The IDLER 1908
The umbrella was a standard improvised weapon taught within the Vigny syllabus. Its more practical , and potentially deadly, techniques were based on using the point to thrust into the eyes , throat and under the chin, using a single or double handed grip.
Short taps or beats, with the handle, were applied to the face either as a means to set up more substantial strikes or as a simple deterrent.
Kicks, knee blows and hand strikes were considerd an adjunct to the umbrella’s offensive application but essential in the event of being disarmed.
Further techniques involved using the handle to trip the adversary up.
Special thanks to James Farthing for supplying this article and supporting the Vigny site.
By Charles T.L. Clarke
The hooligan defeated
The doctrine of brute strength for attack and defence is a rapidly declining one, and one which, in most instances, has been proved incorrect. To our Japanese allies we probably owe the awakening knowledge that skill and practice of head work will enable a comparatively weak individual to successfully combat the most gigantic ruffian.
No matter how strong a man may be, if he is once caught in the lock of the deadly Japanese system, he is as powerless as a child, and will roar for mercy when in the power of a skilled antagonist of much smaller proportions.
The same theory is proven throughout the records of modern athletics; in every instance it is the brainy athlete, rather than the powerful one, who excels in all classes of competition. To successfully defeat an opponent by skill, a certain amount of practice of the knowledge must be continued, until rapid application of the instruction is acquired. As soon the modern means of attack and defence become familiar, a confidence arises which enables one to tackle any opponent without nervousness.
A quick catch which surprises the hooligan
There is no reason why even the most fragile girl should calmly endure any indignity from the rowdy or hooligan, for lack of strength can easily be counterbalanced by a knowledge of the devices against which every man is powerless.
Mrs. Sanderson, one of the finest swords women in England, is also an expert with other means of attack and defence. Provided with an ordinary umbrella, having the popular crook, she is quite capable of protecting herself against any onslaught, but not on old-fashioned lines. An umbrella has been referred to facetiously as a husband beater, but if merely used as an ordinary beater, it becomes useless for any practical purpose of protection. While on the other hand, if used in a scientific manner it becomes a deadly weapon in almost anyone’s hands.
Bringing him to the ground
The prowling bag-snatcher who infests the railway stations and busy thoroughfares, although he may secure the bag by snatching, can be promptly brought to book if his victim turns smartly, and as he runs away, catches his foot in the crook of the umbrella. Even if circumstances favour him, and he attacks a lady in a quite spot where no help is forthcoming, and the snatcher feels inclined to continue his struggle for for possession of the bag, a little knowledge will insure the ultimate defeat and retreat of the ruffian.
A man caught by the foot and brought heavily to the ground would immediately lose hold of anything he might have secured, and however smart in recovering himself, to snatch again at the bag would be useless, as the ever ready crook of the umbrella forms a means of hooking the bag from his gasp.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, everyone is provided with a certain number of vulnerable places which, like weak spots in the armour of old, unless skilfully defended, are open to special attack and infliction of considerable punishment.
Having dragged the bag from the grasp of the hooligan with the crook of the umbrella, Mrs Sanderson, in her method of defence, gives the ruffian, while he is still prostrate, a foretaste of the perils to come by sharply kicking the shins of the offender. Incidentally, however, this little diversion may goad the villain to add to his idea of robbery a desire for personal vengeance, so unless a lady has considerable knowledge of defence, and is adroit in its application, she may yet be placed in alarming straits.
Supposing the hooligan regains his feet and again rushes to the attack. The frail umbrella in the hands of an expert is still a deadly weapon. Knowledge will enable any lady to inflict sore punishment, without running any great risk herself. When the point of the umbrella is used, as shown in the illustration, it is little less deadly than a knife, and many instances are on record of people being killed by a fierce jab with the point of an umbrella. Should the blow fall upon the eye, the temple, or any other of these vulnerable spots, it is more than probable that death would result.
The hooligan renews the attack with disastrous results to himself
Nature has provided many men with a hard cartilage in the throat, which is commonly known as “Adam’s Apple,” and a smart blow with even a light stick at this point is more than sufficient to stagger the most hardy ruffian, while few could withstand a jab under the chin with the point of an umbrella.
Fighting without weapons, but throwing the hooligan backwards.
These are only two small facts, but with a knowledge of them the umbrella, which few would care to rely upon as a means of defence, immediately appears in the light of a formidable weapon.
There are many other ways in which a crooked umbrella may be used as an implement of defence and instrument of torture, or if the hooligan again advances to the attack, Mrs Sanderson proposes to deal with him in a method that would seriously disarrange the ordinary sequence of his features. The idea is not by any means new, and the principle of the method has been explained as a means of defence against street ruffians. The idea is that in attacking, the hooligan generally butts his victim with his head, and if one waits until he has approached the requisite point, it is a simple matter to raise the leg quickly, thus jamming your antagonist heavily in the face with the top part of the knee. This may sound somewhat ineffectual, but when one remembers that the most powerful muscles of the body are contained in the legs, and that when raised the bones of the knee-joint are tremendous bastions of defence, a better idea will be obtained of the punishment likely to be inflicted if the repulse is properly applied. Mrs Sanderson does not, however, make it a part of her plan that hooligan should duck his head, but with the crook of her umbrella she hooks him smartly round the neck, drawing his head forwards, as shown in the illustration, at the same moment raising the knee and inflicting a crushing blow.
On rising , the crook of the umbrella embraces his neck, and Mrs Sanderson makes her knee meet the hooligan’s face with great force.
Another scramble for the perse.
There are, of course, many other methods, of utilising an umbrella for defence, and while it is useless to strike an antagonist in the ordinary way with the handle of the umbrella, still, a sharp tap across the bridge of the nose is sufficient to disconcert most people.
Nor is the umbrella in all instances absolutely necessary, for knowledge and training will enable quite a frail woman to carry to successful issue a combat with a man, even should she be unprovided with her rain protector. The combat started, there is, of course, a possibility that the ruffian would be successful in wresting the umbrella, from her grasp, but a perfect form of self-defence without any weapon.
Another of the illustrations shows a surprise for the hooligan, for if he even secures hold of a lady, a comparatively slight blow under the chin with the palm of the hand, holding the arm stiff, and combined with a smart kick across the shins, will upset the balance of anyone, while once on the ground the hooligan can be, when opportunity offers, lulled into insensibility by a tap in the region of the temple or at the curve of the jaw in a position known to all boxing- as “the point.”
In an encounter such as we have described, where the lady has knowledge and training, she will be calm and confident, while such a conduct of defence would weaken the nerve of the most hardened ruffian. Apart from this, the party of the attack are cowards without exception, accustomed to inflict punishment on others, greedy and dishonest; but greatest of all their moral defects is cowardice, which greatly assist the defender, who has knowledge and can apply it quickly and adroitly to his complete undoing.
Even should the lady merely subdue her antagonist sufficiently to give her opportunity of escape, she may still play a trump card if she induces the hooligan to pursue her for by waiting until he is close upon her she may quickly drop to the ground, thus forming a most effective and very certain stumbling-block, which would cause ruffian to take a rapid header into space.
Bringing him to the ground.
The whole system of attack and defence practised by Mrs . Sanderson is on lines drawn out by Professor Vigny, a well-known fencing master and instructor in self-defence. The Professor himself is capable of surprising, simultaneously, even more than one antagonist, and opening their eyes to the possibilities of the simple walking-stick or umbrella as an ally of considerable value, should one be so unfortunate as to become an object of the attentions of prowling desperadoes who infest the large towns and hedgerows alike.