“Fencing and Bartitsu at the Bath Club” (Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, March 18, 1899)

  • Originally published on the Bartitsu.org site on Friday, 15th April 2016

On Thursday, the 9th inst., “ladies’ night”, an amusing and instructive evening was spent by the members and their friends, gathered in considerable numbers. The first part of the entertainment consisted of an exhibition, under the management of Captain A. Hutton, of Elizabethan methods of sword–play and fencing. It is unnecessary to state that this was admirable in every way, the most taking items being the Two-Handed Sword contest between Messrs. E. Stenson Cook, L.R.B., and W.P. Gate, L.R.B.; Rapier and Dagger, between Captain A. Hutton and Mr. W. H. Grenfell; and Rapier and Cloak. Mr. E. Campbell–Muir was indisposed, and unable to give his exhibition of trick–riding; and in order that the audience might not lack amusement, Mr. W. Henry, of the Life Saving Society, probably our best exponent of ornamental swimming, gave a very fine exhibition of the art. Miss Lewin afterwards also gave a good display of swimming and diving.

The last and most novel feature of the program was Mr. E. W. Barton–Wright’s exhibition of the new mode of self–defence, which he has named “Bartitsu.” It was therefore a considerable disappointment to all present when they learned that Mr. Barton–Wright, and his friend who was to assist him in his exposition, were both suffering from damages of a more or lasts serious character, sustained in a cab accident that they had been in the night before. However, Mr. Barton–Wright, though damaged, came forward, and showed some of his “chips,” as wrestlers style them.

Although unable to speak from experience, we must confess to being a good deal impressed by some of his methods. The manner in which he showed how to receive the attack of a heavier and more powerful man, grappling him by the throat or shoulders, was very striking. He gave way, and dropped on his back, drawing his opponent with him, and while holding to his adversary he applied leverage by means of his foot placed on the body of his assailant, causing him to turn a complete somersault, so that he fell at full-length upon his back. The illustration number three shows this.

Another method for holding an opponent on the ground so that he shall be unable to rise, is shown in number four, and a means of leading a refractory and unwilling person from a room is number five. This last is somewhat of an old friend we remember having practiced on ourselves at school, although the hold was not quite taken in the same way. On the whole, it seems as though there were a good deal in Mr. Barton–Wright’s methods, and, unquestionably, as applied by him, they are most formidable. It would be interesting to see him opposed to a really high–class, catch–as–catch–can wrestler, as giving a distinct line for arriving at a judgment as to the value of Bartitsu.

Bath Club 1
Bath Club 2
Bath Club 3
Bath Club 4
Bath Club 5
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