Tony Wolf began training in Tae Kwon Do in 1978, receiving the black belt rank in 1983 and then studying a wide range of martial arts and combat sports including capoeira, Filipino stick and knife fighting, kickboxing, freestyle wrestling and various historical European martial arts. Throughout the late ’80s and early ’90s he worked as a self defence instructor, specialising in full-contact, scenario-based women’s self defence courses as well as non-violent self defence for children and teenagers.
Between 1988 – 1994 Tony developed his original Wolf System of combat movement exercises, which has been taught to martial artists, stunt performers and stage combat specialists throughout the world. He has worked as a martial arts and self-defence instructor, stuntman, professional wrestler and fight director/stunt co-ordinator as well as a freelance author and lecturer.
Tony’s fight direction and action design have been featured in over two hundred feature film, television, theatre, opera, ballet and video game productions. Between 1998-2000 he served as the Cultural Fighting Styles Designer for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. He regularly teaches a range of master-classes and seminars for martial arts associations, universities, stunt teams, acting academies and conferences throughout New Zealand, Australia, the USA, Canada and Europe. Tony’s intensive courses in Bartitsu and other disciplines have been featured at major Western martial arts conferences including WMAW, ISMAC, the Paddy Crean Sword and Pen Workshops, CombatCon and the Scuola Brancaleoni at Brancaleoni Castle in Piobbico, Italy.
Tony was a member of Western Martial Arts Illustrated magazine’s editorial board and is a founding member of The Bartitsu Society. Between 2001-5 he edited the EJMAS: Journal of Manly Arts, a scholarly online journal focusing on the martial arts and combat sports of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and currently serves on the advisory board of the Hegeler Carus Foundation.
He has been heavily involved in the research and revival of Bartitsu since 2002 and co-directed/co-produced the feature documentaries Bartitsu: the Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes (2011) and No Man Shall Protect Us: The Hidden History of the Suffragette Bodyguards (2018). He was the principal organiser of the Bartitsu School of Arms conferences in London (2011), Chicago (2012) and at Beamish Museum in England (2013). Tony is currently the Bartitsu advisor and Gymuseum curator at the Forteza Fitness, Physical Culture and Martial Arts studio in Ravenswood, Chicago.
Tony’s graphic novel trilogy Suffrajitsu: Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons was published in early 2015. Set in an alternate history version of 1914, the story follows the adventures of E.W. Barton-Wright’s niece Persephone and her secret society of “Amazons”, who serve as bodyguards and field agents for the leaders of the radical suffragette movement in London. The trilogy features E.W. Barton-Wright as a major supporting character and includes several scenes set in the Bartitsu Club, as well as plenty of fight scenes.
He has also written on subjects ranging from the history of cash carrier machines to figures such as Rose Mackenberg, a spook-busting private detective who assisted Harry Houdini, and Lulu Hurst, who entertained vaudeville audiences with her exhibitions of “superhuman” strength.
Tony’s historical martial arts publications include:
The Bartitsu Compendium, volumes One and Two
A Terrific Combat!!!: Theatrical Duels, Brawls and Battles, 1800-1920
Edith Garrud: the Suffragette who knew jujutsu
The Sword Prince: The Romantic Life of Colonel Thomas Hoyer Monstery, American Champion-at-Arms
Defensive Gymnastics: How to Protect Life and Property
The Cane as a Weapon
Master of Men: the Life’s Work of William Muldoon, Champion and Trainer of Champions
Ancient Swordplay: the Revival of Elizabethan Fencing in Victorian London.
He can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org .