A 1907 Punch Magazine cartoon offers a satirical training suggestion to those London bobbies whose duties brought them into conflict with radical Suffragettes. The following year, under the tutelage of Edith Garrud, the Suffragettes themselves began training in jiujitsu …
From “The Foolish Almanack for the Year 1906 A.D.”
By observing the following six rules any boy of twelve can easily protect himself from the attacks of a full-grown man:
I. As your opponent makes for you, step quickly under his arm, and, stooping, grasp his left ankle with both hands, fingers interlocked. Rise smartly, and with a circular motion throw him over your right shoulder.
II. Enraged, your adversary will reach for you with his right hand. Step lightly aside, and, as his arm passes you, strike it sharply with your fist. This will break his wrist.
III. Your antagonist will now reach for you with his left hand. Take two rapid steps backward and kick his open palm, at the base of the thumb, upwards. This will dislocate his shoulder and cause a compound fracture of his left floating rib.
IV. Your mortified foe will attempt to kick you. Catch his foot in your left hand and twist his leg off at the knee.
V. Your enemy will make an effort to kick you with his other foot . Step quickly behind him and butt him in the small of the back with your head. Properly administered, this blow should break and dislocate every vertebra in his spinal column.
VI. The last attempt your adversary will make will be to bite you. As he opens his mouth place your open left hand on his forehead, and, thrusting your right down his throat, take a good hold, and with a long, strong pull, turn him inside out. This trick is somewhat dangerous and should only be tried by an expert, as otherwise your opponent may be painfully injured.
During the first “jiujitsu boom” of the early 20th century, Punch Magazine made great sport of the novel art of self defence and of the claims made by jiujitsu enthusiasts.
In April of 1899 Mr. Punch published a story purporting to recount what happened when a Bartitsu fan, whose interests only extended to reading Barton-Wright’s articles rather than actually practicing the art, attempted to use it against a burglar. That tongue-in-cheek essay is reproduced in the second volume of the Bartitsu Compendium.
The June 14, 1905 edition of Punch included the following article, written by “Iyama Terra”, describing several “laughably simple” tricks sure to upend any scallywag.
MORE JIU-JITSU TRICKS.
Iyama Terra, the famous Japanese wrestler, whose recent work on Jiu-Jitsu (The Bruiseless Art) has created such a sensation in police circles, has been good enough to supply us with three short chapters which were inadvertently omitted from his book. His valued contribution is accompanied by the following characteristic note :—
Dear Mr. Punch,—Jiu-Jitsu, as taught by me and practised by everybody, is the science of defending yourself against every known form of physical attack. The system embraces 417 separate tricks, all of which can be done. In fact, next to its infallibility, the most conspicuous virtue of Jiu-Jitsu is its almost laughable simplicity. Yours, Iyama Terra.
RUSES AND FALLS.
To Repel The Attack Of A Man With Hatchet.
It is very important to know how to deal with a man who assails you with a hatchet. There are several ways of making effective resistance, but just a few will suffice. Indeed, it will be better to teach you only two or three, because if you knew them all you would, when putting them into practice, get confused and probably chopped.
Method 1.—Wait until your opponent strikes and then move. Try to move as quickly as possible. Everything depends on that. Activity rather than gracefulness should be aimed at. If your adversary delivers a really violent blow, and you successfully evade it, his hatchet will be partly buried in the ground. While he is endeavouring to extricate it approach him from behind, seize his legs and plait them in the shape of an ordinary lock-stitch. Then firmly bend them up his back and maintain them in their place with your right arm. Your left hand will be free to secure his left arm and wrap it twice neatly round his neck. To complete the fall you can stand on his right hand, if necessary. He is now practically powerless, and you can hold him in position until he has given a promise to lead a better life.
Method 2.—This is a favourite trick of mine. For its successful performance it is desirable that your friend should be wearing a fur overcoat, a stand-up collar and knickerbockers. Your first business is to make a feint, after which you ought to have no difficulty in taking the hatchet from him. Roll his fur overcoat suddenly up over his head to prevent him from seeing what you are going to do next. Get a firm purchase on his collar from the back, and with the other hand clutch the ends of his knickers. Tilt him over quickly and swing him about with his face downwards. As to how long you need swing him there is no absolute rule. Deal with every case on its merits.
Method 3.- —In the event of your antagonist being a big man with a big hatchet, and especially if it is quite clear that he is annoyed, it is sometimes a good thing to go swiftly away. Return with several friends and bigger hatchets.
To Cope With A Hat-kicking Hooligan.
To a quiet, well-behaved man nothing is more vexing than to have his hat, tilted over his eyes by the frolicking foot of a hooligan. I have squelched scores of hat-doffers in my time. This is how it is done.
Method 1.—Let him try it on. When his foot is about two inches off the hat strike it (the foot) smartly to one side. This will cause him to whirl on one leg like a top. When the projecting limb comes round again, take hold of it and follow it round in the manner of a sailor at the capstan. Four or five turns and you can leave him spinning.
Method 2.—This is usefully employed when your assailant happens to be intoxicated. In such case his kicking is likely to be erratic and may miss your hat. Seize his foot when it is about opposite your waistband. Keeping tight hold of the foot run rapidly past him. This will probably cause his leg to bend at the knee. To double up his remaining leg and tipple him on to his back is the work of a moment, or a couple of moments at the outside. Then tie each leg to its corresponding arm in a loose bow-knot. If you have the time it is amusing to stand by and watch him. As he attempts to undo himself, tighten the knots.
