Miss Blanche Whitney, the World’s Champion Lady Wrestler (1911)

This gallery of images from an article in the Oregon Daily Journal (April 30, 1911) showcases the combative talents of Miss Blanche Whitney. Between 1908-11, the Philadelphian Miss Whitney travelled the US carnival and vaudeville circuit, taking on all comers as the “World’s Champion Lady Wrestler”. She challenged any woman in the audience to try … Continue reading “Miss Blanche Whitney, the World’s Champion Lady Wrestler (1911)”

“Sherlock Holmes – The Solitary Cyclist” fight breakdown

Martin “Oz” Austwick of the English Martial Arts Academy offers an entertaining and educational analysis of the famous fisticuffs encounter between Sherlock Holmes and the ruffianly Mr. Woodley, from the 1980s Sherlock Holmes series starring Jeremy Brett.

The “Dwarf of Blood” on Bartitsu (June-October, 1900)

The following accounts were written for the Sporting Times by a journalist styling himself as “The Dwarf of Blood”.  Many Sporting Times writers used similarly colourful pseudonyms – “The Pitcher”, “The Shifter”, “The Master”, et al. The author of these articles was actually Colonel Nathaniel Newnham-Davis, a gourmet and bon vivant who was best known as a London … Continue reading “The “Dwarf of Blood” on Bartitsu (June-October, 1900)”

“The cumbersome boxing glove superseded” (Punch Magazine, September 4, 1869)

Cartoonist George du Maurier offers a helpful suggestion for boxers.  The caption reads: Sparring without pain or loss of temper – the cumbersome boxing-glove superseded. For more on this topic, see The Eccentric Evolution of Boxing Armour.

“Engaging Toughs” – The Bartitsu Sparring Video Competition

… by engaging toughs I trained myself until I was satisfied in practical application. –  E.W. Barton-Wright, 1950 Announcing the first international Bartitsu sparring video competition, for prizes of up to US$1000!  The contest is open to martial artists and combat athletes of any style(s) and its object is to help fulfil the Bartitsu Society’s mission: … Continue reading ““Engaging Toughs” – The Bartitsu Sparring Video Competition”

Shades of Esme Beringer: double-weapon fencing in “Penny Dreadful”

The final season of the popular dark fantasy/drama series Penny Dreadful introduced the character of Catriona Hartdegen, a historian, thanatologist and expert swordswoman played by actress Perdita Weeks. As the series is set primarily in London during the 1890s, Hartdegen’s skill at a stylised form of double-weapon fencing is an interesting creative choice.  In real history, that … Continue reading “Shades of Esme Beringer: double-weapon fencing in “Penny Dreadful””

Why Bartitsu is for everyone

By Tony Wolf   The HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) blogosphere and social media networks have recently caught the edge of the prevailing cultural debates about political correctness, social justice, cultural appropriation, racism and related issues.  Inevitably, Bartitsu (as a fringe-of-a-fringe interest) has now been referenced in that context, so I hope you’ll indulge this … Continue reading “Why Bartitsu is for everyone”

The Original BJJ: New Discoveries and Speculations re. the Submission Grappling of British Jiu-Jitsu

  This article summarises, and presents some recent research into the origins of the “mixed styles” submission grappling matches that took place in London circa 1900.  The term “British jiujitsu” is sometimes used to describe the eclectic blend of jiujitsu styles that were introduced to England (and thus to the Western world) at that time, … Continue reading “The Original BJJ: New Discoveries and Speculations re. the Submission Grappling of British Jiu-Jitsu”

“Oriental Wrestling For The Soldier At Aldershot: The Japanese Method Of Self-Defence, Jiu-Jitsu, Taught By Professor Uyenishi” (Illustrated London News, 25 March, 1905)

Photographs of 25 year old Bartitsu Club instructor Sadakazu Uyenishi teaching soldiers at the Aldershot military training school. This may have been the first instance of Asian martial arts being offered to the British Army as hand to hand combat training.

“I look forward to the debate, sir!” – a Bartitsuesque fight scene from “Q.E.D.” (1982)

Readers of a certain age may fondly recall the short-lived TV series Q.E.D. (also titled The Mastermind), which screened during the early 1980s. The show featured Sam Waterston as the eccentric former Ivy League professor Quentin E. Deverill, who becomes embroiled in a variety of adventures in Edwardian London. The character of Deverill is reminiscent of Craig … Continue reading ““I look forward to the debate, sir!” – a Bartitsuesque fight scene from “Q.E.D.” (1982)”