Jujitsuffragette Edith Garrud back in the news

Follow this link to read an Islington Tribune article about Edith Garrud (pictured left, above), who was the jujitsu and self defence trainer of the Suffragette Bodyguard society.  We eagerly await the unveiling of her commemorative plaque.

Antagonisticathlon!

On Sunday, March 11th of 2012, members of the Bartitsu Club of Chicago took part in the first ever “antagonisticathlon” event hosted by the Forteza Fitness and Martial Arts studio in Ravenswood, Chicago. This was their graduation from the recent six-week introductory Bartitsu training course.

During the late 19th century, the word “antagonistics” meant all manner of combat sports and self defence skills. Antagonisticathlon participants represent Victorian-era adventurers fighting their way through a gauntlet of obstacles and ne’er-do-wells, inspired by Sherlock Holmes’ escape from Professor Moriarty’s assassins in The Final Problem:

My dear Watson, Professor Moriarty is not a man who lets the grass grow under his feet. I went out about mid-day to transact some business in Oxford Street. As I passed the corner which leads from Bentinck Street on to the Welbeck Street crossing a two-horse van furiously driven whizzed round and was on me like a flash. I sprang for the foot-path and saved myself by the fraction of a second. The van dashed round by Marylebone Lane and was gone in an instant.

I kept to the pavement after that, Watson, but as I walked down Vere Street a brick came down from the roof of one of the houses, and was shattered to fragments at my feet. I called the police and had the place examined. There were slates and bricks piled up on the roof preparatory to some repairs, and they would have me believe that the wind had toppled over one of these. Of course I knew better, but I could prove nothing.

I took a cab after that and reached my brother’s rooms in Pall Mall, where I spent the day. Now I have come round to you, and on my way I was attacked by a rough with a bludgeon. I knocked him down, and the police have him in custody; but I can tell you with the most absolute confidence that no possible connection will ever be traced between the gentleman upon whose front teeth I have barked my knuckles and the retiring mathematical coach, who is, I dare say, working out problems upon a black-board ten miles away. You will not wonder, Watson, that my first act on entering your rooms was to close your shutters, and that I have been compelled to ask your permission to leave the house by some less conspicuous exit than the front door.

The “stations” of the antagonisticathlon (not all shown in the video compilation) included:

Charging shoulder tackle to punching bag (“knocking an assassin out the window and into the Thames”)
Precision cane thrusts through suspended rings
Overcoat and cane vs. dagger-wielding assassin
Weight-lifting on antique pulley-weight apparatus
“Death Alley”; cane vs. three stick-wielding assassins
“Rowing across the Thames” on antique rowing machine
“Rescuing Dr. Watson”
Cane vs. stick combat
Shoulder roll and hat toss to finish

Last of the Jujitsuffragettes (June 19th, 1965)

Edith Garrud, former trainer of the English Suffragette movement’s Bodyguard Society, demonstrates a jujitsu wrist-lock on journalist Godfrey Winn during an interview for Woman Magazine. The interview took place on the occasion of her 94th birthday.

2011: the Bartitsu year in review

January – Emelyne Godfrey’s book Masculinity, Crime and Self Defence in Victorian Literature hits the shelves.  Bartitsu is given a shout-out in a new television superhero series, The Cape.  We also receive our first glimpse of “baritsu” action from Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Bartitsu demos and seminars are offered in Pilot Point, Alaska and in Spino d’Adda, Italy.  We help vote for female jujitsu pioneer Edith Garrud to be commemorated with a street plaque.

FebruaryAlex Kiermayer presents a well-received Bartitsu seminar at the annual Dreynevent historical martial arts conference in Vienna.  Chris Amendola‘s Bartitsu classes get underway again in Houston and Robert Reinberger makes a copy of William Garrud’s Combined Self Defence available online.  Wellington, New Zealand hosts the world premiere of a new play, The Hooligan and the Lady, a dramatised biography of Edwardian-era jujitsu and self defence advocate Florence LeMar.

