“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)”

“Learn ‘Glima’ And Protect Yourself Against Hold-Ups” (1923)

Click on the image above to expand it. Icelandic glima wrestler and showman Johannes Josefsson enjoyed great success touring throughout Europe and the United States during the early 20th century, including a stint with the Barnum and Bailey Circus. Josefsson’s performances included challenge matches and exhibitions of traditional glima belt-wrestling as well as theatrical self-defence … Continue reading ““Learn ‘Glima’ And Protect Yourself Against Hold-Ups” (1923)”

“… the latest trick in Jiu-jitsu”: cartoons from Punch Magazine (1905-12)

During the decade following E.W. Barton-Wright’s introduction of jiujitsu to England, the Japanese martial art was thoroughly absorbed into English popular culture – most famously when Sherlock Holmes made use of “baritsu” to defeat the evil Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls.   Jiujitsu was also the means by which the titular heroine of H.G. Wells’ Ann Veronica defended … Continue reading ““… the latest trick in Jiu-jitsu”: cartoons from Punch Magazine (1905-12)”

Bartitsu kicks posterior in FX’s “The League”

Bartitsu has been both parodied and showcased on the FX Network’s popular comedy series, The League, which concerns the misadventures of a group of fantasy football league players. In the recent episode “Draft of Innocence”, insufferable “sapiosexual” couple Andre and Meegan announce a Gilded Age-themed draft party and extol the many virtues of Bartitsu, which Andre has … Continue reading “Bartitsu kicks posterior in FX’s “The League””

Bartitsu at Festival No. 6

Bartitsu instructor James Garvey (lower right, above) represented E.W. Barton-Wright’s “New Art of Self Defence” in the central piazza at Festival No. 6 (2015). This boutique music and arts festival is held at the eccentric model village of Portmeirion in Wales, which was also the location used in Patrick McGoohan’s surrealistic ’60s spy fantasy series, … Continue reading “Bartitsu at Festival No. 6”

A safety critique of Steampunk umbrella fencing/dueling (or, “It’s all fun until someone loses an eye”)

Umbrella fencing, also known as umbrella dueling, is a sport or game that has been played at some steampunk gatherings in the UK and USA. The purpose of this article is to encourage umbrella fencers to enjoy this activity safely, in the light of many years of experience in martial arts, fencing and related areas. … Continue reading “A safety critique of Steampunk umbrella fencing/dueling (or, “It’s all fun until someone loses an eye”)”

“Engaging toughs”: Bartitsu pressure-testing and sparring

“I learned various methods including boxing, wrestling, fencing, savate and the use of the stiletto under recognised masters, and by engaging toughs I trained myself until I was satisfied in practical application.” – E.W. Barton-Wright, 1950 The Bartitsu revival has gathered real momentum over the past several years, spurred on by the success of the … Continue reading ““Engaging toughs”: Bartitsu pressure-testing and sparring”

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: … Continue reading “An updated history of weaponised umbrellas”