Don Draper Judo: Unarmed Self-Defense From the Mad Men Era
by Brett & Kate McKay
Art of Manliness
As I was browsing
through some old magazines the other day, I came across a fantastic
issue of Popular Science from 1962 that contained a feature
on unarmed self-defense. The article was adapted from a book entitled
Judo and Self-Defense by Harry Ewen, a “police judo”
expert. The best part of the multi-page article are the fantastic
mid-century illustrations by Dana Rasmussen, featuring a well-dressed
judo expert who looks like he might work with Don Draper when he
isn’t throwing ruffians over his shoulder. Even the “thug”
in the article is pretty dapper, proving once again that everything
was just swankier back in the day — even the bad guys.
find step-by-step illustrated instructions on how to defend yourself
from chokes, bear hugs, kicks, and knife attacks when you’re
unarmed, all while still looking incredibly handsome. Enjoy.
Ways to Defend Yourself from Chokes from the Front
the thug’s little fingers, with your thumbs under the tips
(fig. 1). The knuckles of your index fingers should be over the
the second joints of his little fingers (fig. 2). Move your wrists
in a circular motion down toward your hips. Applied pressure will
force the thug to his knees to avoid broken fingers. As he goes
down, strike him in the face or jaw with your knee (fig. 3).
clasp your hands (fig. 1). Then, with fingers locked and elbows
bent, swing hard from the waist and strike the thug’s forearms
with the bony parts of your arms. Follow through until your clenched
hands are above your assailant’s head and the choke is broken
(fig 2). Finish by bringing down your still-clenched hands, with
all the force you can muster, on the bridge of his nose (fig.
3). Stop short of this, naturally, while practicing this move.
thug’s right forearm with both your hands (fig. 1). Holding
his right wrist firmly with your left hand, slip your right thumb
under his right palm and pull his arm toward you to ensure that
it is straight (fig. 2).
on turning until you are almost at your assailant’s side (fig.
3). Keep his hand elevated above the level of the rest of your arm
(fig. 4). Now put all the weight of your body behind your left upper
arm and elbow, pushing down on his right arm just above the elbow
(fig. 5). Unless he submits, he will end up with a dislocated shoulder.
to Break a Grip from the Front That Pins Your Arms
the thug to move back by giving him a couple of sharp jabs in
the groin with your thumbs (fig. 1). As he draws his hips back,
pivot on your left foot and move your right foot across in front
of him (fig. 2). You should now be facing the same way he is.
As you turn, slip your right arm behind his back and grasp his
right sleeve with your left hand to keep his body close to yours
your knees bent slightly, maintain a steady pull on the attacker’s
sleeve, and keep your right hand in the small of his back (fig.
4). Straightening your legs will now raise his feet off the ground
(fig. 5). Your opponent is now balanced on your right hip, and
you can toss him by turning him over as you continue to pull on
his right sleeve (fig. 6).
to Break a Bear Hug from the Rear
defense works as well against an overarm grip as against an underarm
one (fig. 1). With your feet apart, bend your knees, stoop down,
and grab your assailant’s right ankle with both hands (fig.
2). Pull his ankle forward and upward to throw him on his rump
Against Kick Aimed at Face or Stomach
the thug’s foot by bending your knees and crossing your
hands in front of you (fig. 1). As the kicker’s shin contacts
your wrists, turn your left hand (fig. 2) so that you have a firm
hold around his calf. Assuming that the kicker uses his right
leg, spin around to your right, throwing him forward on his face
(fig. 3). Once he’s thrown, follow up by going down on the
ground with him. In the final position (fig. 4), your left forearm
is behind his calf, your left hand is on your own right bicep,
and your right hand is on top of his foot. Use care when practicing
this lock: doing it jerkily could dislocate the leg.
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© 2013 The Art of Manliness