“I am a woman, but no weakling” – Judith Lee, lady detective

He stopped – there was silence. The bell rang again. I was just about to suggest again that he should go and see who was at the outer door when – he leapt at me. And I was unprepared. He had me by the throat before I had even realised that danger threatened.

I am a women, but no weakling. I have always felt it my duty to keep my body in proper condition, trying to learn all that physical culture can teach me. I only recently had been having lessons in jiu-jitsu – the Japanese art of self defence. I had been diligently practicing a trick which was intended to be used when a frontal attack was made upon the throat. Even as, I dare say, he was thinking that I was already as good as done for, I tried that trick. His fingers released my throat and he was on the floor without, I fancy, understanding how he got there. I doubt if there ever was a more amazed man. When he began to realise what had happened he gasped up at me – he was still on the floor – “You … you …”

The above is quoted from the short story Mandragora, part of the Judith Lee detective series written between 1912-16 by Richard Marsh. Among the first protagonists of the still very popular lady detective genre, Judith Lee brought several unusual talents to her role as an amateur sleuth, including an almost uncanny ability to read lips and a willingness to physically apprehend evil-doers, thanks to her training in physical culture and jiujitsu. Certainly, she was among the first heroines in Western literature to have studied Eastern martial arts.

Several of Judith’s adventures are linked to from the Bunburyist website.

“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” preview trailer

More exciting action from the soon to be released Sherlock Holmes sequel, loosely based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Final Problem, in which Holmes confronts his arch-nemesis, Professor James Moriarty. No word yet on whether the movie will include an enactment of their famous “baritsu” encounter at Reichenbach Falls …

Cane fighting seminar in Wuppertal, Germany

Instructor Stefan Dieke will be holding a seminar on the Vigny method of stick fighting on December 17th & 18th.


* Vigny’s stick fighting concepts
* representative canonical techniques
* exploring variations
* similarities and differences between a cane and a singlestick and how this affects fighting techniques
* fundamental singlestick exercises and their adoptions for the cane
* abstract exercises building up fundamental skills

Venue: the Alte Kampfkunst historical martial arts school, Paradestr. 57 a
42107 Wuppertal, Germany

Fee: 130 Euro per participant

Details: (sorry, in German only) or contact info@alte-kampfkunst.de

International guests are welcome! The seminar can be held bilingually in German and English.

“A Guide to Gentlemen’s Self Defence”

An article on Bartitsu and related gentlemanly antagonistics designed by the It’s Great Grafik Design Studio, from issue #7 of the sadly inactive print version of Rugged Magazine. Rugged celebrates “the grand and small sensations of life, a tour de force through the collections of curiosities of all people with a mission, of street culture and everyday life, of media events and tuneful music, of urban sport as well as the incredible world of art – or whatever else we come across. There is no such thing as a target group.”


A tip of the hat to the Barton-Wright/Alfred Hutton Alliance for Historically Accurate Hoplology and Antagonistics (name explained here). A branch of the Seattle-based Lonin historical martial arts group inspired by E.W. Barton-Wright and by Captain Alfred Hutton, who taught both Elizabethan and contemporary (Victorian) fencing at the Bartitsu Club, BWAHAHAHA offers a comprehensive cross-training programme in 19th century physical culture as well as armed and unarmed antagonistics.

Bartitsu/defensive tactics seminar to benefit charity (UK)

A day of defensive tactics, including Bartitsu, the lost martial art of Sherlock Holmes, will be held on Sat. December 10 to benefit the Christopher’s Smile charity. Instructors will include Stewart McGill, founder of Urban Krav Maga and others from the Kapap England organisation.

Support this worthy cause by having a go at a Victorian Martial Art, the fighting styles of Bourne and Bond and much much more. Open to all, no previous training required.

Cost: £25 in advance or £30 on the day.

Dress Code: Victorian or Steampunk (Google it !!!)

Contact: (UK) 0781 739 2320 with any queries or to secure a place.

Venue: The Warren (Bromley, UK)

Date/Time: Saturday, December 10, 2011, 11 am-6:00 pm

Bartitsu at TeslaCon 2011

A report from instructor Allen Reed on his recent introductory Bartitsu seminar at the TeslaCon steampunk convention in Madison, Wisconsin. Allen will also be teaching a Bartitsu workshop in early 2012.

I drove up to Madison, WI Saturday morning (about a 90 minute drive) to teach my Bartitsu class. The class was scheduled for 10 AM and the room filled rapidly with steampunk fans who wanted to learn about Bartitsu. I was very lucky that Bruce and Bonnie Aller, two good friends and fellow WMA students, were there so I could use them as teaching assistants.

I gave a short introduction to Bartitsu and Barton-Wright and then started working on pugilism. We worked on the left lead and right rear punches and then got into blocking a right rear and then countering with a right rear punch. I then had the group work on blocking a right rear with a right elbow and then use a chopper as a counter. I finished the pugilism section by working on blocking a left lead punch as you go out side and punching to the kidney with what Allanson-Winn would call a “contracted arm” hit.

I demonstrated some of the similarities between throws in pugilism and jujutsu and talked about how throws were used for boxing matches vs. for self defense.

We then moved on to working on Vigny cane techniques. I did have some loaner canes but about half the participants still did not have canes so we had to work on these techniques slowly so everyone could share. I first had them work on “Guard by Distance” and then since we had so few canes I had them all finish with “The Best Way to Disable a Man who Tries to Rush You.”

Everyone seemed enthused and interested throughout the class. I gave out quite a number of flyers for the seminar in January and all of the business cards I had brought with me. I also sold three copies of the Bartitsu Compendia and one of my Bartitsu DVDs.

“Chinese fighting: part of a gentleman’s education” (1845)

For some time prior to the introduction of Bartitsu in London, Western travellers offered reports on the curious fighting skills they had encountered in Asia. Published in the year 1845, this cartoon from the French magazine Le Charivari may be among the earliest graphical depictions of Chinese martial arts in Western media.

The caption reads:

Young Chinese in Beijing’s high society do not cultivate only the art of the hunting horn, they learn also to give … punches and booted kicks to the pit of the stomach. This talent is called savate and it is cultivated with the greatest success by all those who wish to gain a good footing in society.