“Drunk History (US)” Drunkenly Explains Suffrajitsu

The popular TV comedy series Drunk History offers its inebriated (and somewhat NSFW) take on the suffrajitsu saga, starring Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) as Emmeline Pankhurst, Maria Blasucci (Ghost Girls) as Edith Garrud and Ket Dennings (2 Broke Girls) as Gert Harding.

We’ve previously (and pedantically) detailed some of the show’s more radical departures from what actually happened in history, but it’s an entertaining 5.5 minutes and it’s nice that the full episode has now been made freely available.

Bartitsu to Feature on BBC2’s “Celebrity Antiques Road Trip” on Friday Nov. 16th

Viewers with access to BBC2 should keep an eye out for this upcoming episode of the popular Celebrity Antiques Road Trip series, in which comedians Al Murray and Paul Chowdhry hunt for antiques whose auction sales will benefit the BBC’s Children in Need charity. A tangent will also see Paul Chowdhry investigating Bartitsu, in collaboration with the Manley Academy of Historical Swordsmanship.

Stick Fighting and Pugilism Videos from Day 1 of BartitsuCon 2018

Instructors at the BartitsuCon interclub seminar and sparring event offer tips on close-quarters cane applications and the delivery of the “chopper” punch:

Yukio Tani vs. the Masked Wrestler (April, 1909)

Still popular today in Mexican and Japanese pro-wrestling circles, the “masked wrestler” gimmick originated in Paris during the year 1867.  The original “Lutteur Masqué” was rumoured to be an athletic aristocrat who kept his identity secret so as not to bring shame upon his family.

The same story and gimmick was reported to have re-appeared about ten years later in  Bucharest.  In that instance, the masked circus wrestler was rumoured to be none other than “Prince Stourdja of Moldavia”, grappling incognito; it was also reported that a riot nearly ensued when a careless circus employee let slip the masked man’s real identity as a humble, but muscular, clown and roustabout.

“The True Masked Wrestler”.

Although the mask gimmick remained a rarity,  it entered the zeitgeist to the extent that a masked wrestler character appeared in a 1903 English stage melodrama titled The Village Blacksmith, a play that would remain popular on the provincial circuit for some years to come.

In March of 1909, dramatic newspaper announcements heralded the arrival of a new “Masked Man” (M.M.) who intended to challenge former Bartitsu Club instructor Yukio Tani to a match under jiujitsu rules. The allegedly Continental grappler was speculated to be a disguised Aleksander Aberg, Frank Gotch or even the great Hackenschmidt himself, and was said to have previously challenged the famed Stanislaus Zbyszko.

At this point it’s worth noting that very limited credence can be given to anonymous newspaper reports about the activities of masked wrestlers, perhaps especially when they coincide with tours of a popular melodrama likewise featuring a M.M.  That said, The Sporting Life did its due diligence in covering the M.M./Tani challenge, especially after the two parties met at the Sporting Life office to discuss terms for the match.

Noting as usual that the term “Jap” was not used pejoratively during the very early 20th century, here follows the Sporting Life report on that meeting, from their March 26th, 1909 issue:


“A man of good family, who is traveling all over Europe for the sake of ‘taking down’ some of those wrestlers who think so much of themselves,” is the character of the notorious Man with the Mask, who has struggled with Zybysko in Vienna, and who has been mistaken for Hackenschmidt, Gotch and  Aberg. This description was given to us by Herr Neiman, the M.M.’s manager, who according to promise came to the St. Bride Street office of the Sporting Life yesterday afternoon, .

Mr. J Harrison, Tani’s manager, and Mr. Adam King had already arrived, and Herr Neiman was at once asked what he had to propose. Herr Neiman said he was in London with the M.M. for the purpose of wrestling and beating Tani, and he would deposit with the Sporting Life now £100 or £200 as a side stake in a match with Tani. The M.M. had some holds that Tani had never even dreamed of, and with these he would best the Jap.

