This article was originally published in the New Zealand “Auckland Star” newspaper on April 11, 1901.
The article was written shortly after E.W. Barton-Wright’s successful lecture and demonstration for the Japan Society.
JU-JITSU AND JU-DO.
THREE FALLS WITH A JAPANESE WRESTLER.
“Ju-Jitsu and Ju-do – the Japanese Art of Self-Defence from a British Athletic Point of View” is the title of a lecture by Mr Barton-Wright, in London, recently.
Mr Barton-Wright, as readers of “Pearson’s Magazine” are aware, is the inventor of Bartitsu, a system of self-defence combining walking-stick play, boxing, wrestling, kicking — in short, all possible forms of defence. The master of Bartitsu, it is said, can hold his own in any combat, from a street “scrap” with a New Cut Hooligan to a stabbing match with an Italian desperado. Indeed, Mr Barton-Wright claims that, at close range, he could disable a man with a revolver before the latter could “draw.”
The lecture was illustrated by practical demonstrations by the author and by his two Japanese wrestlers, the strong men Yamamoto and Tani.
“Yamamoto is returning to Japan,” said Mr Barton-Wright to an “Express” representative, “and I have a thirteen-stone man coming over, whose order is not so particular. The public will have an opportunity of seeing him and Tani wrestle. Tani only weighs eight stone, but I will back him to throw any wrestler living up to thirteen stone — five stone more than himself. My thirteen-stone man – I will back against all-comers. If you like, Tani will show you a little Japanese wrestling.”
Tani and Yamamoto sat lovingly by the stove, but, on a word from Mr Barton-Wright, Tani shed his European clothes and stepped to the wrestling mattress, a. Japanese wrestler in his buff. Two brown legs, a little body in a loose white tunic, and two quick, black eyes, bright in a swarthy face — that was Tani, champion boy wrestler of Japan.
The visitor took off his coat and boots, but forebore from baring his legs. “Divert Mr Tani’s mind of any idea, that I am a wrestling champion in disguise,” he said. “Tell him this is a purely academic wrestle. If he’s going to illustrate anything in the spine-breaking or leg-fracturing way, let him illustrate on Mr Yamamoto.”
“Tani, play light,” said Mr Barton-Wright in Japanese and the Homeric struggle began. The visitor crouched; Tani crouched. The visitor patted Tani on the arm, after the manner of the music-hall wrestler; Tani did nothing. Then, without warning, the visitor hurtled through the air, clean over Tani’s head. A swan might have envied the grace of that flight. He fell on his back, beautifully spread-eageled. First fail to Japan. A lightning cross-buttock and an inexplicable back-heel concluded the illustrations so far as the visitor was concerned.
Then Tani and Yamamoto strove together, and all that could be seen was a mad confusion of brown legs and white bodies.
“Nothing human on legs would stand a chance with these men,” said Mr Barton-Wright, proudly.
M. Pierre Vigny. the Swiss professor of stick play, had just finished a walking-stick bout with a pupil.
“I will back M. Vigny,” said Mr Barton-Wright, “against any man in a contest of all-round defence and offence, each using only his natural weapons. M. Vigny shall take on the best boxer in England, and the boxer can hit below the belt, wrestle — do anything he likes— and M. Vigny shall beat him.”