Bartitsu seminars in Vancouver

A report from Devon Boorman of the Academie Duello in Vancouver, Canada, detailing the recent Bartitsu seminars held there:

Day 1

This weekend’s Bartitsu seminar, lead by Tony Wolf, started up today and I must report it’s been a lot of fun and a good and thorough mental and physical workout.

The workshop started with Tony setting the stage with a short lecture on the life and times of Barton-Wright and where our historical basis from the art has been unearthed. From there we got on our feet and began to explore the underpinning arts of the system.

First we started with bare knuckle boxing entries, basic attacks, and plays from the inside or clinch. After that we played with some of the low line kicks employed to destabilize the opponent.

As Bartitsu uses boxing techniques to facilitate entry into throws and holds, this first section lead well into jujitsu. We explored several take downs and then worked on combining the bare knuckled and jujitsu techniques together.

The final conclusion of the day was the cane fighting everyone had been looking forward to. We explored many of the techniques found in the turn of the century Pearson’s Magazine article, where Bartitsu was first revealed to the broader public. We then worked on blending these with the boxing and jujitsu from earlier in the day in many cases abandoning the cane altogether to employ boxing techniques or jujitsu submissions.

One if the aspects I enjoyed most was the method of full contact flow exercises Tony employed to help us explore the principles of the art. We would start with a given technique and then have our opponent foil it in some way such as throwing an unexpected attack or seizing our cane, etc. We would then have to flow into an alternate technique, or several, to complete the goal of destabilizing and submitting our opponent. This really helped us not get stuck trying to force a given technique and instead allowed us to explore how all the techniques support one another.

From having done a fair bit of exploration into Bartitsu and boxing before, this approach offered some real added value and insight. Thanks Tony! Looking forward to day 2!

Day 2

Day 2 of the Bartitsu workshop commenced this morning at 10am and was definitely a full day at 7 hours of instruction with a 1 hour lunch
break in the middle. Today we explored each aspect of the Bartitsu
system, again blending any given canonical technique from the manuals
with the principals and various forms of the art, i.e. boxing, jujitsu,
and cane fighting.

Tony did an excellent job of demonstrating various routes that a given
technique might take if it were foiled by an opponent and then
emphasizing the creative exploration of principles through free form
flow exercises.

Some of the highlights today included using the cane in two hands, both bayonet style but also in a doubled grip at the base (like a sword). We used it thus to face large clubs or longer ranged weapons, but then through the flow exercises we frequently abandoned our cane to enter into boxing and jujitsu.

Another highlight of the day was working on submission techniques and
many different forms of belaboring the opponent to end a particular
engagement. This allowed us to get very close to sparring and
conclusion while staying within the system itself.

All in all this was a terrific workshop and I think we’re already
looking forward to having Tony back. For our part we’re going to be
starting up a regular Bartitsu club as part of our offerings at Duello
so we can continue to explore Bartitsu and share it with those who
weren’t able to make it out to Tony’s visit this time around.

Thanks Tony and thanks to everyone who came out and made his visit

Portland Bartitsu seminar

The Portland area Bartitsu seminar was held over the weekend of March 20-21, hosted by Jeff Richardson of the Academia Duellatoria historical fencing school. Class sessions covered elements of all of the Bartitsu “base arts” including fisticuffs, low kicking, canonical jiujitsu kata and walking stick defence sequences, then segued into neo-Bartitsu applications based on those sequences.

Here’s a report from Jeff:

The seminar was awesome. I suspect that many won’t realize just how much they absorbed in the two days of the seminar.

For the warmups… I don’t think people actually realised that they were learning falling techniques. I will certainly be taking a new look at how I teach these skills. To the credit of things much of the class was falling in good form by the end of the first day.

Pugilism… what can I say other than it has always held interest, but I have had very little exposure to traditional historic pugilism (though I’m a great fan of modern boxing). Tony’s explanation of stance and the basic punches and guards was clear and concise, providing ample information on the structure of the techniques.

JiuJitsu – well this I have some limited experience in. I enjoyed being thrown around in the demonstrations. The historical take on things was appreciated as well as the emphasis on practicality and unbalancing.

The low kicks likewise had an air of familiarity to them, though in my case from my eastern martial arts background. The pivoting side kick definately has it’s own unique flare to it however.

The cane work was great! I think many would have liked to have seen more of this taught, but much of the other material clearly set up the work with the cane. We had a great time with this material, but the real fun came when we began to mix it all together.

The progression from stick fighting, to punching and unbalancing and grappling was a great time had by all. Tony let things progress from strict practice of techniques to exercises allowed to develop into improvisational free form allowing the students to explore possibilities.

The class was brilliant. Much thanks to Tony for coming out.

And thanks to Jeff for hosting the event.

Review of Eugene, Oregon Bartitsu seminar

Classical fencing maestro and historical fencing instructor Sean Hayes offers a review of the recent Bartitsu seminar in Eugene, Oregon:

We had a fantastic seminar with Tony this past Saturday/Sunday! Each day began with exercises from the Wolf system, Tony’s training paradigm for martial arts and physical movement skills. These included fully cooperative and semi-cooperative balance exercises: in the former, partners work together to form a physical system of shared balance which they then explore; in the latter, the exercises shift to deliberate attempts to explore your partner’s balance system and exploit weaknesses. All of the exercises involve warm-up and stretching components, as well as spatial and body awareness components, and safe falling exercises. Towards the end they are combined in a series of spontaneous partner drills. It’s all tightly integrated and proves to be a perfect warm-up for martial arts practice, far superior to anything I’ve experienced previously. (My students can expect to see it incorporated into our regular practice.)

