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Self-Defense for Gentlemen and Ladies


Self-Defense for Gentlemen and Ladies is the treatise of Colonel Thomas Hoyer Monstery, a master swordsman who participated in more than fifty duels, fought under twelve flags, battled gangsters, and was constantly involved in the great conflicts and upheavals of his time. Monstery’s treatise–originally published in the 1870s as a series of newspaper articles and collected here for the first time–proposes a holistic approach to self-defence, including both unarmed and armed methods for use against a wide variety of fighting styles and weapons, as well as touching upon issues of health, exercise, diet and longevity.

Self-Defense for Gentlemen and Ladies presents a unique look into the Victorian fighting world, describing other styles of the era such as Cornish “purring” (shin-kicking), Welsh jump-kicking, Danish head-fighting, African American head-butting, and American rough-and-tumble fighting. Rare drawings and photographs from the period provide a fascinating glimpse into Monstery’s world and training, while an extensive glossary of terms and an introductory biography of Colonel Monstery–including fascinating details of his many duels as well as his ground-breaking devotion to teaching fencing and self-defence skills to women–update Monstery’s text to make it accessible to a broad and modern audience.

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