An Edwardian jiujitsu exposition

(From Womanhood Magazine, 1904)

A VERY INTERESTED GATHERING assembled at Caxton Hall, Westminster, on December 20, at the invitation of Mr. Granger, Agent General for Australia, to witness a demonstration of the Japanese School of Ju Jitsu. Mr. Granger’s talented son, whom his friends were pleased to see happily restored after a dangerous illness, explained the various points in the system, which, he said, was recognised as long ago as the fourteenth century. In the sixteenth century there was a Chinese priest who was a very great expert. Gradually the system was adopted by the Japanese Government, and is now regularly taught in the schools.

Ju Jitsu may in truth be termed the “gentle art of self-defence,” and its basis is to act upon a knowledge of the most tender spots in the human body, so that a person skilled in the art, though apparently weak, can protect himself or herself against the biggest bully that exists. In Ju Jitsu no strength must be put forth into the defence, and it is for this reason that ladies learn it more quickly than men, because men want to put strength into it, whereas women use finesse. The principle is to defeat the opponent by utilising his strength and playing upon his most vulnerable point. In Japanese school and university training the system has much the same position as established games have in England. The Japanese woman is educated in it, and it enters into the training of soldier, sailor, and policeman.

A most interesting part of the demonstration was that in which two English ladies, Mrs. Watts and Miss Roberts, took part. Mrs. Watts gave a demonstration of throws with Mr. Eida, and she and Miss Roberts also gave a demonstration of practice. The points illustrated by Mr. Miyake and Mr. Tani were various ways of falling without inconvenience, illustrations of the balance of the human body, and how to throw one’s antagonist; also what is called “the locks”— as for example, the arm lock, in which the arm of the person who attacks, however strong he be, must be broken either at the elbow or shoulder; the leg lock, where excruciating pain can be caused by pressure at a point at the bottom of the calf, or the foot may be injured; and the neck lock, in which a person becomes unconscious owing to pressure on the arteries. Mr. Granger incidentally remarked that the Japanese have no less than three ways to rapidly restore consciousness which are unknown to European medical men, but these are not made known.

Among others who took part in the demonstration were Mr. Kanaya and Mr. Uyenishi. As Mr. Granger humorously remarked, Ju Jitsu is a triumph of knowledge and skill against mere brute strength, and any lady who knows the game is more than a match for any husband who does not.

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