An excerpt from William Litt's journal 'Wrestliana' published in 1823, in which he describes the different wrestling throws in Cumberland and Westmorland style wrestling,and the difficulties in establishing rules for 'taking hold' prior to commencement of a bout.

Page 5.

It must be sufficiently evident to all, that leaning to either side is a deviation from the natural and true centre of balance; and of course will lay some stress upon, or partly brace the muscles of the opposite side. Thus if the lean be to the left side, the muscles of the right, from the neck to the foot downwards will be proportionately braced, as those on the left are contracted in with the body; and part of the weight of the body, by being thrown upon the right arm  of the opponent, will detract in a corresponding degree from the weight upon, or firmness of, the feet upon the ground. Now it is certain that the easier and firmer any wrestler feels himself upon the ground, the less stress there will be upon the arms and breast; and that when all the powers of the frame can at once be brought effectively into action, the more vigorous will be the attack. It is to be remarked that these obstacles apply even to an attack with the left leg; while the lean being from the right, must of course greatly detract from the force of any intended effort to throw an opponent to that side; and the position itself totally precludes the idea of an effective cross buttock; because instead of facilitating the act of getting the foot partly across, or the breast underneath, it acts in the very reverse by contributing to place the body on the outside – an unavoidable consequence of the lean. As for buttocking with the right side, there are very few who ever attempt it, except it is after an outside stroke with the left leg; because in taking hold, the left arm is always above the right; and consequently, when the hold is loose, there is no material obstacle to prevent that side from being thrown in; whereas the right arm, being underneath the oxter, prevents that side from being brought into action with equal freedom and facility; notwithstanding this, there are some few who contrive to throw in the right side with considerable effect; yet against a good wrestler, it must always be considered a losing chance.

It is observable that these remarks apply to the act of taking hold before the contest is begun. The lean to the left acquired after, or during a struggle, is quite a different thing. It is then a certain sign, either that the opponent has lost all command of the hold, or that both parties have their arms round each others neck. If the former be the case, it necessarily implies that the party who has the lean, has broke his opponent’s hold; has himself got a commanding one; is standing perfectly at ease, and is nearly sure of the fall, while his adversary scarcely able to preserve an upright position and without hold, is incapable of making any offensive effort likely to succeed. The only thing he can do, is to attempt to get his side in, and try to buttock; but the other perfectly aware of his movements, will probably catch him under the ribs, and often dispose of him with ease and safety. If both parties have lost hold of the back, he who has the lean is much more advantageously situated than his opponent; he stands freer with his neck and easier with his body; and is consequently more at liberty to assault or defend with a much greater prospect of success. As the two most important objects in wrestling – namely hold and feeling with the breast, are in that situation, of comparatively little consequence, a view of the right leg becomes an object of some consideration, as it implies the fact of the right arm being more up, and the left more down, than his antagonist’s (if the men have any hold) can possibly be; as the buttock is the only attack his opponent can make; and which he cannot make without moving the right leg. On the other hand the person possessing the lean is by no means in so confined a situation. By standing perfectly at ease, he can choose the time of assault, or is fully prepared to avail himself of any effort his antagonist can make; and if he be a good striker with the left leg across the shin, he has every chance of doing so with success; which he ought not to defer doing, lest his antagonist should wrench his head loose, and thus oblige him to forfeit his advantage by taking a fresh hold.

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