Bartitsu Mini-Documentary on the “Celebrity Antiques Road Trip”

A six-minute item on the gentlemanly mixed martial art of Bartitsu, as featured on a recent episode of BBC2’s Celebrity Antiques Road Trip and including demonstrations by the Manley Academy of Historical Swordsmanship:

For the sake of strict historical accuracy, there’s no evidence that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle actually studied Bartitsu (in fact, the evidence suggests that he wasn’t even especially familiar with it). That said, it’s great to see another precis treatment of the art and its intriguing history in the mainstream media, and media doesn’t get much more mainstream than the Celebrity Antiques Road Trip.

Also worthy of note is that the show benefits the BBC’s charity Children in Need, which funds a wide range of projects helping children and disadvantaged young people throughout the UK.

“Drunk History (US)” Drunkenly Explains Suffrajitsu

The popular TV comedy series Drunk History offers its inebriated (and somewhat NSFW) take on the suffrajitsu saga, starring Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) as Emmeline Pankhurst, Maria Blasucci (Ghost Girls) as Edith Garrud and Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls) as Gert Harding.

We detailed some of the show’s more radical departures from what actually happened in history when this episode originally screened in February 2018.  Historical pedantry aside, it’s an entertaining 5.5 minutes and it’s nice that the full episode has now been made freely available.

“Dexterity and Quickness”: Vigny Cane Shadow-Fighting

Chilean stickfighter Andres Morales demonstrates a shadow-fighting exercise with a ball-handled cane in this new video.  Most of the techniques shown are from the Vigny style, with some reverse-grip influence from Arturo Bonafont.

Santiago Stickfighting, sombra con walking stick.

Geplaatst door Andres Pino Morales op Zaterdag 3 november 2018

A spectator at one of Pierre Vigny’s Bartitsu cane demonstrations during March of 1900 wrote:

Everybody has heard of this new defence and offence, but it was a revelation to the audience to see the splendid development, the dexterity and quickness, and even grace, of the exponents of this really wonderful science.

A striking feature of the training is that in all the exercises the pupil must become ambidextrous; in fact, the rapid transference of the walking-stick from one hand to the other was, to the uninitiated at least, one of the most powerful factors in offence and defence, and one likely to prove most puzzling to the opponent.

Sparring with a Ball-Handled Cane

Andres Morales of the Santiago Stickfighters (wearing shorts) wields a ball-handled cane in this recent sparring match:

Sparring walking stick con cabeza de pelota de golf.

Geplaatst door Andres Pino Morales op Vrijdag 5 oktober 2018

The length and asymmetrical balance of the Vigny self-defence cane has a substantial impact on the fighting style itself, affording a versatile weapon with a mace-like “heavy hitting” end and a whip-like “fast striking” end.  This was the inspiration behind the design of the Vigny sparring cane now offered by Purpleheart Armory, which features a solid rubber ball handle.

Bartitsu Featured on Japanese TV

This six-minute Bartitsu featurette recently screened on the Japanese television show Sekai Kurabete Mitara  (“See the World in Comparison”). 

Bartitsu on Film

Some absolutely mental bits from Bartitsu Lab on Japanese TV

Geplaatst door The Bartitsu Lab op Donderdag 30 augustus 2018

Playing to the pop-culture notion of the “gentlemanly martial art” via the Sherlock Holmes and Kingsman movies, the segment still manages to communicate some of the essential details such as Edward Barton-Wright’s travels in Japan and the eclectic boxing/kicking/jiujitsu/Vigny cane nature of Bartitsu.

Kudos to the Bartitsu Lab of Warwickshire, UK and to their instructor Tommy Joe Moore.