Canonical Bartitsu refers to the training and practice at London's Bartitsu Academy of Arms and Physical Culture from 1899-1902. During the Victorian and early Edwardian eras, the walking stick and parasol were ubiquitous accessories for ladies and gentleman, and these were the "improvised weapons" of their day. Much of what we know about Bartitsu is from Edward Barton-Wright's turn-of-the-century instructional articles in Pearson's Magazine. Neo-Bartisu refers to the ongoing development as practical method of self-defense from a modern approach. The Bartitsu Club of New York City strives to gain a thorough understanding of canonical Bartitsu, although we will also focus on self-defense from a contemporary perspective and will learn to use modern improvised weapons as well.

The following resources are invaluable to the student of Bartitsu and provide many exercises and drills suitable for training solo as well as with a partner.

Canonical Materials
Courtesy of Marcus L. Rowland, Dr. Milo Thurston, and the Linacre School of Self-Defense, Oxford, England
[The New Art of Self Defence]
The New Art of Self Defence
Written by E. W. Barton-Wright and originally published in Pearson's Magazine, March-April 1899. "Of course it is not possible in a short article like this to do complete justice to the subject, or to explain all the manifold ways of encountering or or delivering attacks, but the principle-may be briefly summed up as follows: (1) to disturb the equilibrium of your assailant; (2) to surprise him before he has time to regain his balance and use his strength; (3) if necessary to subject the joints of any part of his body, whether neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, back, knee, ankle, etc., to strains which they are anatomically and mechanically unable to resist. The explanations which follow, with the assistance of the photographs reproduced, will show what a weak man with a knowledge of leverage and balance can do against a stronger man than himself who has not the same knowledge."
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[The Bartitsu: The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes DVD]
Self-Defence With A Walking Stick
Written by E. W. Barton-Wright and originally published in Pearson's Magazine, January-February 1901. "It must be understood that the new art of self-defence with a walking-stick, here introduced for the first time, differs essentially from single-stick or sword-play; for a man may be a champion in the use of sword or single-stick, and yet be quite unable to put a walking-stick to any effective use as a weapon of defence. In order to make a stick a real means of self-defence, it has been necessary to devise a system by which one can guard a blow in such a way as to cause it to slide away from the hand instead of towards it... after some fifteen years of hard work, such a system has been devised by a Swiss professor of arms, M. Vigny. It has recently been assimilated by me into my system of self-defence called "Bartitsu," now taught at my School of Arms and Physical Culture at 67B, Shaftesbury Avenue, London.
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Antique Training Manuals

The Modern Art Of Boxing 1789
The Art and Practice 0f Boxing 1825
The Handbook To Boxing 1840
Boxing and Wrestling 1878
How To Box 1882
The Art of Boxing and Manual of Training 1888
The Straight Left and How To Cultivate It circa 1910
Scientific Boxing 1912
Boxing 1913
Boxing and How To Train 1913
Boxing 1915


Ju Jitsu For Schoolboys circa 1900
Jui Jitsu 1904
Jui Jitsu and Other Methods of Self Defence 1906


The Indian Club Exercise 1866
Calisthenics and Light Gymnastics For Home and School 1888
Home Gymnastics For the Well and The Sick 1889
The Text Book of Club Swinging 1900
Ten Minutes Exercise For Busy Men 1902


How To Protect Life and Property 1835
The Teacher of Sparring 1888
Dorans Science Of Self Defence 1889
Physical Culture and Self Defense 1923
The Walking Stick Method of Self Defence 1923

[The Bartitsu Compendium, Volume 1: History and the Canonical Syllabus]
The Bartitsu Compendium, Volume 1: History and the Canonical Syllabus
The Bartitsu Compendium is a complete guide to the history, theory and practice of Bartitsu, featuring over two hundred and seventy pages of original essays, rare vintage reprints and never-before-seen translations, illustrated with hundreds of fascinating photographs and sketches.
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[The Bartitsu Compendium, Volume II: Antagonistics]
The Bartitsu Compendium, Volume II: Antagonistics
The second volume of the Bartitsu Compendium offers further fascinating insight into the world of "antagonistics" in Edwardian England and features excerpts from Edwardian-era self defence manuals, long-forgotten newspaper and magazine articles on Bartitsu exhibitions and contests; Edwardian-era "physical culture" exercises; profiles, essays and more.
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[The Bartitsu: The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes DVD]
The Bartitsu: The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes DVD
Discover the 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. Through interviews, re-enactment, archival images, and contemporary footage of neo-Bartitsu students, the "lost" martial art is brought to life.
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Study Group Curriculum
>>November 2011 meeting curriculum