“The Game of Bartitsu” (Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, 12 October, 1901)

  • Originally published on the Bartitsu.org site on Sunday, 18th December 2016

In the game of Bartitsu, or Japanese self-defence, the other person tempts you to engage him, and then by apt manipulation deftly twists and twirls you to your mother earth. As you advance upon your opponent he gathers you warmly to his bosom, and, only his foot in your chest, induces you to somersault over his head, and doubt his friendship. Should you stoop to a prostrate man, he throttles or “shoulder locks” you on the instant; while “make but a rush against Othello’s breast,” and he retires, but only to kneel on one knee as he catherine-wheels you with the other.

One of the two Japanese wrestlers brought by Mr. Barton-Wright to exhibit “Bartitsu” at the Empire Theatre also lies on his back, while a man stands on his chest and four others press heavily upon a broomstick laid across his upturned throat. From this position he cleverly escapes by overturning the man from his chest, and slipping his head sideways under the stick in the confusion as he rises impassively to his feet.

The interest in Bartitsu centres in the hope that it may not be too difficult for the average person to acquire for his use in self-defence, so that the battle shall not be always to the strong, and that the Hooligan may fall in haste to arise at leisure but this, unfortunately, seems doubtful. In our issue of March 18th, 1899, we gave some illustrations of the “chips” used by Messrs. Uyenishi and Tani during their performance.

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