Barton-Wright’s Bartitsu in the Sherlock Holmes Collection

On Thursday, June 28th, a wall display commemorating Bartitsu founder E.W. Barton-Wright was unveiled as part of the Sherlock Holmes Collection at Marylebone Library in London. The display consists of a large framed print of Sidney Paget’s illustration of Sherlock Holmes’ “baritsu” struggle with Professor Moriarty, and a companion print offering a summary of Barton-Wright’s Bartitsu and its connection with the Holmes mythos. The display was designed by Tony Wolf and was donated to the Collection on behalf of the Bartitsu Society, towards the mission of memorialising Barton-Wright’s life and achievements.


Above: Emelyne Godfrey, author of the book Masculinity, Crime and Self Defence in Victorian Literature outside Marylebone Library.


Above: David Jones of the Sherlock Holmes Society strikes a pose inspired by Paget’s famous illustration. You can click on the picture to enlarge it and see the detail of the display.


Above: Bartitsu instructors James Marwood (left) and George Stokoe demonstrate the Bartitsu method of self defence with a walking stick as part of Mr. Marwood’s lecture/demonstration.

Bartitsu founder featured in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Edward William Barton-Wright, the founder of Bartitsu, has been commemorated with an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, the standard work of reference on notable figures from British history.

E.W. Barton-Wright commemorated at the Marylebone Library (London)

The Martial Arts of Sherlock Holmes

The Bartitsu Society has donated a wall display commemorating E.W. Barton-Wright to the Sherlock Holmes Collection at Marylebone Library in London.

The display includes a reproduction of Sidney Paget’s famous illustration of Holmes’ “baritsu” battle with Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls, and also an illustrated outline of E.W. Barton-Wright’s art of Bartitsu.

Instructors James Marwood and George Stokoe will giving a talk and demonstration to mark the unveiling of the memorial on June 28th.

The presentation is free but members of the public should contact (020) 7641 1300 or email marylebonelibrary@westminster.gov.uk to book their place.

Basic Bartitsu demo. at ISMAC ’07

This footage was recorded at the International Swordfighting and Martial Arts Conference in Michigan, USA, between July 12-15, 2007.  It features a series of mostly canonical Bartitsu unarmed combat and cane demonstrations by myself, with Kirk Lawson assisting.

The theme of the seminar was to use a small selection of canonical and some neo-Bartitsu techniques and sequences to explore two major principles:

1) alignment control, or using your own weight and skeletal structure to disrupt the opponent’s balance and 2) initiative control, either by inviting a particular attack or by executing a pre-emptive attack to control the opponent’s options and movement.

Thus, we were primarily using these sequences as academic examples of certain technical and tactical options, rather than as self defence or competition sequences per se.

The defence between 00.56 and 01.00 is a neo-Bartitsu improvisation combining a number of techniques (palm-heels, a trachea grab, low stamping kick etc.) to reinforce the theme of controlling the opponent’s balance and skeletal alignment.

Thanks to Bartitsu Society member Chris Amendola for editing the footage.


Bartitsu Promotional Clip from Chris Amendola on Vimeo.

The E.W. Barton-Wright Memorial Project

E.W. Barton-Wright, the founder of Bartitsu, died in 1951 at the age of ninety and was buried in what the late martial arts historian Richard Bowen described as a “pauper’s grave”, an unmarked, communal plot.

In 2007 Bartitsu Society member Phil Giles located Barton-Wright’s final resting place. The site of the grave is in Kingston Cemetery in Surrey, about ten miles from central London.

Proceeds from sales of Bartitsu Society books and other media have been dedicated to erecting a permanent grave marker at the site.  A temporary marker is currently in place, as seen here:

The Royal Borough of Kingston has been informed of Barton-Wright’s unique position as a martial arts pioneer and plan to include his gravesite as part of a historical heritage trail which is due to be established in Kingston within the next two years.