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Thread: Presenting: Bartitsu - The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    Suburban Chicago area
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    Presenting: Bartitsu - The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes

    Sherlock Holmes, Master Detective…

    …Master Martial Artist?

    When I reached the end I stood at bay. He drew no weapon, but he rushed at me and threw his long arms around me. He knew that his own game was up, and was only anxious to revenge himself upon me. We tottered together upon the brink of the fall. I have some knowledge, however, of baritsu, or the Japanese system of wrestling, which has more than once been very useful to me. I slipped through his grip, and he with a horrible scream kicked madly for a few seconds and clawed the air with both his hands. But for all his efforts he could not get his balance, and over he went. With my face over the brink I saw him fall for a long way. Then he struck a rock, bounced off, and splashed into the water.

    - Sherlock Holmes, “The Adventure of the Empty House”


    Doyle’s cryptic reference to the Great Detective’s mysterious martial art with which he had simultaneously saved his own life and defeated his arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty, at the brink of Reichenbach Falls intrigued and beguiled fans for decades. What few knew was that at the end of the Victorian era, E. W. Barton-Wright had combined jiujitsu, kickboxing, and stick fighting into the "Gentlemanly Art of Self-Defence" known as Bartitsu.

    While jiujitsu went on to experience a boom lasting even through the First World War, firmly establishing the mystique of the Japanese martial arts in Western pop culture, and the popularity of boxing and wrestling continued unabated. For almost all intents and purposes, however, Bartitsu itself was forgotten when Barton-Wright's club closed its doors in 1902. Almost…

    Now, a century after Barton-Wright’s experiment in cross-training between various Victorian-era martial arts and exercise methods, his “art of fighting to the last" has seen new life, as a dedicated circle of martial artists, Edwardian historians, and Sherlockians have breathed new life into this pioneering mixed martial art.

    Freelance Academy Press is proud to introduce you to this forgotten chapter in martial arts history through the new documentary Bartitsu: the Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes. Featuring interviews with Harry Cook, Emelyne Godfrey, Mark Donnelly, Graham Noble, Neal Stephenson and Will Thomas, the adventure begins at Reichenbach Falls and travels to England, Italy and the United States, combining interviews with historical reconstructions and examples of modern training to relate the fascinating history, rediscovery and revival of Barton-Wright's "Gentlemanly Art of Self-Defence".

    You can read more about Bartitsu’s history, rebirth and the creation of the documentary itself in an interview with writer and host, Tony Wolf!
    Greg Mele
    Chicago Swordplay Guild

    Freelance Academy Press: Books on Western Martial Arts and Historical Swordsmanship

    Chivalric Fighting Arts Association

    "If the tongue could cut
    as the sword can do,
    the dead would be infinite."

    Filippo Vadi, "Arte Dimicandi Gladiatoria" (c.1482 - 87)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage Alaska
    Posts
    34
    I've been looking forward to this coming out for some time. Huzzah!!
    Matthew Cacy
    Free Scholar of the Selohaar Fechtschule
    Historic Recrudescence Guild Chapter

    "Gellir diddanheddu'r blaidd ond ni ellir ei ddinaturio"
    "You can remove a wolf's teeth, but not his nature"

  3. #3
    On behalf of my co-producers and co-directors, I'd like to publicly thank the quiet army of editors, designers, production consultants, legal advisors, camera operators, actors, martial artists and many, many others who volunteered their time and talents to make this documentary possible.

    In particular, I'd like to acknowledge Greg, Christian, Adam, Chris and the rest of the Freelance Academy Press team, who have taken the reins of the manufacture and distribution phases. I can thoroughly recommend Freelance to any WMA/HEMA author or producer; their support and guidance really went the extra mile.

    My best,

    Tony

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Oxford, CT, USA
    Posts
    2,614
    Thanks Tony, and congratulations to you and your team on the completion of this excellent project. This endeavor was a great learning experience for us at Freelance too, and we all look forward to working with you again on more cool stuff!

    All the best,

    Christian
    Christian Henry Tobler
    Selohaar Fechtschule

    The Chivalric Fighting Arts Association

    Freelance Academy Press: Books on Western Martial Arts and Historical Swordsmanship

    Author, Captain of the Guild, DVD: The Poleaxe, In Saint George's Name

    "Though I love the stout blow and the cunningly placed thrust, my greatest joy when crossing swords lies in those rare moments when Chivalry herself leans over and takes one into Her confidence."

  5. #5
    Hopefully will have it ordered tomorrow! Looking forward to seeing it!

    Keith

  6. #6

  7. #7
    Got my copy and watched it last week. Very nicely done! Tony does a great job of narrating and got to travel to many different locales for the filming. So it isn't just someone sitting in a chair talking about Bartitsu. There are also clips of Tony teaching Bartitsu at various functions. I would have liked to see more action....but then this is a documentary and not an instructional video! Being a bit biased towards the boxing side of Bartitsu, I would have liked to have seen more said about this aspect....but then its the Jiu Jitsu side of Bartitsu that made it unique. If any of you out there are at all interested in Bartitsu or martial arts in the Victorian Era...this is certainly worth getting!

    Keith

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Suburban Chicago area
    Posts
    3,595
    Keith,

    Well, I'm working hard to convince Tony that some further projects on the practice of Bartitsu is a good idea, so maybe if others chime in....

    Greg
    Greg Mele
    Chicago Swordplay Guild

    Freelance Academy Press: Books on Western Martial Arts and Historical Swordsmanship

    Chivalric Fighting Arts Association

    "If the tongue could cut
    as the sword can do,
    the dead would be infinite."

    Filippo Vadi, "Arte Dimicandi Gladiatoria" (c.1482 - 87)

  9. #9
    I'm not dead-set against the idea, just ambivalent. The commitment of time and resources might be more than would ultimately be worthwhile for such a specialised subject.

    Cheers,

    Tony

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