The Bartitsu School of Arms: London 2011

  • Originally published on the site on Wednesday, 25th May 2011

Announcing the first international Bartitsu symposium, to take place in the great city of London, England, U.K. between August 26 and 28, 2011.

The 2011 Bartitsu School of Arms is a boutique symposium sponsored by the Linacre School of Defence. The event is strictly limited to 25 participants aged 18 years and older.

  1. Premise
  2. Training
  3. Schedule
  4. Location and venue
  5. Nights at the Sherlock Holmes
  6. Prerequisites
  7. Please bring:
  8. Local accommodation options
  9. Certificates of participation
  10. Registration


To preserve and extend the pioneering martial arts cross-training experiments begun by E. W. Barton-Wright at the original Bartitsu School of Arms and Physical Culture, circa 1901:

Under Bartitsu is included boxing, or the use of the fist as a hitting medium, the use of the feet both in an offensive and defensive sense, the use of the walking stick as a means of self-defence. Judo and jujitsu, which were secret styles of Japanese wrestling, he would call close play as applied to self-defence.

In order to ensure as far as it was possible immunity against injury in cowardly attacks or quarrels, they must understand boxing in order to thoroughly appreciate the danger and rapidity of a well-directed blow, and the particular parts of the body which were scientifically attacked. The same, of course, applied to the use of the foot or the stick.

Judo and jujitsu were not designed as primary means of attack and defence against a boxer or a man who kicks you, but were only to be used after coming to close quarters, and in order to get to close quarters it was absolutely necessary to understand boxing and the use of the foot.

– E.W. Barton-Wright, lecture for the Japan Society of London, 1902


Participants will experience an intense and immersive two days of training with fellow enthusiasts, guided by a team of Bartitsu instructors and inspired by the cross-training/circuit training model of Barton-Wright’s School of Arms:

In one corner is M. Vigny, the World’s Champion with the single-stick: the Champion who is the acknowledged master of savate trains his pupils in another … he leads you gently on with gloves and single-stick, through the mazes of the arts, until, at last, with your trained eye and supple muscles, no unskilled brute force can put you out, literally or metaphorically.

In another part of the Club are more Champions, this time from far Japan (who) will teach you once more of how little you know of the muscles that keep you perpendicular, and of the startling effects of sudden leverage properly applied …

… when you have mastered the various branches of the work done at the Club, which includes a system of physical drill taught by another Champion, this time from Switzerland, the world is before you, even though a “Hooligan” may be behind you …

– “S.L.B.” in the article “Defence Against ‘Hooligans’: Bartitsu Methods in London”, from The Sketch, April 10, 1901

The 2011 School of Arms will be a “combat laboratory” with participants collaborating as martial athletes, historical scholars and research analysts. Our days will include whole-group training sessions as well as skills-based circuit training and breakout groups concentrating on particular areas of interest. Some cross-training sessions will be team-taught by instructors and others will involve peer-to-peer work.

Confirmed instructors and subjects to date (August 4th) include:

Tony Wolf (New Zealand/USA) will be running sessions in combat tactics/biomechanics across each of the skill-sets; twist and segue drills (building upon the stylised canonical Bartitsu sequences through progressive levels of improvisation and resistance as a bridge between set-plays and free-sparring) and c1900 physical culture conditioning exercises.

James Marwood (UK) will focus on practical applications of Bartitsu principles, specifically the use of boxing/pugilism and jujitsu atemi-waza and grappling to deal with assaults. Working from the premise that such an assault will be a surprise, James will show that the base arts and principles of Bartitsu can be applied to vastly increase one’s chance of a successful outcome.

Allen Reed (USA) will concentrate on canonical jujitsu sequences and counters to those sequences arising from resistance by the opponent.

George Stokoe (UK) will teach a special class in tactical low kicking techniques.

Stefan Dieke (Germany) will teach “La Canne Vigny through the eyes of a swordsman: another look at ‘Self defence with a walking stick’”. Structured along swordfighting tactics, this class will revisit a number of key sequences and their variations from Barton-Wright’s Self Defence with a Walking Stick article, paying special attention to distance and time according to fencing theory.

Friday, August 26: dinner, orientation and socialising from 7.00 p.m. onwards in the back bar of the Salisbury pub (90 Saint Martin’s Lane). Built in 1892, the Salisbury is about a six minute walk from the Shaftesbury Avenue site of the original Bartitsu Club. Who knows, perhaps Barton-Wright and his colleagues used to frequent it …

Saturday, August 27: training at the School of Arms venue 9.00 a.m.-12.30 p.m., 1 1/4 hour lunch break, training 1.45 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.; reconvene for dinner, discussions and socialising at the Sherlock Holmes pub and restaurant (10-11 Northumberland Street, Westminster, London WC2N 5DB – see further info. below) from 7.00 p.m. onwards

Sunday, August 28: training at the School of Arms venue 9.00 a.m.-12.30 p.m., 1 1/4 hour lunch break, training 1.45 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.; closing, presentation of certificates, group photos and farewells; another night at the Sherlock Holmes for participants whose schedules allow it.

