A humourous and enlightening demonstration of Self-Defence with a Bicycle, animating the lessons of Marcus Tindal’s eccentric 1901 Pearson’s Magazine article. The demo took place at the recent Dreynevent historical European martial arts workshops in Vienna.
Members of the Cologne Bartitsu Club demonstrate a canonical Bartitsu technique from E.W. Barton-Wright’s article “The New Art of Self-Defence” (Pearson’s Magazine, March-April 1899).
The original text and images follow:
Seize the man by the collar of his coat from behind, and place your foot behind his knee. Pull with your hand, and press with your foot, and he will be at once deposited upon his back!
Without releasing your hold upon his collar, pass your right hand around his neck, so that you can bring your fore-arm across his throat. Then, seizing the right lappet of his coat with your left hand to prevent the coat from moving, you bear down with all your weight across his wind-pipe with your right arm, and so render him powerless to resist, and–if need be–throttle him!
From Peter Smallridge of the Waterloo Sparring Group:
“I was immediately excited by the prospect of the contest. I’ve been training (and sometimes teaching) at the Basingstoke Bartitsu Irregulars club for years. I’m also a founding member of Waterloo Sparring Group, which exists to give HEMAists of all stripes a venue for extra sparring. I strongly believe that if you want to be able to develop real skill with an art, then alive training is necessary. That means sparring against fully resisting opponents.
Everyone in the video has, thanks to WSG, had plentiful experience sparring with swords. Many also have experience in “modern” martial arts from MMA to escrima to san shou kickboxing to Dog Brothers Gatherings. In that video you see longsword champions, rapier champions and Ringen champions.
Whatever their backgrounds, they’re fighting “Bartitsu”, some with zero training. How? By handing them the ruleset for the competition! We cut some of the more fumbling efforts, but things which work, work! Giving a handful of smart guys with different martial backgrounds the same weapons and ruleset, and they fought in fairly similar ways.
I’m looking forwards to investing the prize money in some loaner gear to help those new to the hobby, and also to getting another UK Bartitsu Alliance gathering event off the ground before too long!”
From Andrés Pino Morales of the Santiago Stickfighting Club (translated from Spanish):
“Last year we became interested in the Bartitsu stick method (we are stickfighting practitioners and wanted to try something different, without a Filipino martial arts basis), so we started to investigate and experiment. We found your website (Bartitsu.org) and your YouTube videos.
From there we started looking for further material and basically we used H. G. Lang’s book (“The Walking Stick Method of Self Defence”), the articles published on your web site and (Craig) Gemeiner’s instructional videos. Since we do not speak English we made much use of online translators and images. We learned about this contest from a member of your Society who participates in a Facebook Bartitsu group.
We enjoyed taking part in the contest and found that the sparring guidelines allowed us to stay true to the system. We feel that you are doing a very important job to give life to Bartitsu and really prove it as it should be, via sparring.”
The Bartitsu Sparring Video Competition was initiated in November of 2016. The object was to encourage experimentation with a set of sparring guidelines inspired by the styles practiced at the original Bartitsu Club in London, circa 1901.
The Sparring Video Competition was open to martial artists and combat sport athletes of all styles and received entries from the UK, USA and Latin America.
We are now pleased to be able to announce the winners:
The second prize of US$500 is awarded to the Santiago Stickfighting club based in Santiago, Chile, for the following videos:
The first prize of US$1000 is awarded to the Waterloo Sparring Group based in London, England, for the following compilation video:
The winning videos were judged to have met the conditions imposed by the guidelines and to have best represented both historical/stylistic accuracy and martial intent.
Congratulations to the winners and our thanks to all who entered the competition!
Time to get Canonical! 🙂 We all do a lot of free stuff in our training in these days. But the canonical technics are the fundament on which the house is built. So its time to get canonical.
Geplaatst door Cologne Bartitsu Club op zaterdag 21 januari 2017
Members of the Cologne Bartitsu Club demonstrate an interpretation of sequence #2 from E.W. Barton-Wright’s March 1899 article The New Art of Self Defence, “How to Overthrow an Assailant who Attempts to Strike you in the Face”.
Below, Barton-Wright and his unidentified Japanese associate demonstrate the original sequence.
The recent blockbuster successes of the Kingsman movie and of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows have firmly re-established umbrellas as the signature weapons of gentlemen-adventurers. This article pays tribute to the trope-setter, debonair superspy John Steed of The Avengers TV series (1961-9, 1976-7); read this article for more information on the use of weaponised umbrellas in real history.
Initially, Steed (Patrick Macnee) was featured as a mystery-man foil for Dr. David Keel, played by Ian Hendry. Macnee wanted to develop and distinguish the Steed character, so he began to add signature costume items and props from his own wardrobe, including a bowler hat and an umbrella, quickly transforming John Steed from a trenchcoat-wearing tough guy into a dapper, impeccably mannered superspy.
When a writer’s strike delayed production of The Avengers, Hendry left the series and Macnee was promoted to the starring role.
The idea of using his umbrella as a weapon seems to have been based initially on Patrick Macnee’s personal dislike of guns. Macnee felt that John Steed should outwit enemies whenever possible; however, he also insisted that the character’s suave exterior masked a steely ruthlessness when he was forced into combat. As Steed habitually carried his umbrella, and therefore almost always had it to hand during action scenes, it became his main weapon by default.
Macnee may have been inspired by Lt. Colonel William Ewart Fairbairn’s instructions for using umbrellas as improvised weapons, which were widely published during the Second World War:
Although John Steed’s tightly-furled brolly was shown to conceal a slim sword in the Avengers opening credits, the spy seldom made use of the blade, relying instead on the (presumably reinforced) umbrella itself as a weapon of both offence and defence. During The Avengers’ long run he was regularly shown using his umbrella as a rapier, a bayonet and a club; he also occasionally employed the hooked handle to trip or otherwise impede his enemies.
