Ju-Jitsu Girls Learning the Art of Burglar Scaring (Nottingham Evening Post, February 4 1930)

Above: Miss May Whitley demonstrates her jiujitsu self-defence against Budokwai member Charles Cawkell.  Cawkell, who was almost certainly trained by former Bartitsu Club instructor Yukio Tani, later broke away from the Budokwai and helped to establish the Anglo-Japanese Judo Club in Notting Hill Gate.


Suddenly the man with the pistol his hand sprang at the diminutive, dark-eyed girl. She swayed back, twisted his arm upwards, and then, quick as thought, kicked him clean over head. With a deafening crash he fell full length on the floor. Yet it is all quite true. happened to-day the Budokwai, in Lower Grosvenor-place, London, where number of lithe-limbed maidens are studying the burglar-scaring art of ju-jitsu. On Friday they will take part in a display at the Stadium Club.

They wear picturesque, loose-fitting jackets, and occasionally came to warm their bare feet at the gas-fire. Round the gymnasium walls are quaint inscriptions in Japanese, such as: “you obey the right way you will have victory.” They can interpreted a moral or a muscular sense.

Crash! The dark-eyed girl (Miss Marjorie Ree) had disarmed the knife-flourisher, and floored him. “I am quite looking forward to the first time I am really attacked the dark,” Miss Ree confessed to a reporter. “No, I find no difficulty in throwing people twice my weight over my head. I have never had the luck to meet a burglar yet—though sometimes I leave my window cpen invitingly.”


Ju-jitsu is mental training as well as physical training. You have to think quickly. Wallop! A demure-faced girl, with coils of fair hair down her back, had just been thinking a little more quickly than her opponent. “Doing that is all a question of balance,” said Miss Ree, approvingly. “The first thing is to learn how to fall without hurting ourselves. When I had learnt that I fell downstairs on purpose, just to see how painless it was, but, unfortunately, they had not padded the stairs like they have this gymnasium floor. All the same, you can fall properly you will not break any bones, and even you were knocked over by a bus the ability to break the fall would probably useful.”

In another corner, an instructor was gripping a young woman by the hair, and telling her how to free herself, while a tall girl was learning how to make a bag-snatcher write in instantaneous repentance.


Such mysteries as the shoulder-push, wrist-grip, arm-hold, and upper-cut were being explained by Professor Yukio Tani, the instructor. “Some throws would kill a man if practiced on him in the street,” said another pupil. “But the mental effect of learning ju-jitsu is to make man or woman much calmer, steadier, and anxious to avoid trouble at all costs. The more a man knows how dangerous he may become, the less likely is to abuse his power.”

Sadly, in 1937 Yukio Tani suffered a debilitating stroke, but he continued to teach from the sidelines of the Budokwai mats until his death in January of 1950.

2 thoughts on “Ju-Jitsu Girls Learning the Art of Burglar Scaring (Nottingham Evening Post, February 4 1930)”

  1. Hi my name is Mike Cushman, I live in Niagara Falls, 4 years ago I was crished by 10,000 pouns of steel across the pelvis. Now I walk with a cane, left foot and leg go numb… I use to sudy jit kun do and gracie ju jistsu, and now find my disability is in the way. but in using a cane all day every day I find myself practicing stick fighting techniques and now crave to learn more. I wish to open a club in Niagara region if I may learn this style. very interested. Do you have any intsructors around here? Niagara Falls,Canada. I am 52, 6 feet tall 180.

  2. Hi Mike,

    thanks for writing and I’m sorry to hear about your injury.

    Unfortunately I don’t know of any Bartitsu instructors in that area. I should also note that, although Bartitsu does use a cane as a weapon, as with any martial arts style, it would have to be modified to adapt to your physical abilities.

    Towards opening a club, you may find these links to be useful:





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