Umbrella self defence in Vancouver


For many, the Lower Mainland’s wet weather comes with the burden of carrying around an often-cumbersome umbrella. But what if you could turn your weather-based tool into your own personal defence device?

Academie Duello offers an umbrella self-defence workshop that will teach you how to use your wet weather companion to ward off any hooligans.

The course runs several times a year and is based on Bartitsu — a stick-fighting style developed in Victorian England.

David McCormick, who teaches the course, said it’s quite popular.

“It’s very energizing because unlike some martial arts (it’s not) an exhaustive, fatiguing workout. (We) teach skills that are at the same time fun and practical so people can remember what they’ve learned.”

The course, which lasts four hours, costs $60 and is good for most ages and body types, said McCormick.

As for the satisfaction level, McCormick said students are usually laughing when they leave, “and seeing a tool they use everyday in a whole new light.”

For more information on David’s umbrella defence and Bartitsu courses, please visit the Academie Duello’s Bartitsu page.

“Ba-ritsu: a tutorial”

Guy Ritchie, Robert Downey, Jr. and others discuss their interpretation of the martial arts of Sherlock Holmes for their hit 2009 motion picture. See also our interview with Sherlock Holmes fight choreographer Richard Ryan, which goes into further detail regarding cinematic “baritsu”.

Society Women Wrestlers: Ladies’ Craze for Japanese Ju-jitsu

From the Daily Mirror, April 4, 1904

Impressed by the success of the Japanese system of wrestling – the Ju-jitsu — President Roosevelt has ordered it to be adapted in the. Naval Academy, where it is to be practised, in addition to the ordinary athletic exercises.

President Roosevelt is said to be devoted to this style of wrestling, and many American society ladies have taken it up as a new diversion.

But Americans are not alone in their enthusiasm for the new sport. I In England women are taking great interest in Ju-jitsu. Yukio Tani, the great Japanese exponent of the art, who is quite confident of beating his English opponent in the great match for £200 a side, puts in several hours a week instructing the dames and damsels of Mayfair in the noble art of (Japanese) self-defence. Lady Clara Vere de Vere has taken up Ju-jitsu , as the science is called, with vigour, and is rapidly making herself competent to tackle the burliest hooligan who ever donned cap and muffler. The writer on Saturday received the testimony of “Apollo,” the Jap’s manager, on the subject.

The strong man was at breakfast when our reporter called at his cozy flat in Shaftesbury avenue, but he readily consented to talk.

Makes Women Graceful

“Ju-jitsu”, said he, “is particularly adapted for ladies for several reasons. In the first place, no muscular strength is required, for it is all a question of ‘knack’ and quickness. In the second the science, apart from its usefulness as a means of self-defence, induces grace of carriage and develops the’ figure. You see, to be a competent ju-jitsuist you must hold yourself upright. Whereas, in other styles of wrestling, one has to adopt a crouching attitude, which contracts the chest and makes the figure ugly.”

The fad, it appears, commenced when Tani began to take engagements to appear at private houses and give exhibitions’ of wrestling in the Japanese style. Fashionable hostesses began to vote Hungarian fiddlers and Polish tenors altogether out-moded after they had seen the lithe and graceful Jap and his manager give a glimpse of ju-jitsu. Sometimes, at dances, the wrestling-mats were spread on the ball-room floor between waltzes, and looking on at a bout of ju-jitsu gave the dancers a rest. The grace, the quickness, and the absence of violence which are the distinguishing marks of
ju-jitsu fascinated Lady Clara Vere de Vere, and from seeing it done to wanting to do it herself was but a step. Now, Tani has his hands full putting fair and aristocratic aspirants up to the various locks and holds which constitute the Japanese art of self-defence.

Keenness of the Ladies

“A girl,” says the authority, “will learn ju-jitsu in one-third of the time, and with one-half the trouble, compared with a man. For one thing, they are keener about it; and for another, we cannot get the men to take it seriously enough to moderate their drinking, smoking and late hours – all of which are not conducive to excellence in ju-jitsu.

“Again, a girl is more anxious to improve her general physique than the male thing – and there is no doubt that this style of wrestling is a first-class thing for health and beauty.

An ever-present terror to women living in the country is the prowling tramp. But, armed with a knowledge of ju-jitsu, madame or mademoiselle may take her unattended walks abroad, and in the event of an encounter with the ‘hobo,’ may give him the alternative of crying quarter or having an arm broken.”

So fashionable is the new craze becoming that some West End stationers are printing invitation cards with “Wrestling” in the corner where “Dancing” or “Music” was wont to stand.

Bartitsu (from the Daily Express, June 16, 1900)


Some of my readers may have been present at the very interesting exhibition of bartitsu given last summer by the well-known athlete, Mr. Barton-Wright. Since then the apostle of this most useful form of self defence has been striving to force his pastime to the front, and so successful have his efforts proved that in several of our leading schools the “game” has already been regularly adopted.

Briefly, bartitsu is a form of self-defence in which the only weapon employed is a common walking stick, preferably a malacca-cane. The theory of bartitsu is based upon the theory of fencing and of single-stick in combination with just a suspicion of the “savate.”
The work is done almost entirely with the wrists, the hands being used alternately.

Perhaps the most fascinating stroke of all is a sort of “forward backhander,” if I may so describe it, the cane being suddenly brought down to “guard.” and then unexpectedly swung back over the shoulder.

It is not to be wondered that so practical a form of self-defence should be appealing to many of our athletes, and when it becomes more generally known it will, in all probability, secure a large following.

Bartitsu seminar in Spino d’Adda, Italy

An introductory Bartitsu workshop lead by Ran Arthur Braun, with the collaboration of master-at-arms and police officer Maestro Gaetano Papagni will be held on January 23rd at Spino d’Adda (about 20 km. from Milan, driving towards Crema).

Time: 11.00 – 13.30 (unarmed combat)
14.30 – 17.30 (walking stick self defence)

For details, please contact Maestro Gaetano Papagni at