The Moriarty Variations at “Sherlock Seattle”

What if, during their fatal combat at the brink of the Reichenbach Falls, both Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty had been trained in Bartitsu and armed with walking sticks? What if the evil professor had, in fact, drawn a knife on Holmes, as represented in Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?

These and other scenarios were explored by intrepid members of BWAHAHAHA (the Barton-Wright/Alfred Hutton Alliance for Historically Accurate Hoplology and Antagonistics) for the edification of the audience at the 2016 Sherlock Seattle convention:



More on the International Pugilism Symposium (Leaf River, IL, May 2016)

The Second International Pugilism Symposium will feature two days of instruction in the art of historical bare knuckle boxing with noted English and US instructors including Martin “Oz” Austwick, Ken Pfrenger, Kirk Lawson, Tim Ruzicki and Allen Reed.


Single Time Counters in Pugilism

Using Your Elbows in Pugilism

Sparring Applications in Pugilism

The “Dirty Tricks” of Pugilism

The Use and Feeding of Focus Mitts

The Pugilism of Ancient Greece and Rome

Pugilism for Self Defense

Registration is $100 for both days and $75 for one day before May 1, 2016. The cost goes up to $150 for both days and $100 for one day after May 1, 2016 and at the door.

A seminar in fighting from the chancery position at the First

International Pugilism Symposium (2015)

Registration can be through Paypal to or by check or money order to PO Box 201, Leaf River, IL 61047. If paying by mail please include email address or phone number to confirm registration.

Dates: May 21 and 22, 2016

Location: River Valley Center, 605 Main St, Leaf River, IL 61047 (near Rockford, IL)

More information will be coming soon to

“I look forward to the debate, sir!” – a Bartitsuesque fight scene from “Q.E.D.” (1982)

Readers of a certain age may fondly recall the short-lived TV series Q.E.D. (also titled The Mastermind), which screened during the early 1980s. The show featured Sam Waterston as the eccentric former Ivy League professor Quentin E. Deverill, who becomes embroiled in a variety of adventures in Edwardian London. The character of Deverill is reminiscent of Craig Kennedy, the scientific detective who featured in a number of popular short stories written by Arthur B. Reeve during the first decades of the 20th century.

In this scene, during the course of investigating a mysterious disappearance at sea, Deverill attends and debunks a hoax seance, provoking an attack by the “medium’s” henchmen. The hero responds with a very Bartitsuesque combination of fisticuffs and jiujitsu …

“The Anti-Hooligan: Self-Defence as a Fine Art” (1902)

This short article from the London Daily News of Wednesday, October 29, 1902, offers a picturesque description of the Vigny stick fighting style in action, underscoring the central importance of agile, deceptive attacks and defences from the double-handed guard and also the frequent use of the butt end of the cane in delivering close-combat attacks.

Last night, at his School of Arms at 18, Berners-street, Professor Pierre Vigny gave a striking exhibition of the possibilities of self-defence afforded by a simple walking-stick. In these days, when the papers are full of “Hooligan” outrages, some such easy form of protection is by many considered almost necessary for late wayfarers.

Holding a malacca cane by one hand at each end, the Professor calmly awaited the onslaught of a skilled opponent with a similar stick. The spectator never knew which hand was to deal the blow, the released end moving with lightning speed, and a short hold was taken, so that the assailant, in guarding against an impending blow, often found himself hammered or prodded with the butt.

Then came an exhibition of stick swinging in which every part of the body was protected on all sides. With a perpetual loud hum, the cane made circles, in front and behind, so that no-one could reach within the guard without instantly receiving a blow that would shatter any bone to pieces.

After this the Professor showed the spectators how to take a knife or dagger from an advancing assailant. It looked so simple that one had to be assured that the trick really wanted learning.

And then, with the amateur heavyweight champion, Mr. Frank Parkes, the Professor showed his skill at boxing and the French system of boxing with both hands and feet, “la savate”.

With a sprinkling of people about who had learned Professor Vigny’s system, the Hooligan would soon find his occupation gone.