T Nation

52 Blocks. Prison-Inspired Boxing?


Had someone bring this up to me. Hard to find info on this. Anyone seen/heard about this style before?

anyone know where i can get more information on this?


sorry. meant to put this video up


I don't see anything except basic boxing technique with extra unnecessary hand movements.

Sounds like something some guys who got locked up came up with to hustle white suburban kids.


thanks man. i had your opinion in mind when i posted this.


No problem.

I'm sure there's useful techniques in it that don't quite fit into the boxing scheme but to call it a "martial art" or "system" like they are is just fraudulent hah.


I have to agree. Watching the two guys sparring outdoors in the second video, all the goofy hand waving stops when they are actually in reach of each other. Anyone with decent punching power is going to go right through most of those little slap-blocks and drop bombs right on your face.


I have heard it called "52", "52 blocks", "52 hand", "Jailhouse Rock", and "Rock and Roll". All I have ever seen with the demos are boxing techniques mixed with various amounts of wrestling, generic martial arts, "dirty fighting"(I hate that term, since I don't think a given tactic can be dirty unless there are rules that have been aggreed upon, but it seems to fit, and "combatives".

I think I first read about it with refferences to Dennis Newsome in the 90's. Almost always refferences are made to prison and special techniques specific to those circumstances. Usually, but not always, there is a strong racial element. Everytime I see a demonstration it always strikes me as unpolished boxing with some added tricks.

This is probably true in every case that "52" comes up.

I would only temper the "fraudulant" comment with the statement that in many circumstances and cultures families or groups do seem to have "syles" specific to them. I know it goes on in the Philipines, and it was not too long ago that this practice seperated different "schools" or styles in the martial art world. Often the differences are minor, but are held to be of religious importance. Discussing the value or legitimacy of a "school", "style", or "system" is usually a great way to start a fantastic bought of purse swinging over minutia.

I suppose all one really needs to have a "system" is a lineage and history. The Japanese, Chinese, and Korean systems of martial arts that predominate in this country might make it seem like there is more to it because they come from cultures where ancester worship is the order of the day and anything and everything gets written down. Hell, look up all the different Ryu's of tea ceremony or swimming in armor that were around in feudal Japan (and thats just having a hot drink and trying not to drown).

I generally just treat whatever the hell someone self-identifies as being their style as true unless it completely strains logic.


Oh god, am i on sherdog right now. Its a scam, no real fighters train this, they are just trying to sell you snake oil. One of those 52 guys sparred with a real MT guy in BK maybe 2 or 3 years ago, it was like watching a child fight a man.


I've heard of Jailhouse rock. I forget where, but I think Marc Macyoung spoke about it once..

But honestly, any form that comes out of jail is going to be based off the things that are 1) taught in the ghetto and 2) cheap or free.

This pretty much means that wrestling, because it's at every high school, and boxing, which is still very popular in the ghettos and among minorities, especially the hispanics, are going to run things because that's what they grew up learning. Amy techniques added on are just that- an add on.


I agree FighingIrish. My only other point is that sometimes the difference between a "legitimate" offshootand a "thats just _______ with _________ added/changed" is a little fuzzy.

In this case I think it is more of the "Put a name on it to make it special and distinct", followed by "Now this named thing is a product, MY PRODUCT, and I can make money marketing it".

The tipping point of credibility here is that I don't see a whole lot that would not be allowed in a boxing or kickboxing ring. If every distance combination involved kicks to the groin and the inside work had as many eyegouges and groin rips as body punches then I get they are doing something not sport applicable, but still of value. Not seeing it.

So why not train boxers and kickboxers to compete? That is where the money is. If it was about keeping the art pure then there would not be a need for youtube videos and DVD sales.


"Beat n***az toothless, physically cut up like gooses
But with iron* on the sides thugs took no excuses
Therefore, your fifty-two handblocks was useless..."

Gza-Cold World off the Liquid Swords album. Then again, not too many MAs are effective against guns.


gary busey talks about this semi coherently during the self defense themed episode of his show he claims to have used some of the jail house rock techniques during his end fight scene with mel gibson in lethal weapon one.... hes nuts as hell like legit bat shit crazy but he claims its supposed to be relatively comprehensive in terms of inside fighting and in general more cramped quarters combat.....but like i said hes a few light bulbs short of a full submarine regardless if the busey knows it i want to know it



Thanks Dre Cappa and Westdale Warrior,

That makes it official, if Hip Hop and Busey indorse it, it must be the logical choice. Hip Hop has never steered us wrong before, and Busey is nearly an oracle for his...fuck it...watch...clip


I was about to make a point that the hand parry is still a very useful technique in boxing, but then I actually watched the video and saw what everybody meant.

Yeah ew


we have more to learn from busey than we may ever know


That is a great fight scene.


robert a no reason to be a dick eh


I thought you and Dre were kidding and I was sort of rolling with it. Wasn't trying to be a dick. Sorry, if it came off that way. I figured the Busey video would be enough to peg anyones sarcasm meter.


Robert A


Those of us with keen eyes and brutal senses of humor caught the joke, no worries.


No apologies, this is the fucking combat forum....