The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Self Defense for Ladies



Below is an excerpt from an online magazine named InYo. It's about the early exposure of jujitsu to the West. If you click on the title of this post, you'll be directed to the full article. Below that is a link to a video clip I stumbled on a long time ago. It's a martial arts demostration from the early part of the 20th century. The way the young woman moves in heels is something I continue to marvel at. Enjoy.



Training the Helpless Flapper to Fight Her Own Battles

From Literary Digest 94, August 27, 1927, pp. 47-48.

President Roosevelt was looking over some ju-jutsu pictures presented to him by Capt. J. J. O’Brien, the man who introduced that Japanese art of self-defense to America. The President halted at one of the pictures and regarded it at length. Looking over his shoulder, Captain O’Brien saw that it was a picture of a woman straight-arming a man with her stiffened fingers jabbing his eyes. A little worried lest this maneuver should make an unfavorable impression, the Captain stammered:


"Mr. President, a dangerous situation requires a desperate defense. That was invented to give a woman protection against a thug who suddenly attacked her."


Colonel Roosevelt’s response, according to a writer in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, was reassuring.


"I think, Captain," he is reported to have said, "that this is the best thing in your repertory."


To-day, with the greater freedom claimed by girls in their teens, and with new and menacing conditions introduced by the automobile and other modern factors, it is considered more important than ever that young women should be trained to defend themselves in an emergency. For this purpose Captain O’Brien has worked out a system of what he calls "modified" ju-jutsu, consisting holds and tricks by which the frailest girl can being an assailant to the ground and make him beg for money." There is no need for a woman to be defenseless, says Captain O’Brien, "when the practice of several easy methods will give her ample protection against any thug, strangler or flirt who seems to have the advantage of her. Girls don’t have to suffer mauling or the unwelcome arm of a sheik when the knowledge of modified ju-jutsu will give them complete command of the situation."


The Ledger writer tells us that Captain O’Brien is "a graduate of the old navy of wooden ships," and that he served as police inspector in Nagasaki for some years before returning home and teaching President Roosevelt ju-jutsu. Moreover:


Captain O’Brien numbers among his people some of the most prominent people in the country, among them, Secretary of War Dwight Davis , former Assistant Secretary of War Benedict Crowell and Dr. John B. Deaver the famous surgeon. He has taught instructors of the police force of various cities, and also members of the Pennsylvania State Police. He has also taught many women of social prominence his system of defense.


During the war [World War I] he demonstrated that part of his method which would be effective against the enemy, to hundreds of instructors, and the treatment to which he has been subjected by the vigorous application of his technique by his students has resulted in the partial atrophy of his left arm.


"The system is based upon knowledge of mechanical principles which function in the human body and upon rules of leverage," said Captain O’Brien. "One time R. Tait McKenzie , sculptor and supervisor of physical instruction at the University of Pennsylvania, tried these principles out on bodies in the dissection room at the University, and proved that full application of the force which can be exerted in defense will break bones and tear apart the muscles."


"The reason this method is so successful is that it catches the assailant unawares. A man who gets set for it could avoid close contact with his victim, but when he gets near enough, there is no defense."


"Take a very common occurrence where a man attempts to flirt with a girl, walks up alongside her and, starting a conversation, takes hold of her arm. She slides her arm under his as if about to draw him nearer to her. The sheik wouldn’t object to that. He probably would be delighted to think he had made such a hit that that the girl was ready to embrace him."


"As her arm goes under his, she brings it on top of his arm above his elbow and puts on a little pressure. His arm straightens out and he is at her mercy. As she puts on more force she moves as if to straighten her arm, but what she is doing is to bend his arm in the direction opposite to the natural swing at the elbow."


"He can not extricate himself. His arm is caught in a vise from which he can not withdraw, and if he attempts to reach her with his other arm, he is prevented from turning to face her by the fact that her position bars him from swinging his free arm toward her."


"She can punish him more severely by gripping the hand on his arm with her free hand and pulling down on it. This will force the sheik toward the pavement, and she can give him a jerk, sending him head over heels, and go calmly on her way. A quick pull will break his elbow."


"This is a long explanation, but practice it with a friend and see how quickly and simply it can be done with hardly any effort."

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The video link:

Old School Jujutsu 2

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