Edwardian Antagonistics at SWASH 2010

Advance notice of SWASH 2010, the flagship conference event of the British Federation for Historical Swordplay. The 2010 conference will take place on February 20 and 21 and will be held at the magnificent Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, UK. The programme includes a significant emphasis upon the “antagonistics” (martial arts and combat sports) of the Edwardian period, as well as classes in the swordsmanship of the Medieval, Renaissance and Regency eras.

The Saturday schedule includes a lecture by Bethan Jenkins entitled Apaches, garrotters and roughs, oh my! – Ruffianism panics and their relation to historical defensive arts.

This will be followed by A caution to the gentleman about town – a demonstration of various dastardly night attacks, in which Dr. Milo Thurston, Ian MacIntyre and James Marwood will present various techniques of robbery attributed to the Apaches (Parisian gangsters), based upon the writing of French self defence author Emile Andre.

Muggers in London colour

This presentation will followed by A brief introduction to Edwardian antagonistics – cane, savate, pugilism and ju-jitsu presented by Dr. Milo Thurston, Ian MacIntyre and James Marwood.

On Sunday Mark Donnelly will present a lecture entitled Kernoozers and Antiquarian Antagonistics being an informative discourse regarding Hutton, Castle, Burton, Allanson-Winn, Barton-Wright and the Victorian foundations of contemporary researches.

Surely a conclave not to be missed!

Bartitsu Club Russia

Bartitsu Club Russia

“Bartitsu Club Russia” is a new initiative to promote the study of both canonical and neo-Bartitsu. Based in St. Petersburg, B.C.R. is a collaboration between:

Mishenev Sergey Victorovich (President of the Sergey Mishenev Art of Fencing School)
Chernova Galina Nikolaevna (Vice-President of the Sergey Mishenev Art of Fencing School, fencing teacher)
Ran Arthur Braun (Stage Director & Fight Choreographer)
Nikolai Prokopiev (School Director and Bartitsu Club Administrator)

The first event on the B.C.R. calendar was a Bartitsu seminar hosted by the Mishenev Fencing School, which is one of the leading HEMA (historical European martial arts) and stage combat academies in Russia. The seminar was led by Ran Braun and attracted an enthusiastic group of 14 participants, who were introduced to Bartitsu unarmed combat and stick fighting techniques.

A feature article on Bartitsu has been published in the Kalashnikov Magazine and plans are underway to arrange further Bartitsu seminars in Russia.

Russian article 1
Russian article 2
Russian article 3

Click on the images to see larger versions (in Russian, of course!)

Pierre Vigny at 60

Vigny at 60

This is a very rare photograph of former Bartitsu Club instructor Pierre Vigny, at the age of 60, posing between his friends and fellow physical culture enthusiasts Edouard Jaccard (aged 69, left) and 67 year old Georges Lambert (right).

After his tenure as chief instructor at the Bartitsu Cub in London, Vigny went on to establish his own fencing and self defence academy in the English capital, returning to Geneva a year or two prior to the outbreak of the First World War. Little is known about his later life, but this photograph from an article in “La Tribune de Genève” demonstrates that he was still in good health in 1929.

The article notes that the three senior athletes enjoyed running together in the countryside around Geneva, and that they all had hearty appetites. It goes on to mention that Vigny and Lambert had fought a “Homeric” boxing bout in 1888, Vigny suffering a twisted knee when he slipped during the match. In December of 1919, the article continues, Vigny had survived a potentially fatal tram accident due to the reflexes and constitution developed over a lifetime as a physical culture and self defence enthusiast.

Bartitsu in the “Sherlock Holmes Handbook”

The Sherlock Holmes Handbook: the Methods and Mysteries of the World’s Greatest Detective is a new book in the “cleverly themed how-to” genre. Taking its inspiration from the adventures of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic investigator, the book offers hints and tips on “How to Use Deductive Reasoning”, “How to Master a Dozen Disguises” and, of course, “How to Defend Yourself”.

The latter section includes a quick summary of Bartitsu lore, correctly identifying Holmes’ “baritsu” primarily with Japanese unarmed combat, although not clarifying that Bartitsu actually included boxing, savate, wrestling and stick fighting as well. However, further items in the self defence section refer to Holmes’ abilities as a boxer, fencer and singlestick fighter, and offer very basic instruction in each of these areas.

A great Christmas gift for Holmes/Bartitsu aficionados, and a great companion piece to “the Art of Manliness” (see previous post).

The Gentlemanly Art of Bartitsu

In 2008 the popular Art of Manliness website featured an extensive article on Bartitsu. An expanded version of that article appears in the new Art of Manliness book, available from Amazon.com.

 

 

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