“Bartitsu: the Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes” Documentary

  • Originally published on the Bartitsu.org site on Monday, 9th September 2013

Bartitsu: the Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes is the first and only feature documentary on Bartitsu, the “gentlemanly art of self defence”.

At the end of the Victorian era, E.W. Barton-Wright founded Bartitsu as a pioneering “mixed martial art” combining jiujitsu, kickboxing and self defence with a walking stick. It was also the means by which Sherlock Holmes was said to have defeated his arch-nemesis, the evil Professor Moriarty, in their famous battle at Reichenbach Waterfall.

This groundbreaking documentary was shot on location in Italy, Switzerland, England and the USA. Through numerous interviews, animations, re-enactment sequences, rare archival film footage and historical images, it explores the history, rediscovery and modern revival of Bartitsu.


(…) reveals an exciting world of Victorian ruffians, garroting panics, militant suffragettes, and physical culture, as well as the colorful life of Bartitsu’s founder Edward Barton-Wright … music by the steampunk band Abney Park creates a moody atmosphere of Victorian danger, excitement, and heroics. Through interviews, re-enactment, archival images, and contemporary footage of neo-Bartitsu students, the “lost” martial art is brought to life.

– Rachel Klingberg

Here’s the problem – what to do when you love a good punch up, but public brawling is incompatible with your image as an amenable, if damp-stained, man of letters? The answer is “Bartitsu,” a nineteenth-century martial art developed specifically to transform the upright classes into killing machines, and whose unusual history has been revealed in an excellent new documentary …

– Andrew McConnell Stott

Sleek and engaging … fascinating … a superbly watchable piece of martial arts history …

– Bullshido.net martial arts movie reviews

Further information/how to order

Please visit the Freelance Academy Press website to view a photo gallery, read an article about Bartitsu and the documentary production, and to place your DVD order.

Copies of the DVD may also be ordered from Amazon.com.

This entry was posted in Biography, Canonical Bartitsu, Documentary, E. W. Barton-Wright, Reviews, Sherlock Holmes, Video. Bookmark the permalink.