The Art of Self Defense

A Goofy Cartoon

Release Date : December 26, 1941

Running Time : 7:49


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




Jack Kinney
Ralph Wright
Rex Cox
Art Babbitt
Jack Gayek


United States
Cartoon Classics : First Series : Volume 6 : More Sport Goofy
Goofy Over Sports
Goofys Lustige Olympiade
Goofys Lustige Sportschau
Donald et Dingo allias Goofy Champions Olympiques
Pippo Olimpionico
Pippo Star delle Olimpiadi


United States
Disney Cartoon Parade Volume 5


Cartoon Classics : More Sport Goofy
Goofy's All Star Olympics


United States
Disney Treasures : Wave 2 : The Complete Goofy
Disney Treasures : Wave 2 : The Complete Goofy
Disney Treasures : Wave 2 : The Complete Goofy
United Kingdom
Disney Treasures : Wave 2 : The Complete Goofy


The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 35: More Sport Goofy

Technical Specification

Color Type: Technicolor
Animation Type: Standard animation
Sound Mix: Mono
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Negative Format: 35mm
Print Format: 35mm
Cinematographic Process: Spherical
Original Language: English

Released by RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.


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.

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.

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