- Originally published on the Bartitsu.org site on Friday, 30th May 2014
Note: with the outbreak of the First World War, jiujitsu instructor William Garrud became the self-defence instructor for the Special Constables.
It was the special terms to Special Constables that tempted me —and I fell.
I don’t just remember how many times I fell, but it was pretty nearly as often as the “Professor” of the wily art took hold of me. Before the first lesson was over, falling became more than a mere pastime with me, it grew into a serious occupation.
So I left the jiu-jitsu school at the end of the second lesson with a nodding acquaintance with some very pretty holds and a very firm determination to practise them on Alfred when he got back to the office next day from Birmingham.
I suppose I ought to have persevered with my lessons a little longer, but I was losing my self-respect, and felt that nothing would help me to gain it better than to cause somebody else to do the falling for a bit.
Alfred is six-foot-two, but a trifle weedy-looking, and so good-tempered that I knew he wouldn’t resent being practised on.
As he came in I advanced with outstretched hand to meet him.
“How goes it?” he said cheerily, holding out his hand.
“Like this,” I said, as I gripped his right wrist instead of his fingers, turned to the left till I was abreast of him, inserted my left arm under his right, gripped the lapel of his coat with my left hand and turning his wrist downward with my right, pressed his arm back. To attack unexpectedly is the great thing.
“Don’t be a funny ass,” said Alfred, as I lifted myself out of the waste-paper basket.
How I got there I wasn’t quite sure, but concluded that I had muffed the business with my left arm by not inserting it well above his elbow for the leverage.
“Sorry,” I said; “the new handshake. Everybody’s doing it.”
“Are they?” said Alfred. “Well, I’ve been having some lessons in etiquette myself the last few days from a naval man I met down at Hythe. Seen the new embrace?”
“Er—no,” I said, putting a chair between us, “I don’t think I have; but I’m not feeling affectionate this morning. I’m going to lunch.”
Thank goodness, if I do meet a spy, I’ve got a truncheon and a whistle.