The editor of the Sporting Life said that he hoped that no attempt would be made to play this hoary Continental trick on the long-suffering supporters of wrestling in England. The Sporting Life would not accept any money for a match in the mountebank style of wrestling, and it would strongly advise Tani, who had a good reputation in England, to steer clear of any trickery such as a man in a mask suggested. The Sporting life hoped that the man would take off his mask and tackle Tani, and only because of that hope had it allowed the man to meet in St. Bride Street.

Mr. Harrison said he could say nothing of (illegible), except that Tani would very willingly wrestle the M.M. on the ordinary terms – £20 if he stood for 15 minutes and £100 if he beat Tani, but the wrestler must be without a mask.

Herr Neiman then declared threateningly that if Tani not make a match the M.M. would find out where he was and follow him all over the country.

Mr. Harrison, amused, said he would give Herr Neiman Tani’s address, and he was further assured that a bluff of that kind would avail him nothing.

Herr Neiman said the man would not take off his mask for a million pounds, and someone suggested that it would not be safe to offer 10. Mr. Harrison said that if this man wanted to wrestle Tani with a sack over his head, Tani would wrestle him with a hammer in his hand.

We suggested that if the man would not take off his mask, he should as promised wrestle in private, but Herr Neiman declared that the M.M. had never yet wrestled in private and he did not want to start.

Wherefore we are forced to the conclusion that he is after a “gate”.

There being no prospect of unmasking this wonderful wrestler, the meeting was abortive and we shall hear the next news of the masked man from the provinces, where Tani will be performing next week.

All that we were able to glean of the wrestler who affects the mask was that he is a white man , stands about 5’8″ or 5’9″ and weighs between 13 1/2 stone and 14 stone . He wrestles (his manager says) as a hobby and he comes from so good a family that he does not want anyone to know him.


It’s evident, however, that either the colourful wrangling over terms was part of the show, or that actual terms were decided privately, because Tani and the Masked Man did compete in several jiujitsu matches during April of 1909.   The first contest took place in Newcastle on Saturday, April 1st, and was duly (and somewhat disapprovingly) described in the next day’s issue of the Sporting Life:


Wrestling has quite suddenly become interesting, if some aspects of it are not particularly edifying. We have some mountebank tricks at Newcastle-upon-Tyne where we find Yukio Tani, notwithstanding the advice we gave him last week, wrestling the man who conceals his identity, and saves his noble family from the disgrace of wrestling, behind a mask. We are astonished that Tani should mix himself up with mountebank business of this kind.

We have been informed that the man in the mask is really an official of a foreign government, and a good amateur, and that those are the reasons why he is literally keeping it dark. We cannot congratulate the continent on its amateurs. This masked man, we are further informed, is wrestling purely for the sport. He must indeed be a keen sportsman if he follows his Zybysko from Vienna to Lodz and from Lodz to St. Petersburg, and, having taken the measures of the (illegible) to England and hurries up to Newcastle- upon-Tyne after Tani, who in private, report says, once brought the mighty Zybysko low.

The masked wrestler of continental fame appeared in a match against Yukio Tani, the famous jujitsu wrestler, at the Pavilion Theatre, Newcastle, last night, and stayed at the stipulated 15 minutes against the Japanese with ease. In fact, the unknown forced matters at a terrific pace for practically the whole time, exhibiting tremendous strength and evading Tani’s frequent attempts at leg holds over the neck. The masked man is undoubtedly an accomplished wrestler, though lacking in knowledge of the Japanese style, and is a splendidly developed athlete.

The Sporting Life’s skepticism re. the masked wrestler schtick was undoubtedly justified – among other things, even if the stories about the M.M. pursuing Zybysko all over Europe were true, there would be no practical way of ascertaining whether he was the same M.M. who was currently challenging Yukio Tani.  However – assuming that the actual match was a legitimate contest of skill – he must indeed have been a proficient grappler, because few wrestlers were able to last the stipulated time against Tani in his prime.

