Portland Bartitsu seminar

The Academia Duellatoria historical fencing school in the Portland, Oregon suburb of Milwaukie, will be hosting a two-day Bartitsu seminar with guest instructor Tony Wolf on March 20-21, 2010.

The seminar will focus on the self defence applications of Bartitsu and the skill of spontaneously transitioning between techniques and styles as required by the needs of the moment.

The registration form PDF is available here.

Bartitsu seminar in Eugene, Oregon

Maestro Sean Hayes will be hosting a two-day Bartitsu seminar with Tony Wolf at the Northwest Academy of Arms on Saturday, March 13 and Sunday, March 14, 2010.

Both days will begin with training in the Wolf System, an integrated progression of competitive and co-operative combat biomechanics exercises. These challenging exercises foster the balance, improvisational ability, physical confidence and related skills that are fundamental to the study of any martial art.

The classes will then segue into the study of both canonical and neo-Bartitsu. The canonical material is based on E.W. Barton-Wright’s classic 1900 articles, “The New Art of Self Defence” and “Self Defence with a Walking Stick” and provides a platform for training in neo-Bartitsu, continuing Barton-Wright’s experiments in cross-training between jiujitsu, fisticuffs, low kicking and the Vigny system of walking stick fighting.

When: Saturday March 13 and Sunday March 14, 2010 at the Academy. 9 am to 5 pm each day, with lunch from 12 – 1 pm.

Space is limited!

Where: The Northwest Academy of Arms, Eugene, Oregon

Cost: Two Days – $75 One Day – $50 At the Door – add $20

Lunch: $12 additional for cold cuts, good bread, apples, coffee and tea ($8 for one day)

Equipment: Suitable exercise clothing, including shoes (we have a textured wooden floor). Sturdy cane (crook handle preferred), or strong, smooth dowel approx. 36″ long. We will have some training canes for a minimal cost at the seminar.

Fencing masks, boxing gloves and judogi jackets are useful, but are
not required. The Academy has some masks for loan, but bring your own if you can.

Water bottle (refills from on-site fountain).

Registration form PDF: Downloadable here.

Art of Stick Defence (1903)

Presenting the magnificently entitled article, “Schools Where Men Are Taught How To Defend Themselves Against The Attacks Of Street Rowdies”. It’s taken from the August 30, 1903 edition of the New York Tribune, and probably substantially based on another article from the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News.

Although he’s not mentioned by name, the article and accompanying pictures clearly represent the stick fighting method of Bartitsu Club instructor Pierre Vigny.

Click the links below to view the full PDF files.

Art of Stick Defence
Art of Stick Defence 2

A tip of the hat to the Art of Manliness

Founded by Brett and Kate McKay in 2008, the Art of Manliness website and forum has exploded in popularity, attracting over 50,000 subscribers and also spawning a best-selling book.

The essential Art of Manliness philosophy is expressed in the subtitle, “classic skills and manners for modern men”. Proposing that many contemporary men lack substantial role models, and in reaction against the shallow “men’s magazine” image of masculinity, Art of Manliness often draws its inspiration from 19th and early 20th century sources.

As well as promoting interest in Bartitsu via an online article and chapter in their book, the McKays’ website frequently features essays and discussions of interest to members of the Bartitsu Society, including martial arts, self defence, physical culture and gentlemanly deportment.

A small sampling:

10 Manly Feats of Strength
The Gentleman’s Guide to Umbrellas
10 Ways to be a Gentleman at the Gym
The Virtuous Life
Bringing Back the Hat

Pay them a visit, and remember to man up!

Bartitsu seminar at the Academie Duello (Vancouver)

Advance notice of another upcoming Bartitsu seminar at Vancouver’s Academie Duello historical martial arts school. This will be an intensive 4-hour session taught by David McCormick, featuring instruction in:

* English boxing, French kickboxing and the English interpretation of Judo
* Stick fighting and self-defense with an umbrella
* Modern urban self-defense evolved from the principles of Bartitsu

“American Jiu Jitsu” in “The Walled City”

The following passage is excerpted from “The Walled City: a Story of the Criminal Insane”, written by Edward Huntington Williams and originally published in 1913. It describes an apparently un-named, but at least partially codified system of self defence and escort/restraint holds covertly developed by workers in American psychiatric hospitals during the 19th century.

