Monday, October 11, 1999

JAILHOUSE ROCK - Very Brief Summary by dempsy


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 Dempsy for all his work in getting this info public.


From: dempsy
Date: 20-Aug-99 | 11:49 AM

HEY I did talk to newsome GREAT GUY! i posted a LONG reply to the jail house question

here is a very brief summery (since i am at work hehe)

ok 1. its tough it has tech in all 4 ranges.

2. there are different systems of jail house rock. most are named for all diff things like where they started and other analogies. like Newsome does the 52. many think this is because there are 52 moves this is wrong its 52 because of the card game 52 the motto is "the cards land where they may" like the tech in "52".

3. NO white people can learn it. Newsome said he only had heard of one white guy who had learned it. this is due to it being thought of as a secret weapon of the african people. they dont show it to others cause then it could be used against them... sounds like kung fu situation way back when.

4.some of the tech they use. the "L" sounds like a frame as its used in combat sambo from the description newsome gave. also they have "gangsta locks" that sounds to be just like trapping. the moves are very brutal.

5. whats it based on? the art of the africans in the first prisons here in the us. capoeria's parent art maybe? it evolved into its own thing though.

6. whats it look like? i have heard accountts from newsome that silat and capoeria bear the most resemblance. also others have told me who claim to have seen it that it looks like silat. which makes sense because capoeria angola the real old traditional system looks like some silat forms.

7. Newsome said that it blows asian arts out of the water and that he trains other main stream arts but with his life on the line he would count on JHR first.

8.WHY dont we see it anywhere? well convicts and ex cons dont make the best commercial martial arts teachers, plus they dont want to share the secrets with blacks half the time and virtually never with non-blacks (newsome said black refers to any one of african descent which includes carribean people and brazilians)

10. WHere to see it? well he choreographed leathal weapon 1 so look for bits of it in there, also Newsome claims that tyson knows at least the basics of at least on JHR system and that if you watch the Bone crushe smith fight with tyson you can see him do some moves. he said that alot of people who know it go into boxing and use the art to give them an edge.

11. Where to find it? JAIL! and after that inner city black boxing gyms MAYBE but no one says they know it everyone plays dumb. Newsome himself DOES NOT teach this art comercially. the gang bangers and younger street thugs DO NOT know the art. Newsome had negative things to say about the level of fighting skill of those people. interesting story: a guy named mother dear on the east coast took out 9 inmates also using jail house rock, by himself. now this is impressive supposedly because 9 guys is tough but 9 JHR guys is supposed to be impossible. but he did and his rep supposedly went as far as the west coast jails. A guy later on the street lasted 5 min with mother dear and when he went into the joint he was like a legend just for lasting that long. so mother dear is like the rickson gracie of JHR lol/.

OH newsome also said DONT wrestle on the street.

sorry this was so short i have to run


From: Burton
Date: 20-Aug-99 | 09:16 PM

I met Dennis Newsome, and he was not polite to me or Marc Denny, presumably due to our lack of African Heritage. I find it funny, though, because I have trained with Zulu warriors in South Africa on 3 different occasions, and they were extremely nice and eager to share. They treat me like family each time I show up in the village, without any racial tension. Just a group of people who love to practice fighting. I hate this idiotic racial stuff, and I don't think we should condone a racist attitude by making it sound like it is his right to exclude people because of their skin color. That is my rant! Enjoy!


From: m.g
Date: 21-Aug-99 | 04:34 PM

Inside Kungfu published a book which featured different styles from around the world. In this book they had a section for Brazil. The Gracie's (Rorion, Royce, Renzo, Rickson, Rillion, Rolker, and Carlos Machado) demostrated their style. Now Newsome was one of the demostrators in the Brazilian section show the style of Capoeira. In the section for Africa Newsome is there demostrating the style of Re efi Areh Ehsee, which as already mention is a Ethiopian style. Then in the section for America Newsome is shown demostrating the style of Jailhouse Rock. Now all the techniques Newsome demostrated seemed pretty good. The Capoeria one was okay but I was impressed with the Ethiopian style as well as Jailhouse Rock. It does seem to be very Silat looking. But it is hard to say whether Jailhouse Rock is actually a system or if it is name attached to a type of fighting which is common in prison. Who to say that Jail- house rock is nothing more than an already establish type of fighting just renamed or adapted to the life of prison. I just can't see how prisoners could develop something that sophisticated in such harsh conditions. I think Newsome took his knowledge of Capoeira and that Ethiopian style and then called jailhouse rock.


From: Real grounder
Date: 23-Aug-99 | 05:26 AM

Mother dear is fiction, so is the fairy tale of destroying 9 fighters. All prison fights that begin behind you, don't use empty hands. All fights that face you are multiple foes. Although Mother dears cousin was abducted by UFO's.


From: dempsy
Date: 23-Aug-99 | 10:05 AM

I added the mother dear story as an example of JHR's legendary fighter. like kung fu, karate, etc etc. they all have one and they are just plain fun to hear. I mean if we can listen about blind kung fu masters who tear out eyeballs and show them to you we can listen about mother dear. lol/

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 - Very Brief Summary by dempsy of its snapshot of my old archives.



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