Bartitsu class/demo. at the 1900 Chautauqua (Rockford, Illinois)

Instructor Allen Reed (left), in character as a circa 1900 “Professor of Antagonistics”, teaching Bartitsu stick fighting at the 1900 America Chautauqua event at the Midway Village Museum, Rockford, Illinois.

Spectators were invited to take part in Allen’s demonstrations, which took the form of classes in basic pugilism, self defence with a walking stick and jiujitsu escort holds. The classes ideally suited the theme of the Chautauqua, which also featured re-enactments of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, ragtime music and demonstrations of turn-of-the-century sports and crafts. This was possibly the first Bartitsu demonstration in living memory in which penny farthing bicycles were to be seen cruising past in the background.

Bartitsu classes at the 1900 America Chautauqua (Rockford, IL)

Instructor Allen Reed will be teaching Bartitsu classes at the 1900 America Chautauqua. The Chautauqua (June 11-12, Midway Village Museum, Rockford, IL) is set during the year 1900 and will offer numerous educational and entertainment events from that period.

Alongside 1900-era celebrities such as Mark Twain, Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley, Allen (as a “Professor of Antagonistics” recently returned from studies at the Bartitsu Club in London) will teach the skills of pugilism and self defence with a walking stick:

Prof. Reed is honored to be the first American to bring this new art back to his students in the United States. Prof. Reed will be offering two classes, one in pugilism and one on cane fighting for those attending this year’s Chautauqua. The class on pugilism will help introduce this manly art to all comers. The class on M. Vigny’s cane fighting system will teach how a common walking stick, cane or umbrella can be used for self defense. A few canes and sticks will be available from the instructor, but interested guests are encouraged to provide their own cane or umbrella. Ladies are also encouraged to attend. Classes offered both days of the Chautauqua.

“Steam Century Mystery” exhibition

Thanks to Antina Richards-Pennock for this picture from the Steam Century Mystery event at the Midway Village Museum in Rockford, Illinois. Allen Reed (left) and his associates from the Gallowglass Academy performed a Bartitsu exhibition as part of the festivities.