Their next recorded clash took place in the nearby town of Gateshead on the 10th of April:


On Saturday, at the Metropole Theatre, Gateshead, Yukio Tani, the famous ju-jitsu wrestler, met the “Masked Man” for £lOO a-side, in a contest under ju-jitsu rules. The “Masked Man”, since his first appearance in this country, has excited considerable curiosity, and on this occasion removed his mask for the first time.  He had had two previous unfinished contests with the Jap, and the conditions for the third meeting were a wrestle to a finish.

The “Masked Man,” though uncovered, had not had his identity revealed, though it is understood that he is a German, and has achieved considerable distinction as champion wrestler. He scales 14st. 91bs., against the Japanese wrestler’s 9st.

There was a large audience, and the umpire was Mr. Collingridge, of Newcastle. On the last occasion the pair met, the Masked Man was on the aggressive for the most part of the bout, but this time the Jap went on other tactics, and at once led off. He got his man down first, and very soon tried his favourite arm-lock, but he was not strong enough to use it to effect. The first ten minutes of the contest saw Tani doing most of the work, but his heavy opponent was playing a waiting game, and ultimately took a turn at forcing the work.

When the German got his hold he held his light opponent with apparent case, but Tani was much too clever in avoiding awkward holds, and slipped out of them when seemed to be in a bad way.  He tried his arm lock as a  counter-move to the German, but the latter was always safe in relying upon his strength to get out of trouble. After about 30 minutes of keen wrestling, the Jap looked like giving his opponent the head press, but after several attempts he was unable to muster strength enough to turn his opponent’s body over.

After a breather, on the conclusion of half an hour’s exciting work, Tani assumed the offensive, and got a strangle hold, which he was unable to use, however, to much advantage. The German took up the fighting, and for few minutes forced the pace. Tani, waiting his opportunity, however, got a verdict before most people expected it, for, at the close of nearly eight minutes’ wrestling,  he secured a neck lock, which gained him a well-deserved victory. The time of the contest was 37 minutes and 45 seconds. Tani was warmly applauded on the verdict.


Mr. Collingridge, the Newcastle-based umpire, was almost certainly W.H. Collingridge, who was himself a jiujitsu student and then instructor, as well as the author of Tricks of Self Defence (1914).

Despite the journalist’s comment suggesting that this was the third meeting between the M.M. and Tani, there seem to be no records of a bout between the Newcastle match and this one in Gateshead.  In any case, the M.M.’s unmasking for this encounter may well have been part of the terms reached between the two promotions. 

The mysterious hooded grappler’s actual identity was never publicly confirmed and has now been lost to history.

“No Man Shall Protect Us” Suffragette Bodyguard Documentary Reviewed by Dr. Emelyne Godfrey

Directed by Tony and Kathrynne Wolf, No Man Shall Protect Us: The Hidden History of the Suffragette Bodyguards (2018), written by Tony Wolf, offers a lucid and rousing yet sensitively balanced account of the role of the role of martial arts in the campaign of the Women’s Social and Political Union. The documentary, which is backgrounded by evocative piano music and songs of the era, looks back across the late-Victorian era to the 1900s, considering Edward William Barton-Wright’s introduction of jujitsu to Britain and its emergence in mainstream popular culture. The story is nicely accompanied by a wide range of contemporary photography, film and illustrations.

Much of action is set in the months following the passing of the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-health) Act, 1913 under which suffragettes could be released from jail to recover sufficiently (watched by the police) in order to be recaptured and see out the remainder of their sentences. The Act signalled a cycle of releases and rearrests, the government toying with the released prisoners as a cat would taunt a mouse. Mrs Pankhurst was the most famous of mouse of all and she needed special protection: her team of jujitsu-trained supporters, known simply as ‘The Bodyguard’.