March – We receive a green light to proceed with the memorial wall display at Westminster Library.  Jujitsu pioneer Edith Garrud gathers enough votes to be among the historical figures to be honoured with a street plaque in the London borough of Islington.  Announcement of three separate media projects based on the premise that Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini teamed up as detectives.  March 27th heralds the long-awaited release of the feature-length documentary, Bartitsu: The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes.  Terry Kroenung and friends perform a Bartitsu demo. at the Anomalycon steampunk event in Denver.

April – Bartitsu instructor Stefan Dieke is interviewed by reporter Nico Rau for a story on Bartitsu featured on Germany’s DRadio Wissen.   Instructor Allen Reed teaches a Bartitsu seminar at the Oklahoma Steampunk Exhibition.

May – Instructor Tom Badillo teaches a Bartitsu seminar at the Gaslight Gathering in San Diego.  Ran Braun teaches a baritsu-inspired seminar for the Red Crow Stunt Team in Reggio Emilia, Italy and Mark Donnelly offers three classes at the Steampunk World’s Fair convention in New Jersey.  The first ever Bartitsu lecture and demonstration is offered in Zagreb, Croatia.

June – A new Bartitsu study group is formed in Battersea, London. Allen Reed offers a class and demonstration at the 1900 Chautauqua at Rockford, Illinois.  A new interview with Bartitsu Forum founder and novelist Will Thomas appears online.  An extensive article on Bartitsu is featured in the German magazine, Schwert & Klinge.  The Bartitsu Club of Tallahassee, Florida creates a new web page.

July – The new trailer for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows promises a great deal of exciting baritsu action.  Publication of the book 100 Years of Judo in Great Britain, written by the late scholar of British judo and Bartitsu history, Richard Bowen.  Mark Donnelly teaches a seminar for a recently founded  Bartitsu study group, the Bartitsu Club of New York City. Tony Wolf teaches Bartitsu seminars and presents a public screening of the Lost Martial Art documentary at CombatCon (Las Vegas, Nevada).

AugustBartitsu fight scenes are featured in the Mercury Player Theatre’s production, You’ve Ruined a Perfectly Good Mystery10th anniversary of the Bartitsu Society’s official online communication venue, the Bartitsu Forum.  The 1st annual international Bartitsu School of Arms and Physical Culture conference is held in London – a resounding success!

September – Bartitsu receives an extensive write-up in Holland’s Volkskrant newspaper.  The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes DVD becomes available via Amazon.com.  At the 2011 WMAW Western martial arts conference (Racine, Wisconsin), instructor Tony Wolf offers Bartitsu seminars and a demonstration as part of a 19th century style Assault at Arms display.

OctoberPhil Crawley commences a new antagonistics course via the Black Boar Swordsmanship School in Fife, Scotland.  A new interview with Bartitsu founder E.W. Barton-Wright is discovered.  A second trailer for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is released.

NovemberAllen Reed teaches Bartitsu at the TeslaCon steampunk event in Madison, Wisconsin.  The  Barton-Wright/Alfred Hutton Alliance for Historically Accurate Hoplology and Antagonistics (Seattle, Washington) goes public.

December – DVDs of Bartitsu: The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes go on sale via the Freelance Academy Press, coinciding with the long-awaited release of Game of Shadows, which does indeed include plenty of baritsu actionAnnouncement of a new Western martial arts and physical culture school (Chicago, IL), to feature Bartitsu instruction from Tony Wolf.  Phil Crawley releases his new translation of Emile Andre’s  The Art of Self Defence in the Street With or Without Weapons.

 

In memoriam:  We record the sad passings of classical savate master Roger Lafond and American martial arts pioneer and author Robert W. Smith.  May they rest in peace.

Anti-Vampirism: Professor Ernst Blomberg’s Science of Defence Against the “Undead”

Professor Blomberg’s manual of practical Anti-Vampirism is a must-read for all Ladies and Gentlemen who wish to take arms against the depredations of the “Undead”. Including colorful anecdotes and detailed advice on the selection and use of stakes as close-combat weapons, the proper thing to do when attacked by a vampire bull and the Professor’s own Theory of Vampire Contagion, amongst many other timely and useful tips. Illustrated with numerous woodcut engravings.

The US$2.99 ebook is available here (with free preview).

