England— Home of Jujutsu

by wjw on February 13, 2009

There’s nothing like learning jujutsu from a chirrupy-voiced upperclass English lady, as seen in this classic video from 1931.

I doubt that her partner’s groans are at all feigned, as he doesn’t seem very good at falling down.

S.M. Stirling February 13, 2009 at 5:56 am

She’s actually pretty good!

It’s not quite an upper-class accent, though. Middle-middle with pretensions to gentility. It doesn’t have quite the braying quality that real upper-class Britspeak of the time did.

Ralf the Dog February 13, 2009 at 6:15 am

Hard floor. Nice legs. I get the impression the guy was having quite a bit of fun.


Ralf the Dog February 13, 2009 at 6:37 am

I love their measurements.

“Slow motion demonstrates exactly how 7 stone odd, scientifically applied can defeat 14 stone.”

Mathew February 13, 2009 at 7:42 am

On one of the slo-mo bits the Uke ( the Guy receiving the technique)looks to be almost positioning his arms for a classic breakfall, but then just lands on the ground like a bag of hammers.

reddiana February 13, 2009 at 3:59 pm

That’s awesome! And you’re right–the guy doesn’t know how to fall very well at all. 🙂

Ian McDowell February 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Oh, that’s great! And yeah, unlike some of the other women in vintage self-defense footage, she actually looks like she knows what she’s doing, rather than someone following a rehearsed routine. Very cute, too.

Someone should write a book on martial arts in England and America from the Victorian era to the 1930s, starting with people like Teddy Roosevelt’s sensei and the judokas who toured British music halls challenging wrestlers and boxers. And, of course, E. W. Barton-Wright’s Bartitsu (which Doyle misspelled as “Baritsu”).


Ian McDowell February 13, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Btw, a couple of traditional Japanese arts made an unexpectedly strong showing in the UFC a couple of weeks ago. Media attention, understandably enough, was on the dapper Canuck powerhouse George St. Pierre (the only fighter I’ve ever seen arrive at the UFC in a suit and tie) and his destruction of wrestler B. J. Penn (for a man who began as a pure striker, St. Pierre has somehow become one of the best grapplers in the world), but there was some interesting stuff in the undercards, too.

Karo Parisyan fought Dong Hyun Kim in what was pretty much a pure judo match. Parisyan won by split decision (I would have given it to Kim). Some commentators called the match “boring” and example of a poor match-up, saying their skills stalemated each other, but I thought it was fascinating, with a couple of beautiful throws.

And Lyota Machida knocked out Thiago Silva at the end of the first round of their fight. Two Brazilians going at it isn’t exactly news in the UFC, but what’s interesting is that only the loser was a Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist. Machida is the son of a Brazilian-Japanese shotokan master, Shozizo Machida, and he’s the rare MMA champion to fight in a traditional Shotokan stance. The combination that took out Silva was straight out of kata.

Dan February 14, 2009 at 2:00 am

The uke is actually quite good — he’s working diligently at appearing to impact with a lot of force, but look at the first attack — when she throws him, his right arm guides the motion, and he does a very clean breakfall slap. I’m impressed that the arm doesn’t come up, as is the more common response I’ve seen.

Same with him falling after the kick — arm up to protect the face, slaps the floor to absorb some of the force, and then bounces up.

Mark February 14, 2009 at 3:00 am

The guy is doing a certain amount of mugging for the camera. He knew what he was doing, though.

Note that for the larger throws, he’s taking the initial impact on his feet before his body touches the floor. Discrete slaps, too, as someone else noted.

I’d bet money that he was her teacher.

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