I found two quite interesting and funny old recordings of women demonstrating self defence using martial arts: one from 1933 and one from 1947. According to the martial arts expert closest to me – my wife – these are real skills and well executed techniques.
The names of the women in these videos are May Whitley and Mary Parker. I love the style and way of talking!
Given the gender roles and stereotypes at the time when these recordings were made, I also wonder what the reactions were to female martial artists.