The Soft Art: Ju-Jitsu (The Sketch, March 22 1905)

Edwardian journalists, handicapped by the lack of standardised spelling of Japanese words in English, did the best they could via phonetics. “Tarro Myaki’s” name is properly rendered at Taro Miyake, and he was prominent among the second wave of Japanese jujutsuka to visit England during the very early 20th century.

This recently-discovered photo-feature from The Sketch magazine shows Miyake demonstrating several basic jujutsu waza.

Tarro Myaki, who is champion of the world, and who is shown in these photographs, beat Yukio Tani at the end of last year and has recently been wrestling with Joe Carroll. He is 23, weighs 11 and 1/2 stone and is 5’8″ in height.

A number of police constables are already being initiated into the mysteries of Ju-jitsu, and the military authorities have visited Tarro Myaki’s school with a view to having the “soft art” taught to the Army and Navy.

(1.) Should his enemy attack him by catching him by the neck, the exponent of Ju-jitsu pushes up his adversary’s right arm, and pulls at the sleeve of the left, at the same time swinging round sharply with his left foot (4.) Until the position here shown is obtained. The attacker is then cross-buttocked, and thus made ready to receive an arm-lock or a neck-hold.

(2.) To attain this common arm-lock, the Ju-jitsu user places his right leg lightly over his opponent’s neck, in order to prevent him rising, and, pressing his left firmly against his adversary’s body, seizes his arm, and holds it with the thumb upwards. He then presses on the limb, using his thigh as a fulcrum, and is thus able break it should he be forced to do so.

(3.) The arm-lock here illustrated is somewhat similar that shown Photograph 2, in this case the pressure is even greater, and is put on by the leg and foot.

(1.) When he wishes to throw a man who is holding him round the waist from behind, the exponent of Ju-jitsu first strikes his opponent’s hand sharply on the knuckles, thus causing him to release his grip. He then seizes his adversary’s right hand (2.) And, without moving his right leg, carries his left round, at the same time putting on the arm-lock (U-de-na-ta) here shown.

(3.) The arrest of a man is a comparatively simple matter if he is held in the way here illustrated. The upward pressure placed upon the upper part of the prisoner’s arm would dislocate the limb if its owner did not move forward. (4.) Should anyone attempt to catch hold of his collar with his right hand, the practiser of Ju-jitsu defends himself by placing his left hand under his opponent’s wrist, thereby guarding himself, and at the same time throwing his right hand under the upper part of his adversary’s arm. He then locks his fingers and forces backward, throwing his man or breaking his arm if resistance is offered.

Photographs by the Biograph Studio.

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