Boxing to receive personal instruction, and casting about for some sound practical method of illustrating the various positions, attitudes, and manœuvres, the foot-work and arm-work essential to the acquirement of the art, my mind reverted naturally to my own boyhood days when I learned so much from pictures. Thanks to the cinematograph I have been able to improve on what I may call the stilllife illustrations of those days, and I am now able to hand the pupil living pictures of the more important movements, whereby he can follow and study at his leisure all the details

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comprised in the lessons I send him. These are issued in the form of flippers to all my pupils. One of the great advantages of what I may call these “pocket movies” is that with their aid the learner who is a little slow perhaps in picking up some wrinkle in foot-work, the detailed arm-work in delivering a right punch to the point, a left hook, an upper-cut, a cross, or whatever it may be, can call upon me to go through the lesson over and over again, scores of times if need be, until he has a perfect mastery of it. I only wish that I could have had such excellent aids to training in my youth. I am sure they would have saved me the always difficult and even painful task of unlearning much of what I had learned.

CHAPTER II
THE INADEQUACY OF PRESENT METHODS OF PHYSICAL CULTURE

THE source of inspiration for my own ideas of a new method of Physical Culture was G. F. Watts’s statue “Physical Energy” in Kensington Gardens. It depicts the incarnation of that dynamic force which is the fundamental driving power of the human body—the dominant spirit of Man that directs and controls his material body. Energy is defined by the scientist as the power of doing work. This work, in the case of our own bodies, is not only muscular: it is also largely nervous, mental, nutritive and chemical. And it is highly important that this should always be borne in mind, since the work of our muscles, being always more or less visible and tangible, occupies a disproportionate amount of our attention, to the overlooking of other less obvious but none the less 29

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essential forms of work. Our muscles, be it understood, do not move of themselves. They act, even the biggest and most powerful of them, all in obedience to a stimulus, the outcome of nervous energy, which is in its turn liberated by an act of will. To illustrate my point, on the analogy of the locomotive engine, our muscles are the machinery of locomotion, the steam is the current of nervous energy, the fire and water the nerve centres wherein the nervous energy is generated. If the machine is to move at all there must first be an adequate supply of the two last elements, and a certain pressure of steam; and if the locomotive is to be under complete control the driving and regulating factors must be in perfect order. So it is with the human body. It is the generating centres of nervous energy which are of the first importance—the central nervous system, which comprises the brain and spinal cord—and the great nerve trunks along which nervous energy is distributed to every part of the body, and through which the movements of the various voluntary muscles are directed and controlled.

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This nerve-energy, nerve-force, or neurin as physiologists call it, is no mere figure of speech. It is a real thing—as real as electricity or heat —and is produced or generated in nerve-cells. The nerve-cells are the real force-producing organs of the body. We can rouse resting muscles to action or we can quell those which are just about to become active, and the one requires just as much nerve energy as the other. People with very little muscular development can perform really prodigious feats of strength, as may be witnessed in the case of those afflicted with mania. The force is exhibited by muscles, but that is only because they are operated by a powerful current of nerve-energy. A weak current would be followed by a weak action; stronger, by stronger; while a maximum of nerve current would be followed by the maximum of muscular effort. Always behind muscular energy there must be nerve-energy, the former being called forth by the latter; the latter must therefore be real, and is the prime motive power. Now there is no reason at all why teachers

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of physical culture should be so insistent as they appear to be on the importance of the development of powerful muscles. While it is true that our muscles form a very large part of our mechanism there is no particular reason why those which are under our more immediate control, the muscles of locomotion and manual work, should monopolise the attention of exponents of physical perfection, who seem to go to work on the principle that the brawnier the arm, the more powerful the grip, and the more devastating the kick, the better will be the general health and fitness of the pupil for all forms of activity. The supply of motive power to over-developed muscles is by no means the main object of the generation of nerve-energy. Take up any British or American book or periodical dealing with Physical Culture. And what do you find? Pictures of aggressively muscular-looking men, posing as exemplars of “the Body Beautiful,” and to all appearance breathing defiance to all who fail to put up an equally imposing “Biceps Bewildering” or “Quadriceps Colossal.” Most of their supplies of nerve-energy are obviously trained

Photo by Fred. Hollyer

PHYSICAL ENERGY By G. F. Watts

To face page 32

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to flow in bulk to these great reservoirs of muscle where for the time being it seems to be bottled up. But what physical culture should really aim at is the more equable utilisation of the daily output of nerve energy in carrying on the far more important work of the great initiating and governing centres of the brain (with its 900 million nerve cells in its thinking department alone) the principal organ of mind (the seat of the will) and of that of the highly complex and vital structure the spinal cord. In the latter are situated many of the most important nerve-centres or collections of nervecells, superintending such bodily activities as breathing, the heart’s action, the regulation of the size of the blood-vessels, perspiration, the fiow of saliva, the flow of gastric juice, the chewing of food, swallowing, voice-production, and the act of vomiting. And there are yet other important nerve centres. Now my contention is that since all the vital and highly complex functions of the brain and spinal cord require for their due performance a constant and readily available supply of nerveenergy, and since the supply generated in the human body every twenty-four hours must be c

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limited, its excessive expenditure in muscular effort must necessarily be attended by a proportionately diminished supply to the great nerve-centres just specified. In other words I believe that, for the reasons I have stated, excessive addition to the cultivation of mere muscles diverts a great deal of nerve-energy from the much more important function of taking part in the growth and development, by systematic practice, of certain mental faculties. I allude more particularly to that part of the conscious mind which we call the intellect—the nerve machinery whereby we do our own thinking, form judgments, take decisions, develop initiative, form perceptions, weigh chances, foresee contingencies, and so on. Each one of these mental processes, no matter how momentary in duration, demands the expenditure of a measurable quantity of nerve-energy. Hence the sum total of nerve-energy utilised during such games and sports as tennis and boxing, in which both mind and muscle co-operate at high pressure, is very considerable indeed. This brings me directly to the point I desire more particularly to emphasise. In order to

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ensure this harmonious co-operation of nerveenergy at what I call high-pressure in the mind and in the muscles at the same moment, the channels along which it flows from its source to its outlet must be easily traversed. Now these channels are the nerves, the source of the nerve current being the great nerve centres (brain and spinal cord), and its outlet the muscles. And it is only in virtue of these channels being first of all opened up by the repeated flow of a current of nerve energy in the same direction, and subsequently kept open by what I may call for purposes of illustration constant flushing with the same medium, that instantaneously effective co-operation between mind and muscle, or thought and action, becomes possible. To my mind the old monotonous, semiautomatic physical culture methods do not conduce to the opening up and maintenance of those channels or lines of communication, if you prefer that term, between the intelligence department of the body and its widely extended motor-muscular department. True, it establishes communication of a sort, otherwise it would be impossible to make

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muscular movements at all; but the messages from H.Q. take a longer time to get through (the nerve current at its best having nothing like the speed of electricity) and when an attempt is made to hustle, it gets switched on perhaps to a “wrong number,” reaches the wrong destination, or is “cut off” in some way or other. These old-fashioned, stereotyped, set rhythmical exercises, every movement of which is deliberately foreseen, prepared for, and leisurely performed in cold blood, with no immediate visible or tangible result to gratify or exhilarate the mind of the performer, are to this extent defective. They fail to train mind and muscle to instantaneous co-operation in the performance of unexpected and complex movements, which to be effective must be performed with lightning rapidity. Nicely adjusted and rapid movements of this kind are typified by those made in the course of tennis, boxing, and to take an extreme example, polo, in which you have to get not only your own body into a certain position and attitude with the utmost speed and precision, but your pony’s as well. In the often highly complex and interminable muscular adjust-

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ments of contraction and relaxation entailed on the trunk, arms and legs in these games, messages are flashed in the briefest fraction of a second from your objective through your eyes and optic nerves to your visual centres in your brain; thence, after a rapid mental decision on one special course of action out of two or more “possibles,” a message is flashed by your will to a certain group of muscles, which by their quick response enable you to accomplish, or endeavour to accomplish, your object. All this happens of course in the twinkling of an eye, without a thought of the various stages gone through. But the ability to go through it without seeming to pause while your mental powers take in the situation and decide what to do, depends entirely on what preparation you have had; not in fixed pre-arranged exercises, but in versatility of action and re-action from one moment to another. That nerve-energy must be habitually directed by frequent practice into those channels or along those lines which conduct it to those muscles which it is desired to operate in co-ordination so as to produce a definite

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movement like catching a ball, or hitting to leg, or putting, is familiar to all. How nerveenergy spills over and runs to waste when unskilfully controlled can be seen in the case of the young schoolboy at his early writinglesson. His initial efforts to hold his pen properly and guide it in his attempts to imitate the copy-head, may be observed to be attended by uncalled for protrusion of his tongue followed by efforts on the part of that unruly organ to participate in the muscular actions that guide the movements of the pen. By dint of practice, however, he learns to economise his nerve-energy by directing the whole of it along the path that leads to his hand, so that none is wasted in producing unnecessary disturbances elsewhere. Practice obviously makes perfect. The practised boxer, like the proficient exponent of any other quick game, is one who has opened up the greatest number of communications, by the shortest of possible cuts, between his brain and his locomotor muscles, by practice alone. So often have his nerve currents been made to travel from eye to brain and thence probably to every voluntary muscle

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in turn, at almost lightning speed, that there is not a possible nerve path throughout his body that has not become well worn and free from obstruction. Hence his unequalled speed and precision of movement. This result has been and can only be achieved by the most versatile and spontaneous type of exercise in which the pupil does not know from one moment to another what his next movement or position is going to be. It is for this reason that I advocate boxing and all those physical culture methods whose practice makes the perfect boxer, as the ideal training for all who aim at sound physical and mental development, health and fitness. Perhaps the chief source of my quarrel with those physical culture methods hitherto in vogue is that they do not really develop nerveenergy. If anything they rather consume and dissipate than create it. They create, if you like, by their mass-production of muscle a considerable quantity of living machinery that requires a lot of nervous energy to make it work. But vital energy, nerve-energy, the life-force, call it what you like, has in it something of the spirit of man, and is in part an

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expression of his personality. It is not a mere impersonal force like electricity, chemical attraction or gravitation. It is an integral part of that mysterious and elusive something which we call personal magnetism for want of a more strictly scientific term. But we recognise its power at once when we are affected— or we might say infected by it. This wonderful energy is something on a very much higher plane than a mere musclemover. It should always be borne in mind that nerve-energy is the leading factor in genius, which has been well-defined as the power of taking pains. Its greatest triumphs have been in the intellectual, the creative, the adventurous and the artistic, rather than in the merely mechanical activities of man. In its effective generation, human interest, enthusiasm, joy, ambition and determination play a preponderating part. Hence, in order to induce the production of the maximum quantity with the optimum quality of nerveenergy, every care should be taken that the form of activity which is chosen as a basis of training for the highest standard of combined physical and mental health and fitness should

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be such as inevitably engages those mental qualities just enumerated. And to my mind boxing “fills the bill,” to use an expressive colloquialism. The systematic and serious practice of the Swedish Exercises, or of the many variations founded upon them as a model have some value, but they fail to produce that kind of irrepressible form of nervous energy that seems always on the point of bubbling over in those who have enough and to spare. Instead of conducing to high spirits and that glowing vitality which we generally associate with the possession of nerve-energy, Swedish and other systematic and rhythmical exercises seem generally to become a weariness of the flesh, productive perhaps of much muscle, certainly of much fatigue, and questionably of any nervous energy worth mentioning. There is at present in vogue a form of exercise, developing a fine type of nerveenergy, which owes nothing to generally understood methods of physical culture. I mean dancing. Now, do people learn dancing by taking a preliminary course of deepbreathing, dumb-bells, or Indian clubs? No.

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They become the exquisite dancers that many of them are simply by dancing. Of course they must have muscles to dance with, and plenty of nerve-energy to operate their muscles. Whence do they come? Nature provides what may be called the raw materials, while the dancer does the rest by dancing. The same holds good with regard to swimming. In the vast majority of cases the strong swimmer has developed his entire swimming physique—muscles, nerve-paths, heart and blood-vessels, lung power—not by the old-fashioned knee-bending, arm-stretching, “breathe out, breathe in” business, but by the actual practice of swimming, in which practice, as in everything else, makes perfection. Proficiency in almost every other sport or game can be obtained with its corresponding development of good health and efficiency by similar means. It is sheer waste of time and energy to put the body through a highly artificial course of slow, deliberate contractions and relaxations of various groups of muscles, beating the air so to speak, bending the back, flexing the abdomen and so on to the

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instructor’s monotonous and hypnotising chant, “one, two, three, four.” There is nothing inspiring, exhilarating or invigorating about this. The method has been elaborated in all its wearisome monotony on the erroneous principle that man is a mere machine, and that as long as each component part of the machinery is in working order it is bound to work up to its highest pitch of efficiency whenever the word “go” is given. But as I have just pointed out, man is more than his body. It is a mistake to consider the flesh and the spirit of the living creature each as a self-contained and distinct entity, fundamentally independent the one of the other, as the majority of physical culturists would seem to do to-day. Their precise and definite directions savour too much of instructions in the posing of automatic figures, the manipulation of puppets, or the pulling of strings in a marionette show. They treat their pupils too much as if each were a Robot. That is entirely the wrong line to take up. In all exercises for the building and maintenance of health a direct appeal must be made in the first instance to the permeating human

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spirit of the pupil, to his intellect, his interest, initiative and ambition. He alone is the moving spirit of all his bodily actions, and unless this spirit is stimulated into activity to begin with, all his efforts will prove spiritless and proportionately ineffective. There are some exponents of physical culture who assure you gravely that the systematic exercise which they prescribe is vastly different from recreative exercise. That is quite true. But they go on to affirm that while they do not decry the latter (which is very good-natured of them) it is nothing without the former. That is where they are fundamentally in error. They tell you that physical culture is the scientific building up of the body to supply the strength which has to be applied to recreative exercise. The suggestion made in that statement is that recreative exercise alone will not provide you with the strength required to go through with it. That is to say that unless you undergo a course of systematic exercises in the physical culture style, you will never be much of a walker, a dancer, a swimmer, a golfer, or a tennis player. It is a sheer fallacy. Where do those other members

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of the animal kingdom, the lion, the tiger, the horse, the elephant, or the anthropoids get their scientific building-up of the body by a physical culture enthusiast? Watch them in their hours of recreation, and you will marvel at their muscular make-up and endurance. They learned their business, of course, in the natural way, in the rough and tumble of their “play” in the jungle and elsewhere. We cannot go far wrong if we model our own methods of physical development on this natural “play” principle. There is a certain school of physical culture which makes the extraordinary statement that the effect of a two-mile walk in the open air taken by a man to improve his muscular and organic system will benefit him less than if he had spent a few minutes in systematic legexercises indoors, with the windows open. None of the ordinary concomitants of the openair walk—the change of scene, the exhilaration of moving through the air, the succussion due to the action of the foot on the ground at each successive step, the sense of achievement in getting over the ground, the pleasurable anticipation of reaching the objective, and all

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the other mental stimuli to action—are taken into account at all. But these all contribute to the joy of living and moving, which is of the very essence of healthful exercise. In further illustration of the curious ideas about health-giving exercise held by some physical culture teachers the following sentence may be quoted: “Whilst systematic exercise is invigorating and refreshing recreative exercise is fatiguing and incapacitates one from work.” This is, in my view, a perversion of the facts. It is common experience that systematic exercises are dull, monotonous and become in time repugnant, while games and sports of all kinds invigorate both mind and body, besides giving fresh zest for work.

CHAPTER III
WHERE AND WHY OLD PHYSICAL CULTURE METHODS FAIL.

IT has always appeared to me that present day methods of physical culture are on wrong lines, their principal aim and object apparently being the cultivation and attainment of large and powerful muscles, before anything else. The pupil is directed by his instructor to concentrate his attention on and put his strongest efforts of will-power into the rhythmical contraction and expansion of that particular muscle or group of muscles he is exercising at the moment. The result of what I may call this intensive concentration on muscle-building to the exclusion of all other physiological considerations is certainly, in the majority of cases, an excessive development of the muscular system as a whole, or of selected groups of 47

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muscles in particular, according to the plan on which the exercises have been designed and applied. A man whose physical culture has proceeded on these lines may be able to emulate the fabled deeds of Hercules, Samson, and their brethren of old. He may be able to play with ponderous weights which the average man is quite unable to lift, to snap solid chains with his unaided lingers, to support on his chest barbells, dumb-bells, weights, besides half a dozen full-grown men, and to perform various other prodigies of strength and endurance which the ordinary citizen, whose sole aim is physical fitness for the business of his daily life, has no ambition to imitate. In order to become physically fit it is by no means essential that you should be muscularly powerful. The man who poses with masses of heavy-looking muscle bulging out under his skin at all points to such a degree that the beholder is almost afraid they are about to break through, suggests anything but buoyant health, nervous energy, mental efficiency, or versatility of movement. Take, for instance, the Farnese Hercules as

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THE FARNESE HERCULES

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an “awful example” of these results of physical culture which are to be avoided. As a representation of Brute Force incarnate this fine piece of Greek statuary is worthy of all the praise accorded to it. In your mind’s eye you can imagine such a being in the flesh holding up a motor-car with ease, felling an ox with a blow, shaking a jerry-built house to its foundations, or carrying a grand piano like a toy on his unconquerable shoulders. These are the kind of feats for which this result of the massproduction of muscle is well adapted. But can anyone imagine a creature of this build making his mark in the field of sport, winning a Marathon, or even a mile, volleying at tennis, putting at golf, feinting with his left at a nimble opponent, pulling stroke for Oxford, as goalie at a Cup Tie—or even catching his suburban train every morning, to say nothing of earning his bread and butter in a City office? Of course these things are quite unthinkable. But this Farnese Hercules is typical of the whole race of “strong men” who build themselves on a similar model. Surely I am justified in asking what have any of these so-called
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“strong men” achieved either in the arena of games or in the wider world of sport? So far as I have been able to ascertain none of them has ever put up a record for any effort of which rapid and precise movement, or quick and exact co-ordination of action of eye, hand and foot has been the one indispensable essential. Their energy has always been of the static rather than of the kinetic order. Their muscles as a result of abnormal development are much too bulky to be capable of rapid contraction as compared with those of a normally developed man. In the language of the physiologist their reaction time is slower than that of the norm. For the ordinary purposes of a healthy, enjoyable and economically successful life the over-developed body is a quite unnecessary burden. Compared with the time and energy expended in acquiring those imposing muscular proportions, the artistic posing of which appears so very impressive to the unreflective beholder, there is fundamentally no equivalent gain in respect of health. Paradoxical as it may sound the strong man is seldom so strong as he seems. Mere muscular

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strength is by no means always an indication of complete physical soundness. Abnormal strength in one direction is often counterbalanced by pathological weakness in another, as any and every medical man knows by experience. The disease known as “Athletes’ heart” dogs the steps of every aspirant to abnormal muscular prowess. This disease of the aortic valve—the aorta being the large arterial trunk conveying the blood from the heart to the other great arteries of the body—is so-called because it is found so often in persons devoted to heavy and excessive use of their muscles. It occurs in strong, ablebodied men and is unquestionably the result of strain—not a sudden forcible strain, but a persistent increase of the normal tension to which the segments of the valve are subject, when the heart relaxes after each contraction— that is, at each heart beat. Heavy and excessive use of the muscles is the most important of the circumstances increasing the tension. The result is that the free edges of the valve, which should close at each heartbeat and so prevent the reflux of blood into that cavity of the heart from which it has just

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been pumped, are shrunk to such a degree that they no longer fit accurately the aortic opening, and so permit leakage. This affection of the heart prepares the way mechanically for dilatation and hypertrophy of that organ, while these in their turn may lead ultimately to general disorganisation of the whole circulation, the effects of which will be noted in one or other of the vital organs of the body. From this it will be readily gathered that concentration on muscular development With a view to what I call mass-production of muscle is likely to cost in the long run very much more than it is worth, being much more likely to undermine the health than to establish it on a firm foundation. Not only does this excessive use of the muscles affect the heart, it also is a cause of loss of elasticity and subsequent hardening of the arteries, owing to the strain put upon their walls by the increased blood-pressure to which vigorous and long-continued muscular exertion gives rise. This is the disease known as arteriosclerosis, which is in its turn the forerunner of other changes and degenerations in the system,

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with which it would require a medical treatise adequately to deal. Physical culturists of the old school seem to be of opinion that there is no strain involved in doing what they call free exercises or movements—that is to say, movements which are performed without the use of any apparatus such as dumb-bells, rubber pulleys, etc. But while the use of the latter, when injudicious, is almost invariably a source of strain, often of a serious character, free movements when performed with geat vigour and intense concentration of will-power are quite as likely to induce injurious strain on the blood-vessels, heart and lungs, with its inevitable repercussions on all the other bodily organs. It has been well said that a man is as old as his arteries. The chief characteristic of a young and healthy artery is its resiliency or elasticity. This quality it owes to the presence in its make-up of what are called elastic fibres (“Vital rubber” as Dr. Osler calls it) which are a Prominent constituent of the whole muscular system of youth. There are, of course, many different causes of the premature degeneration

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and disappearance of this elastic material, but the most important in the case of athletes is undue wear and tear due to high blood pressure resulting from excessive use; that is to say from either too prolonged or too intensive efforts continued over long periods. The heart naturally participates in these changes. It becomes increased in size (hypertrophied) in order to try to cope with the increased pressure put upon it, and in course of time becomes less efficient. It is obvious then that systematic exercises accompanied by intense concentration on the contractions of certain groups of muscles, performed daily and conscientiously for prolonged periods are much more likely to prove harmful than beneficial; and in any case they are not nearly so conducive to general health and all-round efficiency as the momentarily varying movements entailed in games, sports, and out-door pastimes generally. Boxing is, of course, a man’s sport; but, as a game that is immensely popular because it appeals to both sexes and all ages, consider for a moment the reasons for the universal vogue of tennis.

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Its first attraction as an exercise is surely the total absence of monotony combined with a preponderating share of the human element; interest, imagination, ambition, anticipiation, determination and so on. Its great charm for all is that it interests the mind While it also exercises the mechanism of the happy player. It is all movement, and the players move. The lightness of both ball and racket assists the players in their rapid and infinitely varied movement. The variety also of the strokes— service, drive, volley—engages from moment to moment the attention and ingenuity of the players. Even when played with little skill the game affords a maximum of pleasure and exercise. Its quickness and lightness of move· ment commend it even to the not too robust, while its character appeals as much to temperament as to will, and as much to brain as to brawn. In such a game, as also in boxing, cricket, polo, hockey and so on, there is no concentrated and continuous demand made on certain groups of muscles. The very opposite is the case. The variety of movements that have to be made continually, the various mental

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powers that have to be exercised from one moment to another, the constant modifying of the currents of nerve energy as various muscles are contracted or relaxed singly or in groups, and as certain blood-vessels dilate and contract, entirely prevents any undue or prolonged strain on the heart or lungs. Moreover, and this point is important, there is an instinctive desire to play those games in which brain and brawn co-operate to exhilarate the player, while on the other hand there is an equally instinctive disinclination to continue those exercises associated with systematic physical culture after their first novelty has worn off. I have no wish to labour the point too much, but I do desire to emphasise my contention that far too much has been made in the past of the necessity of systematic exercises if one is to be made healthy and kept iit and efficient. I should like, therefore, to ask the physical culturist’s attention to the case of the human infant of from ten months to a year old. He has the rudiments of walking muscles, but so far he cannot be said to be much of a walker. Now, we who have grown up and forgotten all

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the tremendous amount of effort we put forth and pain we suffered in learning to balance, to move one foot in front of the other, and to recover after innumerable falls, think walking is as easy as sleeping. But it has not been so always. The child’s first walk is really a marvellous feat in balancing as well as locomotion. He has found out for himself how to develop his rudimentary muscular groups, soft and feeble as they were, into strong and vigorous thews and sinews, which enable him to balance his backbone on his pelvis, his pelvis on his thighs, these in turn on his legs proper, and the latter on his little feet. He has to practise all this co-ordination of innumerable muscles, numbering no fewer than about three hundred, large and small, when he walks, as a juggler rehearses his balancing feats, before he is able to stand alone or walk—it is more of a run at first—with confidence. And the healthy child, barring his inevitable spills and bumps, enjoys every moment of his learning the art, and goes at it with a zest there is no disguising. Here there is a really great muscular achievement accomplished without any preliminary systematic training. The child has

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learned to walk, by trying to walk; as later he will learn to run, to ride, to row, to swim, to play tennis, to box, simply by trying to do these things to the best of his ability. Another function the infant learns to perform immediately it is born is breathing. Later this can be controlled to some extent by the will, but it is essentially instinctive, automatic and involuntary. The child who is untroubled by adenoids or any other disease of the air passages or lungs, inhales in the ordinary course of nature just as much fresh air as is good for him. When his breathing is interfered with, either by disease or obstruction, special exercises to correct faulty breathing or to assist weak lung development are certainly beneficial. But in the case of the healthy child or adult so-called systematic breathing exercises, consisting of deep inspirations and forcible expirations, without any corresponding movements of the trunk or limbs to justify this greatly augmented intake of air, are worse than useless and may easily be harmful. The sole object of breathing is the intake of sufficient oxygen to aerate the blood, and the

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removal of carbonic acid, water and volatile waste matters the result of combustion of the tissues. When, owing to exercise being taken, more oxygen is called for and a bigger output of carbonic acid, etc., has to be exhaled the rate of breathing and the depth of it are automatically increased. Everybody knows that when he runs he is compelled to breathe faster and more fully than when he is sitting still or even walking. There is nothing, therefore, to be gained by voluntary or forcible deep breathing. All such a proceeding is likely to do is to cause dilatation of the air cells of the lungs with air which cannot be utilised, and to put a strain on the heart by impeding the pulmonary circulation. The only correct way to produce deep breathing is to bring it about naturally and automatically by increasing the demand for oxygen and the augmented removal of waste matter through muscular exercise of the trunk or limbs or of both, since the ordinary muscles of inspiration alone cannot dispose of the increased intake. In the playing of games and the practice of

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sports, breathing adjusts itself naturally to the varying requirements of their particular phases, and the player gets exactly those breathing exercises which he needs and enjoys. As a promoter of deep breathing few exercises can beat boxing.