Once in a while, John Steed was even known to defend himself and KO his nefarious foes with his steel-reinforced bowler, a trick clearly inspired by the steel-rimmed hat wielded by the bodyguard/assassin Oddjob (Harold Sakata) in Goldfinger.
During the filming of The New Avengers sequel series, which was a mid-1970s British/French/Canadian co-production, Parisian savate master Roger Lafond put in an on-set appearance as a self-defence coach. The following video clip, from a 1993 episode of the French variety show Coucou c’est nous!, includes a rather awkward reunion between the elderly Lafond and Macnee, the latter – who clearly did not speak, nor understand much of the French language – seeming not to recognise Mr. Lafond. Still, the clip also features an ad-hoc demonstration of Lafond’s “Panache” style of umbrella self defence, gamely observed by the bemused Patrick Macnee:
Although co-stars had come and gone, Patrick Macnee as John Steed remained a constant presence throughout the massive and long-lived international success of The Avengers and then The New Avengers, establishing the pop-culture trope of the urbane, umbrella-wielding British secret agent. Steed remains a frequent point of reference when people first encounter E.W. Barton-Wright’s “gentlemanly art of self defence”, Bartitsu.
The Bartitsu Compendium, Volume 1: History and the Canonical Syllabus (2005) and The Bartitsu Compendium Volume II: Antagonistics (2008)
Compiled by members of the Bartitsu Society, volumes 1 and 2 of the Bartitsu Compendium are available in print from Lulu.com.
Volume I collates most of the canonical Bartitsu material and features over two hundred and seventy pages of original essays, rare vintage reprints and never-before-seen translations, illustrated with hundreds of fascinating photographs and sketches.
Volume II provides resources towards continuing Barton-Wright’s martial arts experiments. It combines extensive excerpts from fifteen classic Edwardian-era self defence manuals, including well over four hundred illustrations, plus a collection of long-forgotten newspaper and magazine articles on Bartitsu exhibitions and contests; new, original articles on Bartitsu history and training; a complete course of Edwardian-era “physical culture” exercises; personality profiles, essays and more besides.
Bartitsu: The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes documentary (2011)
At the end of the Victorian era, E. W. Barton-Wright combined jiujitsu, kickboxing, and stick fighting into the “Gentlemanly Art of Self Defence” known as Bartitsu. After Barton-Wright’s School of Arms mysteriously closed in 1902, Bartitsu was almost forgotten save for a famous, cryptic reference in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of the Empty House.
In this fascinating 54-minute documentary shot in Switzerland, Italy, the UK and the USA, host Tony Wolf reveals the history, rediscovery and revival of Barton-Wright’s pioneering mixed martial art.
Suffrajitsu: Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons graphic novel trilogy (2015)
London, 1914: The leaders of the radical women’s rights movement are fugitives from the law. Their last line of defense is the secret society of “Amazons”: women trained in the martial art of bartitsu and sworn to defend their leaders from arrest and assault.
After a series of daring escapes and battles with the police, the stakes rise dramatically when the Amazons are forced into a deadly game of cat and mouse against an aristocratic, utopian cult…
The Suffrajitsu graphic novel trilogy is available as e-books from Amazon and comiXology – we strongly recommend comiXology’s Guided View system for a fluid, intuitive online reading experience – as well as in print form as part of the Blood and Honor anthology.
The Bootfighters Catalogue (canne Vigny and defence dans la rue instructional videos)
Australian instructor Craig Gemeiner’s set of canne Vigny and defence dans la rue DVDs are recommended by many members of the Bartitsu Society.
Bartitsu sparring cane from Purpleheart Armory
Widely used by members of the Bartitsu Society, these rattan training canes are recommended for both drills and sparring applications.
The BlackSwift Raven self-defence walking stick
Combining a stylish, low-profile appearance with superb dexterity and great strength, the BlackSwift Raven is especially recommended as a “carry” cane for self-defence purposes.
You have until February 1, 2017 to produce your entry or entries for the international Bartitsu sparring video competition. Entrants have a chance to win up to US$1000 and the contest is open to martial artists/combat sport athletes of all styles.
A fun taste of the “Self-Defence with a Bicycle” class to be offered at the upcoming Dreynevent 2017 historical martial arts workshop in Vienna.
The video and class draw from Marcus Tindal’s highly eccentric article, “Self-Protection on a Cycle – How you may Best Defend Yourself when Attacked by Modern Highwaymen, Showing how you should Act when Menaced by Footpads, when Chased by another Cyclist, and when Attacked under various other Circumstances; showing, also, how the Cycle may be used as a Weapon”, which appeared alongside E.W. Barton-Wright’s Bartitsu articles in Pearson’s Magazine during 1901.
Frequently and incorrectly assumed by casual readers to be part of the Bartitsu curriculum, Tindal’s bicycle defence techniques were, in fact, probably inspired by this 1901 letter to the editor of the London Bicycle Club Gazette and have no direct connection to Bartitsu at all, apart from the coincidence of when and where they were first published. Tindal’s article created a bit of a media stir at the time, and in turn inspired yet another article, complete with a different set of photographs, in a 1905 edition of the Italian journal La Sportiva Stampa.
“Self-Protection on a Cycle” also formed the basis of an amusing and educational seminar at the 2009 ISMAC historical martial arts event in Detroit, USA:
Some more fast, athletic sparring in the Vigny style from instructors at the Gemeiner Academy of Savate in Australia. Chief instructor Craig Gemeiner was a pioneer in the reconstruction of Pierre Vigny’s unique method of stick fighting.
Note the rapid tactical shifts between front, rear and double-handed guards and also the use of ambidextrous striking.