6 Nov 2008

The Secret Japanese Death Lock

I love old jujitsu books. The funny costumes, the archaic language, the innocence and yet at the same time the dire warnings against the dangers of ruffians and vagabonds - all of it is wonderful in my eyes. Despite their historical and comical entertainment - many of the techniques shown in these old books are the same ones practised by modern jujitsu clubs today. The pictures here are from a 1920 manual produced by a Captain Allan Corstorphin Smith, Hand-to-Hand Instructor of the Infantry School in Colombus, Georgia, USA.
The photos above come under the chapter entitled: "THE SECRET JAPANESE DEATH LOCK - The most effective lock in existence. Superior to the ancient secret holds of Greece and Rome. Known to but a few Japanese and NEVER before published in any book."
Wow! Looks like a basic rear naked to me.

Vintage books usually run through a range of simple wrist and body grab escapes, with throws, elbow locks and usually a couple of techniques where a woman wearing impossible garb is seen throwing an assailant. All great PR. I think most of these instructors were influenced by time spent in Japan with early judo schools, rather than traditional ryu jujitsu.
Probably one of the great unsung heroes of vintage martial arts in the UK is Edward William Barton-Wright, the inventor of Bartitsu and, for a few years at least, quite the celebrity during late Victorian and early Edwardian England. I'll maybe write more about this fascinating gentleman, but savour the thought that Barton-Wright may have been one of the first promoters of 'mixed' martial arts in the West!

About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.



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