CHAPTER IV
THE INFLUENCE OF MIND ON BODY

THE point or rather the line at which mind ends and body begins is a problem that has baffled philosophers and biologists alike since the dawn of thinking, We shall not, therefore, attempt in these pages to probe this dark mystery, but shall keep to those practical issues which more immediately concern action and re-action of body and mind in relation to boxing and kindred activities. The instinctive desire to be moving, which we observe even in the infant as it kicks, squirms and throws its arms about, and even to a greater degree in the older child and the romping irrepressible schoolboy, is an indication that active movement is of the very essence of growth, development, health and efficiency. To the careful observer, however, it is 61

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obvious that movement alone is not sufficient to produce the best results in respect of these activities and qualities. The prisoner in Pentonville and the convict at Portland are allowed a fair measure of movement, but it is evident to the onlooker that in neither case is the tonic effect on body or mind at all proportionate to the amount of energy expended. There is a great gulf fixed between those results obtained by voluntary and those by involuntary exercise. In each there is a factor at work which modifies for good or ill the results obtained. That factor is the mental one. Unless there is a large element of keenness, zest, enthusiasm, call it what you will, infused into the work or the play you are engaged in, the benefit accruing to health will be negligible. And modern physiological science shows why this should be so. Muscular exercise or any game or sport undertaken solely from a sense of duty, but which is not gone into heart and soul, fails of its object mainly because those emotions—zest, enthusiasm, etc.—do not enter into it and there is consequently no pouring into the blood

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THE GLADIATOR: A STUDY

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of those internal secretions which play such a large part in securing and maintaining health and condition. It is only within recent years that the important part played by the secretions of the thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, pituitary and pineal glands, in the promotion of muscular and mental activity has been clearly recognised. In the old physical culture methods these factors were not taken into account at all, because their importance had not then been realised. In the new physical culture methods stress is laid on the importance of securing the balanced action of these internal secretions. This is secured by their constant appeal to the emotions, which are the prime factors in promoting the healthy action of these glands. Thus the desire on the part of a player at any game to beat his opponent takes the form first of all of a definite mental emotion, which in its turn stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete a fluid that is poured directly into the blood to mobilise the resources of the body for violent effort. “With the entry of this secretion into the

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blood there is a tremendous heightening of the tone, a tensing of the nervous system. The nerve cells become more sensitive to stimuli, more sugar is poured into the blood from the liver, more red corpuscles are squeezed into the circulation from the blood lakes of the liver and the spleen. . . . The heart beats more strongly, the eye sees more clearly, the ear hears more distinctly and the breathing is more rapid. It will help a fatigued muscle to regain its former tone. In short it has a reinforcing action upon the nutritive properties of the blood, the tone of the muscles, and the activity of the brain and the vegetative nerves.”—Louis Berman, M.D. That is only one example of the effect of one kind of emotion on one of these many glands, and I do not propose to weary the reader with any further examples. I shall merely refer to the well-known thyroid gland, this being the chief inspirer of energy, those who are endowed with a liberal supply of its internal secretion being characterised by restless, inexhaustible vitality which makes them perpetual doers and workers; whereas those who are deficient in thyroid action are limp

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and lazy, unless the pituitary action is powerful enough to compensate. Now the point which I desire to emphasise in connection with the action of these various glands in the making or marring of a good athlete is that their secretory activities are largely the result of preparation-that is to say in order to obtain from these glands the most favourable effects on muscle and nerve in the way of stimulating energy, power, endurance, speed and all the other essential qualities, there must be the strongest possible mental interest at work. The mentality and the living machinery of the subject must always be trained together, so that they work as a single unit. And the mentality must be of the intensive order, so that whatever emotion the game or sport may evoke it may be as powerful as possible. Much of the force of a punch, or of a service at tennis, for example, is due to the stimulating and strongly tonic effect of the adrenal secretion which is poured freely into the blood When the emotion, not necessarily of anger, but of a passion to overcome an opponent is aroused. This real emotion cannot be
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simulated; it must be experienced in its fullest intensity so that it can act on the glands with the utmost vigour. When it does so, the ensuing muscular contraction is the most powerful of which the contestant’s body is capable. It should be quite obvious, therefore, that when practising any game or sport the point on which attention must be concentrated is the immediate objective, be it a ball, a portion of an opponent’s body, a hurdle, or any other. The very last thing on which thought should be voluntarily focussed is the muscles. “Keep your eye on the ball,” understanding by “ball” any immediate objective, is a sound rule in practice. For this reason I deprecate the habit which some physical culturists seek to inculcate of training their pupils to concentrate entirely on the muscles which they wish to develop. My contention is that by so doing during a systematic course of training, the pupil’s mind unstimulated by any immediately pressing desire, lacks any powerful emotion (except the rather negative one of boredom) and so is largely without the important tonic effect of the necessary gland secretion.

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I am quite aware that Ling was an advocate of systematic exercises, but he intended his system to be adopted when regular outdoor games could not be engaged in, in ideal conditions. One of Sweden’s greatest educators and a personal friend of Ling, in discussing this subject said, “The best physical training in the world is to be found in the outdoor games of the great English public schools.” Now, to my mind you have in Boxing a form of exercise in which both mind and body are keyed up to their highest pitch of action. The mental faculties must be alert, action and reaction instantaneous, and the muscular system under perfect control. If for a moment the attention wanders, or judgment falters, or if the current of nerve energy flashed to a group of muscles lacks intensity or takes a wrong direction, the result is probably a sudden shock that for the moment staggers and benumbs both body and mind. Boxing, moreover, has the great advantage that it does not tend to develop the upper limbs to the neglect of the lower. Dr. James Cantlie has said that no form of exercise is complete in which the lower limbs do not play

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the chief part. In all out-door, and indeed in most indoor exercises the legs naturally play a very large part in supporting and moving the body from place to place. And in boxing, nimbleness, suppleness and rapidity of movement of the legs and feet in immediate response to the directions signalled from an equally nimble and rapidly working mind are qualities which it is the great aim of thorough training to develop. Coué, had he done nothing else, has familiarised the public with the close interdependence of body and mind, how they both act and react the one on the other, for good or evil. People now recognise how true it is that cheerfulness of mind makes for exuberant bodily health, and how much the accustomed general attitude and poise of one’s body determines one’s habitual attitude of mind. The whole of the preliminary practice and preparation of the boxer consists largely of the cultivation of an optimistic mental habit combined with just those bodily attitudes, quick changes, and adaptations which inspire confidence in victory. No boxer can take up an attitude of offence

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or defence before a fairly expert and wary opponent without feeling in his very bones a thrill of exhilaration and expectancy of success. The mere striking of the challenging and defiant attitude he assumes lets loose a floodtide of emotion which surges through his blood, making his pulses dance and ordering the “stand-by” to every important organ in his body. At the same moment his nerve energy collecting in his central reservoirs at high potential awaits release to flash in a fraction of a second to any point where it is wanted. In other words, all his mental and bodily energies are harmoniously balanced. There is neither excess of one, nor deficiency of another. He feels and knows that he is a healthy man. And as long as he has that feeling and knowledge so long will he maintain his health. Health, when all is said and done, is the name we give to the total average of the highest efficiency from a physiological point of view. The signs of good health are such as these—readiness to act without any stimulus from outside, ability to act for prolonged periods of time without feeling fatigued,

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regularity in the daily recurrence of certain physiological requirements—appetite, excretion, muscular activity, sleep, etc. A healthy boxer—and it is diflicult to imagine an unhealthy one—has a feeling of intense satisfaction and ease in the performance of his varied activities, a general feeling of well-being, freedom from any sense of being weighed down by his surroundings. He is also quite without any feeling of being obsessed by his work, and has acquired a working mastery over his moods and tempers. Now these mental assets, accumulated as a result of acquired proficiency as a boxer, are of immense value in relation to the living of a life which is both healthy and happy. It is a matter of every-day observation that though as a rule invalids are very unhappy people, there are nevertheless a large proportion who are relatively happy. But that does not disguise the fact that they would be very much happier could they lead lives of such complete usefulness as only sound health renders possible. The art and practice of boxing produces in the long run that harmony of health and happiness which enables the amateur and

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the professional alike to enjoy to the full the best of the world’s material or intellectual pleasures. Another fact of prime importance in relation to the cultivation of health through boxing is that it brings the pupil into immediate personal contact with opponents who are “in the pink” of condition. Now I am convinced that in the literal sense of the term good health is infectious. That “infection” is no mere figure of speech. That the infection of radiant health is conveyed from person to person mainly through the organs of sense does not matter in the least. It is enough to know by experience that it works. The “how” of its working is of secondary importance. The fact then is often overlooked that the most infectious not to say contagious of all bodily states is good, sound health. It is not going too far to say that all the best qualities of body or mind are highly infectious. We are all acquainted with infectious high spirits, gaiety, laughter, enthusiasm, and so forth. A boxer in the height of condition is naturally a focus of that kind of infection from which an

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exhilarating epidemic of healthful happiness is likely to be propagated to rage amongst all subsequent “contacts.” The boxer, in his hours of ease, is as a rule all smiles. He sheds a sort of physical sunlight on all things animate and inanimate. He becomes, so to speak, a radio-active centre shedding rays of glowing vitality and vigour all around him. The inventor of those catch phrases “Keep smiling” and “Cheerio” was no doubt a boxer. He had the root of the matter in him. He had discovered for himself the valuable psychological secret that even a forced smile produces the corresponding happy mental emotion which would by itself evoke a natural smile. And everybody knows that once anyone who is in a mood of depression or ill-temper is made to laugh the morbid mood vanishes at once. The smiling, cheerful state of mind, so characteristic of the boxing enthusiast (when not actually engaged in a serious bout of fisticuffs) has a very powerful physical influence for good on the man as a whole. His entire nervous system is affected by it; and through

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his nerves, his heart, blood-pressure, breathing, digestion, the germicidal power of his blood, his potent ductless gland secretions, every tissue and organ in his body, every mental phase, are regulated to the nicest degree of efficiency. Hence the paramount importance of cultivating, as the enthusiastic boxer does, the merry heart that goes all the day, and that buoyant happiness that is the hand-maid of health. By way of contrast you have only to compare the exemplary boxer radiant with exuberant vitality with those so-called “easy-going” people who go about anything but easily with long faces and longer stories of disease, disaster and death. They revel in gloomy prognostications and depressing reminiscences, spreading apprehension and all unhealthiness like the plague. Their minds are affected by that unhealthiness that very soon becomes reflected in their bodies, which, unless they mend their ways, are sure to be found on the down-grade. They too are veritable foci of infection, the contagion they spread being of the devitalizing, demoralising and deadly kind. But it is never

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too late to mend. These people have been erring through ignorance. When the light of knowledge has illumined their darkness they will in all likelihood mend their ways, and by taking up the noble art, walk in the way of physiological righteousness. The go-as-you-please kind of exercises which contribute to the all-round efficiency of the boxer implant in his mind a sense of freedom of choice, of spontaneous expression of the high spirits that dominate his every movement, that is far removed indeed from those other monotonous, dreary, automatic movements which are about as invigorating as the treadmill of old. Though civilization has its victories largely as a result of the overcoming, the repression, or control of natural instincts, we still have to go back to our first Mother for instruction. What does she teach with regard to exercise? Does the growing child who plays himself into healthy growth and development rejoice because he plays, or does he play because he rejoices? You have only to interfere with his activities to get a definite answer. If a young child is forcibly restrained from playing he

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probably cries or displays resentment in some way. Obviously his happiness (which is only an expression of his health) results from his play. This clearly applies also to the grown-up. His play is essential to his health, and the want of this essential play is highly injurious, though he may be quite unconscious of the fact. True, though he does not create a scene, as a child does when unable to exercise as it wants to, his subconscious self mopes and mumbles its discontent in a way that affects injuriously his general health from day to day. Such a man’s way of physical and mental salvation lies in his taking up such a sport as boxing, which will very soon take him out of himself, teaching him that every punch is a blow at ill-health and every duck or swerve a mode of escape from the deadly perils of mental or physical inertia. Specious arguments have been put forward with the object of proving that happiness and health are not the result of play or exercise, but that on the contrary these physical activities are the result of a feeling of the joy of life and the presence of a sound mind in a

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sound body. Those who are of that opinion instance the many who are said to dance for joy, to leap for pleasure, and so on. But modern psychology is against them, demonstrating that the more these folks dance the more joyous they become, and the more they leap for pleasure the more intensely the pleasure is felt. In the same way the more gusto you put into your boxing the keener your joy in life, the better your health and the greater your happiness. The mere process of thinking has a measurable influence on the distribution of blood and of the pulse rate throughout the body. Those who doubt the possibility of this are referred to the experiments of the doctor in charge of the Ramsey Institute of Biology, Minnesota. In this, to quote his report, “the subject is strapped to a balance” which is then brought into the horizontal position of equilibrium. Upon being requested to make some mental calculations which involve concentration it will be found that the balance will begin to swing on its fulcrum or pivot in such a manner that the feet will ascend while the head descends.

