Tommy Joe Moore Seminar in Southend-on-Sea (UK)

Some creative promotion for instructor Tommy Joe Moore’s July 22nd Bartitsu seminar in the English town of Southend-on-Sea.  If it’s good enough for Luke Skywalker, it’s good enough for the rest of us …

Suffrajitsu Documentary “No Man Shall Protect Us” is Now Available

The documentary No Man Shall Protect Us: The Hidden History of the Suffragette Bodyguards is now freely available via Vimeo.

Written, co-directed and co-produced by Bartitsu instructor Tony Wolf, the 50-minute documentary explores the origins and exploits of “The Bodyguard” – a secret society of women who trained in jiujitsu and defended the leaders of the radical suffragette movement in England.

Some images from the documentary:


“Kingsman” Prequel “The Great Game” Announced

Matthew Vaughn, the director/producer of the successful Kingsman action/comedy film franchise, has announced an upcoming prequel titled Kingsman: The Great Game.  The movie will be set during the early 1900s and will explore the origins of the Kingsman spy organisation.

No other information is currently available, but according to Kingsman Harry Hart, a.k.a. Galahad:

Since 1849, Kingsman Tailors have clothed the world’s most powerful individuals. In 1919, a great number of them had lost their heirs to World War I. That meant a lot of money going uninherited. And a lot of powerful men with the desire to preserve peace and protect life. Our founders realised that they could channel that wealth and influence for the greater good.

And so began our other venture. An independent, international intelligence agency operating at the highest level of discretion. Above the politics and bureaucracy that undermine the integrity of government-run spy organisations. A suit is the modern gentleman’s armour. And the Kingsman agents are the new knights.

… suggesting that The Great Game may be set during the 1920s.

The phrase “the Great Game” generally, however, refers to the complex political and diplomatic brinksmanship that existed between the British and Russian Empires during the 19th century; it has also been used to describe the pastime of treating the Sherlock Holmes stories as if they were actual history.

Hopefully, the new movie will continue the Kingsman tradition of dynamically gentlemanly fight scenes, most particularly while armed with impeccably-furled umbrellas …

To “Obviate the Risk of Being Disarmed by Being Hit Upon the Fingers”

Under “Bar-titsu ” I comprise boxing, or the use of the fist as a hitting medium, the use of the feet both in an offensive and defensive sense, the use of the walking-stick as a means of self-defence in such a way as to make it practically impossible to be hit upon the fingers.

– E.W. Barton-Wright, “Ju-Jitsu and Ju-Do”; Transactions and Proceedings of the Japan Society, London (1901)

Bartitsu founder E.W. Barton-Wright’s articles and presentations repeatedly highlighted the Vigny system’s innovative guard structure, which was geared around protecting the defender’s weapon-wielding hand.

The basic combative logic of this style of guarding was clearly explained by Barton-Wright in 1901:

It must be understood that the new art of self-defence with a walking-stick, herewith introduced for the first time, differs essentially from single-stick or sword-play; for a man may be a champion in the use of sword or single-stick and yet be quite unable to put a walking-stick to any effective use as a weapon of defence.

The simple and sufficient reason to account for this is that both in single-stick and sword-play a cut is always taken up by the hilt of the weapon, whereas if you attempted to guard a blow with a walking-stick — which has no hilt — in the same way as you would with a sword, the blow would slide down your stick onto your hand and disable you.

Therefore, in order to make a stick a real means of self-defence, it has been necessary to devise a system by which one can guard a blow in such a way as to cause it to slide away from the hand instead of toward it, and thus obviate the risk of being disarmed by being hit upon the fingers.

After some fifteen years of hard work, such a system has been devised by a Swiss professor of arms, M. Vigny. It has recently been assimilated by me into my system of self-defence called “Bartitsu.”

– Barton-Wright, “Self-defence with a Walking-stick: The Different Methods of Defending Oneself with a Walking-Stick or Umbrella when Attacked under Unequal Conditions (Part I)”, Pearson’s Magazine, 11 (January 1901)

Within the scheme of Vigny’s style, protecting the weapon-wielding hand was accomplished by:

1) Guards by Distance

Like many martial arts and fencing instructors, Vigny favoured “guards by distance”, i.e. avoiding an opponent’s attack while simultaneously counter-attacking:

2) High Guard Positions

Vigny’s implicit critique of more traditional stick fighting systems was that these styles essentially treated the cane as if it were a substitute sabre.  Crucially, that meant that they included the standard sabre-style parries of tierce and quarte, in which the weapon-wielding hand is held lower than the point of impact, leading to the risks referred to above by Barton-Wright:

Above: a mid-level parry in tierce.

