Boing Boing recently discovered How to kick someone’s ass with an umbrella, or, as Pearson’s Magazine titled it (in 1901), Self-defence with a Walking-stick: The Different Methods of Defending Oneself with a Walking-Stick or Umbrella when Attacked under Unequal Conditions (PartI). It’s just one of the many fascinating articles in the Journal of Non-Lethal Combatives, edited by Joseph R. Svinth. My favorite quote, from the intro:
In this way blows can be made so formidable that with an ordinary malacca cane it is possible to sever a man’s jugular vein through the collar of his overcoat.
The walking-stick article, by the way, is the work of E.W. Barton-Wright, creator of bartitsu — a collection of jiu-jitsu “tricks” with a hokey pseudo-Japanese name. Bartitsu has a claim to fame though: Sherlock Holmes relies on his training in bartitsu (misspelled baritsu, which is at least conceivably Japanese, in Doyle’s story) to throw Moriarty off a waterfall in Switzerland. This is how he survives what was originally supposed to be his final story.