Hamstringing is a method of crippling a person or animal so that they cannot walk properly, by cutting the two large tendons at the back of the knees.


A victim of hamstringing cannot stand properly, walk or run once the hamstring
In human anatomy, the hamstring refers to any one of the three posterior thigh muscles, or to the tendons that make up the borders of the space behind the knee. In modern anatomical contexts, however, they usually refer to the posterior thigh muscles, or the tendons of the semitendinosus, the...

 tendons have been cut. The victim is limited to use of the muscles on the top of the thigh for controlling the legs.


Hamstringing chariot
The chariot is a type of horse carriage used in both peace and war as the chief vehicle of many ancient peoples. Ox carts, proto-chariots, were built by the Proto-Indo-Europeans and also built in Mesopotamia as early as 3000 BC. The original horse chariot was a fast, light, open, two wheeled...

 horses as a means of destroying military resources is mentioned in the Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

; in the King James Version it is called houghing, from an old spelling of hock
Hock (zoology)
The hock, or gambrel, is the joint between the tarsal bones and tibia of a digitigrade or unguligrade quadrupedal mammal, such as a horse, cat, or dog...

. In post-slavery Brazil, this method was used to punish Capoeira
Capoeira is a Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, sports, and music. It was created in Brazil mainly by descendants of African slaves with Brazilian native influences, probably beginning in the 16th century...


"Hamstringing" or "to be hamstrung" can also be considered a metaphor which refers to putting someone at any unfair disadvantage with respect to their competitors.
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