Vancouver Bartitsu Seminars Report

  • Originally published on the site on Monday, 29th March 2010

A report from Devon Boorman of the Academie Duello in Vancouver, Canada, detailing the recent Bartitsu seminars held there:

Day 1

This weekend’s Bartitsu seminar, lead by Tony Wolf, started up today and I must report it’s been a lot of fun and a good and thorough mental and physical workout.

The workshop started with Tony setting the stage with a short lecture on the life and times of Barton-Wright and where our historical basis from the art has been unearthed. From there we got on our feet and began to explore the underpinning arts of the system.

First we started with bare knuckle boxing entries, basic attacks, and plays from the inside or clinch. After that we played with some of the low line kicks employed to destabilize the opponent.

As Bartitsu uses boxing techniques to facilitate entry into throws and holds, this first section lead well into jujitsu. We explored several take downs and then worked on combining the bare knuckled and jujitsu techniques together.

The final conclusion of the day was the cane fighting everyone had been looking forward to. We explored many of the techniques found in the turn of the century Pearson’s Magazine article, where Bartitsu was first revealed to the broader public. We then worked on blending these with the boxing and jujitsu from earlier in the day in many cases abandoning the cane altogether to employ boxing techniques or jujitsu submissions.

One if the aspects I enjoyed most was the method of full contact flow exercises Tony employed to help us explore the principles of the art. We would start with a given technique and then have our opponent foil it in some way such as throwing an unexpected attack or seizing our cane, etc. We would then have to flow into an alternate technique, or several, to complete the goal of destabilizing and submitting our opponent. This really helped us not get stuck trying to force a given technique and instead allowed us to explore how all the techniques support one another.

From having done a fair bit of exploration into Bartitsu and boxing before, this approach offered some real added value and insight. Thanks Tony! Looking forward to day 2!

Day 2

Day 2 of the Bartitsu workshop commenced this morning at 10am and was definitely a full day at 7 hours of instruction with a 1 hour lunch break in the middle. Today we explored each aspect of the Bartitsu system, again blending any given canonical technique from the manuals
with the principals and various forms of the art, i.e. boxing, jujitsu and cane fighting.

Tony did an excellent job of demonstrating various routes that a given technique might take if it were foiled by an opponent and then emphasizing the creative exploration of principles through free form flow exercises.

Some of the highlights today included using the cane in two hands, both bayonet style but also in a doubled grip at the base (like a sword). We used it thus to face large clubs or longer ranged weapons, but then through the flow exercises we frequently abandoned our cane to enter into boxing and jujitsu.

Another highlight of the day was working on submission techniques and many different forms of belaboring the opponent to end a particular engagement. This allowed us to get very close to sparring and conclusion while staying within the system itself.

All in all this was a terrific workshop and I think we’re already looking forward to having Tony back. For our part we’re going to be starting up a regular Bartitsu club as part of our offerings at Duello so we can continue to explore Bartitsu and share it with those who weren’t able to make it out to Tony’s visit this time around.

Thanks Tony and thanks to everyone who came out and made his visit possible!

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