It's all about the clinch. The clinch, I said.
Posted On:7/24/2009 3:49pm
Style: SAMBO, mma, jiujitsu
I ran across this archive while researching something else.
"Self Defense," by Wesley Brown was written in the 1930's as a sort of treatise of the art of rough self-defense. The man himself, according to the forward, was a soldier, wrestler and did some police work in the States and some "guide" work in Paris.
I'm not entirely clear on the use of the word "guide" in the forward in reference to what he was doing. It sounds as though he worked security in businesses.
In any event, the book is archived on the following website:
And has many photographs and written passages on the subject of self-defense. I'd be interested to get outsider's perspectives on Mr. Brown's inclusion of pressure point attacks under the "fundamentals" section of the book. I was under the impression that the idea of pressure points originated or was perpetuated mostly by eastern martial traditions, not western.
Especially because Mr. Brown is at pains at one point to express that "this is not jujitsu," but simply rough and tumble combat.
But was gratified to see a lot of takedowns that will be familiar to those with experience in judo or wrestling. I believe there is also the influence of catch, army combatives (of which Mr. Brown says he was a frequent instructor) and kicking.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant;
they too have their story.
-excerpt of the poem called "Desiderata," by Max Ehrman, 1927.
Posted On:7/24/2009 4:59pm
Based on a quick look, I'd say it's a typical '30s-'40s melange of boxing, jujutsu, wrestling and generic streetfighting tricks.
There are plenty of illustrations of "pressure point" attacks in sources that well pre-date the active (documentable) mingling of Asian and European styles, which, for practical purposes, began when E.W. Barton-Wright combined jujutsu with boxing, savate and Swiss/French stick fighting circa 1900.
We can find detailed technical descriptions of basic pressure point attacks - pressure grips to the trachea as a hold-breaking and/or control technique, for example - dating right back into the Renaissance. However, I strongly suspect that a good proportion of the techniques shown in this book actually could be traced back to jujutsu, and that the author's insistence that "this is not jujutsu" is more of an appeal to his American readers' nationalistic/patriotic sentiments.
Throughout the 19th century, books on/training in fighting skills had generally become tamed down and segregated into sport (fencing, boxing and wrestling) and military (sabre, bayonet) applications. There were some notable exceptions including Baron Charles de Berenger's "Defensive Gymnastics" (1838) and a few chapters in R.G. Allanson-Winn's books on "Broadsword and Singlestick" and boxing, which offer realistic advice for surviving "no rules" fights.
However, "rough and tumble" fighting was not really a commercial proposition until the jujutsu boom of the early 1900s established that is was potentially profitable to teach classes and write books on realistic self defense. In a very real sense, Barton-Wright's work made it "acceptable" for respectable people to study foreign fighting styles, or fighting styles the originated in the criminal underworld - purely in the cause of righteous self defense, of course ...
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Bartitsu: the Gentlemanly Art of Self Defence (est. 1899)
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