How “Re-Nie’s” Jiujitsu Won Against Dubois’ Savate (1905)

In the wake of his stunning six-second victory against savateur Georges Dubois in their 1905 style-vs-style challenge fight, jiujitsuka Ernest Regnier (a.k.a. “Re-Nie”) posed for the following series of technical photographs. The pictures are from the November 3, 1905 edition of La Vie au grand air: revue illustrée de tous les sports and the descriptive text is translated from L’Illustration of November 4th, 1905.

Dubois feinted a low kick with his right leg, which Re-Nie dodged. Dubois then executed a side kick with the same leg, but at the same time, with extraordinary agility, Re-Nie performed a cat-like leap towards Dubois and grabbed him round the waist.

Dubois tried a hip check: Re-Nie, moving to the right of his opponent, placed his right hand on the abdomen of the latter, simultaneously compressing the lumbar muscles with the left hand and swinging a knee to Dubois’ right thigh.

Dubois reeled and fell back onto his shoulders; nevertheless Re-Nie stayed in contact, taking a grip that allowed him to seize Dubois’ right wrist.

Re-Nie immediately dropped onto his back, to the left of Dubois, passing his left leg across Dubois’ throat; Re-Nie was now gripping Dubois’ forearm with both hands, Dubois’ arm passing between his two legs.

  • Note the discrepancy here; if Re-Nie was gripping Dubois’ right wrist, then he must in fact have dropped to Dubois’ right, as illustrated in the photograph, rather than to his left.

A strong pressure exerted upon the wrist of Dubois threatened to dislocate his arm at the elbow, which was now cantilevered. Dubois resisted for a second, then cried for mercy.

  • Interestingly, some observers – completely unfamiliar with jiujitsu techniques – believed that Re-Nie had won by choking Dubois with a leg scissor lock around his neck, rather than via the extended arm-lock.  The arm-lock was also a favourite submission technique of Re-Nie’s jiujitsu instructor, former Bartitsu Club trainer Yukio Tani.
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