Lizzie Bourne, who is an experienced voiceover artist, presents to camera and, with her measured style of narration, sets the keynote to this documentary. Her gentle tone acts as a counterpoint to Debra Ann Miller’s fiery Mrs Pankhurst and Lynne Baker’s compelling yet intimidating jujitsu instructor Mrs Garrud. Excerpts from the play The Good Fight give a sense of the shape of the confrontations between the Bodyguard and the police – whom Mrs Pankhurst called ‘tools of the government’ – as well as offer an insight into how the story of the Bodyguard is celebrated today. The confrontation scenes also underline Tony’s argument that the Bodyguard fought two battles, ‘one at street level and the other as cogs in a well-oiled suffragette propaganda machine’.

The actors have been well selected. I particularly liked Scottie Caldwell’s depiction of Gertrude Harding, who gives us her account as she pours a cup of tea, a copy of The Suffragette in front of her. It’s a scene which reminds me of Godfrey Winn’s interview with Edith Garrud as well as Brian Harrison’s well-known recordings of suffragettes who drink tea and chat to him over cake about their experiences. There are some lovely details, such Gert and Kathrynne Wolf’s Janie Allen standing behind Mrs Pankhurst, deftly signalling information to each other.

While David Skvarla’s accent is a touch over-lilted, it was pleasing to see Chief Constable James Stephenson charismatically being given a meaningful place in the suffragette story. His perspective was not downplayed here as is so often the case in suffragette history, nor reduced to a faceless police report.

We also see the viewpoint of the government represented. The film which accompanies the Votes for Women exhibition at the Museum of London argues that forcible feeding did not improve the condition of hunger-striking women and even set them back. However, as Tony Wolf points out, prison officials were duty bound to preserve life, otherwise protestors would have died in their care. It was out of this predicament in which the government found itself, not to mention the bad press elicited by forcible feeding, that the Cat and Mouse Act emerged.

The documentary is not only a valuable account of the Bodyguard, with a discussion of modern parallels, but also shows that the ‘Jujutsuffragettes’ are not merely a niche subject within suffragette history. Rather, the documentary invites us to consider the wider symbolic impact of jujitsu on the women’s suffrage campaign. ‘The image of radical suffragettes being helplessly led, carried away or dragged by much larger police constables was central to the popular conception of the suffrage movement,’ Tony says, ‘Therefore, photographs of the petite Edith Garrud, seemingly defeating policemen with deft jujitsu locks, struck a powerfully transgressive chord.’ In that case, perhaps the police were in fact the tools of the suffragettes?


No Man Shall Protect Us is freely available for viewing via this link.

About the reviewer: Since graduating from Birkbeck College, London in 2008, Emelyne now works as a freelance writer specialising in the 19th century. Her books include “Masculinity, Crime and Self-Defence in Victorian Literature: Duelling with Danger” (2010), which looks at crime-fighting from the seldom-explored viewpoint of the civilian city-goer. A sister volume, “Femininity, Crime and Self-Defence in Victorian Literature and Society: From Dagger-Fans to Suffragettes” was published in 2013. 

Emelyne is currently writing her next book, “Kitty and the Cats: Mrs Pankhurst’s Suffragette Bodyguard and the London Police”, which tells the story of Emily Katherine Willoughby Marshall, a member of the ‘Bodyguard’.  She became Emmeline Pankhurst’s close friend and was the chief organiser of her memorial, standing today in Victoria Tower Gardens, Westminster.

Emelyn is a regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement and History Today, and has appeared on BBC television and radio. She is the current Chairman of the HG Wells Society.

Further information can be found at www.emelynegodfrey.com

“Dexterity and Quickness”: Vigny Cane Shadow-Fighting

Chilean stickfighter Andres Morales demonstrates a shadow-fighting exercise with a ball-handled cane in this new video.  Most of the techniques shown are from the Vigny style, with some reverse-grip influence from Arturo Bonafont.

Santiago Stickfighting, sombra con walking stick.

Geplaatst door Andres Pino Morales op Zaterdag 3 november 2018

A spectator at one of Pierre Vigny’s Bartitsu cane demonstrations during March of 1900 wrote:

Everybody has heard of this new defence and offence, but it was a revelation to the audience to see the splendid development, the dexterity and quickness, and even grace, of the exponents of this really wonderful science.

