Bartitsu, the “gentlemanly art of self-defense,” was the innovation of British engineer Edward Barton-Wright. He lived for three years in Japan, where he trained in the art of Ju Jutsu, which was to become one of the foundations of his unique martial art. In 1899 he opened the Bartitsu Academy of Arms and Physical Culture in London, attracting a clientele of middle- and upper-class men and women. Bartitsu had a brief but notable zenith, sparking an interest in self-defense, a revival of the “manly arts,” the rise of Amazonian feminism, and the growth of physical culture in England…Students learned to lock and throw assailants and to use canes, parasols, and improvised weapons for protection.
Bartitsu was also taught to women. By the turn of the century, women could freely enjoy bicycling, golf, bowling, and tennis, but the concept of self-defense for women was unusual for its time. Bartitsu and Ju Jutsu played a key role in the militant suffragette movement… [including] the training of the Jujitsuffragettes, a corps of bodyguards charged with protecting the movement’s leaders from interference with the police.