The Bartitsu Club of New York City

Although Bartitsu founder E.W. Barton-Wright once announced plans to introduce his “New Art of Self Defence” to the United States, that was never to be. However, some of his articles for London magazines and newspaper reports on his activities were re-published in the USA, possibly inspiring something of the American self defence boom that took place during the first decade of the 20th century.

The modern Bartitsu revival is very much an international effort, with clubs and study groups about evenly spread between Europe and North America. One of the newest groups is the Bartitsu Club of New York City (you can “like” them on Facebook here), recently instrumental in hosting the very successful Antagonistics Weekend event with Bartitsu instructor Mark Donnelly (reviewed here).

Organised by the indefatigable Rachel Klingberg, the New York club meets monthly in Central Park. Lessons may include:

* Intros, warm-up with Victorian/Edwardian calisthetics, pugilism shadow boxing with attention to proper form and structure
* Savate kicks, coup de pied bas
* Vigny cane – footwork and posture, proper form and stances with solo movements, drills
* Safe falling, Ju Jutsu locks and defense against grabs, “How to Put a Troublesome Man Out of the Room”, grabs to wrists, coat lapels, etc.
* Parasol defense, bayonetting with parasol, locking with cane or parasol, drills from “Self Defence with a Parasol” 1901 article
* Basic fencing
* Cool-down and debriefing

2 thoughts on “The Bartitsu Club of New York City”

  1. Shucks, thanks for the plug! “indefatigable Rachel Klingberg” – as Sherlock Holmes said, “My blushes!” I am humbled by the unlimited assistance we’ve gotten from the Society with getting NYC Bartitsu off the ground. We are off to a marvelous start, the Antagonistics seminars were well-attended (photos and notes to follow) and we’ve got 10 RSVPs for our August study group meeting. Our group is led by Jesse B., a seasoned martial artist with experience in a variety of styles, including several stick and sword arts. Professor Donnelly has kindly agreed to advise us via e-mail. Anyone is welcome to attend, no experience is necessary, and there is no charge for the study group training. Perhaps one day we shall have our own “huge subterranean hall, all glittering, white-tiled walls, and electric light, with ‘champions’ prowling around it like tigers.”

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