“The Unknown Wrestler: Jiu-Jitsu Constables Defeated” (1906)

  • Originally published on the Bartitsu.org site on Friday, 5th May 2017

From the Shipley Times and Express of 23 February, 1906:

An exciting, though impromptu, jiu-jitsu contest was witnessed in the early the hours of Monday morning at Snow Hill Police Station. Two constables had arrested a well-dressed, powerfully-built man of about forty years of age at Alderegate Street at quarter past two, on a charge of disorderly conduct. With considerable difficulty the constables got their prisoner, who described himself as Arthur Leonard Paget, merchant, and gave an address in Clerkenwell — to the police station.

There he was released for moment, while the charge against him was being taken down. Suddenly throwing off his silk hat and two coats, he challenged any single policeman present to put him in the dock. Several of tha officers, as it happened, had learned jiu-iitsu from a Japanese expert, and, well aware the helplessness of an ordinary wrestler against jiu-jitsu methods, they smilingly accepted the challenge.

One of them stepped forward, and before he could get hold he found himself lying on the floor. When he had made another essay with similar results, he realised that his opponent knew more about jiu-jitsu than he did. A second policeman advanced the attack, but the formidable unknown threw him as easily as the other man.

Then three or four constables together rushed in, and a desperate struggle followed. Even against such odds Paget’s great strength and scientific skill enabled him for long time to hold his own. One after another the policemen want down, but they came on again. At length they tired out and threw their antagonist, who was then locked in a cell and left to cool down.

Speculation in the Force as to whether or not they had arrested Mr. Hackenschmidt was set at rest later as the prisoner, who assured an inquisitive officer that his description of himself was correct, and added that he used to be an Army drill instructor.

Taken before the Guildhall magistrates subsequently, Paget admitted that he was under the influence of drink, but urged that the unreasonable conduct of the constables in interfering with him at the outset had caused him to lose his temper. He was fined £5 and costs for being disorderly and assaulting the police.

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