Click on the image above to watch a video animation of all of the “cinematographic” photograph sequences from Sadakazu Uyenishi’s “Textbook of Ju-jutsu”, published in 1905. The techniques include both basic ukemi waza (falling) and nage waza (throwing) skills, as demonstrated by a Bartitsu Club instructor.
This animated GIF was created by John Lindsey of the e-budo forum. It is an animation of movie frames originally used as photographic illustrations in Sadakazu Uyenishi’s 1905 “Textbook of Ju-jutsu”. Uyenishi and his colleague Yukio Tani were jujitsu instructors at E.W. Barton-Wright’s Bartitsu Club between 1900-1902.
Although originally published as a series of photographic images, these 24 frames were shot as film footage and probably represent some of the earliest motion picture footage of jujitsu.
The dangers unprotected ladies incur when they travel alone was not long ago strikingly illustrated by a terrible assault perpetrated in a railway train.
It is all very well to tender advice, which in everyday life is almost impossible to act upon, recommending ladies never to travel alone, nor walk down lonely lanes or rough neighbourhoods unattended by a male escort. Modern conditions make advice of this nature impracticable, even if the independence of the modern maid did not rebel against the restrictions which were de rigueur in the days of her grandmother, and the lesson for the lady of to-day to learn is self reliance, in self-defence, even as in other things.
Unknown to herself almost every woman carries with her a perfect means of protection from either lunatic or hooligan when she walks abroad or travels, in the shape of that inseparable companion of womanhood—an umbrella or parasol!
Match for any Ruffian
All that is necessary is a little practice in the use of the umbrella, and the self-confidence which knowledge of its potency as a weapon of self-defence will give, for the most delicately-nurtured lady to feel herself more than a match for any cowardly ruffian of the streets.
Madame Vigny, the wife of the well-known maitre d’armes, has elaborated a perfect system of self-defence with an umbrella or parasol by combining some of the “wards and thrusts” used in fencing with passes suitable to the make of the umbrella, along with certain throws, similar to those used in Ju-Jit-Su or Japanese wrestling, recently described and illustrated in the Daily Mirror.
The Purse Snatcher
Suppose, for instance, a lady is walking along a lonely street carrying a purse in her hand, with her umbrella swinging on her arm. A lurking ruffian suddenly approaches her and snatches her purse from her hand. The correct thing for her to do is to relinquish her hold of the purse, grasp her umbrella about two-thirds of its length from the point, and swing it rapidly towards the fellow’s head. Instinctively he will throw up his arm to ward off the blow, and if he understands boxing will probably strike out with his fist. The lady draws back on her left foot and suddenly, with a dexterous twist of the wrist, lunges forth, as with a rapier, and strikes her assailant with the point of her weapon behind the ear.
Brought to the Ground
Should he be as strong as Sandow, the concussion will bring him to the ground, and the lady can then pick up her purse and call for the police, meanwhile mounting guard over her prostrate foe, with her umbrella firmly grasped ready to strike again should the occasion require it.
Suppose, on the other hand, that the purse is so rapidly snatched that the fellow is making off with his booty before the lady has time to perform the evolutions described above. Nothing is simpler than to “hook” him by the ankle as he is running off, and bring him to the ground in confusion.
Should he prove to be a really desperate fellow, he will probably have recourse to that dangerous weapon of the hooligan, a studded belt. Even if he does this there is no reason for the mistress of umbrella self-defence to feel alarmed. Let her regard him steadily, and place her left arm at an angle, and advance it to meet the descending belt. If she thus meets the blow the belt will coil round her arm without hurting her in the slightest, and then, while she clutches the wrist of her assailant, she thrusts the umbrella with all her force into his neck. The rough is not living who can survive a second experience of this nature, and with experience a lady can hold at bay not one but two or three assailants.
Imparts Grace and Suppleness
This exercise imparts to its votaries great suppleness and gives to the figure that erectness and grace which only fencers can hope to obtain. It was mainly for the gracefulness of contour which fencing gives that popularised the foils amongst ladies and caused such noted exponents of the art as Miss Annie Lowther and Miss Esme Beringer to be the envied of all observers.
Beyond this, fencing has no practical use, but, when the principles of swordsmanship are applied to the umbrella, the woman who has become mistress of the art will feel a sense of security when travelling or alone that hitherto even the bravest of the fair sex have been strangers to.
