The following short article is representative of the nationalistic arguments favoured by the French media prior to the much-anticipated jiujitsu vs. savate contest between Re-Nie (Ernest Regnier) and Georges Dubois.
The correspondent’s comments on Bartitsu are interesting in that while he’s right about the Bartitsu Club being the first place where Japanese instructors taught jiujitsu in England, he seems not to have been aware that Bartitsu combined Japanese and European self-defence arts, nor that Re-Nie himself was trained by former Bartitsu Club instructors.
Here’s the English translation:
Are you in favor of Dubois, or do you prefer the odds of Ré-Nie?
These questions are passionately debated by sportsmen in advance of their upcoming encounter.
The masters of French boxing here offer their opinions. Yesterday, Bayle issued an opinion rather in favor of the French method; Mainguet, we remember, supported the same thesis, which would seem to grant Dubois the majority of votes.
This majority, in what we will call “a prognosis”, certainly holds that the French method is well known, while jiu-jitsu still appears to us as a quasi-mysterious thing.
We are happy to be able, on this subject, to publish today some interesting remarks that we owe to the kindness of one of our loyal readers, M. Regard, from Marseille:
At the moment when one speaks only of the Dubois match.
“Regarding Re-Nie,” writes M. Regard, “it seems interesting to me to point out to you that the first Japanese professors of jiu-jitsu were brought to Europe – to London, in fact – by Mr. Barton-Wright, who had set up a club to teach this new method of combat; the only one difference is in the name. Barton-Wright’s method was called Bartitsu. It was in 1898. That club did not enjoy great success and soon closed its doors.”
“I did a lot of sports,” adds Mr. Regard, “as much French as English boxing; I also know the best tricks of Bartitsu, which did not keep me from receiving formidable pains from thugs who knew a more complete jiu-jitsu than mine, which was, though not having been taught at a Bartitsu academy, nevertheless better developed than my torsions of fingers and sharp blows of the hands.”
I therefore conclude that the victory shall go to M. Dubois and, in best French spirit, I hope that the old method taught by our teachers will find its followers, as it did in the halcyon days.”
Thus, the “official” opinion seems quite unified, and all in favor of our national method.
A few more days, and we will be sure of the validity of these various opinions.
As it turned out, the heavily-hyped contest was anti-climactic, ending in a quick and decisive victory for Re-Nie by means of a simple takedown and a juji-gatame armlock: