Edith Garrud, Jiu-Jitsu & The Woman’s Movement

In the beginning a supreme being created all things.  Each was made in order to maintain some sort of balance in this world.  Somewhere along the way it was decided that creation needed to be redefined.  Laws legitimized that redefinition and those laws seemed to justify years upon years of injustices.  On August 26th, 1920 one such injustice was legally rectified.   After almost 100 years, millions of American women were finally able to exercise their inherent right to vote.

In the beginning if a woman was meant to balance out anything, by the 1920s she had to fight every step of the way to win back what she was created for.  So many names immediately jump out when we think about the original Women’s Civil Rights Movement.  Abigail Eastman, Lucy Burns, Jane Addams, & Sojourner Truth are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to those that pushed not only for a woman’s right to vote but women’s rights.  Edith Margaret Garrud ring any bells?

Edith Garrud (1872-1971) was a UK born martial arts instructor standing only at 4ft 11in (150cm).  Garrud trained the suffragettes in Japanese style Jiu Jitsu from 1908 to 1911 eventually opening her first women’s only training facility on Argyll Street in the UK.  Garrud empowered women.  She prepared them for battle.  She knew due to the nature of the work they were doing they would constantly need to protect themselves against much larger aggressors and she wanted them prepared.  The police were not the only men the protestors had to be concerned about.  All to often men in the crowd during the protests, men on side streets on the way to the protests, and the spouses of the women were violent towards them due to their participation in the rallies, meetings, etc.

These women had to rely on themselves for protection and Garrud provided them with the skills to put up a fight.  One of her publications summed up what was relevant then, is relevant now, and unfortunately will be relevant until the end of time, “Woman is exposed to many perils nowadays, because so many who call themselves men are not worthy of that exalted title, and it is her duty to defend herself.”  It is interesting that this woman is not mentioned in the history books.  However, many are going out of their way to ensure her honorable mention in books about her, streets named for her and in a film.  Helena Bonham Carter is currently playing an adaptation of Garrud in Suffragette (out October 23).  Maybe this will give historians an opportunity to go back and include one suffragette and female Jiu Jitsu pioneer in the history books.  She definitely has been overlooked.



Deneatra M Terry (Dee Nee truh)

Girls in Gis Staff Writer

Deneatra resides in Texas (for now). A lifelong anarchist/inner peace Seeker (irony duly noted).

Proud mommy of 2 boys, all train under Bruno Alves & Jason Yerrington at Ohana Academy

Stone Oak in San Antonio, Texas.

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