“Physical Culture and Self Defense” by Fitzsimmons (1901)

Our indefatigable friend Kirk Lawson recently finished transcribing another martial classic. This one was on my list, but he saved me the trouble with this faithful reproduction. Here’s his description:


As with all other retranscribed antique manuals that I republish, the text is available for free. You can download it at no charge. The treeware version is at “cost.”

Born June 4, 1862, Robert Fitzsimmons began boxing first as an amateur n Australia, defeating four men in his debut. He quickly transitioned to professional, and in the late 19th Century met and defeated numerous well known champions of the day including Dempsey, Maher, Hall, Creedon, Corbett, Ruhlin, Sharkey, ‘and others of like note.’ retaining and defending the Heavy-Weight title until June 9, 1899.

In retired life, Fitzsimmons taught Boxing, Self-Defense, and Physical Fitness, then known as “Physical Culture.” In 1901, he published his Fitness and Boxing manual titled “Physical Culture and Self Defense” which included material from earlier articles he had written.

This book is a faithful transcription by Kirk Lawson of the original text. Special attention has been given to recreating the look and feel of the original document, including similar fonts, the preservation of spelling, hyphenation, and intentionally blank pages.

You can get the book at: http://www.lulu.com/content/1921948

While you’re there, check out Kirk’s other offerings:

On the Mat-and Off by Hjalmar Lundin (1937)

A new reprint is now available that offers a nice counter balance to Fall Guys because it deals with wrestling in the days leading to that transition to complete entertainment rather than after.

Lundin arrived in the U.S. in 1893 and was touring as a strongman by 1894. For decades following, he toured the U.S. and other countries as an exceptional wrestler. Lundin documents his associations with the most famous wrestlers of his time, such as Farmer Burns, Frank Gotch, Mitsuyo Maeda (Konde Koma), Ed “Strangler” Lewis, Tom Jenkins, George Hackenschmidt, Jim Londos, and many others.

Lundin describes the differences between the “shooting” matches and the “works” that came later. He tells who could wrestle and who couldn’t, and discusses everyone from Olympians to those who made their living purely as entertainers in the rasslin’ ring.

Included is Lundin’s account of his defeat of Mitsuyo Maeda, the man responsible for Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Unfortunately, the cover photo renders poorly on the sale site, but it actually looks fine, more like is seen here.

Fire Sale and Free Book Downloads

I recently marked down all of the print reprints to cut-rate prices. I also enabled free downloads for electronic versions as well [Update- downloads are now cheap, with some available online by clicking “REPRINTS” at top right].

Please note that the downloads are optimized for printing, rather than reading online, but it should still be a good experience. I don’t know offhand how some of the current ebook readers will handle the more graphics-intensive downloads, but if it’s a problem, print it out on a good printer and you’ll have a nice read.

I had originally hoped that the sale of reprints would subsidize the purchase of future rare books to reprint in turn, but the time and cost of making a reprint compared to the miniscule return is simply not worth it.

Therefore, I cut the paperback reprints prices and enabled free downloads in order to better disseminate this information, which was the goal to begin with.

Click here or on the reprints tab at the top of the page to see all available titles.