W. Bruce Sutherland Teaches Jiujitsu in WW1-era Edinburgh

  • Originally published on the Bartitsu.org site on Tuesday, 3rd January 2017

Along with Percy Longhurst and William and Edith Garrud, W. Bruce Sutherland was one of the most prominent members of the “second generation” of British self-defence experts. A Scotsman, Sutherland ran a physical culture academy in Edinburgh and took up jiujitsu after losing a wrestling challenge match to former Bartitsu Club instructor Yukio Tani.

Sutherland’s book Ju-Jitsu Self-Defence went through a number of editions and was notable for its inclusion of a number of “third party” defence and restraint techniques, designed for use by police constables.

By 1915 W. Bruce Sutherland was well-established as a self-defence and close-quarters combat specialist in Scotland, and the ongoing war effort saw him teaching the basics of jiujitsu – according to his own system – for institutions as diverse as the Boy Scouts, the Army and the Special Constabulary.

Sutherland (left) instructs recruits of the “Edinburgh Bantams” in a leg-pickup throw. The “Bantams” were members of a battalion of soldiers who were shorter than 5’3″ tall, and who had initially been ineligible to enlist because of their short statures.
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Members of Edinburgh’s “Special Constabulary” receive training in self-defence and come-along holds.  The “Specials” were mostly older men who volunteered to serve as constables because many younger, professional policemen had joined the Army.
The “Bantams” – including some very young-looking recruits – learn a jiujitsu throw.
Sutherland (right) observes some of his trainees practicing a defence against a dagger attack.
Sutherland demonstrates a jiujitsu tomoe-nage (“stomach throw”) for an onlooking group of “Bantam Battalion” trainees.
A Special Constable practices an extended armbar restraint hold.
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