“Self-Defence as a Fine Art” (London Daily News, 29 October, 1902)

  • Originally published on the Bartitsu.org site on Tuesday, 11th October 2016

Last night, his School Arms at 18, Berners-street, Professor Pierre Vigny gave a striking exhibition of the possibilities self-defence afforded by a simple walking-stick. In these days, when the papers are full of “Hooligan” outrages, some such easy form protection may be considered almost necessary for late wayfarers.


Holding a malacca cane by one hand at each end, the Professor calmly awaited the onslaught of a skilled opponent with a similar stick. The spectator never knew which hand was deal the blow, the released end moving with lightning speed, and a short hold was taken, that the assailant, in guarding against an impending blow, often found himself instead hammered or prodded with the butt.

Then came an exhibition of stick swinging by which every part of the body was protected on all sides. With perpetual loud hum the cane made circles, in front and behind, so that no-one could reach within the guard without instantly receiving a blow that would splinter any bone to pieces.

After this the Professor showed the spectators how to take knife or dagger from an advancing assailant. It looked so simple that one had to be assured that the trick really wanted learning.

Vigny knife-pistol defence

And then, with the amateur heavy-weight champion, Mr. Frank Parkes, the Professor showed his skill in boxing and the French system of boxing with both hands and feet, “la savate.” With a sprinkling of people about, who had learned Professor Vigny’s system, the Hooligan would find his occupation gone.

Vigny demonstrates savate in Bartitsu Club
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