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“If it is desired that the blood shall How in the opposite direction, then the attention of the subject must be directed to the lower part of the body. The experimenter first brings the balance once more into a horizontal position; then it is only necessary to direct the subject to think about his feet. “He can be requested to imagine himself in a jumping contest, and that he is flexing himself on his toes in preparation for the leap into the air. The balance will begin to move downwards at the foot end, and upwards at the opposite end, showing that the blood has travelled towards the feet instead of the head, as in the first experiment.” This experiment is instanced in this connection merely to convince those doubters, of whom there are still a few, who are inclined to scoff at the idea of there being any but an imaginary connection between mind and body, and so belittle the influence of emotion on the general health.

CHAPTER V
THE IMPORTANCE OF DEVELOPING RAPIDITY OF REACTION.—THE PRIME NECESSITY OF SPEED

IN modern life mental alertness becomes of greater value from day to day. It may, for our purpose, be defined as ready response to stimuli combined with equally ready nervous or muscular reaction. Living at the rate we do now, moving over the ground, beneath it, and in the air at speeds undreamt of by our ancestors, hearing voices from almost incredible distances, replying to fateful messages or oral questions that await immediate reply, perhaps hundreds of miles away, we require to have all our wits about us if life is to proceed smoothly and uninterruptedly. Efficiency implies to-day a great deal more than it did, say fifty years ago. Decisions were made in comparatively leisurely fashion, judgments were made after due deliberation; 78

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there were probably days in which to weigh the pros and cons of two alternative courses of action, compared with the few minutes, sometimes seconds, that are now available. Mental processes have to be speeded up, action has to follow decision as rapidly as possible, as long distance communication, either of thought or thinkers, becomes faster and faster. Thus as the healthy body is one that has a sufficient reserve to meet the ordinary emergencies of existence, so must the efficient mind be one that has all its qualities trained to the highest degree of alertness and activity. There is nothing like boxing to bring about the harmonious efficiency of both mind and body demanded by the exigencies of modern civilisation, and this I shall endeavour to show in some detail in the pages that follow. Having learned the art of boxing, the boxer keeps his hand and eye in by taking such spontaneous exercises as are likely to stand him in good stead as a preparation for occasional bouts with the gloves. With this object in view, he spends a certain time daily with the punch-ball, varying this with the exhilarating

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practice of skipping. Or he may spar with two or three partners. He varies this with a certain amount of shadow-boxing. Road work is an important item. It is the most natural and convenient way of exercising the lower limbs, in fulfilment of the dictum that no exercise is complete in which the lower limbs do not play the chief part. Walking to be of real value must be taken briskly, the distance to be covered about six miles. Starting out at a rather fast walk and keeping it up until his legs ache a bit he should then break into a run. After a short sprint he can ease off into a walk again, faster or slower according to how he feels. The boxer should come back from his road work feeling tired perhaps, but not exhausted. If he returns unduly fatigued he has done himself more harm than good. He should proceed on a similar method when doing his ball-punching, or his shadow-boxing ; that is to say he must go easy at first, gradually work up into a crescendo of imaginary connecting, punching, upper-cutting, hooking, and so on, and then simmer down gradually into more jog-trot work.

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When doing his skipping turn he should proceed much in the same way, going easy for a few turns, then working himself up to full speed ahead for a minute or two, then dropping to an easy step. Besides being a fine method of keeping various joints supple and freely movable, skipping trains both hand and eye to work in harmony, besides helping to keep the heart, lungs and vascular system as a whole up to their work. Certainly an immense amount of enjoyable exercise is to be got out of a few minutes daily with the punch-ball, the stuffed sack, or by the pursuit of shadow-boxing. By such methods a great deal of value is to be learned about foot-work, balance, and the delivery of the lightning punch, the straight left, and the cultivation in the mind and eye of what is called the “one punch” system, of which a good deal has been heard of late. But it is only by sparring with a partner that alertness and speed, that quickness of the hand that deceives the eye, are to be developed in the highest degree. To get the best results from this kind of
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practice every punch must be delivered with a definite object, and a clear appreciation of your opponent’s returning move. The principle is much the same as the chess-player’s, but a million times quicker. The necessity of practising versatility is one of the first things borne in upon the boxing aspirant, because methods which might succeed with the upright type of fighter are of no avail against the bull-rushing kind of whirlwind boxer. Speed—rapid reaction to an unforeseen blow—though it appears to be a gift with some, can in my opinion be cultivated. Eye, mind and muscle can and must be taught to act as one organised whole, automatically so to speak. The ability to see an opening for an effective punch at one’s opponent, and to follow up with the appropriate action, without apparently having to think about it, is the outcome of long and assiduous practice. After a time the judging of moving objects by the eye, and the instant reaction of the necessary muscles to meet it, become instinctive. At first the boxer who is learning his business is apt to be discouraged by what

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appears to him to be the lightning speed of his opponent. But probably his sparring partner is speedy only relatively to his own slow movements. His partner, in turn, may be slow compared with a practised, first-class boxer, whose arms flash when at work with almost incredible swiftness. “Never despair” must therefore be the budding boxer’s motto. The speed at which he aims, which is the very essence of all scientific boxing, will be developed with practice, as surely as any other human quality. There can be no question but that the greatest feature of modern boxing is speed. With an expert to-day the slow man stands no chance at all. A man may be an adept at the hard punch, and be able to take a gruelling as if he liked it; he may be up to all the wrinkles in feinting and other tactics, but unless he possesses or has developed the gift of speed all these advantages avail him but little. It has been said that fifteen or twenty years ago it was possible for a reporter who had also specialised in speed and accuracy of hand and eye to take note of almost every blow that was

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delivered during a big fight. But to-day, as we are all only too well aware, it takes the cinematograph almost all its time to record the most interesting details of a sharply contested match. Speed in detecting your opponent’s intentions, in parrying the anticipated blow, or getting in your own particular tactical move, whatever it may be—a feint, a duck, a punch, whatever you judge best—before the other fellow, is then a necessity for a boxer. Many a boxer will tell you that their fights have again and again been won on speed. They start in at a fast pace, and their opponents thinking they can never keep it up are quite content to let them take an easy lead on points. Round follows round, and yet these fast boxers do not slow down. With one of these fast men opposing him the other man begins to get the “wind up.” That is the moment the lightning puncher has been waiting for, and from that moment onwards he speeds up his rapid hammering, worrying his opponent to the verge of panic. The latter loses his morale, and so loses his head that if he does not throw up the sponge

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through utter fatigue his wits go wool-gathering to such an extent that he does not notice his tormentor’s slowing down. The fast man does this for the purpose of getting his second wind, when he starts in again like a whirlwind on his now quite demoralised opponent, who soon goes down for the final count. To attain this greatly to be desired speed must be one of the chief aims of every embryo boxer. He of all men must educate his eyes to the highest pitch of their perceptive powers. And he must bear in mind the wise words of a great philosopher: “The eye can only see what it has the power to see.” “Keep your eye on the ball” is also sound advice, and is invariably helpful provided your eye is able to perceive all that there is to the ball. You must, therefore, cultivate your visual power to its fullest extent by taking care always to make sure, if possible, that you see in all its details whatever you happen to be looking at, at any time. Because accuracy and speed of observation are part of the boxer’s stock-in-trade. To keep your eye on your opponent, first, last and all the time is most essential. Your

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eye has tremendously important duties to perform during a contest because it is at once your one and only Intelligence Department and Signalling Department, both rolled into one, and operating under the same roof. Only those boxers, one or other of whose eyes has been temporarily put out of action during a fight, know the disadvantage at which the loss puts them. You must prepare your eyes, then, by constant practice to observe every movement of your opponent’s eyes—even the flicker of an eyelash—and muscles of expression, so that, as it were, you can read what is in his mind at the moment. You must practise the close watching of your opponent’s eyes, so that you can anticipate a dangerous move before it is made, and thus be prepared for it. Every move that is made, from the waist line to the head, can be seen without taking your eye off your opponent’s eyes, even for a fraction of a second. The quick eye can also detect the early signs of exhaustion and the premonitory tokens of impending collapse. Speed in arm work is, of course, of vital importance, but I desire to emphasise also the

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necessity of devoting attention to quickness in foot-work. Practise as much as you can getting about on your feet. A man wins more fights with his feet than with his hands, and may be said to box with his toes, if he has avoided the flat-footed stance and has developed the knack of hitting, as it were, from his toes. With this object in view, shadow-boxing should occupy a large share of your attention in the absence of a sparring partner. When the latter is available, go in for long-range work. Develop by practice the ability to change your feet rapidly, to dodge an opponent who is coming at you, and to swing your body out of the range of the coming punch. All kinds of games and sports that naturally make a man nimble on his feet—skipping, running, jumping, tennis and even dancingare useful in helping the boxer to attain that all-round speed and balance he so much desires. The medicine ball, as the Americans call it, is a fine appliance for cultivating suppleness and looseness in every muscle and joint in the body. The way in which it is thrown should

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be as various and quickly-changing as possible. It may be thrown with both hands from either side, or over the head; or it may be pitched with either hand singly. Best of all, it may be used by two or three or more, when unexpected changes of direction and velocities keep the players’ eyes and muscles always at the “ready.” Now this intensive cultivation of both accuracy and speed are going to stand you in good stead, not only in the ring but out of it. They make for health and efficiency in the ordinary duties of peaceful citizenship in various ways. They become a habit of mind which could not be so easily acquired or cultivated in any other way. Quick and accurate observation alone of what goes on around him is often of extraordinary value to the business man, offering as it so often does suggestions of business openings which otherwise would most probably be overlooked. Speed in coming to accurate decisions, and also in the execution of whatever action has been decided on, is of the first importance in every sphere of life.