Tony then segued into Bartitsu practice. He began us with canonical Bartitsu exercises, exploring the major components of Barton-Wright’s established practiced (time wouldn’t permit all the canonical materils, of course) and getting the correct practice mastered as well as limited time permits. As the day developed, and we began to integrate boxing, kicking, jiujitsu, and walking-stick, Tony then developed the transitions between the various arts and showed how they were intended for use as an integrated system.

He incorporated neo-Bartitsu in a manner that brought us directly back to the Wolf system exercises. At various points, increasing as each day progressed, we would be given one of the kata or set-pieces to perform, with one partner “breaking” the exercise and the other partner responding. The responses were derived naturally and intuitively as a combination of the balance exercises with which we had begun the day (Barton-Wright was clear that disrupting the opponent’s balance was an immediate priority) and the individual Bartitsu techniques. By the end of Sunday we were performing fairly complicated semi-spontaneous exercises with confidence and skill.

Here’s a photo from a neo-Bartitsu demonstration at the end of the weekend, where we start a drill at speed, I “break” it by changing the expected action into something unexpected, and Tony responds by countering, breaking my balance and throwing me, striking me as I fall, and then belaboring me as he sees fit:

If you’re near, or know someone near, the remaining cities on this tour, then GO! This is a rare opportunity to train with a highly skilled professional martial artist.

I’d like to thank Tony for his effort, energy and dedication – and I’d like to thank the students for the same!

Lecture/demo in St. Petersburg, Russia

On March 12th, Russian Bartitsu enthusiast Sergei Mishenev was a morning guest on Radio Baltica, a popular North-Western Russian FM station with 5 million listeners. His 20-minute talk about Bartitsu was followed by calls and text messages to the station.

That afternoon, Sergei gave a lecture about Bartitsu at the Maiakovsky Library in the centre of St. Petersburg. The lecture-hall was full. The most exiting moment was the arrival of Nikolai Vashilin, the old master of combat scenes of Soviet cinema, who had devised the fight choreography for the famous “baritsu” encounter between Holmes and Moriarty in the Russian “Sherlock Holmes” telemovie (1979). The old master told about the production of that movie, and said he was surprised that so many people were still interested in his work.

Sergei then demonstrated a variety of Bartitsu walking stick self defence defence techniques against a “hooligan”.

Modern Bartitsu in Haslemere

The English Martial Arts Academy and Modern Bartitsu are holding a special one day event on the 11th of April. This will be a full day’s training, covering punching, kicking, grappling and stick work. As a special offer people who book for both this, and the upcoming Modern Bartitsu beginner’s course will receive a 20% discount of the total cost of both events.

Bartitsu seminars in Seattle

The first of the Pacific Northwest Bartitsu seminars was held over the past weekend in Seattle, Washington. The venue was the SANCA school of circus arts and the seminars attracted an enthusiastic group of fencers, boxers, martial artists and interested bystanders.

Led by Tony Wolf, day one included a three hour introductory class covering each of the core skills of the Bartitsu repertoire and day two followed that theme into the “Bartitsu blend” process of spontaneously combining jiujitsu, low kicking, fisticuffs and walking stick fighting.

Photographs courtesy of Kathrynne Wolf.

Bartitsu in Milan, Italy

Some pictures from Ran Braun‘s recent Bartitsu workshop at the Ludosport Combat Academy in Milan, Italy. Forty participants signed up and there was only room for twenty, so there are plans to repeat the seminar for those who missed out!

The next seminar in Milan will be in collaboration with a savate instructor.

Thanks to Ran and to photographer Ugo Cesare Tonelli for these images.

WMAC Gathering Bartitsu seminar

Instructor Chris Amendola will be offering a Bartitsu class at the upcoming Western Martial Arts Coalition Gathering in Houston, Texas between March 19-21.


A blend of the “Antagonistics” of Europe (Boxing, Savate and Walking Stick Fighting) with the JiuJitsu of Japan, Edward William Barton-Wright’s Bartitsu was a surprisingly modern approach to personal protection created in 1898. For today’s mainstream martial artist, the idea of being functional at all ranges and cross-training in different systems may seem like “old news”. However, these ideas are old – much older than commonly thought today and Barton Wright’s system provides great insight into just how old.

In this section we will explore the rudiments of unarmed striking from period Boxing (and possibly Savate) and basic techniques of JiuJitsu from the Bartitsu Club (1899-1902), with an eye towards integrating these systems based on underlying mechanical concepts of movement/body-mechanics. “Translations” of these techniques will also be presented for use with the walking-stick or cane. The emphasis in this section will be on Bartitsu as a personal protection system, as opposed to other sportive/recreational applications.

Equipment: Mask, 36″ training dowel, cane, or walking-stick.

Presenting the Freelance Academy Press

The Freelance Academy Press is a new publishing house devoted to the topics of Western martial arts, American and European history, arms and armour, chivalry, historical arts and crafts, and related adult and young adult fiction.

Look for many exciting new media from the Freelance Academy in the months and years to come, including 19th century “antagonistics” projects.