“Self Protection on a Cycle”, courtesy of Riot A.C.T.

Longtime Bartitsu aficionados are well aware of Marcus Tindal’s eccentric 1901 article Self Protection on a Cycle, which appears to have been inspired both by E.W. Barton-Wright’s articles on self defence with walking sticks and by this 1900 letter published in the London Bicycle Club Gazette. Tindal’s article included several ingenious techniques involving the use of bicycle pumps, water pistols and bikes themselves as weapons of self defence:


In this video, Canadian stunt team Riot A.C.T. offers an updated take on the same idea …

“I must warn you – I know baritsu!”

You’ve Ruined A Perfectly Good Mystery TRAILER from Rob Matsushita on Vimeo.

Some spiffing baritsu action is featured in the Mercury Players Theatre production of You’ve Ruined a Perfectly Good Mystery. The play premiered in Madison, Wisconsin in 2010 and is scheduled for a repeat season as part of the New York International Fringe Festival in August.

The world’s most famous investigator clashes with the world’s most preposterous narrator in You’ve Ruined a Perfectly Good Mystery! — a play that hilariously exploits and subverts theatrical conventions and classic detective stories. Audiences decide which clues the detective and his associate follow in a fantastic investigation that features entertaining combat, dastardly schemes inspired by Victorian-era science fiction, an increasingly vexed protagonist, and cultural references as diverse as Shakespeare, Abbott & Costello, Oscar Wilde, and Monkey Island video games.

“Jiu Jitsu Lessons For Youths” (1906)

From “The Foolish Almanack for the Year 1906 A.D.”

By observing the following six rules any boy of twelve can easily protect himself from the attacks of a full-grown man:

I. As your opponent makes for you, step quickly under his arm, and, stooping, grasp his left ankle with both hands, fingers interlocked. Rise smartly, and with a circular motion throw him over your right shoulder.

II. Enraged, your adversary will reach for you with his right hand. Step lightly aside, and, as his arm passes you, strike it sharply with your fist. This will break his wrist.

III. Your antagonist will now reach for you with his left hand. Take two rapid steps backward and kick his open palm, at the base of the thumb, upwards. This will dislocate his shoulder and cause a compound fracture of his left floating rib.

IV. Your mortified foe will attempt to kick you. Catch his foot in your left hand and twist his leg off at the knee.

V. Your enemy will make an effort to kick you with his other foot . Step quickly behind him and butt him in the small of the back with your head. Properly administered, this blow should break and dislocate every vertebra in his spinal column.

VI. The last attempt your adversary will make will be to bite you. As he opens his mouth place your open left hand on his forehead, and, thrusting your right down his throat, take a good hold, and with a long, strong pull, turn him inside out. This trick is somewhat dangerous and should only be tried by an expert, as otherwise your opponent may be painfully injured.