Bartitsu article and video featured in the Wall Street Journal

Click here to read reporter Angus Loten’s Wall Street Journal article on Bartitsu. The accompanying video (above) features instructor Mark Donnelly’s classes at the recent Steampunk World’s Fair event in Piskataway, New Jersey.

The print version of this article is published in the Friday, May 23 edition of the Journal:

“Suffrajitsu: Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons”: a thrilling tale of Suffragette super-heroines

Mrs Pankhurst's Amazons

Coming in early 2015: Suffrajitsu: Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons, a three-part graphic novel series to be set in the Foreworld universe.

Taking place in the year 1914, the trilogy will chronicle the adventures of Persephone Wright, who leads a secret society of radical Suffragettes known as the Amazons.  As highly-trained saboteurs, insurgents and bodyguards, skilled in the martial art of Bartitsu, they’re fighting for women’s rights in a deeply male-dominated society.

When the stakes dramatically escalate, the Amazons are thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse against an aristocratic, utopian cult …

Featuring a dynamic cast of both historical and fictional characters, Suffrajitsu: Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons will be written by Tony Wolf and published by 47North, the science fiction, horror and fantasy imprint of Amazon Publishing.

“Jujutsu wrestler in London” (Japan Times, 1903)

Yukio Tani, a Japanese in London, recently created quite a sensation by his wonderful wrestling performances at the Oxford Music Hall. Describing the Japanese wrestler, a London journal says:

“His inches are but sixty-one, and he turns the scale at nine stone, but despite his lack of bulk, he undertakes to overthrow the mightiest champion, professional or amateur, who may present himself. To the one who remains undefeated for fifteen minutes the sum of £21 rewards his prowess, and should he eventually defeat this pocket Hercules he may leave the hall the richer by £100. However, though many great and small have essayed the task, up to the present a very few minutes have sufficed to place them hors de combat.

It is, indeed, a fine study in Oriental subtlety, even in physical matters, to note the lithe, compact figure, feet well planted — a strange, passive look in his oblique eyes, watching his opportunity to attack his antagonist’s weakest line of defence. His methods, of course, are new, and peculiar to our ideas, but their effectiveness is beyond dispute, the result always being to place his opponent at his mercy, hopelessly fixed in a helpless position.”

Apparently the wrestler is a professor of Jujutsu.

Bartitsu and Antagonistics workshops with Mark Donnelly at the Steampunk World’s Fair

The 2013 Steampunk World’s Fair will feature a series of seminars and presentations by Mark Donnelly, including “Gangs of New York: Irish Faction Fighting”, “Introduction to Bartitsu”, “Irish Shillelagh Fighting” and “Jujitsu Suffragettes: A Hitory of Women’s Self Defense”.

A gentleman of world renown and fame,
with knowledge of historical events,
Professor Mark P. Donnelly’s his name,
and anachronism’s what he represents.

He’s published many works of print and prose,
on history and swashbuckling and lore,
he’ll lecture us on all the things he knows,
with tales of torture, piracy, and more.

But then to change the pace, he’ll take up arms,
if skirmishing or sparring strikes a chord,
his martial skills will back his wit and charm,
he’ll demonstrate, with stick, and cane, and sword!

The Steampunk World’s Fair humbly beckons you,
see the PROFESSOR’s derring-do revue!

Colorado Bartitsu seminar report

Colorado seminar

Above: participants in the May 4th Colorado Bartitsu workshop engage in a vigorous stick-grappling drill.

Instructor Tony Wolf led a one-day introductory Bartitsu seminar in Niwot, Colorado on May 4th.  The seminar was arranged and hosted by Terry Kroenung of the Victorian Antagonistics League.

About twenty participants, including experienced martial artists, stage combat students and steampunk enthusiasts attended the workshop, which introduced a “combat improv” approach to E.W. Barton-Wright’s canonical armed and unarmed combat sequences.  Each of a number of formal set-plays was first practiced verbatim, as presented in Barton-Wright’s article series for Pearson’s Magazine circa 1900, and then pressure tested via a progression of “challenge” drills introducing layers of opponent resistance and spontaneity.

The seminar also included discussions of Bartitsu history, with special asides into the “Apache” street gangs of Paris and the secret society of Jiujitsuffragette Bodyguards during the first decade of the 20th century.

Enthusiasm was such that an ongoing Bartitsu study group, based in Boulder, CO, may be formed to continue Barton-Wright’s experiments into the 21st century.