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Bruce Lee and the Bond Girl: Vintage Self-Defense Books

There are truly some fantastic vintage book gems out there, in some unexpected places. What about self-defence (or self-defense, depending which side of the pond you call home)? People have, sadly, always attacked one another like big creeps, and there have been books written for ages on how to protect yourself from those creeps. But differences in design and style between yesterday and today have made these books, which are probably just as valuable a resource today, an absolute dream for collectors. One is an original 1963 book by Bruce Lee (yes, that Bruce Lee), and there are many other gorgeous vintage self-defense books:

But the greatest has to be the one by Honor Blackman. If you don’t know who Honor Blackman is, she’s a remarkable woman. She was Cathy Gale in The Avengers in the early 1960s and she was one of the greatest of all Bond girls as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger in 1964. Blackman was an icon of the 1960s and, like most folks who become famous, she brought out a book at the height of her celebrity.

In 1965, Andre Deutsch published Honor Blackman’s Book of Self-Defence and it’s a remarkable piece of 1960s girl power. See Honor slam some villain into the hay, see Honor deal with some creep in stripey Speedos on the beach, see Honor bust the arm of some bloke who touches her up on a park bench, see Honor dish out some old school violence to a drunk in the Dog and Duck.

Ladies – you don’t need pepper spray, you need this book, which is filled with useful judo techniques and self defence moves. Honor was no fraud and developed her judo skills at London’s Budokwai dojo for her TV and movie roles. All that attention to fitness served her well, Honor Blackman is still acting today – not bad for a lady born in 1925. And Honor Blackman’s Book of Self-Defence has become a cult classic and rather scarce.

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