The Art of Self Defense
Studio: Disney Release Date : December 26, 1941 Series: Goofy Cartoon

Cumulative rating:
(3 ratings submitted)


Goofy defends himself through a history of the manly arts through the ages.




Note: "Unverified" credits may not be correct and should be taken with a grain of salt.


Jack Kinney (unverified)


Ralph Wright (unverified)
Rex Cox (unverified)
Art Babbitt (unverified)
Jack Gayek (unverified)


Leigh Harline (unverified)


Walter Elias "Walt" Disney


RKO Radio Pictures

Clips Used In:

Buyer Be Wise

Included in:

Goofy's Cavalcade of Sports
In Shape with Von Drake


United States

Goofy Over Sports
Cartoon Classics : First Series : Volume 6 : More Sport Goofy


Goofys Lustige Sportschau
Goofys Lustige Olympiade


Donald et Dingo allias Goofy Champions Olympiques


Pippo Star delle Olimpiadi
Pippo Olimpionico

CED Disc

United States

Disney Cartoon Parade Volume 5

Laserdisc (CLV)

United States

Starring Mickey and Minnie / Starring Chip 'n' Dale
Cartoon Classics : More Sport Goofy


Disney Cartoon Festival 5
Goofy's All Star Olympics


United States

The Complete Goofy


Disney Treasures : Wave 2 : The Complete Goofy

United Kingdom

Disney Treasures : Wave 2 : The Complete Goofy


Disney Treasures : Wave 2 : The Complete Goofy

Technical Specifications

Running Time: 7:49
MPAA No.: 6812
Animation Type: Standard (Hand-drawn-Cel) Animation
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Cinematographic Format: Spherical
Color Type: Technicolor
Negative Type: 35mm
Original Country: United States
Original Language: English
Print Type: 35mm
Sound Type: Mono: RCA Sound Recording

Reviews and Comments

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From Gijs Grob :

Focusing primarily on boxing, this cartoon has historical significance: it is the first short in which Goofy is shown to have multiple duplicates, who apparently populated the earth throughout history. Although the 'real' clumsy Goofy clearly appears halfway the film, this cartoon is a major step in Goofy's transition from a unique character into an everyman. Soon, whole sport teams would consist of multiple Goofs, in which the different players would have different names(!). Notice, that Goofy's copies do not necessarily share his good nature or his clumsiness (actually, this cartoon contains quite some aggressive violence, like two Egyptian Goofs poking each other's eyes out). Notice, too, that no other famous character shares this ability of becoming everybody. There are no cartoons with multiple Mickeys or Donalds (nephews and better selfs do not count), nor are there multiple Bugs Bunnies, Daffy Ducks etc.

From Baruch Weiss :

I love this short for 2 reasons :

1.It had Goofy in it.

2.In the sequence where Goofy walks into the gym there is a nice music score which was also used during the closing theme. I also noticed Goofy's gorilla yell was similar from "Dumbo"and Mickeys Garden.

From Dino Cencia :

My favorite part is this short is when Goofy was at the fighting arena and he was about to fight a tough guy in the arena and made a gorilla yell from Mickeys Garden. That was really funny and also funny was Goofy's shadow and Goofy were practice fighting and Goofy's shadow really won. I give this a 842 out of 842.

From Politzania :

The short starts by showing mankind (ok - Goof-kind) fighting - from cave-goofs, to Egyptian heirogoof-licks to early boxing. The modern era of course has the subject go through “scientific conditioning” - which of course, Goofy keeps goofing up! Sometimes it’s just klutziness that trips him up, other times he gets a bit too cocky., which leads to his downfall. The shadow-boxing segment is my favorite - especially the slow-motion punch! Goofy somehow makes it to “the big night” in the ring - for about 3 seconds! I have to say this for him though - it takes talent to remove several robes while still wearing boxing gloves!

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project :

1941 is coming to a close here on the blog, but we have one of my favorite shorts to cap the year – The Art of Self Defense. Again, it’s one of the Goofy “How To” shorts, but this one has a twist – multiple Goofs!

Yes, multiple versions of Goofy. Going forward, the Goofy shorts will use multiple versions of the Goof as a sort of “everyman,” filling all positions on a baseball team or a hockey team. But it started here, in The Art of Self Defense. It’s not something you would think that Disney would originally do. Keeping Goofy unique would seem to be a more prudent way to go.

However, it works beautifully in this short to have two Goofys fighting each other. We get to see cavemen, knights in armor and aristocrats all sparring, but with each as Goofy. It keeps you from rooting for one or the other, and allows you to focus more fully on what they are doing, and what the narration says. That makes the short a lot better in the end.

Another great device used here is having Goofy serve as a bridge between eras. When we move from one time period to the next, such as from cavemen to knights, we see Goofy riding some mode of transportation in the clouds. These are some of the funniest shots in the short. Seeing the Goofy angel ride a chariot through the stars is downright hilarious.

That’s only the first half of this fantastic short, though. The second half takes place in the confines of a gym, where Goofy is contending with the omnipresent narrator in demonstrating how to fight. It’s a conceit that was used before, but here, we see some of the direct interaction between Goofy and the narrator. The narrator tells Goofy to inhale, and when he forgets to tell the Goof to exhale, Goofy blows up like a balloon. That sort of interaction is a new twist to this relationship.

The laugh out loud part of the short, at least to me, is when Goofy begins “shadow boxing.” His shadow literally comes to life, stepping off the wall at the urging of the narrator, and starts fighting Goofy. We see a bunch of different ways that the shadow is winning the fight, from fast paced punches to slow motion breakdowns of how the punches land. I could not stop laughing during this sequence.

The Art of Self Defense is probably the perfect “How To” short in my eyes, because it combines the idea of Goofy as everyman with some individual time spent with the character. It’s a great balance between spreading the wealth and reserving some of the individuality of the Goof.