This article, written and illustrated by J.F. Sullivan, originally appeared in “The Ludgate Monthly” of 1897, just a few years before E.W. Barton-Wright introduced Bartitsu to London.
No weapon is so little understood as the umbrella. This—the true arm of the citizen — has simply been brought into sheer contempt and ridicule by no fault of its own, but simply by the ignorance and want of skill of its wearer. In the case of every other weapon which has been adopted, at various periods of the world’s history, by man, the user has considered a thorough knowledge of its capabilities and limits a fundamental necessity in its effective employment; and has invariably fitted himself, by long and constant practise, for that employment. What prehistoric man would have thought of using his flint spear as a gun? What Roman legionary would have dreamed of applying a fuse to the hilt of his sword ? Would any sane Knight of the Middle Ages have been caught employing his lance in the capacity of a single-stick ? Very well then !
It fills me with an inexpressible shame to have to declare—to inform presumably intelligent citizens—that the umbrella is not a broadsword!
The umbrella is distinctly a form of rapier; the husband-beater is a hand-and-a-half estoc (to be used in the saddle, if required); and the sunshade and parasol are short swords, or long daggers: and one and all are designed for thrusting— not cutting.
Yet how does the citizen use his characteristic weapon ? Why, as a broadsword—nearly always!
How does Jones, Brown, or Robinson —fully armed with his umbrella—behave when attacked by bravos, infuriated females, mad dogs, or infuriated cabmen?
He simply hits them on the hat—with the exception of the mad dog, of course —with his gingham: and they simply smile, and reduce him to a pulp. We read of cases every day in the newspaper.
Linger for awhile in any wild district into which the arm of the law has not yet penetrated, and where the citizen holds his life in his hands: the districts round about Bow Street Police Station, for example. Wait until you perceive some pedestrian attacked by a gang of footpads, descending from the mountain fastnesses of Betterton Street and Somebody’s Rents. You need not, as a rule, wait more than five minutes.
Now watch : how does that pedestrian employ his umbrella ? Why, almost invariably as a broadsword.
With his swashing blow he endeavours to cleave a rough to the chine, and behead him.
MISUSED AS A BROADSWORD
The effort fails in its purpose—and why ? Why, simply because no umbrella, even of the finest temper, will bear an edge sufficiently keen to sever the head from the body at a single blow.
Why does that citizen fail to go home to tea; and why are his widow and orphans left desolate ?
Because he never studied the true use of the umbrella.
But see—here approaches another pedestrian whose wary eye indicates that he knows what’s what. He proceeds along Endell Street, his light overcoat twisted around his left arm; his stern right hand gripping a tightly-rolled umbrella. As he arrives at the scattered chips of the former pedestrian, with a blood-curdling war-cry whose echo may even startle the slumbering policemen in the adjacent station, and cause the magistrate to shudder in his chair, out rush the wild hordes of the alley.
Calmly the new pedestrian places his back to the workhouse wall; then, in a moment, his flashing umbrella has passed, to the very hilt, through his foremost assailant. It is out again, and its keen ferrule passes down the throat of a second foeman.
A third falls, the wind whistling shrilly through three distinct perforations which pierce him from back to front. The rest flee in confusion. It is a rout. That citizen stands erect amid a ring of the silent slain. He has learned the use of the umbrella—that is all. He goes home to tea, while the police arrive and gather up the slain.
It is a national disgrace that there exists no School of Umbrella-Fence. In this very London are many schools and clubs for the culture of the rapier and single-stick; yet there is not one where umbrella play may be studied.
Still, even in the absence of schools, the science may be studied at home, with the aid of one’s wife.
It is as well not to allow the wife to be armed in this game, as ladies are proverbially clumsy with weapons, and might damage one seriously.
Let the wife be merely on the defensive, and armed with a shield. A dish- cover with a string inside will serve admirably as a shield; or a sofa cushion will do. By a little practise, according to the following rules, the umbrellist may quickly become proficient in the use of one of the handiest and prettiest weapons yet invented by man.
First Position.—Stand with the feet some sixteen inches apart; the right foot in advance ; the right shoulder turned towards the adversary; the point of the umbrella lowered; the left arm raised as a balance.