A striking feature of the training is that in all the exercises the pupil must become ambidextrous; in fact, the rapid transference of the walking-stick from one hand to the other was, to the uninitiated at least, one of the most powerful factors in offence and defence, and one likely to prove most puzzling to the opponent.

BartitsuCon 2018 is Coming Up Fast!

A reminder that BartitsuCon 2018 is now less than a week away!  Tickets are still available for this UK-based interclub seminar and sparring event, which will feature classes by multiple instructors in old-school boxing and savate, cane fighting, jiujitsu, catch wrestling and improvised weaponry.

Bartitsu

Bartitsu: the late Victorian way to stomp out a hostile bretheren.

Geplaatst door The Bartitsu Lab op Woensdag 8 augustus 2018

The “Great Anglo-Japanese Tournament” at Liverpool’s Adelphi Theatre (April, 1902)

Liverpool’s Adelphi Theatre.

The “last hurrah” of the Bartitsu Club as a corporate entity was the ambitious and largely successful “Great Anglo-Japanese Tournament” tour during early-mid 1902.   We’ve previously detailed these provincial Bartitsu exhibitions at the Oxford Town Hall, the Shorncliffe Army Camp base in Kent and the Mechanics Institute Hall in Nottingham; the Club is also known to have exhibited at Cambridge University during this period.

Recent research has confirmed that the 1902 tour extended as far North as Liverpool, where Edward Barton-Wright et al performed a week-long series of tournament contests and displays at the famed Adelphi Theatre in Christian Street.

As usual, the first notice Liverpudlians had of Barton-Wright’s impending visit came in the form of challenge notices printed in their local newspaper.  Lancashire was, of course, the birthplace of the renowned catch-as-catch-can style of wrestling, and a Liverpool Echo journalist picked the story up, commenting that although they had heard great things about the “New Art of Self Defence” from London, Lancastrians knew a thing or two about the grappling game and would adopt a “wait and see” approach:


Anglo-Japanese wrestling in Liverpool

The Bartitsu self-defense system
An orchid fancier, when he makes an important find or successfully hybridizes, generally perpetuates himself in the nomenclature of the plant. In the field of athletics Mr. Barton Wright seems to have done both, and, applying the first syllable of his own name to the Japanese phrase which is equivalent to our “to the finish”, gives to the world “Bartitsu” as the appropriate name of the system of self-defence for which he claims results that, to those ignorant of anatomy, might seem almost incredible.

Bartitsu in its fullness is described as consisting of a means of self-preservation against hooliganism, which enables a man a very slight build to hold his own against a giant. With the Japanese system of wrestling and its wonderful knowledge of anatomy as a basis, Mr. Barton-Wright has set himself to add to it by calling from other systems of wrestling as well as boxing, singlestick, etc., all that is most applicable to a perfect system of self-defense under all possible circumstances.

We of Liverpool, who in the past decade have seen more of championship wrestling than the rest of the world taken together, aren’t actually inclined to accepting anything regarding matters agonistic on the ipse dixit of any other place. If, however, all that is reported of Bartitsu from the Metropolis is such as we are likely to find it, Liverpool will not be behindhand in its acclamation.

Mr. Barton-Wright’s combination, including two celebrated Japanese wrestlers, who are credited with doing some wonderful things in resistance as well as attack, opens this evening a week’s performance at the Adelphi Theater, Christian Street, which has been very much brightened up for the occasion. These events, which seem to pit the Japanese system of wrestling against our own Lancashire style and to involve other equally interesting considerations, will be awaited with great expectancy.

– Liverpool Echo, 31 March, 1902 


It may be worth noting that “combination”, in this context, implies a team of professional athletes, and that the Echo journalist confused Pierre Vigny’s art of walking stick defence with the sport of singlestick fencing.