“Bartitsu: Its Exponent Interviewed” (1901)

The following interview with Bartitsu founder E.W. Barton-Wright first appeared in the Pall Mall Gazette of 5 September 1901, during the height of the Bartitsu Club era.

BARTITSU: ITS EXPONENT INTERVIEWED

One of our contributors lately called on Mr. Barton-Wright in his well-appointed gymnasium in Shaftesbury Avenue, when the following conversation took place:

What is the word Bartitsu? – It is a compound word, made up of parts of my own name, and of the Japanese Ju-jitsu, which means fighting to the last.

What do you claim for your system? – It teaches a man to defend himself effectively without firearms or any other weapons than a stick or umbrella, against the attack or another, perhaps much stronger or heavier than himself.

How does it differ from the usual fencing or boxing? – The fencing and boxing generally taught in schools-of-arms is too academic. Although it trains the eye to a certain extent, it is of little use except as a game played with persons who will observe the rules. Most of the hits in (single)stick or sabre play are taken up by the hilt, which a man is not very likely to take out with him on his walks. The head, too, which is a part which an assailant who means business would naturally go for, is so well protected that the learner gets careless of exposing it.

And the boxing? – The same objection. The amateur is seldom taught how to hit really hard, which is what you must do in a row. Nor is he protected against the savate, which would certainly be used on him by foreign ruffians, or the cowardly kicks often given by the English Hooligan. A little knowledge of boxing is really rather a disadvantage to (the defender) if his assailant happens to be skilled at it, because (the assailant) will will know exactly how his victim is likely to hit and guard.

And you can teach any one to protect himself against all this? – Certainly. The walking-stick play we will show you directly. As to boxing, we have guards which are not at all like the guards taught in schools, and which will make the assailant hurt his own hand and arm very seriously. So we teach a savate not at all like the French savate, but much more deadly, and which, if properly used, will smash the opponent’s ankle or even his ribs. Even if it be not used, it is very useful in teaching the pupil to keep his feet, which are almost as important in a scrimmage as his head.

Anything else? – My own experience is that the biggest man in a fight generally tries to close. By the grips or clutches I can teach, the biggest man can be seized and made powerless in a few seconds.

If you sow this knowledge broadcast it might be bad for the police. – Yes; but it cannot be picked up without a regular course of instruction, or merely by seeing the tricks. Moreover, this is a club with a committee of gentlemen, among whom are Lord Alwyne Compton, Mr. Herbert Gladstone, and others, and no-one is taught here unless we are satisfied that he is not likely to make bad use of his knowledge.

It must have taken you some time to work out all this? – Yes, but it was in great measure a matter of necessity. As a mining engineer in all parts of the world, I have often had to deal with very unscrupulous fighters, and, being a light man, I had to protect myself with something else than my fists.

Mr. Barton-Wright then gave our contributor a demonstration of his method. His fencing-master, M. Pierre Vigny, stripped to the waist and without any other weapon than an ordinary walking-stick, will allow you to attack him with singlestick, sabre, knife or any other short weapon without your being able to touch him, he taking all blows on what fencers call the forte of his stick. He will at the same time reply on your head, and knuckles; while, if he is given a stick with the ordinary crook handle, he will catch you by the arm, leg or back of the neck, inflicting in nearly every case a nasty fall. He has also a guard in boxing on which you will hurt your own arm without getting within his distance, while he can kick you on the chin, in the wind, or on the ankle. As to the usual brutal kick of the London rough, his guard for it (not difficult to learn) will cause the rough to break his own leg, and the harder he kicks the worse it will be for him.

Mr. Barton-Wright himself shows you wrestling tricks, by which, by merely taking hold of a man’s hand, you have him at your mercy, and can throw him on the ground or lead him about as you wish, the principle being, apparently, that you set your muscles and joints against your opponent’s in such a way that the more he struggles, the more he hurts himself.

A couple decidedly bad to beat.

