Baritsu is the fighting art recently featured in the new Sherlock Holmes movie starring Robert Downey Jr. Bartitsu is named after it’s founder Edward Barton-Wright who created the style as a method of self defense in the 1800s. It was popularized in London, England as the gentleman’s fighting style against street hooligans. Bartitsu could possible be considered one of the first types of MMA which combines techniques from boxing, cane or stick fighting, Savate ( a French kicking style) and wrestling from Judo and Jujitsu. Edward Wright develop this form after his many travels and training with masters from around the world including Japan. Even more revolutionary was that Bartitsu was one of the first fighting or martial arts to be taught to women.
So what happened to Bartitsu and why haven’t most people heard about it? Unfortunately Edward closed the doors to his training center in 1903 due to lack of attendance and the fact that many of his instructors abandoned him to start their own schools. After that knowledge of Bartitsu was diminished by many of it’s instructors and practitioners dying off during the first world war.
Knowledge of the art has been carried on through the International Bartitsu Society. Today Bartitsu is being revived and taught around the world from Russia to the USA. One upcoming seminar taught by Tony Wolf will be held at the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts in Seattle on March 6th 2010. Tony Wolf has been a martial art instructor, professional wrestler and fight director/ stunt coordinator for many films. Details of more upcoming seminars and training events can be found on the society’s website.
Troy is the Head of Online Content at The MMA Zone – Your Taekwondo Uniforms supplier.