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These qualities are indeed amongst the criteria of a healthy mind, and my contention is that they are more rapidly and inevitably developed by practice of the art and craft of boxing than they possibly could be by the old humdrum aimless performance of ingenious exercises whose tendency is mainly soporific. In all branches of commercial life it is the “live man” who is most in demand. Our American cousins are always on the look out for the “live wire.” In their graphic language he is the man who “gets a move on.” All human progress is simply a succession of such continuous moves by the really live men and women of the moment, in whom speed is either bred in the bone, or deliberately and successfully inculcated and developed. There is a well-known saying “the more haste the less speed,” the truth of which rests on a sound physiological foundation. We are all aware of the pit-falls that surround the young man in a hurry. If you are going to hasten at all you must, as the Italians say, “hasten slowly.” “Haste” always implies unfamiliarity with or lack of practice in the practical secrets of “speed,” and suggests the

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almost inevitable probability of danger, accident, or total failure. On the other hand, the celerity and clarity of thought which are characteristic of live men are examples of the “safety first” quality of speed which can be developed in those in whom it may be lacking, by boxing. It confers speed without any suggestion of haste. I have no desire unduly to labour my point with regard to the efficacy of boxing in promoting that speeding up of the mental processes which is to-day so essential to a man’s success in almost any walk of life. But I am anxious to stress the fact that the ambitious man who is most likely to reach his objective without undue waste of the most precious years of his life will be found to be one who combines in his personality the ability to think and to do with equal celerity and certainty. As a mental educator in the art of simultaneous thinking and doing there are few exercises that can beat bag-punching. Not only does it call into activity every muscle of the body—it developes them in the most natural possible way, preserving at the same time their suppleness, speeding up the ability

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to move the eyes and rousing the mental activities to the highest pitch of alertness. The general circulation is accelerated, and through this the breathing becomes quicker and deeper, all the accessory vital organs being in their turn caused to function more fully and efficiently. It is an exercise of which one never tires, since it has a fascination that is all its own, once the necessary degree of skill in practising with it has been acquired. It always interests, and for this reason repetition of the exercises connected with it never become monotonous. Practice with the punching bag can never, for obvious reasons, become merely mechanical or automatic. It is coming more and more into use among athletes as an interesting means of acquiring energy and vitality. Even for women and children the use of the punch-ball has much to commend it as a means of exercise, the punching being capable of graduation in accordance with all requirements of age and sex. The number and variety of exercises possible with the swing punch-bag is quite considerable. Their selection will depend on whether

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they are taken for general health and fitness, or to develop skill as a boxer. Whatever the selection made, they all have this result in common, that they make for the development of accuracy and speed of movement. It is best always to treat the punching-bag seriously, as if it were a competent opponent, and put as much vigour and driving force as you can into your punches. When you deliver a punch, always be ready to counter a return blow, bearing in mind that it is so often the unexpected that happens. The rate of hitting should always be as hard as you can go, with phases of sheer hard hitting. These latter are for the purpose of developing the punch, like the sand-bag work, though of course you have been punching hard all the time. Bouts should be of from three to five minutes duration, with intervals of one minute.

CHAPTER VI
MY PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE EXPLAINED

MEN who are seriously thinking of taking up any exercise, such as Boxing, are always anxious to know in particular what diet they should adopt. Many different opinions have been given on this point, and I have already touched on the subject in a previous chapter. There are a great many absurd conceptions on the subject of training, and there are few more fantastic than the exaggerated importance attached to certain articles of diet. Some of these are supposed to possess positively magical qualities; others again are considered as injurious in their effects as Dead Sea fruit. The notion that energy, stamina, endurance and strength are the result of what they eat, rather than what they do, is widely prevalent among all aspirants to sport, who may often be heard debating among themselves what is “good” or “bad for the wind.” As a matter 93

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of fact men are so differently constituted and differ one from another in so many respects that it would be futile to attempt to lay down the law about diet, so as to make it rigidly applicable to all and sundry alike. In this respect to a very large extent every man is a law to himself. I must content myself, therefore, with summarising the general principles which my own experience has taught me as likely to be applicable to the majority. Moderation is the one thing needful. Neither over-eat nor under-eat, but be guided by appetite. There can be no question of a man spoiling his wind so long as he eats what he feels he requires when he is hungry. Do not allow yourself to be misled by other men’s experience of diet. The fact that some champion wins his laurels on a vegetarian or a fruitarian diet only proves that such a diet is the best for him. It might, on the other hand, be the worst for you. Most men do best on a mixed diet. It is important that regularity of meals should be observed, so that the digestive system forms the habit of getting “tuned up”

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at certain fixed periods to deal efficiently with food eaten. When meals are taken at any odd time, day in and day out, the digestive organs, not working on any system, become disorganised and consequently do not make the best of the food. And when the habit of regular meals has been established the rest periods between meals should on no account be broken by “snacks” or “wets.” After the day’s work is done and the mental tension of business is relaxed is the best time for the chief meal of the day, since it can then be eaten in peace and digested at leisure. A point to be borne in mind is that digestion will be feeble during the two hours that follow severe exertion, because a tired man always has a tired stomach. Hence the general rule that no meal should be taken until two hours have elapsed after violent exertion. If you are quite healthy (but not otherwise) the food you like is the food that is most likely to do you good. Never mind what the food crank, who is always the worst of cranks, tells you. His meat may be your poison. Here experience is your surest and indeed only guide.

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You will be advised to eat this, that, and the other because it is “so nourishing” or “bloodmaking” or “nerve strengthening” or “brain-building.” But it is not what you eat, it is what you digest that counts. Grass nourishes cattle, and hay puts life into horses, but these foods would probably make an end of you if you tried to live on them. Therefore do not put your trust in foods that are boomed simply because their chemical analysis shows that they are built up of surprising quantities of proteids, carbohydrates, fats and salts. These things may be in the foods, but actually it is only what your stomach gets out of the food and is able to transform into your nerves, muscles, blood and bones that matters, but that is, for various reasons, often very little. As a rule such highly concentrated food products as those so much advertised act only as stimulants. Exercise, and more especially violent exercise, accompanied as it must be by increased heat-production by the muscles and by free perspiration, makes a heavy demand on the liquid as well as the solid constituents of the body. The natural consequence is thirst, and

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the wisdom or otherwise of assuaging this is sometimes the subject of debate. I am certain that the drinking of sufficient water to quench thirst is beneficial. At the same time a copious draught of water should not be taken when overheated. Apart from the shock likely to be produced by the sudden influx of cold and possibly iced water into the overheated body, its mechanical action alone in distending the stomach is likely to prove detrimental for the time being. With regard to bathing—a warm bath is always advisable after exercise in order thoroughly to cleanse the pores of all trace of excessive perspiration. This may be followed by a cold plunge or shower with a view to toning up the skin and bracing the nerves. No athlete who values his health and efficiency will palter with “dope” of any description. There is no drug in the world that can be relied upon either to speed up pace, counteract the natural results of exhaustion or assist you in getting your wind. The French have a happy saying to the effect that “to sleep is to dine.” Certainly sleep is no less essential to the athlete than
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food. Men vary very much in the amount of sleep they require. About eight or nine hours is the average. The safe rule is to go to bed at a fixed hour every night and get up on waking, provided you feel sufficiently refreshed. Early hours are recommended in order that you may get the freshness of the early morning air into your blood by taking some out-of-door exercise while the sun rises. There is something very invigorating in this morning air, where it is uncontaminated by smoke, and at the same time the healthy action of the ultra-violet rays of the sun are less interfered with. The bedroom must be well ventilated, and the bedclothes light though comfortably warm in cold weather. If sleeplessness is a bugbear the cause of it must be sought for, and when discovered removed. Preventable causes are anxiety, too heavy a meal, too light a meal, over-fatigue, the use of alcoholic stimulants, over-smoking. Mention of the last two subjects brings us into a region where controversy rages perpetually. Take first of all the question of alcohol. For my own part I do not touch

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spirits of any kind, but take a glass of beer when I feel I want it. Everyone is agreed that excessive drinking is bad for everybody, and is quite incompatible with success in athletics. Some give up beer altogether during training and believe they are the better for it, which by the power of suggestion alone is all to the good. Others take a little beer with their meals, and feeling the better for it no doubt are the better for it. To give the reader a general idea of what the collated experience of some generations of trainers suggests as a suitable diet for a crew in training for the inter-university boat race I quote the following table :— 7.15. A glass of milk and a biscuit. 8.30. Breakfast: Fish (usually fried)—soles, whiting, etc. Grilled cutlets or beefsteak. Poached or scrambled eggs. Toast, butter (in small quantity). Marmalade. One or two cups of tea. Fruit—oranges, grape-fruit, peaches, strawberries, etc. 1.00. Luncheon: Cold meat—Roast beef, mutton, or chicken. Salad. Toast,

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4.30. A cup of tea and a biscuit. 7.30. Dinner: Fish, plainly cooked, without sauces. Joints—Beef, mutton, or chicken. Vegetables—Cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, fried potatoes. Sweets—Milky puddings (rice, sago, tapioca) with stewed fruit. DessertFruit as at breakfast, with dried figs and prunes. Two glasses of water, draught beer, or claret and water. This will show that there is nothing unusually severe in a training diet, beyond the omission of rich and not easily digestible food, and a limitation of starch foods and fats. It will be noted that a liberal measure of liquid is allowed. With the commencement of strict training all tobacco is stopped. I do not think that the use of tobacco improves one’s health and efficiency in the field of athletics, games or sport. To the aspirant who is wondering

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whether he should learn the habit or not, I should say he had better not, because the tendency always is to overdo it once it is begun. To the habitual smoker I would advise either abstinence or the most moderate use. If, however, the total discontinuance of tobacco makes him restless and fretful, the resulting mental wear and tear will do more harm than good, and he will lose in condition more than he gains. An occasional cigarette or pipe will do such a man less harm than the endeavour totally to discontinue either. I must say a few words about the condition known as staleness. This is a state of fatigue in which there is a loss of weight, appetite and muscular energy during training, with an increasing desire for sleep. The Boxing aspirant, for example, who has been training very hard, complains of feeling tired and heavy in the morning before taking exercise, inability to exercise his muscles to their full extent, and an overpowering desire for sleep soon after the day’s work is over. All the trouble seems to be due to inability of the lungs, skin, kidneys or bowels to get rid of the waste matters, resulting from the increased breaking down of

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his tissues due to hard work. The fact of the matter is that he is suffering from selfpoisoning of the system. What he wants is more sleep. He requires more repose, and a siesta of twenty minutes after his mid-day meal will give his bodily organs a chance to adjust themselves to new conditions.

CHAPTER VII
HOW THE NEW PHYSICAL CULTURE CURES ILLNESS

Indigestion and Dyspepsia. Insufficiency and disturbance of the digestive system are among the chief causes of that gradual breakdown of the general health which is so widely prevalent to-day. While in the popular mind the stomach is almost always regarded as the organ which is principally at fault in these cases, it is by no means always that much abused organ that is mainly to blame. The stomach itself plays a comparatively small part in the process of digestion for the simple reason that the bulk of our food is not meant to be fully digested in that organ but is passed on to be dealt with in another part of the digestive canal, called the small intestine, where digestion is completed. Hence the correct treatment of digestive dis103

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orders demands not only due attention to the condition of the stomach but that of the entire digestive tube as a whole. The forms of exercise I advise are such as will have the effect of toning up the digestive system as a whole, strengthening its muscular mechanism, improving the circulation of fresh blood in the various glands which secrete the different kinds of digestive juices required to complete the process, and promote the absorption of the finished product by the bodily tissues and organs. Whatever the digestive organs require in the way of massage, or mechanical stimulus is adequately provided by these exercises of the body which are incidental to boxing. Suitable exercise aids feeble digestion in many ways. To begin with it promotes appetite, which is the prime mover in bringing the glands which secrete the several digestive juices to the “ready” stage, so that these are prepared at once to get to work on the food as it comes within their respective spheres of action. It also promotes the churning movements of the stomach by strengthening its muscles, and for the same reason stimulates

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the peristaltie action of the rest of the digestive tube. Moreover by its stimulating action on the absorbents and the lymph circulation exercise facilitates the absorption of the finished products of digestion as well as their distribution and transformation into new living tissues. Moreover, it is an active agent in facilitating and speeding up the removal of old, worn-out, dead and decaying matters from the body, so that the new elements derived from the digested food may have a fair field for the exercise of their health and life-giving activities. Indigestion may be recognised by the presence of one or more of the fellowing symptoms: Loss of appetite, nausea, flatulence, distension, belching of gas, acidity, heart-burn, biliousness, palpitation, pain in the chest, back or shoulders, mental depression, giddiness, etc. When indigestion persists there is a falling away of the flesh, accompanied by gradually increasing muscular weakness, and a loss of the various vital qualities of the blood, not the least of which is its diminished power of resist-

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ance to infective germs and to disease in general. Liver Troubles. These are of course closely associated with digestive troubles, the liver playing an important part in the digestion of certain foods and in the selection and rejection of the digested foodstuffs, as it separates those that are suitable from those that are unsuitable for admission into the blood-stream. When this organ is not acting properly, owing to sluggishness, irritation, or overwork, a variety of unpleasant symptoms may be felt: headache, nausea, sickness, mental depression, fits of the “blues,” a coppery taste in the mouth, lethargy, lack of energy, are amongst the more prominent of these. The skin may be yellowish, the tongue coated, the eyes dull. Attacks of vomiting and diarrhea are often present. Sufferers from any of these symptoms of a disordered liver will find relief in the kind of exercises which I consider best adapted to promote the normal action of that organ. Such exercises as promote alternate compression and relaxation of the liver substance, stimulating

