“The Claims of Ju-Jitsu” (The Sportsman, 4th May 1906)

The following letter to the editor of The Sportsman was written during the ongoing “jujitsu vs. boxing” controversy of 1906-7. The “boxing vs. jujitsu” debate was typically argued from a theoretical point of view, the consensus being that, as the Sportsman correspondent notes, a true contest between those styles would not be allowed in London … Continue reading ““The Claims of Ju-Jitsu” (The Sportsman, 4th May 1906)”

Johannes Josefsson: Iceland’s Colourful “King of Wrestling”

Due in no small part to the publicity surrounding Bartitsu circa 1899-1902, the first decade of the 20th century saw some substantial popular interest in “exotic” fighting styles.  Japanese jiujitsuka had quickly proved their art’s value in mixed-styles contests; French savateurs competed with English boxers and the revival of various Elizabethan styles of fencing continued … Continue reading “Johannes Josefsson: Iceland’s Colourful “King of Wrestling””

How “Re-Nie’s” Jiujitsu Won Against Dubois’ Savate (1905)

In the wake of his stunning six-second victory against savateur Georges Dubois in their 1905 style-vs-style challenge fight, jiujitsuka Ernest Regnier (a.k.a. “Re-Nie”) posed for the following series of technical photographs. The pictures are from the November 3, 1905 edition of La Vie au grand air: revue illustrée de tous les sports and the descriptive text … Continue reading “How “Re-Nie’s” Jiujitsu Won Against Dubois’ Savate (1905)”

“Returning kicks with interest”: counter-kicks and stop-kicks in Bartitsu unarmed combat

Another branch of Bartitsu is that in which the feet and hands are both employed, which is an adaptation of boxing and Savate (…) The use of the feet is also done quite differently from the French Savate. This latter … is quite useless as a means of self-defence when done in the way Frenchmen … Continue reading ““Returning kicks with interest”: counter-kicks and stop-kicks in Bartitsu unarmed combat”

La Savate at the Alhambra Music Hall (The Graphic – 29 October, 1898)

Events during the years immediately preceding E.W. Barton-Wright’s Bartitsu initiative had not predisposed the average Londoner to look kindly upon the French arts of self-defence. In October of 1899, just as Barton-Wright was beginning to promote his new Soho Bartitsu Club,  there took place the infamous savate vs. boxing contest between Joseph Charlemont and Jerry Driscoll, … Continue reading “La Savate at the Alhambra Music Hall (The Graphic – 29 October, 1898)”

“The Great Anglo-Japanese Tournament”: Bartitsu in Nottingham (March 1902)

The best evidence indicates that E.W. Barton-Wright’s Bartitsu Club in London closed down during the early months of 1902, for reasons that are still mysterious.  A recently-discovered series of advertisements from the Nottingham Evening Post, however,  indicate that all of the Club principals were involved in an elaborate “Anglo-Japanese Tournament” and martial arts display at … Continue reading ““The Great Anglo-Japanese Tournament”: Bartitsu in Nottingham (March 1902)”

Speculations on Bartitsu (kick)boxing

Update: since the following article was written, the Bartitsu Society has come across this 1901 interview with E.W. Barton-Wright that offers some more information on his conception of “Bartitsu kickboxing”. E.W. Barton-Wright evidently felt that while both boxing and kicking had their places within Bartitsu, they required substantial modification for use in actual self defence. … Continue reading “Speculations on Bartitsu (kick)boxing”

The Bartitsu Legacy

The Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes The name “Bartitsu” might well have been completely forgotten if not for a chance mention by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in one of his Sherlock Holmes mystery stories. In the Adventure of the Empty House (1903), Holmes explained that he had escaped the clutches of his enemy Professor Moriarty … Continue reading “The Bartitsu Legacy”