Thread: Music Hall Wrestling - Inquiry
5/28/2009 7:00pm, #1
Music Hall Wrestling - Inquiry
I've been reading a little about the strongman Eugene Sandow (1867-1925), and his music hall performances/demonstrations.
One thing I keep coming across in material about strongmen is that wrestling shows were also popular in the Victorian and Edwardian music halls, especially shows where fighters took on all challengers (I'm thinking here of Yukio Tani who came to London to teach at E. Barton-Wright's Bartitsu school).
Do any of you WMA historians know where I can find out more about music hall wrestling matches and their popularity?
Thanks in advance,
5/28/2009 10:08pm, #2
Watta coinkydink - I've just finished reading "Sandow the Magnificent", by David Chapman.
I can't think of any studies specifically on music hall wrestling, but I'd suggest checking out Graham Noble's articles on Tani, the Great Gama, Hackenschmidt and other Victorian/Edwardian era pro-wrestlers at the EJMAS site.
I haven't read it yet, but I'd be surprised if Mark Hewitt's "Catch Wrestling: a Wild and Woolly Look at the Early Days of Pro Wrestling in America" didn't have something to offer in this line as well.
Google searches for Jack Carkeek and Tom Cannon would probably pay off.
Both volumes of the Bartitsu Compendium include extensive reports on mixed-styles matches involving Bartitsu Club instructors, and I believe the third volume is going into more depth on some of the music hall wrestling controversies of this period.Check out the Bullshido.net Western Martial Arts Forum for all things Western, martial and arty.
Bartitsu: the Gentlemanly Art of Self Defence (est. 1899)
5/29/2009 5:51am, #3
In the meantime, you might find "Blue Blood On The Mat" of interest. It was some small skinny Lord (a genuine Peer of The Realm) who transformed himself through Wrestling and grew to be some 15 stone and very adept. I'll check my library over the weekend and see if I can dig it out.
Only caveat, FA Cup Final tomorrow (Chelsea v Everton - and I'm a Chelsea supporter) but I have to travel to deepest Essex to attend Kobudo). Life. Why do you taunt me so???
5/29/2009 6:50am, #4
Thanks both, I'll check those out.
And from one life-long Chelsea fan to another - come on you blues!
5/29/2009 10:06am, #5
It's now part of AcuMedic a chinese TCM place.
I also happen to be reading yet another history of London but certainly the 19th Century is the most extraordinary period (the "Industrial Revolution" and all that...). That all said, with the hardship and rigour of life in London, you can well appreciate the escapism of the Musical Halls (Palaces of Varieties) - apart from the Pub (and London's dodgy water supply).
Sorry to ramble. Cheers.
6/10/2009 7:34am, #6
Pardon my delay, I can't find "Blue Blood On The Mat", but it's somewhere amongst my many books, unless my brother's lifted it.
I have found ref to Music Hall and JJ. It's asserted that Yukio Tani appeared on stage at the Empire Music Hall sometime after his arrival in Sep 1899. He accepted all challengers and, allegedly, was managed by by Mr W.E Barton-Wright (of Bartitsu fame) but they later fell out.
Apart from Tani, another Japanese JJ, Sada Kazu Uyenishi also travelled to Britain, arriving in 1900. He, likewise, appeared on the Music Hall stage as "Raku - Ju Jitsu Champion of the World". He met Tani and opened a JJ school in Golden Square, London.
A further japanese adept, Taro Miyaki, Judo and Yoshin Ryu JJ, arrived in 1904 accompanied by 2 others. He apparently defeated Tani with Hane-Goshi. Their motivation in travelling to England was said to be a desire to learn English. (As an aside, Kano was said to write his notes in English...so puzzling the japanese - may be it gave them the idea, sorry to be so speculative).
In 1905, a chap named Akhitaro Ohno, 4th Dan Kodokan Judo, arrived and worked with Uyenishi at the latter's Piccadilly JJ school.
The source for the above is "Beginning Jui Jitsu Ryoi-Shinto Style" by James Shortt and Katsuharu Hashimoto. It bears a foreword by the late James Elkin 6th Dan Tomiki Aikido and then Chairman of the Martial Arts Commission (UK). Elkin is featured in the BBC "Way of the Warrior" but died before he could add his verbal contribution to support the film episodes.
I've been told that Shortt was a very good JJ adept. However, he is also now mentioned on ARRSE and has been identified as a Walter Mitty type with farcical claims to SAS and nobility standing. Those apart, he was respected for his JJ. Returning to his book, on p.77 there's a photo of Bob Clark, with unacknowledged Richard Morris and John Steadman (FWIW.).
There's further ref to Uyenishi in Martin Dixon's JJ book and confirms the accepting all-comers.
Hope this all helps. Iíve also been delayed by our new IT system in the officeÖ
Also having problems replying to any Thread hence Iíve hitched on to the above.
6/10/2009 7:58am, #7
I actually went and found a copy of "Blue Blood on the Mat" (so intriguing did you make it sound) and am finding it thoroughly entertaining, if a little fabulated and bonkers. There's also an interesting tie-in to the beginning of this thread, as Oakeley first went from 5 stone weakling to heavyweight contender under the tutelage of Eugen Sandow, who at that time owned a number of health clubs in London.
This is all very fun and engaging stuff. I think I can feel a new project coming on...
6/10/2009 9:15am, #8
6/10/2009 9:22am, #9
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6/10/2009 9:47am, #10
Arriving in Norf Lundun, I shared the lift with Roger Lloyd-Pack ("Trigger" from Fools and Horses) who was with a mate and both wore Spurs scarves. That bloody confirmed it. I watched the highlights with much sadness. Why couldn't you fire Juande BEFORE the final???