Written, co-directed and co-produced by Bartitsu instructor Tony Wolf, the 50-minute documentary explores the origins and exploits of “The Bodyguard” – a secret society of women who trained in jiujitsu and defended the leaders of the radical suffragette movement in England.
For comparison, see this 1896 film of savate practitioners in action:
Note that this type of stylised, light-contact sparring reflects the desire of some professional instructors during the late 19th century to separate French kickboxing from its rowdy, back-alley origins. Instructors such as the Charlemonts wished to promote French kickboxing as a relatively genteel combat game and as a method of physical culture, suitable for middle-class patrons of commercial salles de savate. Inevitably, that rather academic and courteous style drew criticism from other quarters, especially from self defence-oriented instructors and from would-be professional athletes, who advocated for a hard-hitting version of the sport influenced by the no-nonsense ethos of English and American boxing.
Light-contact, academic sparring persists as the “savate assaut” option in modern Boxe Française – Savate, contrasted with the full-contact “savate combat”.
German Bartitsu instructor Alex Kiermayer has collaborated with Agilitas.tv in producing this new instructional video series on the art of Vigny stick fighting, as incorporated into the original Bartitsu curriculum at the turn of the 20th century.
Readers of a certain vintage may fondly recall the Terence Hill/Bud Spencer buddy comedies of the 1970s, which were best known for their paper-thin plots and gleefully inventive fight scenes. In this scene, the hulking brawler Spencer does what he does best, while the agile, fast-talking Hill discovers a new slapstick weapon in the form of the gentlemanly cane.
The prolific and talented Andres Morales of Chile demonstrates cane fighting techniques from two diverse styles; the Vigny method, as practiced in England and Switzerland during the very early 20th century and, with some modifications, in 1920s India and 1940s Palestine, and the Bonafont style of 1920s and ’30s Argentina.
Here’s an edited recap of the main lessons from Marcus Tindal’s article “Self-Protection on a Cycle”, as brought to life at the 2017 Dreynevent Western martial arts conference. The full presentation is available here.
Tindal’s article was published by Pearson’s Magazine at about the same time as E.W. Barton-Wright’s Bartitsu articles, leading to the common mistaken assumption that bicycle self-defence was part of Bartitsu per se. It does, however, come under the heading of fun adjunct studies and is occasionally revived, as previously seen at the ISMAC event in Michigan.
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.