Suffrajitsu - Jet City Comics/Joao VieiraJet City Comics/Joao Vieira

“The film Suffragette, which is due for release, portrays the struggle by British women to win the vote. They were exposed to violence and intimidation as their campaign became more militant. So they taught themselves the martial art of jiu-jitsu.

Edith Garrud was a tiny woman. Measuring 4ft 11in (150cm) in height she appeared no match for the officers of the Metropolitan Police – required to be at least 5ft 10in (178cm) tall at the time. But she had a secret weapon.

In the run-up to World War One, Garrud became a jiu-jitsu instructor to the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), better known as the suffragettes, taking part in an increasingly violent campaign for votes for women.”

Original article by Camila Ruz & Justin Parkinson
BBC News Magazine

The Suffrage movement feels close to home for the Small Circle Jujitsu UK home dojo which is based in Leatherhead, less than 5 miles from the world famous Epsom Derby racecourse. It was at the 1913 Derby, in front of thousands of onlookers, that militant suffragette Emily Davison fell to her death beneath the hooves of the King`s horse.

Although there is much debate about whether or not Ms Davison meant to throw herself in front of the horse or if it was a tragic outcome to an ill thought out protest it is generally accepted that this day was an important turning point for the cause and certainly a memorable moment in our local history.

Read the full BBC article