E.W. Barton-Wright commemorated at the Marylebone Library (London)

The Martial Arts of Sherlock Holmes

The Bartitsu Society has donated a wall display commemorating E.W. Barton-Wright to the Sherlock Holmes Collection at Marylebone Library in London.

The display includes a reproduction of Sidney Paget’s famous illustration of Holmes’ “baritsu” battle with Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls, and also an illustrated outline of E.W. Barton-Wright’s art of Bartitsu.

Instructors James Marwood and George Stokoe will giving a talk and demonstration to mark the unveiling of the memorial on June 28th.

The presentation is free but members of the public should contact (020) 7641 1300 or email marylebonelibrary@westminster.gov.uk to book their place.

In memoriam: Roger Lafond (1913-2011)

We regret to announce the death of savate and la canne master Roger Lafond on April 8th, 2011. He was 97 years old.

Roger Lafond’s martial arts and combat sports lineage can be traced back to the early origins of la boxe Française as an organised system of self defence, via his father and grandfather, who were both named Eugene, through E. Quillier, the Leclerc brothers and to Charles and Hubert Lecour.

During the Second World War, M. Lafond served five years as a prisoner of war, instructing his fellow prisoners in French martial arts. He refused to teach the enemy officers and guards, protesting that this would be fraternisation.

After the War he was instrumental in the revival of la boxe Française in Paris. He established numerous clubs and, in 1955, created his own unique blend of French and Japanese martial arts, which he referred to as la Panache. In the late 1960s he was among the trainers for the cast of the popular British television spy series, The Avengers.

As recently as two years ago, Maitre Lafond was still teaching students at his Parisian school. He was featured on several martial arts-themed documentary series, including an episode of The Human Weapon.

His funeral was held in his home town of Le Perreux sur Marne.

Vote for Edith!

We all now have an opportunity to vote for a memorial plaque to record Edith Garrud’s memory as a pioneer of Jujutsu and a suffragette. Islington Council in London will erect a plaque on one of the houses where she lived if she receives enough votes. Edith is one of ten candidates for a plaque and the top five will be commemorated.

You can vote for Edith online via the Islington People’s Plaques website.

The E.W. Barton-Wright Memorial Project

E.W. Barton-Wright, the founder of Bartitsu, died in 1951 at the age of ninety and was buried in what the late martial arts historian Richard Bowen described as a “pauper’s grave”, an unmarked, communal plot.

In 2007 Bartitsu Society member Phil Giles located Barton-Wright’s final resting place. The site of the grave is in Kingston Cemetery in Surrey, about ten miles from central London.

Proceeds from sales of Bartitsu Society books and other media have been dedicated to erecting a permanent grave marker at the site.  A temporary marker is currently in place, as seen here:

The Royal Borough of Kingston has been informed of Barton-Wright’s unique position as a martial arts pioneer and plan to include his gravesite as part of a historical heritage trail which is due to be established in Kingston within the next two years.