Armand Cherpillod in 1905

A promotional postcard featuring Bartitsu Club wrestling and physical culture instructor Armand Cherpillod, shown posing in typical early 20th century jujitsu garb.

According to his 1929 biography, Cherpillod was invited to teach at the Bartitsu Club by his fellow Swiss martial arts instructor, Pierre Vigny, who had traveled to Switzerland at the behest of E.W. Barton-Wright specifically to find a champion wrestler. Upon arriving in London, Cherpillod quickly made his mark in the wrestling circuit and successfully represented the Bartitsu Club in several significant challenge matches. He also cross-trained in jujitsu with fellow instructors Yukio Tani and Sadakazu Uyenishi.

Cherpillod’s most famous student at the Bartitsu Club was Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon, an eccentric athlete and aristocrat who later became famous as one of the few male civilians to have survived the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

Following the closure of the Bartitsu Club in 1902, Cherpillod returned to Switzerland where he pioneered the instruction of Japanese martial arts. He also wrote several books on that subject, including one that is the first known manual on jujitsu as self defence for women.

Weapons of the Suffragette Bodyguards

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A collection of Suffragette bodyguard weapons and tools confiscated by police following the infamous “Battle of Glasgow” brawl, which took place at St. Andrew’s Hall on the evening of March 9th, 1914.

This picture was originally published in the Daily Record and now forms part of a display at the Glasgow People’s Palace museum.

The collection includes include six Indian clubs and five police truncheons (also commonly carried by private citizens for self defence purposes) along with several specialised items:

* top row, third from left: a set of wirecutters

* top row, fifth from left: a “life-preserver” or semi-flexible, weighted bludgeon

* bottom row, third from left: a section of barbed wire, probably part of the barricade that was concealed around the edge of the St. Andrew’s Hall stage; a pistol, probably that which was loaded with blanks and fired to intimidate the police by Scottish suffragette Janie Allen.

New Pugilism Resource

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Oz Austwick, the chief instructor of the English Martial Arts Academy has just published a new ebook on the 7 Secrets of Bareknuckle Prizefighters. as well as an audiobook on the basics of pugilism. Whilst they focus on a slightly earlier form of boxing to that common at the time of Barton-Wright, they are sure to be interesting to all students of the martial arts, and especially those working on traditional western empty handed arts. The book can be found at Oz’s great pugilism resource site, pugilism.org.