Over century-old Japanese martial-arts self defence book for Women translated

A translation of a martial-arts book “Self-Defense for Women” published in 1914 written by Nobatake Yaeko has been published, telling a story of the Women’s Self-Defence League.

One of the self-defence figures (by Kiyohara Ryusai)

The book has been originally published under the pen name Nohata Showa and describes and illustrates a number of martial-arts techniques that women can use to fight off attackers. These techniques include throws, ways to break an attacker’s arm and a technique that strangles the abdomen of an attacker who is trying to rape a woman.

Depiction of one of the techniques (by Kiyohara Ryusai)

The techniques described in the book are derived from a martial art called Jujutsu, which uses the opponent’s power, allowing – as the author wrote – even a cute weak girl to wrap up a large man and achieve a win! In the book, Showa decries what she described as a surge of violence against woman in Japan and talks of an organization called the Women’s Self-Defence League, which was formed to combat it.

Description of a male body’s points (by Kiyohara Ryusai)

The Women’s Self-Defense League not only trained women to defend themselves against attackers, but the organization also handed out awards to women who successfully stopped an assault. the book contains a detailed chart showing the weak spots on a man, called Kyusho, that can cause damage if struck hard, or they can be used to resuscitate a person. Sadly, little is known about the author, who claimed to have been a women’s historian, but judging on the presented Jujutsu techniques, it is possible she ran a dojo dedicated to teaching martial-arts techniques to women.

(after Kiyohara Ryusai & Live Science)

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