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My Methods or Boxing as a Fine Art (1913)

This text, which consists of boxing instruction with some autobiographical anecdote thrown in, appears to date from the period between June 1913 (the first Carpentier-Wells fight, in which Carpentier won the heavyweight championship of Europe for the first time, at age nineteen) and December 1913 (the rematch with Wells). This is made clear by the fact that the text refers to “my engagement with Wells” (25) in the singular and has a chapter title with a reference to Wells also in the singular: “The Principal Punches Used in My Contest with Bombardier Wells” (Chapter V, 58-70, which includes a detailed description of the June 1913 fight with Wells). As with Comment Je Suis Devenu Champion d’Europe  (1911), the volume was timed to be available to the public very soon after Carpentier won a high-profile title.

No information available about the original French text. My Methods is, however, presented as a translation from the French, by F. Hurdman-Lucas. There were at least three English editions; in addition to one from 1913, there is an edition from 1920, published by Ewart/Seymour, and a third edition, published by Athletic Publications, Ltd. Of London. The third edition identifies Carpentier on the cover as “Former Light-heavyweight Champion of the World,” meaning it post-dates 1922 (but the picture on the cover is a much younger Carpentier, circa 1913).

There were also at least two German editions: Meine Methode des Boxens: praktische Anleitung zur Ausübung der edlen Kunst der Selbstverteidigung (Leipzig: Grethlein, 1914) and another from the 1920’s. And a Dutch edition as well: Mijn loopbaan als bokser (1922, translated by J. L. van der Moer).

In addition to the descriptions of the first fight with Wells, there are mentions of the fights with Frank Klaus and Billy Papke (both 1912) and photographs of Carpentier demonstrating various stances, guards and punches as well. The volume also contains the first instance of Carpentier’s referring to a French style of boxing.  After explanations of the English style, the American style and the distinction between the two, he talks about an amalgam of the two that has recently evolved in France, incorporating elements of both traditional English long-range, stand-up boxing and newer, rougher American infighting and clinching techniques (“Now what is the French style of boxing? Simply English science blended with American ruggedness.” [13] and “while the English and American methods may each possess the very best principles of the pugilistic art, French method is striving to unite them into a perfect whole” [8]).