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Victorian Society Ladies Defended Their Honor With Jiu-Jitsu

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

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

bartitsu.org

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.

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

photohistory-sussex.co.uk

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.

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

View this video on YouTube

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

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