Sherlock Holmes School of Self-Defence

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 with which you can incorporate umbrellas, walking sticks and overcoats to great effect.
Keep goons at bay the Sherlock way
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
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), or just about anything you have to hand really. (Sounds like a home game at Stoke City.)

The book includes lots of nice photo reproductions of old-school gents in combat positions, as well as 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.


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