Another story appeared in the Echo a few days later (noting, as usual, that the term “Jap” was not pejorative during this period, being rather a simple abbreviation like “Brit” for “British”):


Japanese wrestling in Liverpool

 Forthcoming visit of the Japanese exponents

If the “Japs”, in their enterprising and praiseworthy search after scientific knowledge, have had to borrow extensively from Britain and other Western nationalities, it appears that they are in a position to return the compliment by showing us some valuable “pins” and how best to take care of ourselves when threatened as individuals with personal hostility.

For quite a decade, Liverpool people have had the advantage over other centers, not excluding even the mighty Metropolis, and seeing by far the larger share of the championship Greco-Roman and catch-as-catch-can wrestling matches. On the other hand, in regards to the Bartitsu method of self-defence , regarding which such wonderful reports have for months been appearing in print, London has had the better of us.

At last, however, Mr. Barton-Wright is coming with his lightweight Japanese wrestlers to show what it what extraordinary results man of slight build, but armed with easily learned scientific knowledge, can obtain against heavyweight hooliganism. Mr. Barton-Wright is to open a week’s entertainment of a varied and attractive program on Monday next, in the Adelphi Theater.


The first exhibition, on the evening of March 31st, was received with great acclaim (although later reports suggested that the attendance on that night was low):


The Wonderful Japanese Wrestlers in Liverpool

 The Bartitsu Method of Self-Defence

Last evening, Mr. Barton-Wright and his athletic combination, who have for several months been creating such a furore among sporting circles in London, entered upon a week’s entertainment in the Adelphi Theater, Christian Street. In anticipation of the event, Liverpool people have seen so much of championship wrestling during several years, and are naturally rather chary in giving credence to the wonderful things related of Mr. Barton-Wright’s Japanese wrestlers and his combination generally.

Now that they have had an opportunity of witnessing it for themselves, there is no doubt about the superlative degree with which the verdict would be given. The neatness and lightning quickness with which falls occur in the Japanese practice is something that must be seen to be believed. Their performance consists of three classes of display, commencing with the foiling of sudden attacks by dextrous movement and sudden assumptions of the best wrestling positions with strength momentarily applied in the nick of time.

Following that are several wrestling bouts, in which the falls are obtained with equal dexterity, the feet, which are bare, playing an important and a wonderfully clever part in the struggle. Balance, or rather the sudden deprivation of it, obviously plays a very prominent part in these bouts, which can hardly be called “struggles”, so quickly is the controlling force brought into operation.

They also illustrate how effectually a man lying on his back may defend himself against an aggressor on foot, while giving far more than he receives. Several new counter checks for the cross buttock are also in evidence to the great admiration of the onlooking, and one artiste lying on his back, and held down by a pole across his throat, and kept in the position by the weight of two men on each side, releases himself by sudden exertion, the operation being so deftly performed that the eye can scarcely follow it.

That part of the display would of itself be a very fine entertainment for lovers of really scientific athletics, but several additional turns bear out both the novelty and the excellence of the whole display. The combination comprises a most remarkable exhibition of ball punching by Mr. D. Meier, described as the champion of the world and certainly the best we have seen in Liverpool.

La Savate is a style of boxing very much in evidence in France, but absent from Liverpool for very many years. A very able display of that art of self-defense is given by Pierre Vigny opposed to Wolfe (sic – should read “Woolf”) Bendoff, a well-known heavyweight boxer of decided ability.  Monsieur Vigny also gives an able exposition of the most comfortable and effective use of the walking stick in self-defence.

Not the least important item in the program is the catch-as-catch-can wrestling competition contended for each night with Armand Cherpillod, the celebrated Swiss wrestler. Last night the contest was between him and Charles Green, of Wigan, a well-known heavyweight who was pinned down upon his shoulders after fully 40 minutes industrious wrestling, in which the Swiss put in a kind of leg roll which was new to many of the spectators.

Tonight Cherpillod’s opponent will be the famous Joe Caroll, whose long and exciting struggles with the renowned American, Jack Carkeek, two years ago, are still well remembered. Mr. Sam Nixon officiated as referee last evening, and Mr. T. Walsh as timekeeper.


