Martin “Oz” Austwick of Pugilism.org examines the modern classic umbrella fight scene from Kingsman: The Secret Service, with particular attention towards realism and parallels to historical techniques from the European martial tradition.
WWE wrestler “Gentleman” Jack Gallagher demonstrates a unique finishing move in the form of an umbrella-assisted crossface chickenwing:
Curiously, in that Bartitsu stick fighting is a predominantly single-handed method, some of the participants in this CBS Minnesota news item on competitive lightsaber fencing claim a Bartitsu background.
While the rules of competitive lightsaber seem closely comparable to those of kendo combined with HEMA longsword, the French combat sport of canne de combat might, perhaps, make a better model. Because the French method was specifically devised as an “artistic fighting style”, the rules require moulinets and extensions on every attack and award higher points for executing spectacular techniques such as leaps and pirouettes. In that sense, it’s rather closer to the flashy, cinematic style featured in the Star Wars movies.
An adaptation of canne de combat rules to the predominantly two-handed lightsaber would yield a visually unique and competitively challenging new combat sport.
February 6, 2108 marks the centennial anniversary of (limited) women’s suffrage in the UK. As numerous cultural and media organisations mark the anniversary, here are some current and upcoming projects that focus particularly on “suffrajitsu” – the use of jiujitsu by radical suffagette Bodyguards, circa 1913-14.
The Good Fight
Chicago’s Babes With Blades Theatre Company is currently staging Anne Bertram’s play The Good Fight, which details the history and missions of the suffragette Bodyguard team. Women’s jiujitsu pioneer and Bodyguard trainer Edith Garrud appears as a character in the play.
Suffrajitsu by Horse + Bamboo Theatre
England’s Horse + Bamboo Theatre Company is currently developing Suffrajitsu, an original play celebrating the suffragette Bodyguard through puppetry, music and film. Aimed at young audiences, the play will begin touring the UK in Autumn 2018; you can learn more about, and support the project via this Crowdfunder site.
“The Awesome Art of Suffrajitsu”
The UK fashion and lifestyle magazine Stylist has featured suffrajitsu, including some great original illustrations, in its suffragette centennial issue.
No Man Shall Protect Us
Currently in production, the documentary No Man Shall Protect Us: The Hidden History of the Suffragette Bodyguards will make use of narration, rare archival media and dramatic re-enactments. Successfully crowdfunded in late 2017 and co-produced by Tony Wolf, author of the Suffrajitsu graphic novel trilogy, the completed documentary will be made freely available online later this year.
Suffrajitsu at the Royal Armouries
The Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England will be showcasing Edith Garrud’s suffrajitsu as part of the Warrior Women exhibition during mid-late February.
Kitty Marshall: Suffragette Bodyguard at the Museum of London
The Museum of London’s year-long Votes for Women exhibition includes a showcase for Katherine “Kitty” Marshall, who was an active member of Emmeline Pankhurst’s Bodyguard team. Marshall also wrote the memoir Suffragette Escapes and Adventures, which currently exists in manuscript form as part of the Museum’s suffragette collection.
Kitty and the Cats: Mrs. Pankhurst’s Suffragette Bodyguard and the London Police
Author Emelyne Godfrey’s book on Kitty Marshall and the Bodyguard will be released later in 2018.
Suffrajitsu martial arts lessons will be part of the UK National Trust’s Suffragette City, an immersive, interactive experience that will recreate the headquarters of the Women’s Social and Political Union circa 1913.
Just a reminder that the 2011 documentary Bartitsu: The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes cannot legally be screened at venues such as public libraries, nor at events such as steampunk conferences, martial arts seminars, etc. without the express permission of the producers.
Here’s the Motion Picture Association of America’s advice:
The Federal Copyright Act (Title 17 of the US Code) governs how copyrighted materials, such as movies, may be used. Neither the rental nor the purchase of a copy of a copyrighted work carries with it the right to publicly exhibit the work. No additional license is required to privately view a movie or other copyrighted work with a few friends and family or in certain narrowly defined face-to-face teaching activities. However, bars, restaurants, private clubs, prisons, lodges, factories, summer camps, public libraries, daycare facilities, parks and recreation departments, churches, and non-classroom use at schools and universities are all examples of situations where a public performance license must be obtained. This legal requirement applies regardless of whether an admission fee is charged, whether the institution or organization is commercial or nonprofit, or whether a federal or state agency is involved.
Willful infringement of these rules is a federal crime carrying a maximum sentence of up to five years in jail and/or a $250,000 fine. Even inadvertent infringement is subject to substantial civil damages.
If you wish to arrange a public screening of Bartitsu: The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes, please contact Tony Wolf via info(at)tonywolfsystem.com for further details.
Martial arts meet visual arts in designer/artist Martyn Marsland Mill’s Baritsu Duel, a quintet of images based on E.W. Barton-Wright’s Self-Defence With a Walking Stick articles.
By 1907 the art of jiujitsu was becoming thoroughly integrated into English popular culture. It had been written into plays and novels and was the subject of greeting cards, jokes and cartoons. It also remained a successful “draw” in the music halls, both in terms of the challenge contests offered by Japanese professionals such as Yukio Tani and Taro Miyake and as a form of performing art in its own right.
The Olympians were an itinerant troupe of music hall athletes who toured their jiujitsu self-defence act between 1907-9. The team of four male and four female performers was led by a Mr. George Mortimer and billed as having appeared “before Royalty”. Notably, their act included explanations of the principles of jiujitsu as well as exhibitions of its practice, recalling E.W. Barton-Wright’s early demonstrations of the art for groups such as the Japan Society.
Having already addressed the umbrella combat of debonair super-spy John Steed in general terms, our attention now turns to some of the specifics, as delineated in The Avengers Annual of 1967. The following graphic tutorial probably accounted for a number of damaged umbrellas and wounded feelings between siblings and young friends.
John Steed’s Sword-Stick
The sword stick is essentially a light but surprisingly strong weapon which is used as an extension of the arm, a lever, or a locking stick. It enables the user to actually start his offensive before his opponent is within reach of him. It is silent, accurate and has great psychological advantages. While it can be lethal, it is mostly used to overpower without injury or to incapacitate an opponent.
Ralph Cleaver’s fifth cartoon for The Sketch (March 8, 1905) returns to the cops-and-robbers theme, imagining a confounding stalemate between a police constable and a burglar who are equally trained in the art of jujitsu. The motto “When Greek meets Greek” refers to a line from The Rival Queens, a 1677 tragedy by English dramatist Nathaniel Lee; “when Greeks joyn’d Greeks, then was the tug of War”.
Mancunian pro-wrestler “Gentleman Jack” Gallagher is a rising star of World Wrestling Entertainment due to his (mostly) unflappable charisma, technical grappling style and distinctly Bartitsuvian umbrella-fu, as seen in this “duel” with rival wrestler Aria Daivari:
… and heard straight from the horse’s mouth:
Perhaps an ambassadorship is in order …