The Japanese are credited with originating the much-heralded art of “jiu jitsu.” But long before the word that stands for joint twisting, nerve-squeezing, and muscle-pulling was known in this country, a system of similar, if less elaborate, disabling methods was known to practically every veteran keeper in all the Walled Cities of the country.

Without some such effective system— some system of self-defense that gave them a distinct advantage over their charges—it would have been difficult for the attendants of half a century ago to have kept some of the more violent cases within bounds, since striking with the closed hand was forbidden the attendants, altho no such restriction was placed upon their charges. And so ingenious keepers, some time early in the history of asylums, studied out an elaborate system of what we should now call “jiu jitsu,” and this was surreptitiously communicated to colleagues all over the country from Atlantic to Pacific. Surreptitiously, since if it had been made public it would have been vigorously supprest by the authorities, no matter how useful it might be, in deference to public opinion already hypersensitive to the subject of “asylum abuses.” But in point of fact, this same system of “American jiu jitsu,” if it may be so called, was sometimes a merciful as well as an effective way of handling excited and ungovernable patients.

One of its chief merits, from the attendant’s point of view, was the fact that it could be used without detection by any but an initiated onlooker. This was of inestimable value when patients were being escorted through places outside the walls of the City. At such times Citizens are likely to become excited, or take advantage of their surroundings and the sympathy of the gaping crowds, which is almost invariably with the captive, no matter how black a criminal he may be. Under these circumstances, should he become unruly, and be handled roughly by the attendant, even in self-defense, that officer would more than likely be set upon and mobbed by the onlookers. On the other hand, no one would be likely to offer more than verbal interference if the officer seemed merely to be holding his charge firmly.

Knowing this, the attendant, orientated in “jiu jitsu,” could take his patient by the arm, to all appearances simply holding his wrist with one hand and grasping his upper arm just above the elbow with the other, and guide him where he pleased without much trouble. For unknown to the spectators, the keeper’s fingers, resting apparently innocently upon his charge’s elbow, really covered a large nerve trunk on the inner side of the elbow joint, where the slightest contraction of his fingers could be made to produce a sensation that would bring any but the most unruly Citizen under control.

This was simply one of the multiform methods of controlling patients, a score of other “jiu jitsu” twists and locks being known and used on occasion. None of these methods were countenanced by any of the officers in control of any institution; and, in truth, a large number of the officers never even suspected their existence, although the attendants sometimes used them under the very noses of their superior officers, without detection, or without injury to the patient. And when the much advertised Japanese jiu jitsu took the country by storm as a novelty a few years ago these veteran attendants had their little laugh all to themselves. It wasn’t so much of a novelty to them as to the generality of people.

Bartitsu in Seattle

Tony Wolf will be teaching two public martial arts seminars on Saturday, 6 March 2010 at SANCA, the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts .


The first Saturday seminar will run from 9 a.m -12 a.m. and will be an introduction to the Wolf System, an integrated progression of both co-operative and competitive partnered combat movement exercises. In combination, these challenging exercises foster the balance, improvisational ability, “physical confidence” and related skills that are fundamental to the study of virtually any martial art.

The second Saturday seminar will run from 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. and will be an introduction to Bartitsu, the “martial art of Sherlock Holmes”. Founded in London in the year 1899, Bartitsu is a cross-training system between pre-WW1 “British jiujitsu”, fisticuffs, low kicking and the Vigny method of self defence with a walking stick. Although dormant throughout most of the 20th century, Bartitsu has been experiencing a revival since 2002.

On Sunday, 7 March from 8-11, Tony will be teaching an invitation-only Bartitsu class for members of a local group who are already familiar with the basic material.

The fee for one class is $30 and for two classes, $50.

What to bring

A crook-handled walking stick (preferably rattan) is recommended. Straight rattan sticks will be available for purchase on the day of the seminar for $10. Participants are also asked to bring plastic water bottles and to wear comfortable exercise clothing, including dance or martial arts slippers for active work on the SANCA training mats.

Fencing masks, boxing gloves and judo gi jackets will be useful, but are not required.

All participants will be asked to sign a waiver.

How to get there
View Larger Map.

Booking and further information

Please address any further inquiries to wolfclass@lonin.org for updates, etc. Please do not contact SANCA directly with regards to these seminars, as the front office staff will not have any useful information about the event.

Thanks again for your interest, and we look forward to seeing you at the seminars!