- Originally published on the Bartitsu.org site on Sunday, 1st November 2009
This is a very rare photograph of former Bartitsu Club instructor Pierre Vigny, at the age of 60, posing between his friends and fellow physical culture enthusiasts Edouard Jaccard (aged 69, left) and 67 year old Georges Lambert (right).
After his tenure as chief instructor at the Bartitsu Cub in London, Vigny went on to establish his own fencing and self defence academy in the English capital, returning to Geneva a year or two prior to the outbreak of the First World War. Little is known about his later life, but this photograph from an article in “La Tribune de Genève” demonstrates that he was still in good health in 1929.
The article notes that the three senior athletes enjoyed running together in the countryside around Geneva, and that they all had hearty appetites. It goes on to mention that Vigny and Lambert had fought a “Homeric” boxing bout in 1888, Vigny suffering a twisted knee when he slipped during the match. In December of 1919, the article continues, Vigny had survived a potentially fatal tram accident due to the reflexes and constitution developed over a lifetime as a physical culture and self defence enthusiast.