The Bartitsu Forum

Established in August of 2002 by mystery author Will Thomas, the Bartitsu Forum is an active and positive venue for online discussion of all things Bartitsuvian.

Typical discussion topics include:

* the early history of European jiujitsu

* the eclectic Japanese/European self defence methods developed between 1899 and the early 1920s, and the lives of their founders and practitioners

* street gangsterism, the suffragette movement, “physical culture” exercise programmes and other Victorian and Edwardian-era social phenomena, as related to the martial arts

* the practical revival of Bartitsu as a martial art and combat sport.

Hope to see you there!

A “new” Bartitsu article: “Ju-Jitsu and Ju-do”

This article was originally published in the New Zealand “Auckland Star” newspaper on April 11, 1901.

The article was written shortly after E.W. Barton-Wright’s successful lecture and demonstration for the Japan Society.



“Ju-Jitsu and Ju-do – the Japanese Art of Self-Defence from a British Athletic Point of View” is the title of a lecture by Mr Barton-Wright, in London, recently.

Mr Barton-Wright, as readers of “Pearson’s Magazine” are aware, is the inventor of Bartitsu, a system of self-defence combining walking-stick play, boxing, wrestling, kicking — in short, all possible forms of defence. The master of Bartitsu, it is said, can hold his own in any combat, from a street “scrap” with a New Cut Hooligan to a stabbing match with an Italian desperado. Indeed, Mr Barton-Wright claims that, at close range, he could disable a man with a revolver before the latter could “draw.”

The lecture was illustrated by practical demonstrations by the author and by his two Japanese wrestlers, the strong men Yamamoto and Tani.

“Yamamoto is returning to Japan,” said Mr Barton-Wright to an “Express” representative, “and I have a thirteen-stone man coming over, whose order is not so particular. The public will have an opportunity of seeing him and Tani wrestle. Tani only weighs eight stone, but I will back him to throw any wrestler living up to thirteen stone — five stone more than himself. My thirteen-stone man – I will back against all-comers. If you like, Tani will show you a little Japanese wrestling.”


Tani and Yamamoto sat lovingly by the stove, but, on a word from Mr Barton-Wright, Tani shed his European clothes and stepped to the wrestling mattress, a. Japanese wrestler in his buff. Two brown legs, a little body in a loose white tunic, and two quick, black eyes, bright in a swarthy face — that was Tani, champion boy wrestler of Japan.

The visitor took off his coat and boots, but forebore from baring his legs. “Divert Mr Tani’s mind of any idea, that I am a wrestling champion in disguise,” he said. “Tell him this is a purely academic wrestle. If he’s going to illustrate anything in the spine-breaking or leg-fracturing way, let him illustrate on Mr Yamamoto.”

“Tani, play light,” said Mr Barton-Wright in Japanese and the Homeric struggle began. The visitor crouched; Tani crouched. The visitor patted Tani on the arm, after the manner of the music-hall wrestler; Tani did nothing. Then, without warning, the visitor hurtled through the air, clean over Tani’s head. A swan might have envied the grace of that flight. He fell on his back, beautifully spread-eageled. First fail to Japan. A lightning cross-buttock and an inexplicable back-heel concluded the illustrations so far as the visitor was concerned.

Then Tani and Yamamoto strove together, and all that could be seen was a mad confusion of brown legs and white bodies.

“Nothing human on legs would stand a chance with these men,” said Mr Barton-Wright, proudly.

M. Pierre Vigny. the Swiss professor of stick play, had just finished a walking-stick bout with a pupil.

“I will back M. Vigny,” said Mr Barton-Wright, “against any man in a contest of all-round defence and offence, each using only his natural weapons. M. Vigny shall take on the best boxer in England, and the boxer can hit below the belt, wrestle — do anything he likes— and M. Vigny shall beat him.”

“Textbook of Ju-jutsu” (1905) re-animated


Click on the image above to watch a video animation of all of the “cinematographic” photograph sequences from Sadakazu Uyenishi’s “Textbook of Ju-jutsu”, published in 1905. The techniques include both basic ukemi waza (falling) and nage waza (throwing) skills, as demonstrated by a Bartitsu Club instructor.

Sadakazu Uyenishi in action


This animated GIF was created by John Lindsey of the e-budo forum. It is an animation of movie frames originally used as photographic illustrations in Sadakazu Uyenishi’s 1905 “Textbook of Ju-jutsu”. Uyenishi and his colleague Yukio Tani were jujitsu instructors at E.W. Barton-Wright’s Bartitsu Club between 1900-1902.

Although originally published as a series of photographic images, these 24 frames were shot as film footage and probably represent some of the earliest motion picture footage of jujitsu.