Victorian Society Ladies Defended Their Honor With Jiu-Jitsu

A lady never starts a fight. But she will finish one.

1. In the early 1900s, Jiu-Jitsu mania swept England and America alike.

The Japanese wrestling technique was very popular with society ladies, as it was considered a sport which improved a lady’s grace and was a practical method of self-defense.

ID: 1042466

2. Yukio Tani, the great Japanese fighter, began to teach women the art.

Before long, wrestling mats were brought out at fashionable parties and during balls. Jiu-Jitsu masters were in high demand for both entertainment purposes and more practical lessons, with young girls squeezing in practice between etiquette and dance.

ID: 1042542

3. Soon, illustrated books began to appear, giving middle and lower class women access to this defense technique.

ID: 1042461

4. The appeal of Jiu-Jitsu was in the lack of muscle strength needed to down a larger opponent.

Even petite ladies could easily dispatch an unwanted advance with aplomb.

ID: 1042451

5. Many Victorian fashion accessories became deadly weapons in the right hands.

ID: 1042458

6. Parasols (above) and hat pins (below) were popular choices to inflict pain.

ID: 1042471

7. Even cheeky police officers weren’t safe from the ire of a society lady.

ID: 1042545

8. And suffragettes got a reputation for vigorously defending their rights.

ID: 1042550

9. However, Jiu-Jitsu wasn’t the only aggressive sport enjoyed by society women.

In 1901, Thomas Edison filmed this bout of fisticuffs by the Gordon Sisters.

ID: 1042882

Check out more articles on!

  Your Reaction?


    Hot Buzz

    31 Reasons Potatoes Are The Best Thing At Thanksgiving


    17 Mind-Blowingly Delicious Noodles To Try In NYC


    Now Buzzing