“Baritsu” in “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”

The brand-new first trailer for the upcoming action/comedy/mystery Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows promises plenty of baritsu action!

Baritsu is, of course, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s rendering of Bartitsu, as famously featured in The Adventure of the Empty House and (indirectly) in The Adventure of the Final Problem. It was the means by which Sherlock Holmes threw his arch-enemy, Professor Moriarty, to his death from the brink of Reichenbach Falls, and has subsequently been incorporated into numerous Holmes-themed pastiche novels, comic books, cartoons and games. Doyle probably copied the term “baritsu” verbatim from a London Times report on a Bartitsu demonstration, which contained the same misspelling.

Although Holmes’ baritsu is not identical to E.W. Barton-Wright’s Bartitsu, the new trailer showcases Holmes’ martial arts skills, which were also highlighted in Sherlock Holmes (2009) (you can read our exclusive interview with fight choreographer Richard Ryan here).

Holmes is shown deftly defeating an assassin via crook-handled umbrella as well as executing a variety of boxing punches, elbow strikes, kicks, shuto (knife-hand) strikes and a clean jujitsu throw. Tantalisingly, he appears briefly to be pulling off some kind of protective mask while wearing a padded fencing jacket and wielding a stout cane. And, although it isn’t shown in this preview trailer, we can confidently anticipate a climactic baritsu showdown between Holmes and Moriarty at Reichenbach …

8 thoughts on ““Baritsu” in “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows””

  1. I’m not thinking to positive about this. It looks steam-punk, not A.C.D.. If I wanted that, I’d just watch the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen again.
    And that whole bit about physical intimacy between Holmes and Watson was as unnecessary as it was stupid.

  2. As writer Lionel Wigram noted, a good deal of physical action in Conan Doyle’s stories happened “off screen” (including Holmes’ fight to the death with Moriarty, which was only described after the fact). The whole point of the new Holmes movies is to reboot the stories and characters as modern action/comedy/drama vehicles.

    It’s difficult to comment re. “physical intimacy” without knowing the dramatic context of why Holmes and Watson are in that situation – we’ll find out when the sequel opens. That said, the final exchange of dialog in the trailer (“Get that out of my face,” etc.) is a playful reference to a similar exchange in the first movie.

  3. Having recently seen the film, I must say it seems far removed from the original stories, but having said that, it’s still a damn good action film. From the martial arts point of view, I very much enjoyed spotting Bartitsu elements even though firearms fearured more than in the first film. The dual with Moriarty was cleverly done and not what was expected, but it was an exciting game of tactics and Im sure I spotted the Coup de Pied Bas. In all a great Victorian action film. Must see it again.

  4. Hello, guys , could u tell me who is the author of this article, because there is only Bartitsuka information? One of my student would like to paraphrase some text from this article to bachelor work, could you give me the real name/sur of this article? Thank you.

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