Students in more traditional cane defence classes wore heavily padded gloves to mitigate the chance of injuries to their hands and fingers in training, but of course these items, like hilts, are not present in spontaneous street altercations.  Therefore, Vigny eliminated tierce- and quarte-style parries from his own system, which was specifically designed for self-defence rather than academic fencing.

Similarly, being further spatially removed from the opposing weapon, the characteristic high guard positions of the Vigny style – particularly the Rear Guard, shown in the centre above – reduce the chances of the weapon-wielding hand being targetted and “sniped” by an alert opponent.

Casual perusers of Barton-Wright’s articles on stick fighting are sometimes confused by the incidence of fighting stances in which the defender’s cane appears to be held in tierce/quarte.  Those stances, however, fall into two specific categories:

  • representations of the (presumably not Bartitsu-trained) “opponent” assuming a tierce/quarte-type guard stance for purposes of demonstration, as Pierre Vigny (right) does here:

  • representations of the Bartitsu-trained defender assuming a position of invitation, in which the defender deliberately lowers, widens or otherwise modifies his front guard stance in order to “bait” the opponent’s attack to an apparently exposed target, as Vigny does here:

The defences that emerge out of those positions include hanging guard parries, pre-emptive strikes and closing in to grapple with the opponent at close quarters.  They never include actual parries in the tierce or quarte positions, which contradict the basic strategy of the Vigny style.

3) Hanging Guards

“Hanging” guards are those in which the defender’s weapon-wielding hand is positioned higher than the point of impact between the two weapons at the moment the attack is parried.  This position has the effect of deflecting or “shedding” an attack downward along the shaft of the cane:

The combination of the “guard by distance” tactic, the default to high guard positions and the options of hanging guards as backup defences represents the combative ideal of “striking without being struck” and offers the optimal chance of avoiding disarms and hand injuries in a stick fight.


Tommy Joe Moore Bartitsu Seminar in Southend-on-Sea (UK)

An introductory Bartitsu seminar taught by Tommy Joe Moore of the Bartitsu Lab will be offered via  Paper Street Bartitsu and the Southend Combat Academy.

The seminar will be held on July 22, 2018 and is open to all skill levels.  Further information and contact details are available via this link.

“Sherlock” Actor Benedict Cumberbatch Fends Off Real-Life Muggers Near London’s Baker Street

LONDON (Reuters) – British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, known for his portrayal of fictional crime-fighter Sherlock Holmes and comic book superhero Doctor Strange in the Marvel movies, has been hailed a hero for chasing away four assailants as they mugged a cyclist in London.

Cumberbatch, 41, jumped out of his taxi and ran to the aid of the man working for food delivery company Deliveroo as he was set upon by the muggers, the Sun newspaper reported.

“The cyclist was lucky, Benedict’s a superhero,” Cumberbatch’s Uber driver Manuel Dias told the Sun. “Then it all got a bit surreal. Here was Sherlock Holmes fighting off four attackers just round the corner from Baker Street,” said Dias.

“I had hold of one lad and Benedict another. He seemed to know exactly what he was doing. He was very brave. He did most of it, to be honest.

They tried to hit him but he defended himself and pushed them away. He wasn’t injured. Then I think they also recognized it was Benedict and ran away.

Benedict was courageous, brave and selfless. If he hadn’t stepped in, the cyclist could have been seriously injured.”

He said the actor embraced the cyclist after the scuffle.

The attempted robbery took place on Marylebone High Street, just around the corner from Holmes’ fictional home on Baker Street.

“One of the males attempted to grab the victim’s cycle … He was then punched in the face, struck on the head and hit with his helmet,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement, adding that the incident took place in November last year.

“Nothing was reported stolen. The victim did not require hospital treatment. No arrests have been made,” the statement added.

Cumberbatch, who has played the fictional detective in TV series Sherlock since 2010, has also starred in films such as The Hobbit, Avengers: Infinity War and The Imitation Game, where he portrayed British World War Two codebreaker Alan Turing.

Cumberbatch told the Sun he was not a hero.

“I did it out of, well, I had to, you know ,” he was quoted as saying.

Another Video Lesson from “Bartitsu: Historical Self-Defence with a Walking Stick”

This segment from Bartitsu: Historische Selbstverteidigung mit dem Spazierstock nach Pierre Vigny demonstrates some of the fundamental angles and targets used in basic striking drills.

The full series of video lessons is now available in the German language and an English-subtitled version is expected to become available soon.