Suffrajitsu at the Royal Armouries Museum

Images from the upcoming “suffrajitsu” display (courtesy of Charlotte Graham Photography) at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England, and their Edwardian-era antecedents:

A street-fighting suffragette executes a kote gaeshi wristlock against a police constable.
Bodyguard trainer Edith Garrud demonstrates a kote gaeshi lock and takedown.
The suffragette Bodyguards were often armed with concealed Indian clubs.
Indian clubs are prominent in this photograph taken during a suffragettes vs. police brawl near Buckingham Palace, shortly before the outbreak of the First World War.

“Suffrajitsu” Back in the News as UK Celebrates 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage

February 6, 2108 marks the centennial anniversary of (limited) women’s suffrage in the UK.  As numerous cultural and media organisations mark the anniversary, here are some current and upcoming projects that focus particularly on “suffrajitsu” – the use of jiujitsu by radical suffagette Bodyguards, circa 1913-14.

The Good Fight

Chicago’s Babes With Blades Theatre Company is currently staging Anne Bertram’s play The Good Fight, which details the history and missions of the suffragette Bodyguard team.  Women’s jiujitsu pioneer and Bodyguard trainer Edith Garrud appears as a character in the play.

Suffrajitsu by Horse + Bamboo Theatre

England’s Horse + Bamboo Theatre Company is currently developing Suffrajitsu, an original play celebrating the suffragette Bodyguard through puppetry, music and film.  Aimed at young audiences, the play will begin touring the UK in Autumn 2018; you can learn more about, and support the project via this Crowdfunder site.

“The Awesome Art of Suffrajitsu”

The UK fashion and lifestyle magazine Stylist has featured suffrajitsu, including some great original illustrations, in its suffragette centennial issue.

No Man Shall Protect Us

Currently in production, the documentary No Man Shall Protect Us: The Hidden History of the Suffragette Bodyguards will make use of narration, rare archival media and dramatic re-enactments.  Successfully crowdfunded in late 2017 and co-produced by Tony Wolf, author of the Suffrajitsu graphic novel trilogy, the completed documentary will be made freely available online later this year.

Suffrajitsu at the Royal Armouries

The Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England will be showcasing Edith Garrud’s suffrajitsu as part of the Warrior Women exhibition during mid-late February.

Kitty Marshall: Suffragette Bodyguard at the Museum of London

The Museum of London’s year-long Votes for Women exhibition includes a showcase for Katherine “Kitty” Marshall, who was an active member of Emmeline Pankhurst’s Bodyguard team.  Marshall also wrote the memoir Suffragette Escapes and Adventures, which currently exists in manuscript form as part of the Museum’s suffragette collection.

Kitty and the Cats: Mrs. Pankhurst’s Suffragette Bodyguard and the London Police

Author Emelyne Godfrey’s book on Kitty Marshall and the Bodyguard will be released later in 2018.

Suffragette City

Suffrajitsu martial arts lessons will be part of the UK National Trust’s Suffragette City, an immersive, interactive experience that will recreate the headquarters of the Women’s Social and Political Union circa 1913.

Jiujitsuffragettes Fight “The Good Fight” in Chicago

Suffragette Bodyguard leader Gert Harding (played by actress Scottie Caldwell) executes a jiujitsu arm-bar against a hapless police constable (Richard Traub) in an action scene from Anne Bertram’s play The Good Fight.

Closely based on the real history of the all-women security team who protected the leaders of the radical suffragette movement in England just before WW1, The Good Fight will open at Chicago’s City Lit theatre on January 15.  The play is being produced by the Babes With Blades Theatre Company and is directed by Elizabeth Lovelady, with fight choreography by Gaby Labotka.

“The Good Fight” in Chicago

Chicago’s Babes With Blades Theatre Company announce their production of Anne Bertram’s play The Good Fight, telling the story of the jiujitsu-trained Bodyguard team who protected the leaders of the radical suffragette movement in England just before the First World War.  Suffragette jiujitsu instructress Edith Garrud is featured as a character in the play, alongside other historical figures such as Emmeline Pankhurst and Bodyguard leader Gert Harding.

Footage from the stage production will also be featured during re-enactment scenes in the forthcoming documentary No Man Shall Protect Us.

Unarmed Bartitsu With Alex Kiermayer

A gallery of images from a recent unarmed Bartitsu seminar with instructor Alex Kiermayer for the inaugural Noble Science event in Ronneburg, Germany. This event brought together instructors in various unarmed martial arts and combat sports including Pankration, Scottish backhold wrestling, pugilism, savate Genovese and traditional German wrestling as well as Mr. Kiermayer’s classes on the kicking and grappling aspects of Bartitsu.

Alex Kiermayer demonstrates the chasse median (mid-level side kick).
Another rendition of the chasse.
Students practice low kicks and evasions.
Escaping a kick to the lead leg.
Targetting the opponent’s leading leg.
Escaping the coup de pied bas (low front kick).
Mr. Kiermayer teaches the finer points of ne-waza (mat grappling).
The kesa-gatame (side control hold).
The infamous ude garami (key lock) applied as a submission hold.