There is a good deal to be said for ju-jitsu, but there are occasions when something in one’s hand is bettor than any amount of tricks in one’s head.
Not that it is necessary for a man to go about with a revolver or a life-preserver, or any other cumbersome and bulky article concealed on his person. It is quite possible to make a very effective weapon of the humble and useful walking-stick. It is a thousand pities that Englishmen don’t learn how to turn their ordinary stick into a weapon of defence, and choose a serviceable one with a view to that end. You can use an ordinary walking-stick just as you use a foil or a singlestick; or you can grasp it in the middle as our ancestors did when they indulged in quarterstaff play, and if you are at all dexterous you can do a deal of execution in very little time.
And even if your opponent should happen to possess “a revolver “—well, if you are spry, and get your blow home first, you can disable him, and after a smart rap with a good cudgel his revolver won’t be of much use to him, for his fingers for the time being will have lost their cunning with regard to the trigger.
But, supposing that it is a wet night and you have left your walking-stick at home and are carrying an umbrella. It is, I know, a sorry sort of a weapon to pin one’s faith to in a serious encounter. The fashionable gamp is made more for show than use. But don’t lose heart; you have no idea how in expert hands an umbrella can hamper a rough. It can also be used with deadly effect on occasion, if it happens to have an extra sharp point.
Use the ferrule and jab—you can find “the mark” even with an umbrella.
Of course, the old country dame’s device for frightening a cow—of opening her umbrella suddenly—won’t avail with a human opponent bent on depriving you of your spare cash. But grasped firmly in the middle you can bring it down with some considerable force on your assailant’s person, though for myself I think it wiser to stick to the jabbing methods of offence.
If your umbrella has a large crook handle you can bring the hooligan down very easily by hooking it round his leg.
But, of course, it is more than probable that you are without a weapon of any sort, and that you have never troubled to learn the art of jujitsu, in which ease you will have to rely on your fists. But don’t make the mistake of a certain scientific individual of my acquaintance, who supposed that the rough would conform to the Queensberry rules. He found out his error most thoroughly and painfully.
Remember the villain wants to lick you for the reason that he wants to rob you, not for the sport of the thing. So be on the look-out for a kick in your tenderest part, and don’t be chivalrous. If he kicks, kick too, and try and trip him, and then if you succeed sit on his head while you yell for assistance.
Now for a few hints on what to do if you are attacked by one of those low-down ruffians, and he carries a revolver and you are quite unharmed. Don’t waste any time. Go for him. Get to close grips. Most people make the mistake of taking hold of the pistol arm and forcing it upward under the impression that they are misdirecting the aim, forgetting – or perhaps not aware – that an expert shot can turn his wrist and so aim low at equally vital spots.
Grab hold with both hands—one at the wrist and the other above the elbow point—and by exerting force you can put your assailant hors de combat. It takes nerve and pluck, but you have a ten to one chance if you go for him, and only a hundred to one if you run away.