Unarmed ko-ryu kata representing armed kata (?)
My Bartitsu club has been experimenting with some of the jujitsu kata detailed in E.W. Barton-Wright's 1899 article series "The New Art of Self Defence".
We don't know much about the ryu represented in these pictures, which were among the first technical photographs known to have been taken of the Japanese martial arts. However, a number of the unarmed techniques seem to be most plausible as stylized representations of kenjutsu waza, especially counters to having your sword-arm seized as you're drawing your katana.
The text reads:
To me, the initial grab looks very much as if the opponent is restraining the defender's attempt to draw a sword, and the rest of the sequence takes on a whole new meaning if you assume that the defender has a sword in his right hand.
The four little photographs produced herewith show a very pretty and effectual method of overthrowing an assailant who seizes you by the right wrist with both hands.
As soon as your arm is seized, as shown in the first photograph. you raise your hand in front of your chest towards your left shoulder. But if your opponent is too heavy and strong to admit of your doing this, you must step slightly towards him with your right foot and bend your knees sufficiently to admit of your hand being nearly level with your left shoulder.
Then straighten your knees and turn sideways to him. You will at once feel that you can break his hold whenever you please. Directly this stage has been reached, re-arrange your feet in such a way that you may exert your strength to the best advantage in the direction you desire - i.e., so that you may easily throw your assailant off with a sweep of the arm. But before using your strength, bend your knees well, in order to be well under your work. Then, with a vigorous movement of your arm, accompanied by the lifting movement supplied by straightening your knees, you throw him off his balance, and turn him partly round, so that your right hand comes in front of his face.
Now take a long step behind him with your left foot, seize him by the chin with your right hand, and by the back of the head with your left hand. Then, by bringing your left foot back again with a long stride behind your right, you impart a circular twist to your assailant's head and neck, which will throw him heavily upon his back.
My question is, was this type of "swordless sword kata" known to have been practiced in Japanese martial arts schools during the latter part of the 19th century, and are there any similar examples?