The Cherpillod/Carroll contest on Tuesday night was effectively a rematch of their famous catch-as-catch-can contest at London’s St. James’s Hall a few months prior.    After training with Tani and Uyenishi, Cherpillod had won the St. James’s Hall challenge match, and so his struggle with Joe Carroll at the Adelphi was the highlight of that evening’s action:


Japanese and European wrestling in Liverpool

Mr. Barton-Wright’s Wonderful Combination
Cherpillod and Joe Caroll in Catch-as-catch Can

 Mr. Barton-Wright’s remarkably clever combination of experts in Japanese and European wrestling, Bartitsu self-defence with a walking stick, boxing, savant, ball punching, etc. was again presented last evening to a highly appreciative Liverpool audience.

The Japanese secret art of wrestling by the two lightweights Japanese champions elicited tokens of unbounded admiration, and occasionally a good deal of laughter, on account of the apparently magical style in which falls were achieved. So suddenly and unexpectedly were they brought about as to elicit the general comment that they were far too quick for the eye to follow them. One noticeable point in regards to either contestant who scored a particular fall was that, however negligently he appears to be standing at the commencement, his attitude at the close of the movement was always the strongest and the most rigid which science could devise for the purpose.

A remarkably interesting item was a catch-as-catch-can contest between Cherpillod, the Swiss champion, and the celebrated Joe Caroll, who, in prospect of a match a month hence with Carkeek, the American heavyweight, found the event a good opportunity for training practice. Seldom have two men apparently more equally matched in skill and the other qualities essential to success been pitted together. Joe Carroll, as candidate for the 10 pounds offered on behalf of the Swiss, was in the position of defender, but he undertook a large share of the attack, and by his phenomenal bridge-making capacity repeatedly escaped from tight corners occurring through Cherpillod’s strong body rolls, half-Nelsons, etc.

Having succeeded in out-staying the 15 minutes, he was hailed as the winner of the 10 pounds offered as a forfeit. As he has accepted a second challenge for this evening, patrons of agonistic prowess may expect to see something in the nature of the object lesson in regard to clever points. Apart from this event, the general program is one which no lover of excellence in athletics should miss the opportunity of seeing them.


The Wednesday night programme ran much the same:


Mr. Barton-Wright’s Japanese Wrestlers

A Local Catch-as-Catch-Can Champion’s Acceptance
A Britisher and a Japanese Wrestler

Last evening’s program in the Liverpool Adelphi Theatre was highly intensified by a second contest between those redoubtable catch-as-catch-can celebrities Joe Carroll of Hindley and Cherpillod, instructor of the Bartitsu School of Arms. The time limit was set at 15 minutes.

Carroll, as the acceptor of the challenge, being nominally on the defensive, was really doing a full share of the aggressive work . In regard to Cherpillod’s body rolls and Carroll’s splendid defense on the bridge, the ballot was pretty much a repetition of that of the previous evening, but with intensified impetuosity and some very fine additional points put in on both sides.

Carroll successfully outstayed the 15 minutes, and, as he is considered a good man to take on upon a similar terms again, the limit for him will be extended to half an hour, with Carroll having the opportunity of earning double forfeit if he can’t obtain a fall within the time.

Mr. Barton-Wright’s general program is one which must really be seen more than once for an intelligent appreciation of Pierre Vigny’s remarkably fine walking stick defence, which leaves no part of the body unprotected for the 10th part of the second; Mr. D. Meier’s magnificent ball punching; M. Vigny’s display of the French savate against an English boxer, and the wonderful exploits of the Japanese wrestlers.

This evening’s bill is fare will not only include a bout between Cherpillod and Charles Green, of Lincoln, but the fulfillment of an acceptance by a local man of a challenge on behalf of one of the Japanese wrestlers. As the opponent in question is Roger Parker, winner of the 11 stone championship and Mr. Cannon’s catch-as-catch-can tournament of two years ago, the event will be of very great interest, as affording the first opportunity we of Liverpool have had of seeing a Britisher opposed to a Jap.


