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.
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.
Instructor Peter Smallridge (executing a flawless defence/trap/takedown/belabourage in the above sparring clip) will be teaching a Bartitsu cane seminar at the May Melee HEMA event. The event will run between Friday 25th and Sunday 27th May in Newnham, Gloucestershire, UK.
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.
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.
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.
Instructor Stefan Dieke is offering a Bartitsu seminar at his Alte Kampfkunst historical martial arts school in Wuppertal, Germany on Jan. 27/28, 2018. See this page (in German) for all details and to book your tickets!
A dynamic photo from a Bartitsu seminar at the GamesCom convention in Poland.
Some pictures from instructor Alex Kiermayer’s recent Bartitsu seminar for the Zanchin Kampfkunst martial arts club in Nürnberg, Germany.
Instructor Alex Kiermayer – co-creator of the upcoming Bartitsu stickfighting instructional DVD – will be offering a seminar in the German municipality of Igensdorf on October 21, 2017. See this PDF for more details (in the German language).