Bartitsu and the Suffragette “Bodyguard” in new BBC documentary

The hour-long Timeshift documentary Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting: The Rise of Martial Arts in Britain, showcasing the cultural impact of Asian martial arts in the UK and featuring a 12-minute section on Bartitsu and the Jujitsuffragettes, will screen in the UK on BBC4 at 10.00 pm, Sunday Feb. 24th.

Timeshift, the black belt of the archive world, takes a look at the rise of martial arts in Britain. From the early days of bartitsu, through judo and karate to kung fu, Britain has had a long and illustrious involvement with the martial arts. Gold medals have been won, Sherlock Holmes’s life has been saved and aftershave has been worn – all thanks to the martial arts.

An associated website, including a short film about Bartitsu Club instructors Yukio Tani and Sadakazu Uyenishi, is expected to go live at some point between now and then.

The production team crew shot in-depth interviews with Emelyne Godfrey and Tony Wolf as well as combat demos with James Marwood and George Stokoe; they also tracked down the very elusive early-’80s Noel Burch documentary The Year of the Bodyguard, which deals with the jujitsu-trained Bodyguard unit of the British Suffragette movement.

More as it comes to hand …

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