The Athletic Jagendorfer (1905)

According to a report in the Birmingham Daily Gazette of 12 October, 1905, the celebrated wrestler, strongman and club-swinging champion Georg Jagendorfer would shortly begin instructing the Viennese police in the gentle art of jiujitsu.  Jagendorfer, the article noted, had been studying the system with several Japanese experts and had also “discovered several original tricks by which it has been widened in scope”.

Jagendorfer poses with a truly impressive array of Indian clubs and sledgehammers.

Given that Jagendorfer weighed in at a respectable 277 pounds, it’s slightly surprising that he felt any urgent need to pursue jiujitsu training.  It’s also tempting to speculate about what might have happened if Jagendorfer had challenged fellow strongman (and Yukio Tani’s erstwhile manager) William “Apollo” Bankier to a jiujitsu contest.  A match between those two heavyweights, each one attempting to win by yielding to the other’s strength, would have made a diverting spectacle.


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