A report on the 2011 Bartitsu School of Arms (London)

The 2011 (and inaugural) Bartitsu School of Arms symposium was held over the weekend of August 27-28 in London, England. The symposium represented a landmark in the revival of E.W. Barton-Wright’s “New Art of Self Defence”, founded 110 years ago in the same city. 18 participants attended the event, including Bartitsu enthusiasts from the USA and Germany as well as throughout the U.K.

The theme of the 2011 School of Arms was to continue Barton-Wright’s radical experiments in cross-training between various martial arts and combat sports, which were abandoned as a work-in-progress when the original Bartitsu Club closed down under mysterious circumstances in early 1902.

The event began on Friday evening outside the doors of the Shaftesbury Best Western Hotel, the building that once housed Barton-Wright’s club. At precisely the time the group gathered, sheltering from a torrential downpour, the clouds parted and the sun shone through, which was generally taken as a good omen. The group then made its way to the back bar of the Salisbury inn, a classic late-Victorian London pub.

Training began at 9.00 a.m. on Saturday morning at our venue, the ground floor of a Victorian era warehouse in Bermondsey, which roughly made up in 19th century ambiance what it lacked in amenities. The large, white-walled space was divided into 10′ squares by a grid of iron pillars, with enormous wooden beams in the ceiling and a sturdy old wooden floor. A wall display featured a portrait of E.W. Barton-Wright, rare photographs taken inside the original Bartitsu Club and other inspirational images. Rubber-tipped rattan training canes were propped against the pillars and one section of the floor was covered with thick rubber jigsaw mats.

Mornings began with various warm-up exercises, including American wrestler and physical culturist “Farmer” Burns’ upper-body routine. The remainder of the mornings were spent alternating between circuit training, in which small groups rotated between instructors teaching 5-10 minute mini-lessons/drills in savate kicking, boxing, jujitsu and stick fighting, and team-taught sessions in which pairs of participants experimented with self defence scenarios incorporating elements of each of the lessons they’d just learned. The aim was to practice Bartitsu as a holistic art, smoothly transitioning between techniques, styles and ranges as required by the needs of the moment.

After the lunch break, the afternoon sessions featured longer, whole-group classes in each of the specialist subject areas, taught by James Marwood, Tony Wolf, Allen Reed, Stefan Dieke and George Stokoe. These classes covered practical self defence, neo-Bartitsu drills inspired by the canonical stick fighting and unarmed combat sequences, fencing theory applied to Vigny stick fighting and tactical kicking.

The final session on both days was allocated to “break-out” time, a chance for participants and instructors to explore areas of special interest in a less formal environment. In one corner a group would be debating and demonstrating the “garotting” attack of 19th century muggers, in another a pair of stick fighters would be sparring and a submission grappling match would be taking place on the mats.

Evening events included drinks and socialising at the Sherlock Holmes pub on the banks of the Thames and a meal at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, a pub and restaurant dating back to the 1700s that was once the haunt of Charles Dickens and, later, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The 2011 Bartitsu School of Arms was a great success and plans are already underway to make it an annual event.

“Wrestling or Ju-jitsu?” (1914)

WRESTLING OR JU-JITSU?

On the whole, catch-as-catch-can wrestling is not a sport to be recommended to amateur athletes. It is true that a knowledge of the chief holds and the appropriate counters and checks would be useful to a person engaged in an all-in street scrummage, though a more profitable investment of time and trouble against that emergency would be found in a study of the rudiments of la savate, with its bone-shattering kicks, all of which can be easily acquired by a football player.

Here it should be pointed out that a smattering of ju-jitsu, which is still a fashionable accomplishment, might be worse than useless against an able-bodied rough. Japanese wrestling, which is based on yielding a point in order to gain a greater advantage, must be thoroughly acquired — so thoroughly, indeed, that the well-balanced non-European physique of the Japanese athlete becomes your own private possession — if a knowledge of its subtleties is to be practically useful in an emergency. Instead of wasting time and energy on ground-wrestling, ju-jitsu, and the like, the able-bodied, able-minded person who is interested in the art of self-defence will be well advised to acquire the rudiments of wrestling in the Cumberland and Westmorland style, which, added to a fair knowledge of boxing, will enable him to hold his own against any type of street ruffian.

– E. B. Osborn, T.P.’s Weekly (1914)