Live Blogging RMFW: Terry Kroenung & Janet Smith, Victorian Violence
At very long last, I’m posting my liveblogging from RMFW Gold Conference. Apologies for the incredible tardiness of this.
Victorian Violence: Fisticuffs, Life-Preservers, and Jiu Jitsu Suffragettes
Terry Kroenung & Janet Smith
* Compose a scene set in late 1800’s London involving a violent altercation between two men and a woman at night.
The gaslamp at the corner flickered and spit, flaring abruptly before going out. Clarice Thorne pushed her way past the other working girls, presenting herself exposed bosom very much first, to the two “gentlemen” who’d apparently judged the now-darkened alley a most excellent situs for their escapade.
As they approached, the other girl jostled behind her, vying for the attention Clarice already owned and had since the moment her carefully thrown dart had put out the lantern. “Will it be the both of you together, then?” she asked, a hint of relish in her voice to entice them that much more.
The taller of the two lads grinned, sharp and gap-toothed. “Izzat what ye fancy, missy?”
“Oh, aye,” she agreed, and made as though to lift her skirts as they advanced.
Pity the lads, she yanked and tore out a heavy fabric layer, then charged and snapped it up around their faces. It caught the shorter one in the eyes and around the neck, and his reaching hands went up to his head instead of her. As she intended, and giving her time to pull the sap from the pocket she’d sewn in, and then promptly smack him on the wrist. The crack was loud in the quiet night and his screech even louder.
Mighty satisfying that, but not enough. Not nearly enough, as the first had recovered and come at her now with forcing in his eyes. She let him come, moving in toward him to catch him behind the knee with her sap. When he pitched sidewise, the point of her elbow came down on the back of his neck.
The other had recovered and charged in to grab her off her feet. It left Clarice a bit at loose ends, but only for a moment. She swung her weight toward the wall and ran along it with her feet.
Traffic – no stoplights, pedestrians, carriages no horns
Employment: child labor, coal mines, factories
Ripper Street is fairly accurate in the amount of violence.
Gated communities on the west side of London were more
Discipline – flogging on ships, in the home (spare the rod and spoil anyone who gets in your way, man’s roost by law)
Robery/Assault – 1862 a member of Parliament was garroted—choked, leaned back, and a friend comes by and takes the wallet—Pall Mall, broad daylight
finding cops on foot if they existed took a long time. Most people learned to defend themselves—sticks, umbrellas, boxing, pugilism, pistols
Murder – dead people are easier to search and easier to escape from
Execution — official violence, sanction, hanging with a short rope and strangling you; then long drop more scientific. Short drop strangulation could take 30 minutes.
War – a lot of that. Britain is a superpower. Lots of war in Afghanistan, lost twice; East Africa—Zulu Wars. Sun didn’t set on British Empire literal. Injured coming home didn’t have vet benefits, sometimes rob some people.
Pugilism—taught in schools, confidence, protecting yourself; mannerly fighting.
—rules in late 18th century
—replaced fencing, became a fad
—practiced by men of quality
—1867 Queensberry Rules — “fair play”
—rules may have been a disadvantage in a street brawl, but the discipline and confidence did help
Loaded hunting crop, steel with leather wrapped around it – standard use on wrist and arms; c 18 inches
single stick, training weapons for using Army saber techniques
Cudgels – stout club shorter than arm’s length, police truncheon decorated and it went in a pocket in the trousers — whack head, whack wrist, whack kidneys
Life-Preserver or Knobstick – leather wrapped weight, lean ball wrapped in string, about a foot long
Knuckleduster — easy to conceal, close-quarters, if darkened easy to conceal because hands were dirty, made by the gangs
Apache Ring – French street gangs called themselves Apaches, named after Geronimo/badass, mostly Southern France. Brass knuckle with knife at one end, revolve at the other. The Ring either ring or goes between fingers; animal shapes etc, mostly to mark a person
Walking Stick – always at hand, jewelry, not an obvious weapon, good for helping you walk, hook good for defense, army saber techniques
System Stick – weapons built into stick – sword/dagger, firearms, razors; can stab someone 4 times in one second, that’s why cops shoot people with knives
La Terrible—spring-loaded razor blades that pop out of the shaft (messy to put back in)\
umbrella/parasol – best use for hooks and stabs
Hatpins – long, sharp, face attacks
Firearms – Golden Age of firearms, scientists are gods, smokeless powder is the very end of the 19th center; gun crimes not prevalent until 1880s., flintlocks replaced by percussion caps
up until the late V period, 6 shots would fill the conference rooms; in the Civil War, they had to crouch to see the color of the pant legs.
cordite was proprietary
no one cleaned black powder rifles
could prime guns for the first shot, but reloading and stuff took too much time, so mostly bayonets and knives
pouches for balls, powder, caps, etc.
Colt Revolver – 6 shooter ubiquitous
self-contained ammo not until after the Civil War; had to powder and seal each shot
Webley – nose goes down, rear-loading. 455 cartridge, big boom, big bullet
invention, interesting guns – clockwork spring on one,
Broomhandle Mauser 1896, ten round box magazine; magazines and breech-loader experiment in Civil War and on. (Solo’s ray gun)
Luger 1900 9 mm parabellum
Knives – cheap, quiet, easy to hide, intimidating
folded razors – Sweeny Todd, early Victorian
pen knives for slicing open newspapers
Bartitsu, first European mixed martial art since Pankration. Barton Wright brought Japanese jujitsu masters never lost
Blend of boxing, wrestling, savage (French kickboxing, jiujitsu, and stick fighting
Sparked a jujitsu craze in late Victorian & Edwardian era – from exotic East
Holmes used against Moriarty
British suffragettes against police
Learn them all separately and put them together
No sport form
A response to received rise in street crime
throw coat, throw hat, sailors used savate (means little boots)
The art of yielding
developed by samurai in case they were disarmed
uses opponent’s strength & Momentum against him
joint locks to force surrender
disturb foe’s equilibrium
defend with an offensive move
British women used it when savagely attacked by police
5 ft Edith Garrud studied with Barton-Write & his jiu jitsu master
trained fellow suffragettes in self-defense, military tactics, and deception — cardboard armor inside corsets (police told not to hit faces) — created trellises with razor wire to run police through
fought documented battles with police
first professional Western woman martial arts teacher
if you can run, do it.
IF going to hit you on the head, block with wrist, grab and push down on elbow. spin into wall.
Get inside, to get a less bad hit
hand to tonsils to tilt the head and pulls them off balance
punch? grab wrist, and then kick the knee, or spin hand up over back
use point of sticks
make the other person miss
use hook to redirect, pull them around elbow in the face
aim at wrist, come in closer and re-angle toward face
umbrella – points into face, neck, arms, groin; absorb blow on umbrella
hatpin to ear, neck, etc — if gets up close
corsets with steel boning, stuffed with newspaper, etc
heavy fabrics protected women