“The Secret Lock: A Splendid Yarn of Jiu-Jitsu” (1911)

GoogleBooks has made available this thrilling 12-page tale for red-blooded boys of all ages by Percy Longhurst (author of Jiu-Jitsu and Other Methods of Self Defence). It was originally published in the August 1911 edition of Boys’ Life Magazine.

For full enjoyment of the story, please note that the term Jap was not used pejoratively during the Victorian or Edwardian periods, being rather in the nature of a simple abbreviation (q.v. “Brit” for British, “Aussie” for Australian, etc.) The modern pejorative use dates to the Second World War.

“Jiu-Jitsu and Other Methods of Self Defence” republished

Announcing Kirk Lawson‘s re-publication of Percy Longhurst’s “Jiu-Jitsu and Other Methods of Self Defence” (1906) from a copy of the original located by Dr. Milo Thurston of the Linacre School of Defence. The re-published book is available in hard copy for US$9.28 or as a free PDF download from this site.

An early promoter of Japanese “Jiu-Jitsu” in the first decade of the 20th Century in England, Percy Longhurst studied under both Yukio Tani and Sadakazu Uyenishi. He was familiar with, and possibly studied Bartitsu under E.W. Barton-Wright and stick-fighting under Pierre Vigny.

A prolific writer and accomplished amateur athlete, Longhurst quickly turned his skills to Self Defense and the “new,” mysterious, and glamorous foreign martial art of Jiu-Jitsu.

In 1906 he published the first edition of what was to become a celebrated and frequently reprinted manual: Jiu-Jitsu and Other Methods of Self Defense.

Combining Western and Japanese wrestling and self-defense methods, Longhurst’s manual was groundbreaking. Another innovation of this manual is a section specifically intended for ladies. This book is so dense with material, yet so easily understood and well put together, that it was revised and reprinted for decades, at least until the early 1950’s, and at least 11 editions.

This is one of the most important of the early Western self defense manuals due not only to its heavy emphasis on Jiu-Jitsu but its combination with other Western methods. It’s sure to please Western martial artist and early Jiu-Jitsu researchers alike.

Of all the early 20th century British self-defence instructors, Longhurst was the most sympathetic to E.W. Barton-Wright. “Jiu-Jitsu and Other Methods of Self Defence” is truly the closest thing to a Bartitsu manual produced during the pre-War period and is an excellent supplementary resource to the Bartitsu Compendium, Volume II. Kirk Lawson’s re-publication is highly recommended to neo-Bartitsu enthusiasts.

Another “new” canonical Bartitsu technique

From Percy Longhurst’s “JiuJitsu and Other Methods of Self Defence”, 1906 (pp 77-78):

A different defence to a similar attack – one which considerably surprised me when I was first introduced to it by Mr. Barton-Wright several years ago, and which is by no means too much for feminine strength – is that illustrated in Figure 46. The descending hand of the assailant is jerked up, his wrist seized, and the defender simultaneously steps outside the assailant’s advanced leg so that her knee – the leg being bent – is pressed against his bent knee. A sideways and downwards jerk of the captured hand will lay the assaulter on the ground, the whole secret of the move being, of course, the disturbance of the balance.


Considerable confidence and great quickness are required for the satisfactory accomplishment of this throw, and, admittedly, there are better defences which may be used if the assailant has a very great superiority of weight. If the thrower makes a slight backwards kick with her advanced foot at the same moment that she jerks the captured arm round, it will facilitate her assailant’s downfall.

“A Few Practical Hints on Self Defence” (1900)

A longtime wrestling, boxing and general “antagonistics” enthusiast, Percy Longhurst’s precise connection with Bartitsu is a matter of some speculation.

He was among the audience at some of E.W Barton-Wright’s early self defence exhibitions in London (1898-99) and actually volunteered to try his considerable wrestling skill against one of the newly-arrived Japanese jiujitsuka; by his own account, Longhurst put up a game defence but was quickly defeated, apparently with some sort of arm-lock. Circumstantial evidence suggests that he was likely among the original members of Barton-Wright’s Bartitsu Club, as he later credited a particular throwing technique to Barton-Wright; he was definitely a student of Yukio Tani’s and Sadakazu Uyenishi’s, but the chronology is not clear.

Longhurst was a prolific writer on all manner of athletic topics. His commentaries on, for example, the disadvantage of European wrestlers being required to fight under Barton-Wright’s submission grappling rules during the latter’s music hall challenge performances, and his balanced and realistic take on the “boxing vs. jiujitsu” controversy of 1906-7, reveal a canny and pragmatic approach to personal combat. Longhurst’s book “Jiu-Jitsu and Other Methods of Self Defence“, likewise, offered a very Bartitsu-like combination of wrestling, jiujitsu, boxing, kicking and stick fighting techniques, and is, in fact, the closest thing to a “Bartitsu manual” to have come out of England in the early 20th century.

Longhurst’s article “A Few Practical Hints on Self Defence” (reproduced below) was originally published in Sandow’s Magazine of Physical Culture between January and June of 1900. It presages “Jiujitsu and Other Methods of Self Defence” in several ways and is also notable for including a veiled reference to the Afro-Brazilian martial art of capoeira (!)

Click on the images below to see them in full size.

Along with his colleagues William Garrud, W. Bruce Sutherland and Percy Bickerdike, Longhurst later became a founding member of the British Jiujitsu Society, and he continued to write on judo, jiujitsu and self defence topics throughout the early-mid 20th century.