Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Notables: Edward Barton-Wright, originator of "Baritsu", the Victorian Gentleman's self-defense techinque

Edward William Barton-Wright was born in India in 1860 and educated in Germany and France. While working as a mining engineer in Japan during the 1890s he trained in jujutsu and judo, and upon moving to London in 1899, he opened a self-defense academy at which he and his mostly Japanese instructors taught a system of self-defense that he called "Bartitsu." The method was limned in several British magazines, and featured as "Baritsu" in Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Empty House."For further details of Barton-Wright's life, see Graham Noble, "An Introduction to W. Barton-Wright (1860-1951) and the Ecclectic [sic] Art of Bartitsu," Journal of Asian Martial Arts, 8:2 (1999), 50-61.
For details of Sherlock Holmes' martial arts, see Richard Bowen, "Further Lessons in Baritsu," The Ritual-Review of the Northern Musgraves Sherlock Holmes Society, 20 (1997), 20, 22-26.

A detailed overview of his techinques are located here:

Perhaps I should start carrying my walking stick, just in case....

1 comment:

Virrginia Tombola said...

I believe that Sherlock Holmes was a practicioner of this self defense form, correct? Personally, I always have an image of a similar series of pictures from a woman's magazine circa 1900 of a young lady defending herself against a plug ugly with a bumbershoot to the jaw and a button hook boot to the kneecap.

It looks a bit absurd to the modern eye, but really a spinny pointy thing to the face will stop many an ill mannered fellow in his tracks. As it ought.