Victorian Society Ladies Defended Their Honor With Jiu-Jitsu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And suffragettes got a reputation for vigorously defending their rights.

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

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