“Les Secrets du Jiu-Jitsu” (1906) Online

A scan of Ernest Regnier’s instruction manual Les Secrets du Jiu-Jitsu (1906) is now available online via this link. Regnier was a talented but down-on-his-luck Parisian wrestler until he was sponsored by physical culture entrepreneur Edmond Desbonnet to travel to London and train at the Japanese School of Jujitsu.  Regnier’s athletic prowess and antagonistic skills allowed … Continue reading ““Les Secrets du Jiu-Jitsu” (1906) Online”

Jiujitsuffragettes Fight “The Good Fight” in Chicago

Suffragette Bodyguard leader Gert Harding (played by actress Scottie Caldwell) executes a jiujitsu arm-bar against a hapless police constable (Richard Traub) in an action scene from Anne Bertram’s play The Good Fight. Closely based on the real history of the all-women security team who protected the leaders of the radical suffragette movement in England just … Continue reading “Jiujitsuffragettes Fight “The Good Fight” in Chicago”

Adam Adamant: an Edwardian Gentleman-Adventurer in Swinging ’60s London

Popular enough in its day but almost forgotten over the past four decades, the mystery/adventure TV series Adam Adamant Lives! was intended as the BBC’s answer to The Avengers.  Both series featured dapper Edwardianesque gents teaming up with groovy young women to combat the outlandish masterminds of fantastically devious schemes. Adam Adamant, however, distinguished himself … Continue reading “Adam Adamant: an Edwardian Gentleman-Adventurer in Swinging ’60s London”

“The Good Fight” in Chicago

Chicago’s Babes With Blades Theatre Company announce their production of Anne Bertram’s play The Good Fight, telling the story of the jiujitsu-trained Bodyguard team who protected the leaders of the radical suffragette movement in England just before the First World War.  Suffragette jiujitsu instructress Edith Garrud is featured as a character in the play, alongside … Continue reading ““The Good Fight” in Chicago”

“A Sort of Collective Santa Claus”: Sir C. Arthur Pearson and the Poor Children’s Yuletide Association

This holiday-season article offers a departure from our usual focus on Edwardian-era martial arts and combat sports to briefly illuminate a much kinder and, therefore, more important endeavour from the same period; namely, the work of the Poor Children’s Yuletide Association. That said, the PCYA was the brainchild of Sir C. Arthur Pearson, who is … Continue reading ““A Sort of Collective Santa Claus”: Sir C. Arthur Pearson and the Poor Children’s Yuletide Association”

“Miyake, the Champion of Japan: an Interesting Interview” (1907)

This interview from the Midland Daily Telegraph of  August 1,  1907 offers some further details on the life and career of Taro Miyake.  A prominent member of the “second generation” of Japanese jiujitsu champions to travel to England, Miyake enjoyed great success as a challenge wrestler.  Miyake also partnered with former Bartitsu Club instructor Yukio … Continue reading ““Miyake, the Champion of Japan: an Interesting Interview” (1907)”

Visiting the Site of the Original Bartitsu Club

Martial arts enthusiasts who find themselves in central London may wish to visit the site of the original Bartitsu School of Arms and Physical Culture (a.k.a. the Bartitsu Club).  The Club was the first commercial school in the Western world to teach Japanese martial arts and also the site of the first known experiment in deliberately … Continue reading “Visiting the Site of the Original Bartitsu Club”

An Armlock Applied by Apollo

William Bankier, third from left, demonstrates a jiujitsu arm-lock in this curious photograph from the Northern Whig newspaper of 13 December, 1937.  Many years before this photo was taken, Bankier – known professionally as a music hall strongman under the name “Apollo, the Scottish Hercules” – had been instrumental in popularising Japanese martial arts in … Continue reading “An Armlock Applied by Apollo”

Martial Exotica: Kusarigamajutsu in London (1919-23)

Founded by Gunji Koizumi in 1918, the London Budokwai remains the oldest Japanese martial arts club in Europe.  Former Bartitsu Club instructor Yukio Tani taught there for many years, shaping the first generation of British judoka. On May 31, 1919, the Budokwai hosted an exhibition at the Aeolian Hall by the visiting kendo master Sonobe … Continue reading “Martial Exotica: Kusarigamajutsu in London (1919-23)”