Note that the following day, Monday August 29th, is the Summer Bank Holiday in the U.K. School of Arms participants may wish to stay in London to enjoy the local festivities, including the world-famous Notting Hill Carnival. For other events and attractions in London during August please see this website.

Location and venue

… a huge subterranean hall, all glittering, white-tiled walls, and electric light, with ‘champions’ prowling around it like tigers …

 journalist Mary Nugent, describing the original Bartitsu Club in her article “Barton-Wright and his Japanese Wrestlers” for Sandow’s Magazine of Physical Culture, January 1901.

The 2011 School of Arms venue is a historic and atmospheric Victorian-era building on the South Bank of the River Thames:

This unique facility is adjacent to the Guy’s Hospital complex, which hosted one of E.W. Barton-Wright’s Bartitsu exhibitions in the year 1900.

Please click here to view a fully interactive map of the local area, with the School of Arms venue highlighted. You can also use this map to check routes to and from the venue and accommodation/entertainment options, etc.

Nights at the Sherlock Holmes

I have some knowledge, however, of baritsu …

– Sherlock Holmes on his defeat of Professor Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls

After a challenging day of cross-training in Victorian-era martial arts and combat sports, what better way to relax than at the Sherlock Holmes pub and restaurant?

The Sherlock Holmes is a short trip by tube from the School of Arms venue. Here you will enjoy traditional English meals, socialising and discussing matters Bartitsuvian with your colleagues.

We suggest that you budget for £15.00 (€17.00, US$25.00) per main course and dessert at the Sherlock Holmes restaurant. The average price of a glass of beer in a London pub is £2.24 (€2.05, US$3.06).


In order to ensure good progress for the whole group throughout the symposium, certain technical skills are required as prerequisites of participation. These include:

* basic ukemi (breakfalling) – you must be able to comfortably and safely fall backwards and/or sideways in both directions from a standing start, as shown here:

* basic boxing – you must be able to comfortably and safely punch a hand-held, padded striking target with either fist

* fitness – this will be a physically intense event and you should be in good general physical condition. We will be active all day, each day. People with significant physical challenges should contact the organisers for advice before committing to attending the event.

* canonical Bartitsu sequences – you will require a working knowledge of the formal unarmed combat and stick fighting sequences detailed by E.W. Barton-Wright in his four-part article series, “The New Art of Self Defence” and “Self Defence with a Walking Stick”. Barton-Wright’s articles are reproduced in Volume 1 of the Bartitsu Compendium and are also available online here. These formal sequences will be used as conceptual platforms for neo-Bartitsu training at the School of Arms.

Please bring:

* A large, full water or sports drink bottle – please note that water is not easily available at the venue
* Comfortable exercise clothing
* A sturdy crook-handled walking stick and/or strong (hardwood) dowel approximately 36″ in length, with any sharp edges smoothed away

Fencing masks, gi jackets, boxing gloves, mouth guards, additional body protection (knee/shin pads, groin guards, etc.) are not required but will be welcome if you can bring them. A limited number of rattan canes will be available for sparring purposes.

Local accommodation options

Note that participants are responsible for booking and paying for their own accommodation; this expense is not included in the 2011 School of Arms registration fee.

St Christopher’s Village Hostel and the nearby St. Christopher’s Inn Hostel are both within a ten-minute walk or three minute car/cab journey from the School of Arms venue. Both hostels offer low-cost, few-frills accommodation with the options of private or dorm-style rooms, plus breakfast.

The 5-star London Bridge Hotel and 4-star London Southwalk Rose Hotel are also within a ten-minute walk of the School of Arms venue.

Numerous other London accommodation options are available via this site.

Certificates of participation

Each participant in the 2011 School of Arms will receive a handsome certificate as a memento of their time at this historic event.


The registration fee for the event is £80.00 (€90.08, US$129.00). You can register and pay online (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and PayPal) via this link:

Registration for single days (£40.00) should be sent via PayPal to , clearly noting whether you are booking for Saturday or Sunday training. Payments on the day, at the door are possible, but it is crucial in these cases to make advance contact via to ensure that there will be a free space.

Please note that your registration fee goes towards operational expenses associated with running the School of Arms. Participants are responsible for booking and paying for their own accommodation and for buying their own meals and drinks.

We hope to see you soon in London!

This entry was posted in Antagonistics, Bartitsu School of Arms, Boxing, Canonical Bartitsu, Instruction, Jiujitsu, Physical Culture, Savate, Vigny stick fighting. Bookmark the permalink.