“Japanese Wrestling” (27 October, 1898)

  • Originally published on the Bartitsu.org site on Friday, 14th December 2012

A report from the Morning Post newspaper on one of E.W. Barton-Wright’s early jiujitsu demonstrations in London.

Mr. Barton-Wright’s demonstration of Japanese wrestling at the St. James’s Hall last evening was a source of much entertainment and scarcely less surprise. This method of self-defence depends entirely on science and very little on strength, and it was Mr. Barton- Wright’s object to show that it enables a man not naturally strong easily to overcome a powerful adversary. He was opposed by Mr. Chipchase, the middle-weight Cumberland and Westmoreland Amateur Champion, whom he threw several times, apparently without much effort.

It was explained that the Japanese method is based on the principle of yielding to the adversary until his muscles are at an unnatural strain, when he is at once at the mercy of an accomplished wrestler. It is evident, however, that if great strength is not necessary, extreme quickness is absolutely essential for the successful practice of the Japanese system, some of Mr. Barton-Wright’s throws having been executed with such rapidity that it was impossible for the eye to follow the movements that brought them about.

Among the most remarkable of his demonstration, was his counter to the Cumberland and Westmoreland overhead throw. Allowing Mr. Chipchase to throw him in this fashion, he caught him by the head while in the air and threw him as he fell.

The counter to the cross-buttock throw was another remarkable achievement, and Mr. Barton-Wright, while lying on the ground, also threw his opponent with his feet. In submitting to the neck throw, though falling first, he pulled his adversary down after him into a position of complete helplessness.

It is noteworthy that in all the throws Mr. Barton-Wright accomplished he placed his opponent in such a position that he was completely at his mercy, and Mr. Chipchase had several times to call out to be released from a painful situation. In these positions Mr. Barton-Wright showed that he could easily strangle his opponent, or break one of his limbs, while he was incapable of resistance.

He demonstrated several ways of meeting an attack and overthrowing the aggressor, and he also exemplified the art of falling without injury and in such a way as to face his antagonist.

That the science of anatomy plays a considerable part in this kind of wrestling was proved by Mr. Barton-Wright, when apparently at his opponent’s mercy, overcoming him by touching a nerve in his arm. Examples of various other styles of wrestling were given, and the entertainment altogether afforded much satisfaction to the audience.

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