Ella Hattan, better known by her nom-de-guerre “Jaguarina,” was Colonel Thomas Monstery’s most accomplished student. Born in 1859 in Ohio, she would go on to become widely regarded as one of the greatest swordswomen of the nineteenth century, and perhaps of all time. Hattan would defeat more than sixty men in high-profile combats on both horseback and on foot; according to one major newspaper, more than half of these men were fencing masters.
For more details of Hattan’s extraordinary career, her training, and her lengthy master-student relationship with Monstery, see the following article:
“As soon as she comprehended what his words meant, bang, biff! she landed right and left, and he fell to the ground. ‘Get up, you coward,’ she commanded, and he, overcome by the ringing tones, very foolishly crawled to his knees. Biff! Bang! Right and left landed again, and down he went, and this time he refused to get up and sprawled on the ground, calling for help. It was several days before he was presentable, while Jaguarina laughingly showed her friends in this city the next day that she knocked the fellow down twice without even taking the skin from her rosy little knuckles.” (Los Angeles Herald)
“In the twelfth attack Jaguarina dashed to Wiedemann’s corner, there was a crash of arms, a prolonged ring of steel, a blade was seen to flash through the air, and Jaguarina threw the fragments of a broken sword from her to the ground. In an instant another sword was put into her hand, and again she dashed towards her opponent and slashed right and left, and a moment later the referee announced a point for Jaguarina…the score this time stood five to five. Jaguarina’s friends urged her to be cautious, but she, heeding nothing, rushed at her opponent and cut right and left, Weidemann parrying with all his might and skill. Recovering himself from the first shock, he aimed a cut at Jaguarina in high carte which was met by a strong parry which threw his sword arm out of line, and before he could return his weapon to protect himself, the sound of Jaguarina’s blade was heard on his cuirasse from a vigorous and unmistakable cut in carte, ending the contest with a score of six to five in favor of Jaguarina. The victor at once doffed her helmet and cuirasse and received round after round of applause from those present, many of her more enthusiastic friends throwing their caps high in the air…” (San Diego Union)
“I’m a firm believer in the philosophy that women were meant to be just as robust and hardy as men—and they can be without losing any of their womanliness. In fact, physical culture gives grace, beauty, self-reliance—while taking nothing but aches and dyspepsia.” Ella Hattan
“Despite such accounts, more than one reporter who met her, expecting to meet a “fierce faced Amazon,” was shocked to find that Hattan exuded grace, refinement, and, as one put it, “perfect self-control and sweetness.” “
“After training for three years under Monstery, Hattan left to travel the world, andbecame a sensation with the foil, saber, broadsword, singlestick, rapier, dagger, bayonet, lance, Spanish knife, and Bowie knife, defeating fencing heavyweights such as Sergeant Owen Davis of the U.S. Cavalry, the famed knife duelist Charles Engelbrecht of the Danish Royal Guard, and the fencing master E. N. Jennings of the Royal Irish Hussars.”
“Under Monstery’s tutelage, Hattan would go on to become recognized as one of the greatest swordswomen of the nineteenth century, and perhaps of all time.”
SHE IS MY HERO
Participant in the Academia Women’s Fencing Championship (Paris, 1920)
Fencer with saber.
Woman with fencing saber
Colleen Townsend, fencer