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its circulation, relieving its congestion, and unloading its bile duct, are those I find best adapted to remove these symptoms and bring about in a natural way the easy performance of its important functions. Constipation. When this bugbear of so many lives is present, with its inevitable train of other disabilities, many of the symptoms of self-poisoning of the general system are to be noted. Among these are a sallow or muddy complexion, an appearance of dullness and heaviness, furring of the tongue, anaemia or rather copraemia, headache, giddiness, lethargy, skin troubles, pimples and boils, melancholia, and many others, according to its duration and severity. A very large percentage of these cases is due to the combined effect of a sedentary occupation and insufficient exercise. Too much confinement indoors in a sitting position produces a weaking of the muscular coats of the bowels, owing to poor circulation of blood and lymph, which also restricts the production of the natural secretions of their lining membrane. Owing to lack of brisk exercise there

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is no mechanical stimulation of the intestinal canal from the outside to re-inforce that stimulation which its contents would, in a healthy intestine, produce from the inside. In cases like this drug treatment is only tinkering, and will leave matters worse than they were by further weakening the bowel. The only rational curative treatment is by such exercises as will strengthen the walls of the bowel and the nerves which operate them. My system of physical culture is applied with this object, with the greatest success. Obesity. To be burdened with an excess of fat is not only a source of great inconvenience and distress, more especially in warm weather; it is also a cause of grave organic weakness, and is usually associated with a perfectly curable weakness of the heart. The shortness of breath, lethargy and muscular weakness from which fat people suffer is due as much to a quite relievable form of cardiac asthma as to the mere dead weight of the burden they have to carry about with them. Exercise is obviously the common-sense treatment for any one burdened with surplus

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fat, being as it is at once scientific and safe. Nothing breaks down and oxidises (or burns up) unwanted fat so directly and rapidly as the special forms of exercise which I recommend to this end. I quite appreciate that these exercises must be carefully graduated in accordance with the pupil’s ability to perform them with the least risk of injury in the early stages, and at the same time with the utmost benefit. I make a special point therefore of always adapting the form of exercise ordered to the pupil’s individual requirements. After a short preliminary course of hearttoning exercises the more vigorous forms of activity can be pursued with the utmost benefit. Heart Affections. It may surprise some people to be told that physical exercise is good for various forms of heart trouble. The popular idea is that anyone with a “weak” heart must be debarred from exercise of any kind, save perhaps a leisurely walk on the flat. Recent experience has shown that in many cases of so-called “weakness” of the heart the alleged

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defect is due to want of sufficient exercise, strength being restored on the right kind of exercise being adopted. A little reflection will convince anyone that the heart, which is the master-mechanism of the whole body, is made for exercise and is in truth the hardest worked muscle (it is practically a thick muscle, with the interior hollowed out and divided into four compartments) in the whole body. It can in fact only live by working, and the more work within reason it has to do the better it does it. It is quite another story when the heart is organically diseased—in V.D.H., for instance, fatty degeneration, and so on—but the vast majority of heart affections are functional only, the result of dietetic errors, too much tobacco, excess of alcohol, combined with insufficient activity of body and mind. By removing the cause or causes, and counteracting physical and mental activity by adopting the exercises I advise, these cases of weak heart are curable. The most common of the curable functional ailments are :

CULTURE CURES ILLNESS Dilatation. Flabby heart and palpitation. Intermittent action. Praecordial pain. Tobacco heart.

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Disorders of the Circulation. It is easily understood that those disorders of the circulation which are due to functional heart troubles are corrected by curative treatment directed to overcoming the chief cause, as explained above. There are, however, other circulatory disorders which owe their origin to local and partly mechanical causes, or to a general change in whole of the blood-vascular system. In this category are to be included the following: Varicocele. Varicose Veins. Haemorrhoids, or Piles. Defective Circulation. Cold hands and feet, Chilblains. Varicose veins, Varicocele and Haemorrhoids are due primarily to an unhealthy

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state of the walls of the veins; the walls of these veins when any pressure is put upon the blood current within them become distended, and the valves which are intended to prevent a reflux of blood no longer fit, and thus permit of the blood being pressed back, when the muscles around them contract, instead of forwards. In Haemorrhoids the chief cause of the trouble is mechanical pressure on the walls of the veins by the contents of the bowel and rectum, and by the act of straining when chronic constipation is present. Insufficient exercise favours the development of all those circulatory troubles mentioned above, by allowing of that prolonged semi-stagnation of heart and lung action engendered by sedentariness, which is at the root of so much wide-spread illness. Puffiness of the eyelids, swelling of the hands and ankles, are also symptomatic of a weak circulation, and are to be overcome by judicious exercise, in the same way that those other ailments just described are dealt with so successfully.

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Anæmia. In this widely-prevalent disease of the blood the vital fluid is lacking, not in quantity so much as in quality. Hence the phrase “poorness of blood,” popularly applied to it. It is a condition of the blood that strikes at the very foundations of good health. It means that the blood is lacking in those red corpuscles which are the sole carriers of the “breath of life” itself (the oxygen of the air) from the lungs to the uttermost cells of the body. Hence when anæmia is present the sufferer is more or less lacking in vitality, and all the functions of the body are carried on, as it were, under protest, nourishment is very much below the healthy standard, and a healthy measure of physical and mental vigour is totally wanting. Pallor or a greenish-grey hue of the face is a characteristic symptom, while lack of colour about the lips and gums, and breathlessness on exertion are also prominent signs. Palpitation of the heart is of frequent occurrence, and the state of the pulse reflects the lack of tone of the heart musculature. Judicious exercise in pure air and uncontaminated sunlight stimulates the bloodH

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making organs and restores their interrupted functions in a way that no drugs can approach. At the same time the appetite for those foods which are the raw material of the blood-stream is sharpened, and the complex operations of digestion, absorption and transformation of these food-studs into the living tissues and organs of the body are assured. By persevering in this kind of exercise treatment anæmia is finally overcome. Lung Weakness and Chest Complaints. The most common forms assumed by these ailments which are amenable to cure by exercise are Incipient Tuberculosis, Defective Chest Expansion, Tendency to Bronchial Catarrh, Chronic Bronchitis, and some forms of Asthma. It is self-evident that to strengthen lungs that are weak, owing chiefly to insufficient expansion of the chest, and therefore insufficient inflation and deflation of the lungs, nothing can approach exercise taken in the right way. With regard to breathing exercises, I hold with Ling that every muscular movement is

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naturally a breathing exercise, and that unless there is some impediment to the free entrance of air into the lungs the depth and rapidity of respiration must be dictated solely by the necessities of the kind of exercise being taken. As a result of exercise taken in this way the chest is naturally broadened and deepened, air capacity is increased and the lung tissue itself is strengthened by the augmented current of fresh air, blood and lymph passing through it. This greatly enhances its resisting power against tuberculosis, catarrh, and the malignant bacteria which so often intensify the action of influenza and other germs. There is no surer method of counteracting any inherited tendency to pulmonary consumption than judicious exercise. Rheumatism of Joints. Muscular Rheumatism. It is mainly with the stiffness, and threatened joint-deformity resulting from these complaints that exercise is called upon to deal. In the acute inflammation that so often ushers in these ailments exercise is, of course, injurious; but in later stages to promote

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absorption of effused inflammatory products, and restore suppleness by promoting natural lubrication of the joints, and re-development of muscles wasted by temporary and enforced disuse, exercise has no equal as a cure. Sciatica. Lumbago. Sciatica is a neuritis of the sciatic nerve, and is often the result of direct spread of inflammation from the fibrous tissues in lumbago. In both complaints when pain and tenderness have subsided, graduated exercise is of the utmost benefit in preventing future recurrences. Rheumatoid Arthritis. In many forms of this crippling disease exercise is a valuable method of treatment and also of prevention. All who experience a gradually increasing difficulty in the free use of their joints are advised at once to begin regular preventive treatment by exercise. In all probability its timely employment will save them much future suffering, actual deformity and incapacity. Though advanced cases are by no means incur-

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able it is a disease whose prevention is much easier than its cure. Gout is one of those diseases which are more likely to develop in men who take insufficient exercise in the open air than among those who are active and energetic both physically and mentally. During paroxysms of acute gout complete rest is of course necessary. But after convalescence from these, exercise is the one thing needful, both to promote dispersal or absorption of biurate of soda deposits in the joints and to stimulate the excretion of the gouty poisons (called purins) by the kidneys. The joints chiefly affected are the big toes, fingers, wrists, ankles, knees, and occasionally the elbows, but deposits of mineral matter may occur in ligaments, tendons, eyelids and ears. In all such cases exercise is one of the chief methods of treatment to be employed. Insomnia is due to a variety of causes. It may arise owing to nerve irritation produced by pain and various uneasy feelings. Many cases again are due to the presence of toxic

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agents in the blood and their action in causing disease. Excessive use of tobacco, alcohol, strong coffee, tea or cocoa late at night are frequent exciting causes of the trouble. Mental shock, grief and worry are among common causes of the condition. But whatever may be the immediate and exciting cause of sleeplessness the right treatment is promotion of the general health of the whole body, especially by means of exercise carried to that point where it produces that feeling of pleasant fatigue and consequent drowsiness which compel the gradual yielding of the brain and indeed the whole of the nervous system to the unconsciousness of sleep. Neurasthenia. This is the nerve disease of modern civilization, and is due largely· to the excitements of life in towns, to neglect of the natural laws of health, to the artificial stimulation of all the senses, and to the Working of the highly organised machinery of peace, and the destructive and devastating mechanisms of war. Its symptoms are Protean in appearance and almost infinite in variety and number. Like the ghost in “Hamlet” it often comes in such

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a questionable shape that it is not always recognised for what it really is. Amongst the most prominent of its symptoms fear or dread plays a large part. It takes many forms. Fear of the future, of the present moment, of one’s employer, and even of one’s friends. Fear of open spaces, dread of closed spaces. Fear of travelling by tubes, or by river, or by sea. Dread of company; fear of being alone. Dread of becoming insane. Unfounded anxiety about financial affairs. Depression of spirit, often cmplete melancholia, and ideas of self-destruction. Sensation as of insects crawling over the skin. Self-consciousness, stammering and stuttering, flushing and blushing in the presence of others. The sufferer moreover complains of pain in various places, such as the top of the head and the back of the neck, over the eyebrows and at the temples. Pressure over the top of the head, as of a heavy helmet, is a very characteristic symptom. Exercise plays a leading part in the treatment of all such symptoms, and of the disease of which they are the expression.

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Skin Disorders, in so far as they are due to defective elimination of toxins owing to imperfect action of the kidneys, lungs, or the skin itself are very amenable to cure by exercise, which increases the natural action of these organs. In this way exercise clears away various forms of eczema, acne, boils, pimples and kindred skin affections.

CHAPTER VIII
ADVICE TO THE UNFIT

THE soundness of the principles expounded in the previous chapters can best be proved by their practical application. I shall assume, therefore, that you who are reading this are not in the best possible state of physical health, and are lacking in bodily fitness and mental energy; and that you are anxious to know the best way to go about the business of overcoming these defects. To make a beginning you must rig up a punching-bag, which you can easily make for yourself out of an old sack, or a kit-bag, stuffed with wool or any other substance of soft consistence. Suspend this from a hook in the ceiling, a rafter, a beam, or any other handy support that allows it to swing freely in any direction, on a level with your head and arms. Now you have before you what has been aptly termed a dumb sparring partner, at your 121

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service whenever required. You are to regard this silent opponent as you would a live boxer who will inevitably return blow for blow, and keep you just as busy countering return blows, as you keep the dummy engaged in registering your punches. Bear always in mind then that the punchingbag before you is a real live opponent, and treat it with all the respect due to an expert boxer, putting all the ginger you can into your punches. Always be on your guard, ready to defend, just as you would act were you boxing a live antagonist. This is of prime importance because if you get into the habit of exposing yourself unguarded to return blows from the punching-bag you will very soon develop this habit of carelessness in your defence, until it becomes fatal to your efficiency as a boxer. There is nothing to surpass the punchingbag as the natural developer of the shoulders, arms and back. Keep your hands and arms always engaged all the time you are in action before the bag, and never let them drop by your sides while the round is in progress. No matter how tired they may feel, you must keep

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them going as long as you can at a time. This kind of practice will stand you in good stead when you come to face a living opponent, who will find you a tough antagonist when he tries his wearing-down tactics on your defence. Of course the use of the punching-bag gives great scope for the practice of foot-work. Nimbleness, dexterity and agility in the movements of the feet, and particularly of the toes, are advantages easily acquired by persevering practice in circling round the punching-bag while delivering punches, manœuvring for position, dodging and feinting in every conceivable attitude. Develop the habit of having a defence prepared for every possible counter to your own punch, and be ready to shift your stance on your toes with lightning rapidity when the requirements of the moment demand it. Remember when doing your foot-work drill that the efficacy of your fighting fists may often depend in no small measure on the agility of your toes! There is another important factor in boxing that can be developed and practised with the aid of the punching-bag, and that is balance.

