“Entente Cordiale Fencing: the Art of Defence with a Walking Stick” (Pall Mall Gazette – 14 November, 1907)

  • Originally published on the Bartitsu.org site on Tuesday, 8th August 2017
Pierre Vigny demonstrates a parry against Marguerite Vigny’s double-handed cane thrust.

A hitherto unexpected development of the Entente Cordiale is the increasing interest that being taken by Englishmen and Englishwomen in the French school of fencing established in London. So great, indeed, has this interest now become that it was possible last evening, with the support of the French Embassy on the one hand and many prominent Englishmen on the other, to give at Steinway Hall what was described as a fencing tournament the Entente Cordiale.

Lord Desborough and Lord Howard de Walden figured amongst the patrons of the tournament, which had as its president Lieut.-Col. Huguet, the military at the French Embassy, Mr. Egerton Castle, acting as director, and Major H. Best as Master of the Ceremonies.

Foil, sword, sabre, and walking-stick, all in turn were used, M. Niox, the president Le Contre de Quatre, meeting Mr. Louis Hole, winner of the second prize at the amateur championship of England; Mr. A. Corble, of the Magrini School Arms, finding a skilled opponent in Mr. Evans James, amateur champion at sabre; and Mme. Vigny, who has challenged the lady fencers of the world, having a brilliant bout with foils wifh Professor Cronier, of the Sword Club.

It was all very neat and clever, and not the least appreciated part of the programme was a remarkable demonstration, given by Professor Vigny, of the art of defending oneself with a walking-stick. Taking a cane by the ferrule end, he used it in such a way that a band of ruffians would have found it difficult break through his guard, and in a match with Mr. Roger Nowell, who has won a reputation in this particular department of self-defence as the cleverest amateur In England, he dealt several forcible blows, which would have placed any man not fully guarded immediately hors de combat. Mme. Vigny also took part in the demonstration, and proved herself little less clever than her accomplished husband.

The success of the tournament was so pronounced, and gave such an enjovable evening to representatives of two nations that it is likely shortly to be repeated.

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