Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Today we continue with our theme of lesser known grappling gods. In fact, today we will talk about a female, a group of females to be exact, that scared the mustaches off of most men at the turn of the Century. This elite females name is Edith Garrud.

Edith was a professional Jujutsu instructor, writer, fight choreographer, and leader of the Jujutsuffragettes. Both Edith and her huband William Garrud were heavily involved in Physical Culture, gymnastics, boxing and wrestling for many years. It was not until the Garrud's met E. Barton Wright in 1899 where they became enamored with jujutsu. Barton-Wright himself was an accomplished martial artist, the first jujutsu instructor in Europe, and founder of Bartitsu. Bartitsu being the martial art of choice for Sherlock Holmes.

Now back to Edith...

During the sufferage movement in Europe, acts were passed by the government that allowed suffragates to be arrested, released from jail and then re-arrested. The suffragettes were of course tired  and angered by the persecution and established an all-woman protection unit referred to as the "Bodyguard". Edith's martial arts and physical culture expertise came into play and jujutsu was her main course of instruction, along with weapons training involving indian clubs. The Bodyguard as well as Edith continued to gain notoriety as they fought in several skirmishes with police officers that were trying to arrest their leaders.

So besides being ridiculously cool how does relate to modern grappling. Well we can fill you in. The Garrud's instructor, as well as E. Barton-Wright's, was jujutsoka Sadakazu Uyenishi. Uyenishi was one of the first jujutsu instructors to teach and also compete outside of Japan. At some point he teamed up with Barton and fellow Kodokan member Yukio Tani. Together Tani and Uyenishi traveled the country on pro-wrestling circuits. instruction not only influence the Garrud's, Barton-Wright but also spread the knowledge of Judo. One of his students Mrs. Emily Watts, wrote a book named "The Fine Art of Jujitsu" which became the first English work to record Kodkan Judo kata.

Boom, just blew your mind.

Now check out some fine ladies kicking ass and throwing men at will.

1 comment:

  1. Cool, I was just reading about Garrud in Richard Bowen's history of judo. There was a BBC documentary (discussed over on the site here, which also links to a longer interview with Dr Godfrey about her book on Victorian women's self defence) featuring the suffragettes martial arts training a while back too, which is what inspired Seymour to use an Edwardian woodcut of a suffragette throwing a police officer for the GrappleThon design (which you can see here). :)


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