A special guest post from David McCormick, instructor of the new Bartitsu Club of Vancouver, who is due congratulations for his success!
The first month of the Bartitsu Club of Vancouver has been an unmitigated success. I would not have expected such a turnout of students in a debut course. This is thanks in no small part to Academie Duello, the school of Western Martial Arts of which we are a part. Most of our Bartitsuka are already regular students of Rapier and the other disciplines at the Academie, and the reach of Duello’s influence in the media helped bolster support. In the end, we have a core group of eight or so, with some weeks having as many as thirteen participants. But enough about our numbers… What did we do?
Each class is a two-hour session that starts with a general warm up, with some awareness and balance exercises, for the first 20 minutes, followed by a review segment for 30 minutes, including lesson recap and partner drills. Next, we move on to the meat of the class: 30 minutes of new material, which is followed by 20 minutes in which we combine the old lessons with the new techniques. The final 20 minutes we spend sparring, with special emphasis on that week’s system. For example, if the main lesson was boxing, the sparring segment will be in the form of a boxing match, whereas if the main lesson was cane, we do stick-fighting.
Our general format is to separate Bartitsu into its four major components: Boxing, Savate, Jujitsu and Cane. Each class, we study two of these components in our two-hour session. The first is a review of the previous week, and the second is new material for the other weapon. Then, we combine the two for tactics that work together.
In week 1 (21 August, 2010), we looked at Cane and Boxing. This was an introduction to each, in which we examined basic stances and essential strikes.
In week 2 (28 August, 2010), we reviewed Boxing and learned the basic kicks of Savate.
In week 3 (4 September, 2010), we reviewed Savate and returned to Cane for some new techniques, including pre-emptive strikes. We combined this with Savate by using the stick as a feint for a kick, and a kick as a feint for a stick.
And then the lovely new equipment arrived! We have boxing head-gear, sparring gloves and shin-protectors, and new mats for the floor that cover a huge area. We also have padded escrima sticks for cane sparring.
In week 4 (11 September, 2010), we reviewed Cane and finally got to the basics of Jujitsu. We spent some time getting used to break-falls, and then went on to the Back-Heel throw. We combined the two disciplines by using the pre-emptive stick technique into the back-heel throw, and variations on that theme.
In week 5 (18 September, 2010), we reviewed Jujitsu and returned to Boxing. We learned some in-fighting hooks and uppercuts, and we combined that with Jujitsu when we moved into chancery and the cross-buttock throw. That week’s sparring was very exciting as we really explored freeform boxing.
Special Event: Umbrella
On 25 September, we held a four-hour Umbrella Self-Defence Workshop in the place of the Bartitsu class. What a turn-out! Some of our regular Bartitsu members were there, and thanks to media coverage and our tireless marketing team, we had fifteen members of the public fill our space. We had to turn away people at the door, who will hopefully join us the next time we run it in November.
This weekend is the start of October, when we’ll have a demonstration at V-Con, the Vancouver science fiction convention. Since this year’s theme is steampunk, I’m sure Bartitsu will be very popular. If you happen to be there, our demo is at 6pm on Saturday.