Bartitsu (from the Daily Express, June 16, 1900)

  • Originally published on the site on Friday, 10th December 2010


Some of my readers may have been present at the very interesting exhibition of bartitsu given last summer by the well-known athlete, Mr. Barton-Wright. Since then the apostle of this most useful form of self defence has been striving to force his pastime to the front, and so successful have his efforts proved that in several of our leading schools the “game” has already been regularly adopted.

Briefly, bartitsu is a form of self-defence in which the only weapon employed is a common walking stick, preferably a malacca-cane. The theory of bartitsu is based upon the theory of fencing and of single-stick in combination with just a suspicion of the “savate.”
The work is done almost entirely with the wrists, the hands being used alternately.

Perhaps the most fascinating stroke of all is a sort of “forward backhander,” if I may so describe it, the cane being suddenly brought down to “guard.” and then unexpectedly swung back over the shoulder.

It is not to be wondered that so practical a form of self-defence should be appealing to many of our athletes, and when it becomes more generally known it will, in all probability, secure a large following.

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