The Glorious History of Beating the Crap Out of People With Assault Umbrellas

Illustration for article titled The Glorious History of Beating the Crap Out of People With Assault Umbrellas

Umbrellas aren't the implements of chaos for diminutive DC villains exclusively. They have a long and rich history as an impromptu means to bludgeon, jab and smack ruffians, as documented by the Bartitsu Society.

The first recognized study of the umbrella in armed combat occurred in 1838 when the Baron Charles de Berenger contemplated its uses against highwaymen, which consisted of blocking the attacker's line of sight with an umbrella as you drew a pistol and shot the bastard. By the turn of the 20th century, the use of an umbrella or parasol in self-defense was being taught to women across Europe—and in America, at the the Philadelphia Institute of Physical Culture.

By the end of the 20th century, tactical umbrella technology had advanced from simple self defense to a full-on assasination tool as unbreakable umbrellas and those with hidden swords gave way to Ricin-injecting models. Heads of state even now carry $20,000 armor-plated umbrellas in case of acid attack.


[Bartitsu Society - Top Art courtesy Bartitsu]

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As a native Floridian, Umbrellas have always been 2 things: required & lackluster. It rains all the time (sometimes daily), but it doesn't always rain down. Thanks to our natural habitat, raining various degrees of sideways is perfectly normal. Also, if you wear a raincoat and it isn't raining, you're melting.

If you do have an umbrella, of any size, you don't have anything to do with it once you get inside - if it's small, you're still soaked, but you can put it in a plastic bag; if it's large, you're dry, but then you have a giant sopping wet thing that you can't do anything with.

All that to say, I really would love beating the crap out of people with umbrellas, but they need more work.

An aside: a roommate of mine had a giant umbrella, the size of picnic table accessories, which he used as both rain protection, and sometimes a sail, when skateboarding to class at USF. It truly was fantastic.