Barton-Wright’s ongoing difficulty in persuading English wrestlers to take on his Japanese grapplers under their own rules seems to have followed the troupe around the country.   Kenneth Duffield’s 1945 memoir Savages and Kings includes an amusingly exaggerated account of his own set-to with Yukio Tani at Cambridge University, in which the diminutive Tani was described and illustrated as if he’d been a sumo wrestler. 

The Liverpudlian catch wrestler Roger Parker was unusually courageous in accepting Barton-Wright’s challenge, though the subsequent match only lasted 90 seconds before Parker tapped out.


The Japanese Wrestlers in Liverpool

The attendance at the Adelphi theater last evening he gave unequivocal testimony to the remarkably rapid progress which Mr. Barton-Wright’s scientific and attractive entertainment has made in the favor of Liverpool patrons of athletics.

A house filled to repletion presented a remarkable contrast to the miserable gathering of the opening evening, which would probably have caused a less enterprising manager to shake the dust of Liverpool from his feet, but which did not deter Mr. Barton-Wright from persevering, knowing that his entertainment was one deserving well a very important section of the public to delight in patronizing athletics conducted with dignity and respectability, and carried on with the idea of selecting the fittest on their merits, and apart from individual or national considerations.

The customary items of ball punching by Meier, boxing and the Savate by Wolf Bendoff and Pierre Vigny, the wonderful defensive manipulation of the walking stick by M. Vigny and the magical science of the Japanese wrestlers were all applauded to the echo.

The piece de resistance of the evening proved to be a half-hour bout between Cherpillod, the wonderfully strong and clever Swiss catch-as-catch-can wrestler, and the celebrated Joe Carroll. It proved to be one of the nimblest and best conducted struggles as seen in Liverpool for many a day. The Swiss was, as usual, remarkably quick and strong in securing body rolls, but Carol was equally effective in his splendid bridge-making defence, and exceedingly quick and nimble in counteractive moves. Neither secured a fall, so that, according to the agreement, Carroll received 5 pounds for having outlasted the time, though he failed in earning a similar sum offered if he could throw the other man.

Cherpillod afterwards tried conclusions with Leo, the South African giant, who made a good defence in resistance of hammer locks and other moves for 13 minutes, but who was eventually disposed of before his allotted 15 minutes.

The Jap wrestler, who had got the better of Roger Parker on the previous evening in a minute and a half, Japanese-style, appeared on the stage in readiness to wrestle him (Parker) in the catch-as-catch-can style on the undertaking to put him down in 15 minutes. Parker failed to appear, but it was announced on his behalf that he would come forward this evening. It is also expected that Tom McInerney will appear as an opponent of Cherpillod on a half hour time limit, and that Ted Reece will also try for a forfeit against the Swiss in the ordinary quarter of an hour.

There is, therefore, every prospect of a very fine program of wrestling events added to the other admirable structures. Mr. Sam Nixon officiates as referee, and Mr. W. Walker as timekeeper. Mr. Barton-Wright announced that he was willing to back Cherpillod for 25 pounds or upwards in his own style against any man in England.


Unfortunately, although the Echo noted again on Saturday afternoon that Cherpillod was scheduled to take on two local opponents, namely Tom McInerney and Ted Reece, and that Roger Parker intended to compete again with either Yukio Tani or Sadakazu Uyenishi, there seem to be no detailed records of the final night’s exhibitions. Research is ongoing …

Bartitsu and Suffrajitsu in York, U.K.

Instructor Lauren Ireland of the York School of Defence will be teaching a six-week introductory course in Bartitsu and suffrajitsu.  The course will take place between 8.30-10.00 pm on Wednesday evenings at the Melbourne Centre, Escrick Street, York, YO10 4AW. The first class commences on the 24th of October and the course runs through until the 5th of December with a one week break on the 14th of November.