Monday, October 11, 1999

Jailhouse Rock technique post by Ron_RPL96


If I missed a post/thread on Jailhouse Rock, please email me at When I have time I will scan in an article by Dennis Newsome about Testa, which is a Latin word which means "head" and is an African art on headbutting. The article was published in 1982 or so in Inside Kung Fu.

Thanks to Underground forum member Ron_RPL96 for all his work in getting this info public.

Jailhouse Rock technique post by Ron_RPL96

Subject: I learned a jailhouse rock technique
From: Ron_RPL96
Date: 29-Sep-99 | 02:16 PM


There have already been a few posts on the subject of Jailhouse Rock. Last night I learned one of the techniques and I am passing it along here.

The person I learned this from, first of all, does not refer to JHR as JHR, but as Jailhouse Boxing. He also said that the connection between JHR and Capoeira is tenuous, as Jailhouse Boxing has no "large, circular kicks" (e.g. roundhouse, cyclone, hook, etc.).

He did, however, see the connection as both are arts rooted in the need for enslaved people to defend themselves. Capoeira, I was told, has the large, circular kicks because its practitioners were usually bound at the wrists.

The main philosophy in JHR/ JHB is to utilize your surroundings (i.e. the walls in a close space) to your advantage.

Also, he said that Jailhouse Boxing concentrates heavily on defending against armed (blade) attacks.

Anyway, the technique that I learned was how to throw a Jailhouse Boxing punch. Basically, you put one foot on the wall behind you and as you punch, you push off the wall. I tried this at home, and found that I could cover maybe a 5 to 6 foot distance with a good, sound punch. The front kick variation works on the same principle.

- Ron


From: ripsnorter
Date: 30-Sep-99 | 02:13 PM

anybody know where i can get more info on denis newsome and jailhouse?


From: Reynaldo
Date: 30-Sep-99 | 02:43 PM

"The main philosophy in JHR/ JHB is to utilize your surroundings (i.e. the walls in a close space) to your advantage."

makes sense..that's what I culled from the book...tremedous infighting emphasis

who showed you? and where?


From: Ron_RPL96
Date: 30-Sep-99 | 03:58 PM

The person who showed me is my instructor, who is actually a former policeman. He showed me the technique in the dojo.

Sad to say, he admitted he knows very little about JHR/ JHB and said that very little exists in writing about the discipline. He only knew of those two techniques and that knife defenses exist (I don't know if he knows any of them).

Anyway, Kirik, maybe you can add the JHR punch to the Fighter's Notebook!!! :-)

- Ron


From: valetudo22
Date: 30-Sep-99 | 07:14 PM

Dennis Newsome was one of the fight choreographers on Lethal Weapon 1, along with Rorion Gracie.


From: Ron_RPL96
Date: 30-Sep-99 | 10:05 PM

Hello Ripsnorter,

The Underground Forum is the only place where I have seen anything on Jailhouse Rock/ Jailhouse Boxing. The only other source was my instructor, who is a former policeman and police instructor.

Anyway, Jailhouse Rock is in my mind often because my college is only two blocks away from a major prison in Texas. I go to school at Sam Houston State University which is reknowned for its Criminal Justice program. The Huntsville State Prison is only three blocks or so away. You can see some of the prisoners during the day cleaning trash and doing lawnwork outside.

I would check out Stickgrappler's site.

- Ron


From: Stickgrappler
Date: 30-Sep-99 | 11:30 PM

From the Lethal Weapon 4 site

"A second technical advisor, DENNIS NEWSOME, brought Jailhouse Rock to the fight sequence. An indigenous Black American fighting art, it was started in the 19th Century America, when slaves were first institutionalized and needed to defend themselves. It evolved secretly within the U.S. penal system, with regional styles reflecting the physical realities in specific institutions, e.g., Comstock style, San Quentin style, and others."


Besides Dennis Newsome and Rorion/GJJ, Cedric Adams = Capoiera was also brought in.

Other 52/Jailhouse Rock posts:

NOTE: Posted 10/12/2015 as of 10/11/1999 to mirror date of my original post from my old archives which has been deleted by Tripod without my knowledge. You can see the Internet Archive's link Jailhouse Rock technique post by Ron_RPL96 of its snapshot of my old archives.



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