A User’s Guide to the Bartitsu Society Website 2.0

Welcome back to the Bartitsu Society website!

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!

Posted in Editorial | Comments Off on A User’s Guide to the Bartitsu Society Website 2.0

Self-Defence Shoes (1955)

As reported in some American newspapers during September of 1955, an Italian shoemaker was producing “self-defence shoes” for women tired of being harrassed in the streets of Rome.

Although probably created more as a promotional stunt than as a serious self-defence aid, the shoes came equipped with sharp steel prongs or spurs at the toe, heel and at the bottom of the high heel. They would certainly have been better than nothing had the wearer occasion to kick in her own defence (though straight rather than fashionably curved prongs might have been even more effective).

Posted in Antagonistics | Comments Off on Self-Defence Shoes (1955)

“Bartitsu: the Gentleman’s Martial Art”

Martial artist Niimi Satoshi offers an idiosyncratic interpretation of both armed and unarmed (neo-)Bartitsu in the first section of this video by Budo Channel Japan.

Posted in Boxing, Savate, Video, Vigny stick fighting | Comments Off on “Bartitsu: the Gentleman’s Martial Art”

“Vigny’s la Canne, Boxing and the Olympics”

Pierre Vigny, role-playing as “the Hooligan” and bearing his signature ball-handled cane, receives a thrust from his wife and fellow self-defence instructor, Marguerite.

Our old colleague Maxime Chouinard has published some original research – a rarity, at present – on Pierre Vigny and his arts of self-defence. The article Vigny’s la Canne, Boxing and the Olympics does sterling service by offering an alternative translation for the 1912 Revue Olympique report on the Vigny style (which, as is noted correctly, was originally translated and published in the Bartitsu Compendium, and which received a revised and annotated translation here in 2018), also identifying the author as none other than modern Olympics founder Pierre de Coubertin!

The article also includes a translation of Vigny’s obituary, as it appeared in Le Journal de Genève of September 23rd, 1943. Here’s an excerpt:

Pierre Vigny, a sportsman of conviction from the start, passed away in Nyon at the age of 77. With him disappears a master who had set a goal of developing ever more defense sports, a branch which is currently abandoned. Maybe we are wrong to forsake self-defence. He himself declared that it is much easier to defend oneself with a stick than a knife or a revolver. He made a point of putting in their place ten adversaries with his method. Pierre (unreadable) as he had very much studied sports such as la canne, fencing, French and English boxing, and jiu-jitsu. But he really excelled in the art of la canne and had perfectioned the French method as to make it much more effective.

Posted in Biography, In Memoriam, Vigny stick fighting | Comments Off on “Vigny’s la Canne, Boxing and the Olympics”

Another Update re. The Bartitsu Compendium, Volume III

The third volume of the Compendium is currently being compiled, following the publications of Volume I in 2005 and Volume II in 2008.

Vol. III opens with a 166-page retrospective on the life and times of Edward Barton-Wright and the rise and fall of his Bartitsu School of Arms in Soho at the turn of the 20th century. This section represents the first truly comprehensive telling of the “Bartitsu story” in a long-form narrative format, drawing from twenty years of intensive research.

A curated Anthology section compiles the best and most interesting articles published on Bartitsu.org (now BartitsuSociety.com) between 2008-2019, plus a selection of new articles on subjects of diverse interest to Bartitsu aficionados.

Section 3, “Techniques and Tactics” reveals exactly how Bartitsu combined and distinguished itself from the other antagonistics of its era, via a combination of hard-won historical data and the practical experience of the modern revival movement.

The final section offers a look back at the first twenty years of the Bartitsu revival, including the art’s influence on pop-culture and the activities of the Bartitsu Society as a grassroots, open-source martial arts association.

Stay tuned for further details as the Bartitsu Compendium, Volume III nears publication!

Posted in Canonical Bartitsu, E. W. Barton-Wright, Editorial | Comments Off on Another Update re. The Bartitsu Compendium, Volume III

Bartitsu vs. Wing Chun in “Ip Man: The Awakening”

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.

Posted in Fiction, Video | Comments Off on Bartitsu vs. Wing Chun in “Ip Man: The Awakening”

Umbrella-Fu in “In from the Cold”

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 …

Posted in Pop-culture, Video | Comments Off on Umbrella-Fu in “In from the Cold”

Physical Culture Historians

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.

Posted in Documentary, Edwardiana, Physical Culture, Video | Comments Off on Physical Culture Historians

Bartitsu Instructional Videos via the Redgate Bartitsu Club

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.

Some samples from each of the ranges follow:

Posted in Boxing, Canonical Bartitsu, Instruction, Jiujitsu, Video, Vigny stick fighting | Comments Off on Bartitsu Instructional Videos via the Redgate Bartitsu Club

More Unarmed Bartitsu Sparring

Another set of light, technical sparring bouts courtesy of the Cateran Society.

Posted in Baritsu, Boxing, Savate, Sparring, Video | Comments Off on More Unarmed Bartitsu Sparring

Jujutsu vs. Boxing (1909)

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).

Posted in Boxing, Jiujitsu | Comments Off on Jujutsu vs. Boxing (1909)