Victorian Martial Arts Symposium (Portland, Oregon)


A playful “duel” between KPTV reporter “Zebekiah Pennydragon” and Academia Duellatoria instructor Jeff Richardson, promoting the Victorian Martial Arts Symposium at the GearCon Steampunk conference in Portland, Oregon.

The Seattle Times features BWAHAHAHA

An entertaining article on BWAHAHAHA, Seattle’s “Barton-Wright/Alfred Hutton Alliance for Historically Accurate Hoplology and Antagonistics”.

Bartitsu Demonstration and Artisan Fair (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)

June 20, 2015
12 pm – 4 pm
Luckenbach Mill
Historic Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Learn Bartitsu, the gentleman’s form of self-defense popular in Victorian London. Mark Donnelly is an expert in the fighting style used by literary hero Sherlock Holmes. Learn to use the world around you, from umbrellas to snuff boxes. This demonstration will link the realms of history and imagination. Then get outside and enjoy the warm weather at our Steampunk Artisan Fair in the Colonial Industrial Quarter and shop around at local quality crafters’ tables. We will have a large variety of participating crafters at this event so there’s sure to be something for everybody! This event is FREE for HBMS members, and $10 for the general public.

What is Bartitsu?

“This workshop is designed to be an extensive introduction to this esoteric system of self-defense which incorporates: fisticuffs (in the scientific method); savate (use of low kicks in self-defense; grappling(judo/jiujitsu); as well as the use of numerous commonplace Victorian accessories such as walking-stick, cane, umbrella, top hat, snuff box, opera cape, handkerchief, etc. all employed in an effort to maintain ‘preservation of person and property when beset upon by ne’er-do-wells of nefarious intent’.” -Mark Donnelly, Bartitsu Instructor

Click here to book tickets!

Bartitsu in the Court Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet

R&J Bartitsu

Tybalt (Owen Black, left) and Benvolio (Ben Freeth, right) engage in some Bartitsu cane fighting in a rehearsal for the Court Theatre’s (Christchurch, New Zealand) production of Romeo and Juliet. This take on Shakespeare’s classic romantic tragedy is set during a stylised Edwardian era and features fight choreography by Bartitsu instructor Tony Wolf.

Bartitsu at the Steampunk World’s Fair

Bartitsu instructor Mark Donnelly (centre) teaches an introductory seminar at the recent Steampunk World’s Fair in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Third Annual Victorian Martial Arts Symposium (Portland, Oregon)


Once again Portland, Oregon’s Historic European Martial Arts school Academia Duellatoria is teaming up with GearCon to bring you a full weekend symposium on Victorian Age Martial Arts. The event happens in the convention district of Portland, Oregon Juuly 3rd – 5th at the Double Tree by Hilton Portland, just walking distance from Lloyd Center Mall.

The Victorian Martial Arts Symposium brings together instructors from Canada and the United states to collaborate in bringing you a variety of instruction in Bartitsu and Victorian martial systems. This years instructors include Jeff Richardson and Matthew Hoden of Academia Duellatoria in Portland Oregon, David McCormick of Academie Duello in Vancouver Canada, Thomas Badillo of Botta Secreta Productions in San Francisco California, and Stewart Sackett of Nemesis Jiu-Jitsu in Portland Oregon.

Classes feature a variety of instruction from Historic Sabre and Cutlass practice to self defense with the cane and umbrella to empty hand martial systems. The centerpiece of these arts is Bartitsu, a mixed art self defense system developed in London.  And, as always, the symposium includes a women’s self defense class on Sunday afternoon.

More information and a full schedule of classes for the symposium can be found here.

The Victorian Martial Arts Symposium is held in conjunction with GearCon, Portland’s premiere Steampunk convention. The convention features a fine art salon and market place, a gaming room, a variety of panels, and evening entertainment this year featuring a concert by Aurielo Voltaire.

“Self-defence with a Cane” (1928)

From the Friday, 27 July 1928 edition of the Motherwell Times:

Self Defence with a Cane

Suffrajitsu: Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons #3 available now!

Suffrajitsu 3 cover

The climactic chapter of the Suffrajitsu graphic novel trilogy is now available from and comiXology!

In Issue #3, Persephone Wright and her team of Bartitsu-trained Amazons must race to prevent a terrorist attack that may have dire consequences for the entire world …

(… and yes, that it Persephone’s uncle – Bartitsu founder Edward Barton-Wright – to the right on the cover).

“The Second-Story Girl”: a Suffrajitsu-inspired novella by Mark Lingane

Second-Story Girl cover smaller

Inspired by the Suffrajitsu graphic novel trilogy, Australian author Mark Lingane’s novella The Second-Story Girl is now available from Kindle Worlds.  A significant proportion of the story is set at E.W. Barton-Wright’s Bartitsu Club, which, in the “world” of the Suffrajitsu stories, secretly serves as the gymnasium and headquarters of a group of suffragette activists and bodyguards known as Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons.

Here’s the synopsis:

London, 1910. Spoilt and wild, Genevieve Cranston is a party girl with little to live for when her reckless lifestyle flings into the gutters after the suspicious death of her father and the mysterious disappearance of her younger brother Lindsey.

