NYC Bartitsu in the New York Times

Members of the Bartitsu Club of NYC pose for the recent New York Times article Regilding the Gilded Age in New York.

Suffrajitsu Issue #2: inside the Bartitsu Club

Bartitsu Club

On a rainy London evening, Persephone Wright spars with her Uncle Edward in the Bartitsu Club … but later:

Shocking events propel the Amazons into a daring rescue mission against a sinister enemy, far from the familiar streets of London …

Issue #2 of the Suffrajitsu graphic novel trilogy is now available via  comiXology.  Readers who have purchased the series via Kindle from Amazon.com will find Issue #2 automatically downloaded to the end of Issue #1.

An updated history of weaponised umbrellas

The release of Kingsman: the Secret Service promises to introduce a new generation of film-goers to the weaponised umbrella, a time-tested motif in anime, comic books, film, literature and television.  The bulletproof Kingsman umbrella comes equipped with all manner of gadgets, from a stunning projectile launcher to a TASER bola, as seen in this video:

However, while this fictional high-tech development in defensive bumbershootery is undoubtedly impressive, it is well worth noting that there has been a hundred-plus year history of attempts to weaponise the humble brolly in real life. These have included the development of martial arts techniques as well as the invention of actual, combat-augmented umbrellas.

As early as 1838, the Baron Charles de Berenger suggested several ingenious methods for using an umbrella in defence against highwaymen and ruffians, including simply shooting straight through it with a flintlock pistol:

In 1897, J.F. Sullivan proposed the umbrella as a misunderstood weapon in his tongue-in-cheek article for the Ludgate Monthy.

Only a few years later, Bartitsu founder E.W. Barton-Wright took the subject seriously in his two-part article series for Pearson’s Magazine, explaining the use of the umbrella and walking stick in self defence. The cane/umbrella were considered the first line of defence in the Bartitsu arsenal, which also included boxing, wrestling and jujitsu.

After the London Bartitsu Club closed under mysterious circumstances in 1902, instructors Pierre Vigny and his wife, who is known to us only as “Miss Sanderson”, continued to teach the use of umbrellas and parasols as defensive weapons. By 1908 the concept had made its way to the United States, being taught at the Philadelphia Institute of Physical Culture and featured in Popular Mechanics Magazine.

The remainder of the 20th century has seen the use of umbrellas as weapons of assassination:

… as well as numerous developments of the “umbrella sword” motif:

… and, of course, the Unbreakable Umbrella:

French news reports during mid-2011 suggested that the bodyguards of then-president Nicolas Sarkozy would soon be carrying a new defensive weapon – the Para Pactum umbrella. Reinforced with kevlar, the Para Pactum has apparently been tested against attack dogs and is also proof against knives, acid and thrown projectiles:

“Kingsman”-inspired pub fight prank

Unsuspecting pub patrons suddenly find themselves witnessing an epic fight between a single, umbrella-wielding gentleman and a group of thugs …

The hidden camera prank was inspired by this fight scene from the soon-to-be-released feature film Kingsman: the Secret Service, starring Colin Firth as suave secret agent Harry Hart, a.k.a. “Galahad”.

Bartitsu action and adventure in “Suffrajitsu: Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons”

Issue #1 of the Bartitsu-themed action/adventure graphic novel trilogy Suffrajitsu: Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons is now available!

Preview/purchase Suffrajitsu #1 at Amazon.com

Preview/purchase Suffrajitsu #1 at comiXology

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the radical women’s rights movement in London just prior to the First World War, Suffrajitsu relates the adventures of Miss Persephone Wright and her elite team of Amazons – a secret society of Bartitsu-trained bodyguards who protect fugitive suffragette leaders from arrest and assault.

Persephone is the niece of Bartitsu founder Edward William Barton-Wright, who also features in the story, and his Shaftesbury Avenue gymnasium serves as the Amazons’ secret headquarters …

Suffrajitsu was written by author and Bartitsu instructor Tony Wolf, illustrated by Joao Vieira and is published by Jet City Comics.  See our sister site, Suffrajitsu.com, for more information, including the strange-but-true history of the real suffragette Bodyguard society.

The name’s Marwood … James Marwood.

Reporter Cassam Looch attends the Kingsman: The Secret Service academy where he learns how to become the perfect Kingsman agent, including a suit fitting followed by an umbrella combat lesson with Bartitsu instructor James Marwood.

You can also watch parts 1 and 3 of this tie-in with the upcoming feature film Kingsman: The Secret Service, opening in the UK on January 29 and thereafter internationally.

La canne …

Some flashy canne and umbrella combat!

A new Judith Lee adventure: “The Wrestler and the Diamond Ring”

This short story from the Suffrajitsu.com website introduces Anglo-Chinese socialite and amateur detective Judith Lee and describes her first encounter with Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons. The Bartitsu Club and several of its principal figures play important roles in the story …

Free 5-page “Suffrajitsu” preview

Votes for women

The first five pages of Book 1 of the Suffrajitsu trilogy are now available as a free preview from Comic Book Resources.

The graphic novel is set in the milieu of the radical suffragette movement during 1914 and also features a strong Bartitsu theme. It is now available for pre-order via Amazon.com and will go on sale for both US and international readers via Amazon and comiXology on January 28th.

“Suffrajitsu: Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons” video trailer and pre-order info

“Suffrajitsu: Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons” graphic novel trailer from Wolf Point Media on Vimeo.

The Suffrajitsu graphic novel trilogy, written by Bartitsu instructor Tony Wolf, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com:

In the year 1914, with Europe on the brink or war, the leaders of the radical women’s rights movement are fugitives from the law. Their last line of defence is the secret society of Amazons; women trained in the martial art of Bartitsu and sworn to protect their leaders from arrest and assault …

(And yes, that is the Bartitsu Club shown at 00:25 in the video!)

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