“Baritsu” in “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”

  • Originally published on the Bartitsu.org site on Wednesday, 13th July 2011

The brand-new first trailer for the upcoming action/comedy/mystery Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows promises plenty of baritsu action!

Baritsu is, of course, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s rendering of Bartitsu, as famously featured in The Adventure of the Empty House and (indirectly) in The Adventure of the Final Problem. It was the means by which Sherlock Holmes threw his arch-enemy, Professor Moriarty, to his death from the brink of Reichenbach Falls, and has subsequently been incorporated into numerous Holmes-themed pastiche novels, comic books, cartoons and games. Doyle probably copied the term “baritsu” verbatim from a London Times report on a Bartitsu demonstration, which contained the same misspelling.

Although Holmes’ baritsu is not identical to E.W. Barton-Wright’s Bartitsu, the new trailer showcases Holmes’ martial arts skills, which were also highlighted in Sherlock Holmes (2009) (you can read our exclusive interview with fight choreographer Richard Ryan here).

Holmes is shown deftly defeating an assassin via crook-handled umbrella as well as executing a variety of boxing punches, elbow strikes, kicks, shuto (knife-hand) strikes and a clean jujitsu throw. Tantalisingly, he appears briefly to be pulling off some kind of protective mask while wearing a padded fencing jacket and wielding a stout cane. And, although it isn’t shown in this preview trailer, we can confidently anticipate a climactic baritsu showdown between Holmes and Moriarty at Reichenbach …

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