Captain Laing’s “1st Practice” of Bartitsu Stick Fighting (#1)

In 1902, Bartitsu Club member Captain F.C. Laing wrote an article titled The ‘Bartitsu’ Method of Self-Defence for the Journal of the United Service Institution.  Captain Laing’s sequence of set-plays such as “Attacked by a man with a stick in his hand” and “A man without a stick rushes at you with his fist” offers a unique canonical supplement to E.W. Barton-Wright’s Self-Defence with a Walking Stick (1901) and also includes some basic technical drills which B-W did not record.  Laing’s article is reproduced in full in the second volume of the Bartitsu Compendium (2008).

Although Captain Laing produced some simple sketch illustrations of basic techniques, most of his sets were only described in a few lines of text.  The following is the first of a series of interpretations of Laing’s “Practices”, illustrated using modified photographs from Barton-Wright’s articles, which will appear on this website over the coming weeks.

“1st Practice” #1 is a foundational drill teaching a high strike, guard and riposte.

“Come on guard”: Pierre Vigny (right) assumes a low variation of the front guard vs. Edward Barton-Wright’s low front guard.
“Strike head”: Vigny strikes high, drawing Barton-Wright’s high guard.
“Guard head”: Barton-Wright ripostes with a high strike, which Vigny guards.
“Strike head”: As Barton-Wright’s stick sheds past Vigny’s guard, Vigny instantly ripostes with a strike to Barton-Wright’s head.
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