“Giving in to get your way”

Above: The Bubenringen (“Knave’s wrestle”) technique from two versions of Hans Talhoffer’s Fechtbuch (“Fighting Book”), 15th century.
Above: the stomach throw illustrated in Nicolaes Petter’s “Clear Instructions on the Excellent Art of Wrestling” (1674)

The “sacrifice throw” in which a wrestler drops to the ground, using his own falling weight to throw his opponent, was almost unknown in Europe during the late 19th century. Although earlier European systems of unarmed combat had employed this principle, the rules of late-Victorian wrestling styles generally asserted that “the man whose back touches the ground first loses”, and so those styles concentrated, by default, on standing throws.

Above: the cross-buttock throw from Walter Armstrong’s “Wrestling” (1890).

In 1917, Sir Arthur Pearson – the publisher of Pearsons’ Magazine – reminisced about his first meeting with Bartitsu founder E.W. Barton-Wright, which had taken place in 1899:

He stood before me in a most casual attitude and invited me to throw him down. I have always kept myself very fit, and was in those days rather proud of my strength. Without any further ado I essayed the apparently simple task of putting the little man on the floor. What really happened was that in less time than it takes to dictate these words I struck the wall some 15 ft. away with quite enough force to be unpleasant! Mr. Barton-Wright had sunk before my assault and, as its violence upset my balance, had delicately poised me upon the soles of his feet and shot me into space.

Above: E.W. Barton-Wright demonstrates the tomoe-nage (stomach throw).

Thus, Sir Arthur Pearson may well have been the first gentleman in Victorian England to fall victim to a jiujitsu tomoe-nage or “stomach-throw”.  Thereafter, via Barton-Wright’s articles and lectures and the challenge matches of Bartitsu Club champions Yukio Tani and Sadakazu Uyenishi, the art of “giving in to get your way” in hand-to-hand combat was re-introduced to the Western world.

Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News – Saturday 20 February, 1904
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2 thoughts on ““Giving in to get your way””

  1. That throw is also seen in the Bolognese tradition, known as the Perugian move and also you can find it from Blume des Kampfes Cod. 5278, page [47] from 1420s.

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