Terry Kroenung (right) demonstrates an escort hold during a Bartitsu exhibition at Denver’s Anomaly-Con Steampunk conference.
At the end of the Victorian era, E.W. Barton-Wright founded Bartitsu as a pioneering “mixed martial art” combining jiujitsu, kickboxing and self defence with a walking stick. It was also the means by which Sherlock Holmes was said to have defeated his arch-nemesis, the evil Professor Moriarty, in their famous battle at Reichenbach Waterfall.
This groundbreaking documentary was shot on location in Italy, Switzerland, England and the USA. Through numerous interviews, animations, re-enactment sequences, rare archival film footage and historical images, it explores the history, rediscovery and modern revival of Bartitsu.
Please visit the Freelance Academy Press website to view a new preview trailer and photo gallery, read an article about Bartitsu and the documentary production, and to place your DVD order!
Vigny’s Walking Stick Defense
Do you know a rogue and a scoundrel who deserves to be thrashed on the steps of his club? Then this is the class for you. The class will provide a short introduction to the use of the walking stick or cane for self defense. Prof. Reed will have a few loaner canes/sticks for use during the class but recommends bringing your own.
English Bare Knuckle Boxing
Every gentleman and woman should learn to defend themselves with their bare hands against the hooligans and thugs who prowl the streets of our big cities. This class will introduce the student to the basic stance, blows and defenses of English pugilism.
In reality, master escapologist Houdini and Sherlock Holmes creator Doyle were close friends during the early 1920s, until disagreements over the reality of the “supernatural” strained their mutual admiration too far. Houdini was an arch-skeptic, wise to the tricks of confidence swindlers posing as spirit mediums, while Doyle was a passionate believer in, and defender of Spiritualism.
Dreamworks has acquired a script called Voices from the Dead from screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski (Changling, Babylon 5), about Houdini and Doyle joining forces with a medium to solve a bizarre series of murders in 1920s New York.
Jon Vinson’s self-published comic book series, Edge of the Unknown, is scheduled to be adapted into a live-action movie by Jack Reher (Red Machine). This project teams Houdini and Doyle in 1923 Hollywood, where they solve a supernatural mystery with the aid of horror author H.P. Lovecraft.
Meanwhile, Syfy has started pre-production on a series called Among the Spirits, based on a self-published graphic novel by Steve Valentine and Paul Chart. The series will center on Houdini and Doyle as, with the help of a policewoman, they use steampunk technologies to try to solve apparent hauntings.
Chances are very good that we can look forward to some fine antagonistic action from these projects …
A partial class list is now on-line for Combat Con Las Vegas.
There are four ways to look at the classes based on how you study Western Martial Arts. You can view the classes along with their short descriptions or you can look at the list via System/Style or via Weapon. Lastly, each instructor’s bio page lists their classes at the bottom.
The 19th century/Steampunk classes listed so far include Manly Arts of Self Defence (singlestick, pugilism and wrestling), Bartitsu: The Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes, Radellian Sabre, Victorian Cane, Singlestick and Repelling boarders against Sky Pirates.
From the organisers:
Nearly half of the classes are online right now and the organisers will be adding more soon, so be sure to check back often. Attendees will be able to choose between more intensive 2 hr classes or a variety of one hour classes. There’s a lot to do at Combat Con so choosing between the classes and the exciting Panels, Activities and Demonstrations will be difficult! Please go to the CombatCon website to register and to see a draft schedule layout under the WMA tab.
There are still many more classes coming, along with the list of Demonstrations, Panels and Activities. More details will appear on the CombatCon website soon.
Of course, there is also much to do in the evenings. After dinner there will be tournaments, free fencing, movies, games and that’s all without leaving the hotel After all, you’re in Las Vegas!
To celebrate the class list online there is a 10% discount until April 5th, so use WMA2011 in the Promo Box and get your registration in now!
As reported in this earlier post, the Islington Borough Council recently ran a poll to determine which five of ten candidates, all former residents of, or events associated with Islington, should be commemorated with permanent memorial plaques.
We’re pleased to announce that suffragette and jujitsu pioneer Edith Garrud was among the top five candidates. The final results were:
– John Wright (founder of the Angel Theatre) – 634 votes
– Author Douglas Adams – 489 votes
– Suffragette Edith Garrud – 356 votes
– The Peasants’ Revolt at Highbury – 290 votes
– Boat club pioneer Crystal Hale – 274 votes
Edith Garrud may have been among the original female students of the Bartitsu Club in Shaftesbury Avenue. She later ran her own jujitsu school and became the chief trainer of the Suffragette Bodyguard, the group of twenty-five women who volunteered to physically protect the leaders of their movement from arrest and assault. Her achievements are recorded in the book Edith Garrud: the suffragette who knew jujutsu.
The results of the Islington Borough Council’s poll are now available online and her plaque will be unveiled later this year. We will endeavour to post updates regarding the unveiling ceremony.
Thanks to all who voted and congratulations to Edith Garrud’s descendants, who lobbied for her inclusion in the People’s Plaques scheme.
Thanks to the talented German graphic artist Christoph Roos, who has created these dynamic renditions of a Bartitsu street fight, circa 1900:
Steampunk applies post-modern artistic imagination to 19th century culture and technology. There is an undeniable affinity between Steampunk and neo-Bartitsu, which is likewise inspired by (and experiments with) Victorian-era aesthetics and resources; both can be appreciated as aspects of the neo-Victorian movement.
Over the past several years there have been numerous Bartitsu classes and demonstrations at science fiction/Steampunk gatherings including V-Con, SteamCon III, the World Steam Expo, StarFest, the Steam Century Mystery weekend and the San Francisco Edwardian Ball. The upcoming CombatCon event in Las Vegas will feature the interplay between 19th century “antagonistics” and Steampunk fiction as one of its major themes.
John Reppion’s article, Baritsu, Bartitsu and the Jujitsuffragettes was featured in issue #6 of Steampunk Magazine, while Nick Mamatas’ Bartitsu: the Martial Art for the Steampunk Set appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine. The Scatha Combat Guild’s forthcoming Steampunk Self Defence Manual promises to offer a light-hearted take on Bartitsu and other Victorian-era antagonistics.
In addition to providing music for the documentary Bartitsu: The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes, top Steampunk band Abney Park has produced the song Victorian Vigilante, whose protagonist “brings his baritsu” to the task of taking down his supernatural prey.