Brian Kagen pick: “Bartitsu” from wikipedia.com

“Bartitsu is an eclectic martial art and self-defence method originally developed in England during the years 1898–1902. In 1901 it was immortalised (as “baritsu”) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes mystery stories. Although dormant throughout most of the 20th Century, Bartitsu has been experiencing a revival since 2002.”

Brian Kagen is an avid web researcher with a particular interest in martial arts. His training background includes both judo and aikido. He has contributed hundreds of article links over the years for AJ readers.

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  1. A little more here…


  2. …revived from old photographs?

  3. Hi Charles,

    Barton-Wright detailed about 40 paired jiujitsu kata and walking-stick defence “set-plays” in his series of articles for Pearson’s Magazine between 1899-1901, and further details were recorded in articles written by third parties. These all included detailed step by step instructions, as well as sketched and photographic illustrations. B-W also explained a good deal of the theory behind Bartitsu in his articles and lectures.

    The modern revival is partly based on the material described above, which is glossed as “canonical Bartitsu”. Given the appropriate prior martial arts experience, it’s pretty easy to reconstruct all of the canonical techniques and sequences; most of the active revivalists have decades of experience in a wide range of styles.

    However, because the “canon” is incomplete, we also work with “neo-Bartitsu”, which is the ongoing project of continuing Barton-Wright’s experimental cross-training between pre-WW1 “British jiujitsu”, English fisticuffs, low kicking and the Vigny method of stick fighting. Our sources for that project include the dozens of detailed books and articles produced by B-W himself, his Bartitsu Club associates and their students between 1898 and the early 1920s.

    Overall, the Bartitsu revival is comparable to modern MMA and Jeet Kune Do re. cross-training between a range of styles, ko-ryu bujutsu re. the “anachronistic” preservation of historical kata and set-plays, and the historical fencing movement re. the process of reconstructing a workable martial art from textbooks. Whether it’s practiced as a sport, as self defence or as recreation is ultimately for individuals and clubs to decide.



  4. Fascinating, I’ve been curious about this subject for a long time. Barton certainly deserves attention and was ahead of his time. Thank you.

    Dr. Art Fielder
    Santa Monica, California

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