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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

Ju jitsu

Beginning sometime in the 1930s ju jitsu became a popular means of self defense. Police began training in ju jitsu In Bloomington-Normal, Illinois in January 1939. The title of the photo story was "Watch Closely -- It's Jiujitsu!" No names of the officers were included with the story.

Four years later, even women were doing jujitsu! The two women in this photo story were Josephine Fleming and Hilda DeHart, the Health Education director and her assistant at the YWCA. Josephine Fleming left the Y less than a year later to join the Red Cross and married in New York a year after the war ended. Hilda DeHart married in February of 1943 in Bloomington to a soldier from Chanute Field. The two men in the photos were W.B. Davidson and Ronald Peckham. "Bud" Davidson resigned his position in the police force later in 1943 but continued living in Bloomington until his death in 1973. He ran a restaurant called the "Gold Mine" and operated a Watkins store. Ronald Peckham was associated with the YMCA and the Civilian Auxiliary and worked at the Globe Knitting Factory. He was originally from New York and died in Virginia.

Jujitsu was even offered at the O'Neil playground in 1943! Unfortunately no images have been discovered (yet) of that event.

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