Further Guard Positions in Vigny Stick Fighting

  • Originally published on the Bartitsu.org site on Wednesday, 2nd March 2016

These illustrations of various guard positions in the Vigny walking stick system were reproduced in several US newspapers during August of 1904.  This sequence from the Detroit Free Press (August 28, 1904) is the best-quality rendition of the illustrations yet discovered; it is believed that they were copied from a series of actual photographs of Vigny that may have appeared in an article from the Daily Mail newspaper.

Vigny guards

The captions read:

1) Ready to give a good sweeping blow. The stick is lifted well to the back of the head, and the chest thrown back.
2) In this posture a blow is delivered from the shoulder, or as an alternative the small end of the weapon may be used as a dagger.
3) When both hands are used to impart additional strength to the blow, and the user is proficient in ambidexterity, the stick can be twisted, and a blow delivered in almost any direction.
4) When surrounded by two or three antagonists, this is one of the most advantageous methods to adopt, it being possible to deliver blows from back to front and from front to back with tremendous rapidity and force.

The guard positions emphasise the flexibility and diversity of the Vigny method of stick fighting, representing further variations on the three “standard” tactical guards that predominate in Barton-Wright’s Pearson’s Magazine article series and in The Walking Stick Method of Self Defence (1923).

The first illustration was clearly modelled upon the central of these three photographs, which were used to illustrate a 1901 article on the Bartitsu Club published in The Sketch magazine.

Sketch 1901

This photo may well represent one of the original series; unfortunately, the photos that were used to model the other three illustrations have not yet been discovered.

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