N.B.—As this second method requires a quick eye and plenty of nerve, it is well to constantly practise it at home before trying it on a stranger.
“Eifia Nofo” replied with two further techniques in the July 5, 1905 edition:
MORE JIU-JITSU TRICKS.
Dear Mr. Punch,—After reading in your columns Iyama Terra’s additional chapters on Jiu-Jitsu, I am tempted to give the public the advantage of two of my favourite tricks which I have practised many years with unvarying success.
(1) To protect yourself from a man who presents a loaded revolver full in your face.
At first sight it would appear that the man with the revolver has the advantage over you, but a close study of my method of defence will convince anybody that the man is really completely in your power.
First, with an adroit movement, catch the muzzle of the revolver firmly between your teeth. Then with a quick step towards your opponent get out your matches. Strike one, and set fire to his hair. He will of course put his hands up to extinguish the flames, and so let go of the revolver. He is now at your mercy, and you can do as you like with him.
(2) To protect yourself from a man who aims a blow at your face with his clenched fist.
For the purposes of this trick it is essential that you should be wearing heavy boots. In the event of a quarrel on the football field you will naturally be forearmed, but should you and your opponent be playing tennis you must tactfully postpone the attack until you have changed your shoes.
The method of defence is very simple. As he hits out at your face, and before he reaches it, quickly stand on your head. He will obviously hit your hobnailed boots, and his fist will suffer. His next step will naturally be to stand on his head and renew the attack, when you immediately resume your former position and he again hits your boots. This must be continued until your opponent is tired.
—Yours, Eifia Nofo.
In the March edition of Pearson’s Magazine, 1899, Bartitsu founder E.W. Barton-Wright demonstrated a curious self defence technique making use of an overcoat as a defensive weapon. The provenance of this technique is unclear. It could be an aspect of the Shinden Fudo Ryu jiujitsu that he had studied in Kobe, Japan; an adaptation of a French Apache (gangster) street-fighting trick, or perhaps Barton-Wright’s revival/update of the classic “cloak in the face” manoeuvre recorded by historical fencing masters such as Salvator Fabris:
Fabris’ technique had been revived as part of the historical fencing curriculum developed by Captain Alfred Hutton, who taught both Elizabethan and modern forms of fencing, as well as theatrical stage combat, at Barton-Wright’s Bartitsu Club:
According to Barton-Wright:
There is, however, one simple and effective way of meeting an attack with a knife that I will explain. We will suppose that you have to pass through a locality late at night where there is a likelihood of such an attack, and you do not wish to run the risk of bringing yourself within the law by relying upon a revolver.
Carry your overcoat upon your shoulders without passing your arms through the sleeves, in the style of a military cloak, with your right hand ready upon your left shoulder to use your coat in the way explained below, should the necessity arise. Be careful always to walk in the middle of the road. Directly your assailant attacks, face him and wait until he is within a distance of two or three yards. Then envelop his head and arms by throwing your coat at him, with a sweeping, circular motion of the arm. This will obscure his view momentarily, but not your own, and will give you plenty of time to deliver your attack, which should take the form of a right-handed knock-out blow in the pit of the stomach.
Or while he is still enveloped in the folds of your coat, slip round behind him, seize him by the right ankle, and push him under the shoulder blade with your left hand. You will thus throw him very violently upon his face, and in his endeavour to break his fall and protect his face he will put out his hands, and in doing so, involuntarily drop his weapon. He will then be disarmed and in a position where you can break his leg immediately if you so like, or if you do not wish to proceed to such extremes, you can hold him down in the position shown in No. 6 until the police arrive.
This is only one of the many ways I have of meeting such a contingency.
A tongue-in-cheek reference to the overcoat technique then appeared in the April 8th, 1899 issue of Guy’s Hospital Gazette:
Mr. Higgins has been taking lessons in the new art of self-defence. At his first meeting with Mr. Barton-Wright he attempted to floor him with the usual knock-out blow, but soon found himself presenting an inverted image moving against the shadow. This led him to think that there was more in the method than met the eye.
It appears that there is a good deal to learn in this new art. There are several hundreds of different manoeuvres for as many different forms of attack, and the trouble begins, I imagine, when you work off the wrong defence for the particular variety of attack.
There is one trick with an overcoat which strikes us as particularly “fresh.” All you have to do is to walk in the middle of the road with your arms removed from the sleeves of your overcoat. (The only drawback to this is that it rather spoils the set of the overcoat and necessitates wearing one all the summer). Then you meet your assailant—this is the hardest part of the business, but it can generally be managed by a judicious use of opprobrious epithet. Having met him, all you have to do is to seize your coat by the shoulder and plug it round his head.
If you are successful you can jump on his chest while he is getting untangled; if not, he will probably move off with the overcoat down a side-street. You lose the overcoat, but win the game. I must try it on a policeman.
And finally, here is the same trick, executed by Jude Law as Dr. John Watson in Sherlock Holmes (2010) as a prelude to belabouring his antagonist with a frying pan:
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.