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Putting all your power into a punch which misses its objective is fatal to your balance. Hence the importance of learning the accurate judgment of distance, so that you may be able to estimate exactly when and where to hit the bag, while putting all your speed, weight and energy into the punch, without in the least imperilling your balance. Practise this estimating of distance time and again, on the punching-bag, and in due course your power of judgment in this respect will become second nature. When beginning this punching-bag practice each bout with the gloves should last not more than two and a half minutes, increased later to three. When in good form the intervals should not be more than one minute, provided the boxer finds this sufficient for recuperation. You should follow up this bag-punching exercise with a little skipping, just to vary the proceedings, and keep the various joints and muscles concerned supple and pliant. Needless to say the best time for exercise of this kind, if your daily occupation is a sedentary one, is in the morning before breakfast. A glass of water to clean the mouth on

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rising is all that should be taken before getting to work on the bag. Following this a quick warm bath or sponge down should be taken. This will probably agree with you better than would a plunge into very cold water when you are overheated and probably perspiring somewhat freely. After the bath you must have a brisk rub down, a process of great value owing to its action not only on the skin itself but also on the sensitive nerve ends whereby the tone not only of the muscles but of the great nerve centres themselves is improved. Since the most common cause of unfitness is lack of sufficient exercise combined with a rather too plentiful allowance of the good things of the table, the punching-bag has come to be regarded largely as a panacea. Hence, if your individual unfitness is due to this cause, that particular apparatus may well prove your physical salvation. If you find that you are putting on too much weight, and your tailor reports a progressive and alarming increase in your waist measurement, you will do well to cut down your daily menu and put your faith and your hardest and

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most varied punches into your punching-bag. This is the most interesting and infallible way to get rid of superfluous fat, enabling you as it does to wear down your adipose tissue by transforming it into the physical energy that drives home your heartiest punches, while you dance round the swinging bag countering its return blows with all the vim at your command. Should a sluggish liver be the cause of your want of health there is nothing so likely to liven it up and teach the bile to flow in the way it ought to go, as a daily bout with the punchingbag. The vigorous arm work, combined with your body-bending when feinting, ducking and dodging, act as a powerful mechanical stimulus to the liver, while the incessant change of position of the legs involved in your active footwork provides the succussion which is so necessary for the healthy functioning of that most important organ. It may be that constipation is the principal cause of your physical and mental inefficiency, and that that ailment in its turn is partly a result of your sedentary occupation. In that case you will find in the work entailed in the active use of the punching-bag that degree of

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mechanical and physiological stimulation which is demanded by the intestinal canal in order that it may act as it should, without your having to resort habitually to medicine. Indigestion or dyspepsia in one or other of its forms may be the cause of your failure to enjoy a healthy life. The cause of either of these complaints may in your case be one that is easily amenable to treatment by such vigorous and invigorating muscular movements as are entailed by practice with the punchingbag. A little work of this kind in the morning should give you just that edge to your appetite on which good digestion waits, and so enable you to start your day’s work in the best possible frame of mind and body. Its beneficial action on both the liver and the bowels contribute greatly to its efficiency in digestive troubles. The punching-bag, made use of in the way already described, will enable you to rid yourself of many chronic rheumatic ailments like Stiff joints, lumbago and sciatica, or to prevent their threatened development. Many troubles of this kind are due largely to physical and mental inactivity combined with the eating and drinking of things that are not efficiently

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dealt with by the various digestive and depurating organs of the body, because these are not kept in good working order. In conclusion, it may be affirmed with truth that most of the minor disturbances of good health can be overcome and a desirable degree of fitness assured by regular daily practice with the punching-bag.

CHAPTER IX
HOW THE NEW PHYSICAL CULTURE MAINTAINS HEALTH AND FITNESS

MEN and women, to say nothing of children, are so constituted that it becomes painful while they are conscious, to remain quite still, doing nothing, for any considerable length of time. Put into their hands, however, a straw, a cigarette, a pipe, a fan, a toy—anything you fancy so long as it is neither too hot nor too cold, and the pain immediately becomes a pleasure. In accepting your gift they are performing certain simple co-ordinated muscular movements with a definite object, thus exercising at once both mind and muscle. This is one of the very things they came into the world to do. Mobility is one of the characteristics of life, as its opposite is one of the most striking attributes of death. The desire or rather the impulse to move and to keep moving is one of I 129

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the most powerful instincts of healthy humanity. Life itself is but a mode of motion. The heart and lungs, with their triple circulation of air, blood, and lymph, are in constant and continuous movement. If they stop, we stop, immobilised until the end of time. Temporary and partial immobilisation in beds, easy chairs and similar devices is at certain periods necessary and salutary; but excess of bodily immobility favours all kinds of ailments, diseases and degenerations. Activity of body and mind is therefore clearly one of the main conditions of good health. Physical activity is due to muscular action, since no kind of corporeal movement is possible, independently of alternate contraction and relaxation of muscle. Exercise, as we understand it, therefore involves the use of comparatively large groups of muscles which are under the direct control of the will. But this muscular activity alone is by no means the chief end of exercise. It is merely the means towards an end. True, the muscles themselves are developed and strengthened by certain kinds of exercise; but in the case of persons who take exercise simply to keep

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themselves fit, this muscular betterment is purely incidental. Other and much more important tissues and organs of the body are the true objective of all general exercise. It is the vital organs, rather than the muscles, which we must aim at benefiting in the highest degree in all rational schemes of exercise for the development of physical fitness. The average man should not worry about his muscles at all. These will take care of themselves so long as he takes sufficient exercise to strengthen his great central nervous system (brain and spinal cord and their vast ramifications), as well as his lungs, his heart and vessels, his digestion and excretory organs. The muscles—quite indispensable in their way —are merely the servants of the body. Our first duty is to their masters or rulers in the great nerve centres, since it is they who keep us alive. The prime object of all exercise therefore must be to promote the integrity and functional activity of the brain and nerves, Since in them resides the source of all that nervous energy which is the real motive power of the heart and lungs, impairment of whose

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harmonious movement means disease, and its cessation—death. The more efficiently these twin organs work, the better in health and the more efficient we are. And since they work normally only when controlled by a healthy nervous system, that is the great objective in any system of exercise. Unless the nervous system as a whole be healthy, neither heart, nor lungs, nor brain can be healthy—and then nothing else matters. A healthy brain and nervous system are kept so only by being regularly supplied with adequate material to make good the loss of wear and tear, and by the complete removal of effete waste matter. These operations are promoted by such exercises as augment the circulation of oxygenated blood and lymph throughout the body, and increase the activity of the organs that purify the system. And, remember, it is exercise alone that can do this. All kinds of exercise then, by stimulating the circulation of the vital fluids, maintain good health primarily by keeping the central nervous system—the generating station of nervous energy, which is the driving-power Of

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the whole body—adequately supplied and cleansed. Secondarily, exercise keeps the heart and lungs in such excellent condition that they are prepared to cope with the accidents of disease, and at the same time keeps the purifying organs of the system up to their work. In the absence of such voluntary exercise as has just been alluded to, the body has nothing else to rely on but exercises of its own, which are barely sufficient to keep it alive—if to be on the verge of dissolution can be said to be alive. These muscular movements are simply such hereditary gymnastics as are essential to the beating of the heart, the circulation of blood, the breathing, the swallowing and digestion of food, and the removal of waste matters. Nor must the automatic winking of the eyes be omitted, where every little muscular movement counts. On this minimum o,act f muscular exercises, then, it is possible to exist. But between the states of living and merely existing there is a great gulf fixed. You cannot enjoy life unless you have some life to enjoy. You are given a body chiefly that you may put

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life into it, and you get out of life exactly what

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you put into it. If you put nothing but meat and drink into your body you will get little but microbes and disease out of it. Meat and drink are indeed needful; but they are by no means the one thing needful, though many seem to act on this assumption. On the contrary they may just as easily extinguish as fan the flame of life. What may be called the active principle of a healthy life is oxygen. This gas is to us the very breath of life. Life is essentially a long struggle between two opposing gases; between oxygen, the life-giving, which we inhale, and carbonic acid, the death-dealing, which we exhale. Hence all bodily activities that promote the entrance of oxygen into our blood and the removal of carbonic acid from it are pleasurable and therefore easily practised. Such are outdoor sports and games like running, swimming, tennis, walking; and indoor activities as boxing, dancing, fencing, etc. Now, because muscles are the instruments of all movement, people have come to regard the obvious results of all muscular exercise as the be-all and end-all of that form of activity.

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This is, as we have seen, far from being the case. Fitness depends, not so much on muscular development as on the condition of the brain and nervous system, the heart and circulation, the lungs, digestion and other functions, organs and systems. The terms “fitness” and “fit” are not absolute; they are relative. When we say of a man that he is fit, for what exactly do we mean he is fit? We generally mean that he is fit for some particular kind of activity. His fitness may be limited. Thus he may be fit for a weight-lifting feat, but not for a race. Or he may be quite lit for all the purposes and emergencies of his business-life, but not fit for a twenty-mile walk. One may be so very fit for one thing that he may be quite unfit for another. When a man aspires to fitness therefore let him first decide in his own mind for what he is desirous to make himself fit, and train accordingly. For the ordinary purposes of daily life, professional or commercial, people do not require extraordinary muscular development. So long as the tone of the muscles they already have is good they should remain contented, since the

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attainment of a greater degree of muscular development will not by itself make them any healthier. Moderation in all things, which is the golden rule of health, applies to the development of muscle as to any other activity. If a man is quite healthy it is obvious that he cannot become healthier by any kind of exertion, even though it should increase his bulk. In other words he can increase his quantity but not his quality. There will be more of him to fall ill, if and when he falls ill, and he will then be a bigger handful to his attendants. Big muscles with their correspondingly powerful heart and capacious lungs do not necessarily render the body immune from infective disease, nor yet proof against structural or functional alterations in the bodily organs. On the contrary, big muscular development necessarily implies increased wear and tear of the digestive, absorbent, and assimilating organs, as well as of the circulatory, secretory and excretory systems. Moreover, once a powerful muscular system has been developed it must be kept up by constant use, otherwise it must undergo degenerative changes, which

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will seriously impair the general health. Improved muscular tone is quite another matter. Tone can be improved without involving any great increase in size of the muscles exercised, so that their efficiency is augmented without adding in any way to the material burden of life. On the other hand, in the industrial, and especially the labour world, you have muscular development in excelcis; but do you find sound health in equal abundance? Not always, by any means. These great thews and sinews developed by the hewers of wood and the drawers of Water, the Tubal Cains and the builders of ships, prove ultimately in a majority of instances their undoing. The strained heart and arteries, with all their extensive paraphernalia of ministering organs, exhaust the source of nervous energy which drives the whole complex mechanism of their lives. It is quite obvious that physical development, especially with a view to the cultivation of high-power muscles, may be as productive of evil as of good. To put it colloquially, what you gain on the muscular swings you lose on the circulatory roundabouts.

