Sherlock Holmes School of Self-Defence

Keep Goons at Bay the Sherlock Way

If you're living in a 'lively' neighbourhood, you may be looking for ways to see a footpad, chugger or cut-purse on their way. Leave the Oriental martial arts to children and health fanatics. Bartitsu is the gentleman's self-defence and can incorporate walking sticks and overcoats to great effect.

Bartitsu was developed by Englishman Edward Barton-Wright in 1898 as a composite of numerous fighting styles. That's right, a Victorian Brit developed the first truly mixed martial art. Sherlock Holmes is described as using a similar technique when doing battle with Moriarty in one of Arthur Conan-Doyle's stories.

Fight like a Victorian - Bartitsu's Back

There's been a revival of interest in Bartitsu in recent years. The Bartitsu Society is active in its promotion and study of Bartitsu, hoping to keep Barton-Wright's name alive.

There's also a book describing  Barton-Wright's Bartitsu available from Ivy Press called (big breath) The Sherlock Holmes School of Self-Defence: The Manly Art of Bartitsu as used against Professor Moriarty [Amazon].Learn how to fight with an umbrella or a bicycle (yes, bicycle), just about anything you have to hand really. (Sounds like a home game at Stoke City.)

The book includes lots of nice reproductions of gents in combat positions and some pretty useful tips. Most entertaining.


  1. Just noting that "The Sherlock Holmes School of Self Defence" is a set of excerpts from Barton-Wright's articles; the complete, unexpurgated articles are available online.

  2. Season premier of “1000 Ways To Win A Street Fight” is August 1st on YouTube. Protect yourself and learn how to defend against the Drunken Attacker. Watch Sean knock this guy out! Subscribe Now!


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