Members of the “Jujitsuffragette” Bodyguard team were trained by Edith Garrud, who had studied Japanese martial arts with former Bartitsu Club instructors Yukio Tani and Sadakazu Uyenishi as well as Akitaro “Daibutsu” Ono, Taro Miyake, Mitsuyo Maeda and other notable sensei who were active in Edwardian London. Mrs. Garrud will be portrayed in re-enactment sequences in No Man Shall Protect Us, which will document the origins, training, tactics and missions of the Bodyguard.
Production will continue through early January of 2018 and the full documentary will be made freely available online upon completion.
I am here tonight in spite of armies of police. I am here tonight and not a man is going to protect me, because this is a woman’s fight, and we are going to protect ourselves! I challenge the government to re-arrest me!
The production will make use of rare archival media, narration and theatrical re-enactments, featuring actors playing Emmeline Pankhurst, Canadian Bodyguard leader Gert Harding and jiujitsu trainer Edith Garrud among other notables.
Congratulations to high school senior Erin Lowe, whose dramatic presentation Suffrajitsu: The Women Who Fought Back won the first prize in the Senior Individual Performance category during a recent National History Day competition held at the University of Maryland.
In this short scene from the 2015 movie Suffragette, newly militant Maude Watts (Carey Mulligan) receives her first lesson in jiujitsu from Edith Ellyn (Helena Bonham Carter).
In real history, Edith Garrud served as the self-defence trainer for the secret Bodyguard Society of the Women’s Social and Political Union, whose duties included physically protecting suffragette leaders from arrest and assault.
London’s Radical Tea Towel Company will be hosting a day-long Suffrajitsu Experience on Sept. 16, with a guided tour by historian Elizabeth Crawford, a lecture by Dr. Emelyne Godfrey and a demonstration of suffragette martial arts by Jennifer Garside.
In these excerpts from a recent episode of “Drunk History UK”, inebriated comedienne Luisa Omielan attempts to relate the history of the jujitsu-trained suffragette Bodyguard team:
Bonus points for the casting of actress and real-life suffragette history enthusiast Jessica Hynes as WSPU leader Emmeline Pankhurst.
Ms. Omielan also struggled valiantly to recall the name of suffragette jujitsu trainer Edith Garrud, finally settling on “Gertrude” before being gently corrected by an off-screen colleague. She was probably confused by the similarity of names between Garrud and Gertrude Harding, who was, in fact, the main organiser of Mrs. Pankhurst’s security vanguard.
The episode also included a semi-accurate re-enactment of a confrontation between the Bodyguard and the police during one of Mrs. Pankhurst’s public rallies in Camden Square:
Fighting for the vote, the Suffragettes have planted an explosive device. As they attempt to make their escape, a husband sells out his wife’s cause to the special constables …
Hats off to the team at London’s Fight Rep for this Suffrajitsu-inspired tribute to Edwardian ass-kickery, which was rehearsed and shot in a mere eight hours. Bartitsu aficionados will appreciate the use of signature techniques from E.W. Barton-Wright’s Pearson’s Magazine articles and Marguerite Vigny’s (“Miss Sanderson’s”) demonstrations of parasol and umbrella self-defence.
The first twelve minutes of this 2013 BBC documentary focus on Bartitsu and the use of jiujitsu by the radical suffragettes, featuring demonstrations by James Marwood and George Stokoe and interviews with Tony Wolf and Emelyne Godfrey.