Enola Holmes 1 AND 2 are teenage adventure stories to rival Realm of the Moon’s birth or stand by supports me. With star power like Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, and a strong part of Harry Potter actors, it’s hard to imagine why that wouldn’t be the case. But Holmes is a little deeper than the adventure through industrial England it initially presents. At its core, it is a deeply feminist film filled with events that live on in women’s history. From the first automobile, originally marketed by Carl Benz’s wife, Berta Benz, to the Matchgirls’ Strike of 1888, Enola Holmes covers the many events of women’s suffrage.
One exciting way is the use of the Japanese martial art, jujitsu, in the film. Enola Holmes was taught jujitsu in her unorthodox homeschooling methods by her mother, Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter), and his mother’s wrestling sister, Edith (Sweet Susan). Enola, Eudoria and Edith kick the tires of the chauvinists using jujitsu (and explosives) in both films. Enola even struggles with the corkscrew technique and bending at the end of the first film just in time to save the adorable but useless Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge). But how accurate is the use of martial arts in the film?
It turns out to be a close parallel.
Suffragettes and Black Friday
Suffragettes fighting the police using martial arts is a reality. At a time when women’s suffrage was an ongoing battle in the UK, opposed by many men and women, women’s suffrage was born and split into two groups: the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS ), founded in 1897, and later the women’s. Social and Political Union (WSPU), founded in 1903. The press originally coined the term “Suffragette” to mock advocates, but it was accepted and adopted by the WSPU, who would name their paper “The Suffragette”. “The NUWSS was led by Millicent Garrett Fawcett and used peaceful methods of protest to get its cause across. The WSPU would emerge from the NUWSS, led by Emmeline Pankhurst, wanting a more militant approach to activism due to the lack of progress with more traditional methods. moderates of NUWSS.
Whatever the methods, voters have had increasingly violent clashes with police and bystanders at protests over time. Demonstrators would be attacked and hunger strikes would lead to force-feeding. On 18 November 1910, a demonstration known as Black Friday took place in Parliament after Prime Minister HH Asquith called an election that would reject any possible legislation passing the Conciliation Bill. Since the reconciliation bill would have enfranchised approximately one million women, voters felt betrayed by this change. This betrayal infuriated the Vofrages, who had already planned to speak to the House of Commons. Instead, the planned delegation was turned away in protest. The Black Friday protest would result in the arrest of over a hundred voters and the physical and sexual abuse of NUWSS and WSPU members by police and bystanders. The arrested suffragettes would be released the next day on the orders of Winston Churchill, then Home Secretary.
However, the violence suffered by the suffragettes on Black Friday changed their approach to the fight for women’s rights. One of the methods involved was the practice of martial arts.
Edith Garrud and Suffrajitsu
Edith Garrud was one of the first female martial arts teachers in the Western world. Garrud was a physically small woman who had been practicing martial arts since 1899. Standing barely 5 feet tall, she considered jujitsu a suitable means of self-defense against larger attackers, as jujitsu teaches its practitioners how to use the size and strength of a larger opponent. against them and taking control in physical conflicts. She and her husband, William Garrud, would study with the legendary Sadakazu Uyenishi, who had his dojo in London’s Golden Square. In 1908 Uyenishi returned to his native Japan, leaving his dojo to his more experienced students, including Edith and William. The duo began performing jujitsu demonstrations and performed at the WSPU later that year. Coincidentally, William was ill for this demonstration, so with the encouragement of Emmeline Pankhurst, Edith did the whole demonstration herself.
Shortly after the initial protest in 1908, WSPU members began attending their classes to defend themselves against members of the public who might attack them. By 1910, Edith Garrud had created courses expressly for WSPU members and was even writing for one of their newspapers. After the Black Friday protest, the WSPU assembled a team of around 30 members known as the Bodyguard to protect the movement’s leaders. The members of The Bodyguard were all trained by Edith Garrud. The bodyguard was not disbanded until 1918, after the First World War.
The practice of jujitsu by the suffragettes became known as “Suffrajitsu”.
The Enola Holmes Connection
Edith de Wokoma being an instrumental jujitsu instructor in the voting movement is no coincidence, nor is she the first character in a film based on Edith Garrud. Specifically, Helena Bonham Carter’s character, Edith, in the 2015 film suffragettes, is also loosely based on Garrud. Additionally, the costumes used by the actors in the first film class are historically accurate to the practitioners of the time.
The practice of martial arts in Sherlock Holmes the story was not originally scripted by Enola Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle mentions Bartitsu in his short story, “The Adventure of the Empty House”.. Bartitsu is a form of martial arts similar to mixed martial arts that includes jujitsu, boxing, savate and stick fighting. Edward William Barton-Wright founded the Bartitsu Club and invited practitioners from Japan to come to London and work as instructors at the club, one of whom was Sadakazu Uyenishi.
Besides being extremely entertaining, Enola Holmes has more to offer than just entertainment. With creative license granted, Enola Holmes’ screenplay offers an insight into the story that hasn’t been seen enough on film. It also provides an accurate description of the most difficult part of martial arts practice: the mental aspect. Enola’s ongoing struggle with the corkscrew mirrors the struggle any martial artist faces, as the techniques still work well in your head, but not necessarily in practice, especially not right away. Perhaps to reflect the tenacity of the suffragettes, Enola defeats him in the end: slow but unstoppable.