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Old 15-May-18, 22:05
Amazonia Amazonia is offline
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Default Suffrajitsu: Suffragettes Who Defended Women’s Rights With Jujitsu

This is an interesting article about how the historic Suffragettes in the early 20th century Britain started training martial arts to defend themselves in the scuffles with the policemen and formed a special group of 30 trained and athletic amazons as bodyguards:

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Some highlights:

Edith Margaret Garrud, a tiny yet tenacious woman, taught the suffragettes.

Born in 1872, Garrud had learned the technique with her husband William, a gymnastics, boxing, and wrestling instructor. The couple ran a dojo in a trendy area of London and in 1908 the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) approached them.

...

By 1910, Edith Margaret Garrud was running frequent classes exclusively for the movement. She’d invite any curious men to challenge her — asking them to dress up in a police hat before expertly neutralizing their attacks to her pupils’ delight.

In a 1965 interview, she recalled one particular moment when the skills came in handy.

“Now then, move on, you can’t start causing an obstruction here,” a policeman had said while trying to stop her from protesting outside of Parliament.

“Excuse me, it is you who are making an obstruction,” Garrud had answered before flinging the man over her tiny shoulders.

...

Other media outlets found the concept entertaining, coining the phrase “suffrajitsu” in satirical articles.

...

It was less humorous in practice, though. And as the government became more and more desperate to shut the resistance down, self-defense became a key component of the movement.

In 1913, the “Cat and Mouse Act” further escalated the need for protection.

“This Act allowed for the early release of prisoners who were so weakened by hunger striking that they were at risk of death,” the UK Parliament site explains. “They were to be recalled to prison once their health was recovered, where the process would begin again.”

Organizers realized [Emmeline] Pankhurst couldn’t afford to be captured again. She was too important to the movement to spend years being shuttled back and forth between jail cells.

They needed to protect her, so Edith Margaret Garrud and fellow suffragette Gertrude Harding created the Bodyguard.

Nicknamed “The Amazons” by the media, this group of 30 young and fit suffragettes acted as a line of defense around Pankhurst.


They hid bowling-pin shaped clubs, flower pots, and other makeshift weapons in the folds of their dresses. They created subtle armor with cardboard and cotton padding.

The Bodyguard was constantly prepared for any call to action — sometimes receiving no more warning or explanation than a phone call instructing them to follow a certain car.


Here are some cartoons made by the suffragettes and their supporters at the time:









I looked around and found this site dedicted to these Suffragettes and their suffrajitsu and promoting a graphic novel about them:

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About the novel:
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This is a description of one of the confrontations the suffragettes bodyguards had with the police:

They came in handy during a famous confrontation known as the “Battle of Glasgow” in early 1914.

The Bodyguard travelled overnight from London by train, their concealed clubs making the journey uncomfortable. A crowd was waiting to see Pankhurst speak at St Andrew’s Hall. But police had surrounded it, hoping to catch her.

Pankhurst evaded them on her way in by buying a ticket and pretending to be a spectator. The Bodyguard then got into position, sitting on a semi-circle of chairs behind the speaker’s podium.

Suddenly Pankhurst appeared and started speaking. She did so for half a minute before police tried to storm the stage.

But they became caught on barbed wire hidden in bouquets. “So about 30 suffragettes and 50 police were involved in a brawl on stage in front of 4,000 people for several minutes,” says Wolf.

Eventually police overwhelmed The Bodyguard and Pankhurst was once again arrested. But the difficulty they had in dragging her away showed just how effective her guards had become.


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So it seems like 30 women were holding their own against 50 male policemen for quite some time. I wonder if they would have won if the numbers were equal. Imagine how humiliating that would have been for the men!

These are the weapons that the suffragette amazons used in the scuffle:
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And here is a video reenactment of a fight from that era with the suffragette women getting the better of the men:


Last edited by Amazonia; 15-May-18 at 22:18.
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Old 16-May-18, 03:45
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G-Force G-Force is offline
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Default Re: Suffrajitsu: Suffragettes Who Defended Women’s Rights With Jujitsu

Awesome!! Thanks!!!
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Old 16-May-18, 13:09
Billy Lunar Billy Lunar is offline
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Default Re: Suffrajitsu: Suffragettes Who Defended Women’s Rights With Jujitsu

Of course we'll never really know the real extent of this - the British government at the time probably would have played this down while the Suffragettes would have played it up for propanganda purposes. As usual, it would have been nice to know the facts.

One thing I do know for sure though is that the UK media has been fascinated by this for the last 30-odd years, there's a Channel 4 drama-documentary from the early 1980s that features this with some images - I think it's been mentioned on this site before too.
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Old 19-May-18, 22:30
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Default Re: Suffrajitsu: Suffragettes Who Defended Women’s Rights With Jujitsu

Moved the off-topic argument to the off-topic section of the site: [Only Registered Users Can See LinksClick Here To Register]
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