“New Methods of Self-Defence” (1906)

  • Originally published on the Bartitsu.org site on Saturday, 17th June 2017

For almost all practical purposes, Bartitsu – as a defined combination of martial arts and combat sport styles – ceased to exist after the closure of the Bartitsu School of Arms in early 1902.  Sadakazu Uyenishi, Yukio Tani and Armand Cherpillod continued their successes as music hall challenge wrestlers; both Uyenishi and Tani also opened up their own jiujitsu dojo, while Cherpillod became instrumental in introducing Japanese unarmed combat to the European continent.

Thus, E.W. Barton-Wright’s experiment in self-defence cross-training became fragmented.  Of all of the former Bartitsu Club instructors, however, Pierre Vigny came closest to perpetuating Barton-Wright’s ideals via Vigny’s “Combined System”, described in the following article from The Sportsman of 8 October 1906.  Although frustratingly little is known about the details of Vigny’s system, it clearly included jiujitsu as well as boxing/savate, fencing and his proprietary method of stick fighting; albeit that the jiujitsu content appears to have been de-emphasised in comparison with Barton-Wright’s approach.

At about the same time, self-defence specialist Percy Longhurst published the first edition of his book Jiujitsu and Other Methods of Self Defence, which is certainly the closest thing to a “Bartitsu manual” to have been written in English during the early 20th century.

Uniquely, the Sportsman article also refers to a challenge by Vigny to pit his system against jiujitsu, although there seems to be no record of that challenge being taken up.

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