Rescued, redeemed and trained for action by the radical suffragette Amazons, Genevieve will stop at nothing to find her missing brother. She is soon caught up in a dense web of deceit and double-dealing, as both sides of the political landscape manoeuvre to shape the future of the free world.

Time is running out, war is on the horizon and Genevieve needs to grow up fast. Lindsey is an important player in the game of cat and mouse, and with the aid of some gifted friends, Genevieve is hell-bent on saving him, and upon revenge.

.. and here’s an interview with the author.

“The Isle of Dogs”: a Suffrajitsu-inspired novella by Michael Lussier

Isle of Dogs cover

We’re very pleased to be able to bring you this interview with Michael Lussier, whose new  novella The Isle of Dogs is now available via Kindle Worlds.

The Isle of Dogs is a dark, hard-edged mystery/revenge drama inspired by the Suffrajitsu graphic novel trilogy, in which Bartitsu plays a key role.

The story pits Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons against an insidious new enemy:

“London: July, 1913.

The body of a young socialite is pulled from the Thames, her suicide note hinting at blackmail, conspiracy and corruption in high places.

Meanwhile, a mysterious street gang is moving through the East End with military precision. leaving a trail of murder and mutilation in its wake.

Enter Persephone Wright and her outlaw band of Bartitsu-trained suffragette Amazons, who will stop at nothing to avenge a fallen comrade …”


Q: What was it that first attracted you to writing stories set in the Edwardian era?

M.L.: Style and personal taste have a lot to do with it. I’ve always been a voracious reader, and there was something about Victorian and Edwardian literature that enchanted me when I was young. I grew up reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, the Brontës, Bram Stoker, G. K. Chesterton, Baroness Orczy, H. G. Wells, Arthur Machen, Kenneth Grahame, and Oscar Wilde. I even enjoyed – god help me – that occult oddball Edward Bulwer-Lytton.

Q: And what was it about the Foreworld Saga?

M.L: I am particularly drawn to the Foreworld because there are still huge areas of Edwardian society that have rarely been explored outside of academia. Suffrajitsu is a breath of fresh air, in that regard. It isn’t so much historical revisionism as it is a shadow history of people who were shoved to the margins because they were poor, foreign, queer or female.

2) Can you describe some of the challenges in writing The Isle of Dogs?

M.L.: The amount of research that needed to be done was staggering.

I never imagined that I would spend more than a couple hours of my life studying Burke’s Peerage or exploring the links between C. & E. Morton’s Bloater Fish Paste and the Millwall Athletic Football Club. Poor naïve bastard: I sacrificed whole days and weekends to these subjects.

3) What were the most interesting discoveries you made during your research?

M.L.: My story concerns the activities of a revived Hellfire Club, so I spent quite a bit of time researching contemporary attitudes toward sexuality.

There is a misconception that the Victorians were essentially prim, high-minded eunuchs. This isn’t even remotely true.

Q: So what were they?

M.L: Several popular music hall songs of that period that are far filthier than anything I’ve ever heard in a bar or machine shop. I’m not talking ‘saucy’ or ‘bawdy’. Eskimo Nell and Kafoozalum are vulgar, profane and ribald on a level that surpasses Lil’ Kim and Too $hort.

I also came across an obscure genre, which I call Erotic Biography. Probably the best known examples are Walter’s My Secret Life and The Romance of Lust. These are explicit memoirs which detail an anonymous gentleman’s sexual development and experiences over the course of many years and several volumes. They portray Victorian upper-class sex as ravenous, male-oriented, compulsive and predatory. Maids and serving girls were obliged to observe the droit du seigneur, prostitution was commonplace, pregnancies were disowned, any female age nine and above was considered fair game. These stories are Dickensian in a really disconcerting way.

4) In what way(s) would you say the themes of the Suffrajitsu series are relevant to us today?

M.L.: Suffrajitsu is the intersection of many fascinating underground streams. Feminism, ‘mixed martial arts’, drug addiction, homosexuality, violence against women, police intimidation and institutional intolerance. These are issues and subjects that are still incredibly pertinent to 21st century readers.

Q: What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

M.L.: Read as much as you can, and study the techniques of your favorite authors. Sit down and write every day. Don’t worry about quality at first – no piece of writing is ever very good before the first revision. Find an editor and listen very carefully to his/her advice. Take your reader feedback with a grain of salt.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

M.L.: When I was young, there was a truism in advertising that declared the most coveted market demographic to be men between the ages of 18 and 49. This is no longer true, although for the most part nobody in power wants to admit it just yet.

Women are emerging as a very powerful consumer block. They represent 60% of the world’s population and 78% of gross domestic product. I’ve seen reports that suggest that women will soon control two-thirds of the consumer wealth in the United States. They are, for the most part, better educated and more media savvy than their male counterparts.

Additionally, young women are entering into fields that were once considered male-only; music, law, video gaming, martial arts, etc.

As the economic clout of women grows, so too will the visibility of their issues and interests.

Having spent so much time with Emmeline Pankhurst recently, I cannot help but wonder how she would seek to leverage this power in pursuit of equality in a country where the Violence Against Women Act can barely make it through Congress.


Michael Lussier has been a machinist, an orderly in a psychiatric hospital and (on one occasion only) a celebrity babysitter. He is the author of Sherlock Holmes and Bartitsu, which can be found online here. As a general rule, Michael hates to talk about himself.

twitter: @Decervelage

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