In his ongoing effort to open the parlor room door to the vigorous martial arts (aka “antagonistics”) world of late Victorian London, our friend and author Tony Wolf has recently blogged offering not a glimpse into the Bartitsu Club of Barton-Wright, not in his words, but those of the ancient swordplay pioneer, Captain Alfred Hutton.
“Before bringing my passing recollections to a close as regards people I have met, and as having been more especially connected with the use of defensive and offensive weapons, I should like to refer to my friend Monsieur Pierre Vigny, a Swiss gentleman, devoted to all athletic exercises, and certainly master of the art of self defence by means of an ordinary walking-stick, a Malacca cane being preferred. The exercise is most useful in case of attack by footpads, most interesting as a sport, and most exhilarating in a game. It beats single-stick. However, it would take far too long for me to give further explanations.
There is another new development of athleticism which I strongly advocate, viz., Ju-jitsu, or Japanese wrestling. I am too old to go in for regular wrestling as it obtains in Japan, easy as it may look, but my good friends Uyenishi and Tani put me up to about eighty kata, or tricks, which even at my age may one day or another come in useful. In modified form the art might be advantageously practised by a small boy when meeting a great hulking bully; indeed, the successful way in which a twelve-year-old friend of mine who knew some tricks of Japanese wrestling floored his parent in my presence was most instructive in spite of its apparent disrespect.
My Japanese friends tell me it is one of the most amusing sights to watch the little native policemen in Japan throwing and capturing huge, stalwart, European sailors who have supped not wisely but too well.”
You can read more about Hutton’s thoughts, and how he later made use of Tani and Uyenishi’s lessons in Captain Hutton writes about his friends at the Bartitsu Club.