Basic Bartitsu demo. at ISMAC ’07

This footage was recorded at the International Swordfighting and Martial Arts Conference in Michigan, USA, between July 12-15, 2007.  It features a series of mostly canonical Bartitsu unarmed combat and cane demonstrations by myself, with Kirk Lawson assisting.

The theme of the seminar was to use a small selection of canonical and some neo-Bartitsu techniques and sequences to explore two major principles:

1) alignment control, or using your own weight and skeletal structure to disrupt the opponent’s balance and 2) initiative control, either by inviting a particular attack or by executing a pre-emptive attack to control the opponent’s options and movement.

Thus, we were primarily using these sequences as academic examples of certain technical and tactical options, rather than as self defence or competition sequences per se.

The defence between 00.56 and 01.00 is a neo-Bartitsu improvisation combining a number of techniques (palm-heels, a trachea grab, low stamping kick etc.) to reinforce the theme of controlling the opponent’s balance and skeletal alignment.

Thanks to Bartitsu Society member Chris Amendola for editing the footage.


Bartitsu Promotional Clip from Chris Amendola on Vimeo.

On the arts of Bartitsu

There is a tendency for those looking at Bartitsu to pay especial attention to the jiu-jitsu parts of it, and to discount the necessity of both boxing and savate skills. As Tony reminded us in a recent post to the mailing list, Barton-Wright’s lecture to the Japan Society raised this very point:

In order to ensure as far as it was possible immunity against injury in cowardly attacks or quarrels, they must understand boxing in order to thoroughly appreciate the danger and rapidity of a well-directed blow, and the particular parts of the body which were scientifically attacked. The same, of course, applied to the use of the foot or the stick.

“Baritsu” to feature in new Sherlock Holmes movie

Robert Downey, Jr., who is to star in an upcoming Sherlock Holmes feature film being directed by Guy Ritchie, was quoted in Premiere Magazine as saying:

“We’re both martial arts enthusiasts and historically, in the real origin stories of Sherlock Holmes, he’s kind of a bad-ass and a bare-knuckle boxer and studies the rare art of baritsu [fictional martial art created by Doyle for the final Holmes story, 1901’s The Adventure Of The Empty House]. If you look baritsu up, they can’t even really tell you what it is, so it gives us a lot of leeway.”

“Baritsu”, of course, was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s misspelling of Bartitsu.  Since Mr. Downey is a Wing Chun kung fu enthusiast and director Ritchie is a brown belt in Brazilian jiujitsu, their cinematic version of Holmes’ martial art may well pack quite a punch …