Edith Garrud was one of the first female professional martial arts instructors in England.
She trained 30 suffragettes of the Women’s Social and Political Union in the art of Jiu Jitsu. The mission of these suffragettes was to protect themselves and fugitive suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst from the cops that were trying to re-arrest her.
These Bodyguards or Jiujitsuffragettes, as they were known, could flip cops over twice their size, wore 3 inches of cardboard under their dresses to protect themselves from breaking ribs when smashed with police truncheons and often carried concealed clubs and weapons at rallies and demonstrations.
Along with the hand to hand combat techniques they learned from Garrud, the Bodyguards also used a number of decoys and disguises to escape from the police.
“I have reached London tonight in spite of armies of police. I am here tonight, and not a man is going to protect me, because this is a woman’s fight, and we are going to protect ourselves! I am coming out amongst you in a few minutes and I challenge the government to re-arrest me!”
– Emmeline Pankhurst
“Physical force seems to be the only thing in which women have not demonstrated their equality to men, and whilst we are waiting for the evolution which is slowly taking place and bringing about that equality, we might just as well take time by the forelock and use ju-jitsu.” – Edith Garrud
Edith Garrud is yet another example of a badass woman teaching other women how to protect themselves and fight for what they believe in. Women building strength together is revolutionary.
Women who build strength and power together are an unstoppable force. Let’s build this community into a group of women who can help each other take control of their lives, like the heroines before us.
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