Since a catastrophic technical failure of the original Bartitsu.org site in April of 2019, we have been working behind the scenes to recover and restore the site, primarily via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.
The restoration process has been laborious but we’ve now recovered and/or reconstructed the great majority of the items posted on Bartitsu.org between 2008-2019, including all of the significant technical and historical articles.
During the reconstruction the archived posts unavoidably became chronologically disordered. Most of them now begin with a note recording the date when they were originally posted.
We’d also like to draw your attention to the significantly expanded Categories menu. This feature will allow you to quickly and easily locate posts within a wide range of themes, supplementing the ever-useful search box.
This event has highlighted the fragility of electronic media and plans are afoot to produce a third volume of the Bartitsu Compendium, to be made available in printed as well as e-book formats, in order to further preserve the best of the research presented here since the publication of the second volume in 2008.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the Bartitsu Society website 2.0!
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Set during the turbulent 1930s, this new feature film pits a young Ip Man (Tse Miu) against a British human trafficking ring, including one villain who employs Bartitsu.
Edward Barton-Wright’s “New Art of Self Defence” has influenced fight choreography in feature films before – notably in the Sherlock Holmes duology starring Robert Downey, Jr. and in the Kingsman series – and was both displayed and name-checked in an episode of The League TV series. This scene is, however, the first time the art has been simultaneously shown and described in a feature film, and it’s not a bad representation from a stylistic point of view. The villain demonstrates a blend of each of the source arts of boxing, savate, jujutsu and stick fighting before meeting his just desserts at the Wing Chun-trained hands (and pole) of the unbeatable Ip Man.
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In this scene from the action series In from the Cold, undercover spy/assassin Anya Petrova (a.k.a. Jenny Franklin/The Whisper, played by actress Margarita Levieva) breaks character to deliver an umbrella beatdown on an array of enemy agents. Alert viewers will note that she employs a couple of classic Bartitsu techniques …
This YouTube channel offers a wide range of well-produced short documentaries, lectures, instructional videos and equipment demonstrations in connection with the grand tradition of 19th and early 20th century physical culture.
The Redgate Bartitsu Club has produced a useful series of instructional videos on the basics of Bartitsu as a holistic fighting style, progressing through the ranges of stick fighting, (kick)boxing and fundamental jujutsu/standing grappling.
In this photograph, from a January 1909 full-page advertisement for the Golden Square School of Jujutsu in Modern Man magazine, William Garrud (standing) and Sadakazu Uyenishi demonstrate a kugi-nuki (“pincers”) takedown against a boxer’s left-lead punch.
Edward Barton-Wright’s introduction of the Japanese style to Europe in the final years of the 19th century began an ongoing “boxing vs. jujutsu” debate, mostly among armchair theorists. Barton-Wright, Percy Longhurst and other self-defence practitioners tended to argue in favour of a union of boxing with jujutsu as self-defence, while William Garrud had a particular interest in devising jujutsu counters to boxing punches. This type of defence was the subject of a chapter of his 1914 book The Complete Jujutsuan, which was later republished in the second ovlume of the Bartitsu Compendium (2008).
Although E.W. Barton-Wright recorded details of the stick fighting and jujutsu aspects of Bartitsu in his Pearson’s Magazine articles, it took many years of painstaking research and educated guesswork to piece together the Bartitsu Club’s take on (kick)boxing. This video is a decent representation of that style, as performed in a friendly, technical sparring match.
Back in 2005, the Bartitsu Society intended to dedicate funds raised through sales of the Bartitsu Compendium, Volume 1 to the creation of a memorial stone for Bartitsu founder E.W. Barton-Wright, who had died under humble circumstances in 1951 and was buried in a so-called “pauper’s grave” – an un-marked, communal plot – at Kingston Cemetery, near London. We discovered, however, that there was a cemetery policy prohibiting the placement of individual grave markers on communal plots because it’s impossible to precisely identify where an individual was buried. A temporary, symbolic marker was then placed at the site by Society member Phil Giles (see below):
We also pursued memorial plaque options at the site of the original Bartitsu Club in Shaftesbury Avenue, but Barton-Wright was not considered to be historically notable enough for the Blue Plaque scheme and the location wasn’t suitable for commemoration via Green Plaque. An effort to donate a permanent Barton-Wright display to the Self Defence Gallery at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds looked promising for a while, but became tangled in red tape.
Frank Jastrzembski – an author and historian who arranged for a grave marker in honour of Colonel Thomas Hoyer Monstery, the famous 19th century Danish-American duellist, soldier-of-fortune and self-defence instructor – has recently discovered that it is now possible to install permanent markers on communal graves at Kingston Cemetery. These markers are not full “gravestones” but can be of any design within the dimensions of 12″ cubed. In collaboration with Edward Barton-Wright’s descendants, a permanent stone marker and plaque is now being designed as a fitting memorial for the founder of Bartitsu.
In Barton-Wright’s second article in 1901, also titled ‘Self-defence with a Walking-stick’ [Barton-Wright 1901b], we see more use of guards, strikes, and parries, with a straight cane. However, we also see defences using a hooked walking stick, where the crook of the handle is used to pull an opponent off balance by either pulling round their neck, or round their ankle. In this article, we also see an interesting evolution, which is the appearance of jujutsu techniques applied with the cane. For example, technique number 7 shows the bent arm lock, ude-garami, applied after a parry (Figure 4 overleaf). Do these techniques show that Vigny and Barton-Wright, who trained intensively with jujutsu experts Tani and Uyenishi, started to hybridise use of the cane with jujutsu techniques?