The Lunge.—Raise the umbrella to a horizontal position, and thrust it suddenly out until the arm is fully extended; the right foot simultaneously taking a step forward. With a little practise a hit is almost certain, unless your wife has a very quick eye. Hit anywhere, as every hit counts.
If your wife tires of the game, tear up her hat and twist the cat’s neck. Return to first position, and smile.
After a time, when the umbrellist has become to some extent expert, an orange may be placed upon the wife’s head, to lunge at; and when the lunger can succeed in transfixing the fruit with the ferrule, some amount of dexterity has been attained. It is as well for the wife to be provided with sticking-plaster, and a few false eyes; but, as we said before, never allow her to use an umbrella, as serious accidents to the male umbrellist may result.
Where no wife is at hand, any person unable to retaliate will answer the purpose. If you possess a very fat friend, you will find excellent practise in lunging at his waistcoat buttons. Should you injure any vital part, apologise at once: for the strict etiquette of the game should never be omitted.
We will now suppose that the umbrellist has qualified himself for serious combat; and append a few hints as to the proper methods of procedure in some of the many occasions in which the umbrella, as a lethal weapon, may come in useful.
The Duel To The Death With A BURGLAR.—On being disturbed at night by sounds indicative of the presence of a burglar in the house, the umbrellist should arise, select his favourite umbrella, and, proceeding to the grindstone, give a keen point to the ferrule.
He then descends the stairs, and challenges the burglar to single-combat; when the following rules of the duel must be strictly observed :
The burglar, first laying aside any dangerous weapon, such as a revolver or jemmy, with which he may be armed, assumes an upright position, with his hands clasped behind him. The umbrellist now advances, and bows to his adversary, who returns the salute. Play now commences.
It consists of the endeavour of the umbrellist to transfix the burglar with the umbrella. The burglar should not move, as movement is calculated to baulk the aim of his opponent. In this play no hits count unless the ferrule appears on the further edge of the burglar’s periphery.
At each thrust which penetrates, yet fails to go right through, the burglar is at liberty to call “half-through,” and scores one. Seven perforations through vital parts secure victory to the umbrellist. Should there be several burglars, only one should join in the duel at a time; the other or others standing aside and somewhat behind the one engaged, in order to check the effective thrusts. These may be marked on the drawing-room wall-paper, or scratched on the piano with a nail.
For the adjustment of affairs of honour, the umbrella might be made invaluable. In fine, the misuse of the umbrella by a nation priding itself upon its military instincts—a nation upon whose flag the sun never sets—is a standing disgrace only to be wiped out by speedy and thorough-going reform.
Although E.W. Barton-Wright’s martial arts school was only open for a few years, it attracted some notable members and students.
Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon was a keen fencer who also studied Swiss wrestling at the Club, under the tutelage of Armand Cherpillod. Gordon later achieved notoriety as one of the few adult male survivors of the sinking of the RMS Titanic; he was charged with having bribed the lifeboat crew members not to rescue others from the water, though his defence was that he was grateful to them and was trying to reward their courage.
Captain Alfred Hutton taught historical fencing classes at the Bartitsu Club and also appears to have studied jiujitsu there. Along with his colleague, the novelist Egerton Castle, Hutton was largely responsible for reviving the practice of competitive fencing in England during the late 19th century, and their studies of “ancient swordplay” – the use of the rapier and dagger, two-handed sword, etc. – presaged the modern Historical European Martial Arts movement by the best part of a century.
Captain (later Sir) Ernest George Stenson Cooke and Captain Frank Herbert Whittow were members of both the Bartitsu Club and of Hutton’s training group at the London Rifle Brigade’s School of Arms. They participated in numerous martial arts exhibitions, including several that combined Bartitsu with historical fencing, at the turn of the 20th century.
Captain F.C. Laing was a keen Bartitsu student who cross-trained in jiujitsu and Vigny stick fighting while on leave from the Army. Returning to active duty in India, Laing wrote an article describing his training and detailing a number of Vigny/Bartitsu walking stick defence techniques.
William Henry Grenfell, the 1st Baron Desborough, was described by a contemporary as being “the very pattern and model of an English sporting gentleman.” A fencer, big-game hunter and mountaineer, he swam the rapids at Niagara Falls twice, climbed the Matterhorn three times, rowed across the English Channel and was the amateur punting champion of the upper Thames. Bartitsu would probably have counted amongst his milder pursuits.