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Paradoxical though it may sound, what these industrial Titans require to assist them in maintaining health is exercise. That is to say they need exercise which will bring into play muscles, or rather large groups of muscles with their corresponding nerves, vessels, lymphatics, etc., which they do not habitually use, or do not use in the same way, or operate with the same rhythm in their daily work. As we have already seen, the chief aim of all exercises is the promotion of well-balanced nutrition of the brain and nervous sytem, which in their turn control and regulate all the other organs and functions of the body. In this way exercise promotes harmonious action of all the organs, the sum of whose normal activities we recognise as good health. The largely artificial lives we lead nowadays in town and suburbs modify very greatly the activities of many of the bodily functions. Mechanical contrivances do much of the work of our muscles, while at the same time greater demands are made on the organs of special sense, and on the brain and nerves generally. Now the more work the nervous system is called upon to do the more nourishment and

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cleansing it requires. And for this it depends primarily on an adequate supply of the purest blood. But since the demands of civilization impose on the human body the use of taxis, ’buses, trams, telephones, elevators, autos, ’planes, and the like, which undertake as much of its rightful muscular work as possible, a brisk circulation of blood must be coaxed into activity by artificial means. Hence the necessity for that exercise ranging from the simple dignity of the “constitutional” to the more delirious delights of the punch-ball. The heart of man, despite the harsh judgment of theologians, is a very docile and tractable organ. It is always ready to dance to your piping, which is the aim and object of all your bodily machinations. It is easily stirred to its depths, manifesting its emotions like all other living things in movements which send the pulses leaping and throbbing to the remotest ends of your startled anatomy. Exercise that does that is the kind of exercise you want to live with; it will carry you far, and you want no other. The kind and amount of exercise anyone requires must depend on many factors such as age, sex, height, weight,

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occupation, development, soundness, ailments, etc., etc. But it must be said at once that very strenuous exercise, the violent delights of the professional “strong man” or weight-lifter, or of the wrestler, are immeasurably beyond the ordinary requirements of the average citizen whose chief ambition is to be always up to his work. The daily “constitutional” as ordinarily performed is certainly better than nothing, but it is not quite good enough. As a rule it is taken in too leisurely a fashion to do any real good. To be really beneficial to the general health it must be taken with vigour, at an accelerated tempo, against time, so to speak, and with a definite objective. Walking daily to and from business—where at all practicable, as in a small town—is thus beneficial; but in large cities it is out of the question and some substitute becomes imperative. Some seek to make up for the want of a daily brisk walk by taking a long week-end tramp in the country. But this can by no means compensate for the absence of daily exercise, though the fallacy that it does appears to be

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uniformly entertained. Indeed it is more likely to do harm than good, since it is prone unduly to exhaust the heart and muscular system unused to the unwonted strain of such exertion. As a matter of fact exercise is quite as essential to the welfare of both body and mind as eating, drinking and sleeping, and should be as systematic as well as equally recreative and refreshing. Now, the possession of a punch-ball and the sure call it makes on its possessor to exercise his skill with the gloves, day in and day out, solves the problem of interesting, mentallystimulating and satisfying exercise. Even in its absence the fascination of shadow-boxing lures the enthusiast to his daily exhilarating and soul-satisfying bouts, in which body and brain, arms and legs, and all the rest of his anatomy get briskly busy, preparing him for the work of the day, or the rest and sleep of night. For this and other reasons which I have adduced at length in other chapters of this little book I am convinced that in the free, spontaneous and initiative-compelling exercises incidental to boxing, will be found the

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finest methods open to the average citizen of attaining and preserving general good health and fitness. If the wide range and almost unlimited variety of free movements incidental to boxing cannot make and keep the average man fit, then nothing can. It is in the literal sense of the term a most stimulating form of exercise, and the more rapidly and unexpectedly the stimuli are rained on the boxer the more tonic and bracing the result. The boxer’s movements can never be perfunctory, his attention must always be strained in the closest watch of his opponent, his every nerve and muscle taut and ready for an instantaneous change of attitude, a fresh move, a lightning punch or whatever the immediate necessities of the moment demand. Boxing has also this great advantage over other forms of exercise: it has to be performed with the keenest zest, the utmost enthusiasm, and the grimmest determination to do one’s best. No other exercise involves the payment of such inevitable penalties for a carelessly executed movement, a badly timed swerve, or a bit of bad foot-work, as boxing. The

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certainty that if the attention is allowed to wander, or the interest to flag, there will be an immediate and painful reminder of the “rigour of the game,” keeps the boxer keyed up to concert pitch. All this undoubtedly makes for the development of the highest degree of health and efficiency both of mind and body. There are, however, many more sterling qualities of the utmost value in the battle of life which are developed in the fullest possible degree by boxing. The mental outlook, as we saw in Chapter IV when discussing the influence of the mind on the body, has a paramount influence either for good or evil on the condition and working of the glands, nerves, muscles and other organs and tissues of the body. All those mental qualities, therefore, which stimulate the bodily organs to put forth their very best work must make for the best possible state of health of the individual. And first amongst these indispensable qualities we may place courage. Perfect health is not possible without this quality which enables its possessor to face either moral or physical danger with equanimity. In the rough

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and tumble of life courage is one of the most valuable assets a man can possess. It is the enemy of fear, an emotion that has a most depressing effect on all the vital functions, lowering a man’s resistance to disease, and in every way diminishing his mental, moral and physical efficiency to a serious extent. On the other hand, courage has a physically bracing effect, raising what doctors call a man’s “opsonic index,” his power to resist disease, and nerving him to launch out on successful enterprises from which timidity might have restrained him. The practice of boxing inculcates courage to begin with, and the keener the boxer becomes at his sport the more his courage develops until the quality has become built into the structure of his mind, and is part and parcel of his nature. Self-confidence too is implanted, as well as the necessary measure of aggressiveness which enables a man to dominate others when necessary and hold his own in all circumstances. Will anyone deny that this makes for mental and physical health and efficiency? The mere adoption of the classic pose by the boxer makes him look and feel the equal, if not

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the superior of any man in fitness and health. Standing upright with left foot and left hand extended, feet wide apart and the right heel raised, his head at such an angle that the jaw is protected to some extent by the left shoulder, while the right arm is held across the chest, he is ready either to guard or attack. His attitude is symbolical of his preparedness to meet and defeat the powers of darkness and disease, and at all costs to keep the flag of good health flying.

K

CHAPTER X
THE NEW PHYSICAL CULTURE IN AILMENTS DUE TO SPINAL NERVE PRESSURE

THE backbone consists of thirty-three segments or vertebrae placed one on top of each other. In the adult certain of these vertebræ have been fused together in the process of growth to form bones, the segmental composition of which is not apparent to the casual observer. This fusion is met with only at either extremity of the spine, more especially at its lower end where it joins with the hip bones. At the point where the spine supports the head, the two highest vertebrae are partially united in association with the mechanism necessary to provide for the easy movements of the head on the column. Out of the thirty-three vertebrae then we have twenty-four that are movable, and only nine that are fixed. Of these movable vertebrae 146

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which alone concern us here we have seven in the neck, twelve in the back, and five in the lumbar region (the loins). Between each of these vertebræ there is placed a soft cartilaginous disc which acts as a cushion or buffer, to prevent jars or shocks to the body in such movements as jumping, running, skipping, or even brisk walking. What more immediately concerns us here, however, is that the spinal cord, that great nerve cable encased in the spinal canal made up of all these separate vertebrae, gives oif important branches through tiny openings between the vertebrae on either side of the spinal column. These spinal nerves are arranged in pairs, of which there are thirty-one, and to their healthy and uninterrupted action is due all that we feel, and the possibility of all the movements we make. They are connected through the sympathetic nervous system with all the interior organs of the body, so that every ache or pain we experience in any part of the body is in fact a warning message flashed direct to the central nervous system through one of those spinal nerves which pass between two vertebræ.

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So long as the vertebræ are in their normal position these spinal nerves emerging through the little canals between the vertebrae are able to act normally; but if one of the vertebræ should become even slightly displaced the channel is narrowed and the nerve within it is pressed upon, causing a great variety of symptoms accompanied by disturbance of one or more of the bodily organs. To this cause may be due many obscure forms of paralysis and crippling of limbs, severe pain, disturbances of the digestive and other organs, and a large number of internal functional and even organic troubles, which only the removal of the spinal lesion can relieve. Now a great deal of this kind of interference with and injury of the spinal nerves can be not only prevented but cured. To prevent troubles of this kind it is essential that the whole spinal column should be kept in that pliant, flexible, and resilient condition in which it is handed over to us by Nature at our birth. There is no part of the body that becomes more easily deformed, or in which the bony segments composing it are

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more readily displaced, either by continuous or sudden strain. Hence the necessity of those forms of exercise which are calculated to maintain the normal curves of the sound spine, or to correct those exaggerated and abnormal curves, or rather curvatures of the spine, which are the results of carelessness or actual disease. Amongst the commoner causes of spinal distortion, for example, may be mentioned those cramped attitudes necessitated by stooping over a desk at school, and that slouching carriage which in some growing boys becomes an almost ineradicable habit. Again, young lads who start work involving the carrying of heavy weights on one arm, message boys and the like, are prone to lateral spinal distortion, unless they adopt at the same time corrective exercises designed to antagonise the harmful pull. In addition to their being a cause of great disfigurement and continual pain these distortions, in which there is often a partial rotation of one or more vertebræ on their axis, cause compression of one or more spinal nerves, with consequences which are always injurious

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to the general health, and may be more or less serious. A sudden wrench, a twist, a slip on the pavement, the boarding of a rapidly moving ’bus or train—occurrences like these which take the spinal segments off their guard—are everyday causes of those strains, sprains or sub-luxations of one or more vertebræ or their ligaments and their adjacent muscles, which often pass unnoticed and are unsuspected. Such injuries are more likely to occur in spines which are vulnerable in these respects owing to their being in poor condition—their supporting ligaments and muscles being soft and weak for want of use. Such invigorating exercises of the spine and those tissues comprised in its mechanism as is afforded by boxing, offer the best means of maintaining that important bony column in perfect condition. Long-range work, or out-fighting, is probably best adapted to the strengthening of the spine, both with regard to developing its flexibility and resilience to the full, and preparing the ligaments to withstand those sudden twists, wrenches, and wriggles, to say nothing

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of jolts and jars to which it is exposed in the rough-and-tumble of every day life. Out-fighting has this advantage in its favour, that it comprises most of the real art and science of boxing, just as the close work approximates more to the fighting or struggling element. Hence in practising this long-reach work, great play is made with the latissimus muscles, the trapezius, and deltoid muscles, the erector spinæ, and somewhere about forty other pairs of muscles, which are called into play during the varied movements of flexion, extension and rotation or lateral movements of the spine. Regular exercise of this kind increases the circulation in and the nerve energy supplied to these muscles, and also the ligamentous, cartilaginous and bony parts of the spine. As a result the spinal column and all its accessory parts are well nourished and undergo a degree of growth and development, of strength and resisting power to injury, which otherwise would have been lacking. A man with his dorsal anatomy strengthened in this way in all its departments will be able at all times, literally as well as figuratively, to

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put his back into whatever work he may undertake. Nobody will ever be able to allude to him slightingly as lacking in backbone. With such a well-developed and stronglyknit, yet at the same time pliant, spinal column as this, it is unlikely that any but the most violent jolts, wrenches, jars, or concussions will produce nerve compression. In the event of the latter occurring, however, it will be possible to restore the slightly displaced cartilage or vertebræ by judicious exercise, the nature of which must necessarily depend on the extent and precise location of the injury. In this connection there is a wide field for the exercise of those varied movements comprised in ball-punching, or of those manœuvres entailed by assiduous practice with the punching-bag. Lest it should be thought that in the preceding pages I have claimed too much for the practice of Boxing as a prime factor in the development of both physical and mental health and efficiency, I need only cite those great exemplars of the noble art whose names are household words throughout the Empire.

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In physique, mentality, adaptability, versatility, power of endurance, self-control, and all-round good health, the man who has mastered Boxing is master of himself, and much else besides. He, of all men, can say with truth, “ I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”

“SECONDS OUT!” Chats about Boxers, their Trainers and Patrons. By FRED DARTNELL (“Long Melfiord”). Crown 8vo. Illustrated. 6s. net. The author, a well-known sports journalist of thirty years’ experience, gossips pleasantly on the great glove game during this period. He traces the development of modern boxing, and studies the noble art from varied angles. Guided by his ample memories, he presents the psychological and human side of sport. New light is thrown on boxers and their temperaments, trainers and managers, the development of boxing promoters and the huge purse, the subject of referees and boxing criticism. The aspect of American and French boxing is discussed, and the subject of coloured boxers and spectators is touched upon. The author gives some vivid impressions of the many champions he has met. The superstitious and humour of the ring, inside and outside the ropes, is one of the most attractive features of a book that should make a wide appeal to the increasing public which is interested in the boxing game. ────────────────────────────────────── HOW TO WIN AT RACING. By BAT MASTERS. Crown 8vo. 2s. net. This well-known writer has produced a little volume, written for the ordinary stay-at-home punter, explaining clearly the most popular systems of backing horses, how to calculate deadheats, odds, doubles, etc. It deals with the usual causes of failures of systems, and shows how such failures can be minimised. A chapter is devoted to betting at race meetings, and gives much useful information—for example, hints about habits and methods of trainers, owners and jockeys, horses for courses, trainers for meetings, etc. It also devotes a little space to totalisators, the Stadium Club and such-like institutions, and gives some advice as to the value of newspaper selections. The various classes of races receive attention, also weight-forage, selling plates, handicaps, etc.; and the reader is encouraged to construct his own handicap as a check of the list of official handicaps. ────────────────────────────────────── T. WERNER LAURIE, LTD., LONDON. ──────────────────────────────────────

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