Bartitsu seminar in Racine, Wisconsin (October 8 & 9)

Instructor Tony Wolf will lead a Bartitsu seminar at the DeKoven Center‘s 1875 vintage gymnasium in Racine, Wisconsin. The seminar will run from 12:30 to 5.00 pm each day on the weekend of the 8th & 9th of October, 2011. The beautiful DeKoven Center, originally a 19th century university campus, is located at 600 21st Street in Racine, Wisconsin.

What is Bartitsu?

In the year 1899, an English gentleman named Edward William Barton-Wright created the “New Art of Self Defence” that he called Bartitsu; a combination of low kicking, jiujitsu, fisticuffs and walking stick fighting, designed to beat the fearsome street gangs of Edwardian London and fin de siècle Paris at their own dastardly game.

Bartitsu was the first “mixed martial art” to combine Asian and European fighting styles. It was later incorporated as “baritsu” into the Sherlock Holmes stories, and was used by Holmes to throw his arch-enemy, Professor Moriarty, to his doom from the top of Reichenbach waterfall.

What will we learn?

This seminar provides an intensive, practical grounding in this fascinating system, first taught circa 1900 at the Bartitsu School of Arms and Physical Culture in London’s Shaftesbury Avenue.

Canonical Bartitsu refers to “Bartitsu as we know it was”; the self defence skills and sequences that were specifically presented as Bartitsu by Barton-Wright and his associates between 1898-1902. Neo-Bartitsu refers to the modern application of the art, continuing Barton-Wright’s martial arts experiments in the 21st century; it is “Bartitsu as it may have been and as it can be today”.

We will begin with warm-up exercises taken from the 19th century “physical culture” repertoire before exploring the underlying principles and tactics of Bartitsu, via lessons in the unique combination of fighting styles that made up Barton-Wright’s arsenal of tricks.

The seminar will include:

• a selection of the original self defence sequences represented in Barton-Wright’s classic article series, “Self Defence with a Walking Stick” and “The New Art of Self Defence”

• practical examples of both the canonical and neo-Bartitsu blends of jiujitsu, scientific boxing, low kicking and stick fighting

• discussions on the fascinating history and revival of Barton-Wright’s New Art of Self Defence, the “hold-up” tactics of 19th century street gangsters and the counters developed by self defence masters of the period, and the jiujitsu training of the Bodyguards of the radical Suffragette movement.

This introductory seminar is suitable for participants of all experience levels, though prior intermediate-level training in martial arts, boxing, fencing and/or stage combat will be an advantage.

What should I bring?

Please bring suitable exercise clothing, including shoes; a sturdy cane (crook handle preferred), or strong, smooth dowel approx. 36″ long. Fencing masks, boxing gloves and judo gi jackets are useful, but are not required.


$100.00 per participant until September 17th, with the possibility of the price coming down as more participants enroll before the deadline. Once the deadline of September 17th is past, the fee stays at $100.00 per person.

A bag lunch and water will be supplied for each participant free of charge.

For further information please contact the organiser, Mr. Mario Baleywah, at .

Bartitsu training at WMAW 2011

Instructor Tony Wolf will be teaching two intermediate/advanced level Bartitsu sessions at the Western Martial Arts Weekend conference in Racine, Wisconsin, USA. The conference runs between September 15-18.

The WMAW is the premiere event of its type in the USA, attracting hundreds of participants for an intensive four day series of Western martial arts classes, lectures and seminars. It is held at the beautiful DeKoven Center, a 19th century university campus that has been converted into a conference and retreat center.

The Bartitsu sessions include:

Bartitsu: The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes

Instructor: Tony Wolf
Class Category: Close Quarters Combat
Class Length: 3 hrs
Experience Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Intensity Level: Moderate
Pre-Requisites: None
Required Equipment: A sturdy crook-handled walking stick or 36 inch dowel with any edges smoothed away; fencing mask or similar face/head protection.

In the year 1899, Edward William Barton-Wright founded Bartitsu as a process of cross-training between walking stick fighting, boxing, savate and jiujitsu. It was the first example of an eclectic self-defence system blending Asian and European combat styles, intended to beat hooligans and street gangsters at their own game.

Barton-Wright defined the principles of Bartitsu as:

(1) to disturb the equilibrium of your assailant; (2) to surprise him before he has time to regain his balance and use his strength; (3) if necessary to subject the joints of any part of his body … to strains which they are anatomically and mechanically unable to resist.

He also noted that:

“It is quite unnecessary to try and get your opponent in any particular position, as the system embraces every possible eventuality, and your defence and counter attack must be entirely based upon the tactics of your opponent.”

Drawing from a selection of classical Bartitsu unarmed and walking-stick fighting set-plays, we will take up the challenge implied by Barton-Wright’s precepts of adaptability and improvisation, thereby continuing the “mixed martial arts” experiment that he began in late Victorian London.

“Belabour him as you see fit”: Bartitsu combat improvisation

Instructor: Tony Wolf
Class Category: Close Quarters Combat
Class Length: 1 hr 30 min
Experience Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Intensity Level: Moderate to High
Pre-Requisites: Familiarity with the cane and unarmed sub-systems of Bartitsu.
Required Equipment: A sturdy crook-handled walking stick or 36 inch dowel with any edges smoothed away; fencing mask or similar face/head protection.

This class is a development of the material introduced in the “Bartitsu: The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes” intensive, dealing more specifically with the process of combining the various sub-systems of Bartitsu. We will practice spontaneity drills designed to “twist” the canonical self defense sequences as a bridge between pre-arranged set-plays and free bouting.