A battle royale

A cartoon from the Libertarian political satire blog lampoonthesystem.com stages the rivalry between France and England as a savate vs. Bartitsu battle royale.

This is the second time in over a hundred years that humourists have referenced Bartitsu to make a political point. In a 1904 article poking fun at the customs of hereditary peerage for Punch’s Almanack, writer, war-games enthusiast and fervent socialist H.G. Wells wrote:

Next in importance to pronunciation and recitation in building up the mental and moral equipment of our ideal Duke, I would place the handling of toy soldiers, with this proviso, that every army corps should be provided with a section of cyclist volunteers. At the age of ten the Duke should himself be instructed in the use of the bicycle (preferably a Bantam), the Mauser pistol, and the Bartitsu method of self-defence, a mode of fighting rendered indispensable by the Anglo-Japanese alliance.

“More Jiujitsu Tricks” (Punch Magazine, 1905)

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.