[Struggle at Reichenbach Falls]
"We tottered together upon the brink of the fall. I have some knowledge, however, of baritsu, or the Japanese system of wrestling, which has more than once been very useful to me. I slipped through his grip, and he with a horrible scream kicked madly for a few seconds, and clawed the air with both his hands. But for all his efforts he could not get his balance, and over he went." - Sherlock Holmes in "The Empty House"

[straight left]
"The next few minutes were delicious. It was a straight left against a slogging ruffian. I emerged as you see me. Mr. Woodley went home in a cart." - Sherlock Holmes in "The Solitary Cyclist."

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Learn to fight like Sherlock Holmes! London's Bartitsu Club was all the rage in 1899, but only recently has this lost martial art been rediscovered. Learn the "gentlemanly art of self-defense" at our seminars and training sessions.

  •    No martial arts experience required
  •    Suitable for all fitness levels
  •    Learn to use a walking stick, parasol, jacket, and other accessories for protection
  •    A study in self-defense and in history

The Club meets periodically for Bartitsu training consisting of Vigny cane, savate, 'scientific' pugilism/fisticuffs, and Ju Jutsu.

Curriculum includes canonical Bartitsu from turn-of-the-century instructional articles published by Bartitsu's founder, Edward William Barton-Wright, as well historic and antique training manuals of the era. Neo-Bartitsu is also explored.

Classes are led by our elected curriculum leader Jesse Barnick, who has been training in various martial arts since 1986 and teaching since 1996, or by our director, Rachel Klingberg, who founded the Club in 2011. Historical combat expert Professor Mark P. Donnelly, whose July 2011 Bartitsu seminars in New York City helped to launch the group, has kindly agreed to advise us via e-mail, telephone, and Skype, and visits regularly to teach weekend Bartitsu seminars in the city. To join our study in self-defense and history, you may simply come to our next seminar, training session, or other event.

For more information, contact bartitsu@nycsteampunk.com. Read about us in the media, and find us on Facebook at facebook.com/nycbartitsu

Training Sessions

Ken Wa Karate is generously helping us to revive the lost martial art of Bartitsu, and some of our training sessions are held at their dojo at 4 West 18th Street. When you arrive at the dojo, please do the following:

  1.     Step onto the training floor, or else remove your shoes until you reach the training floor. No shoes anywhere in the dojo except in the entry corridor and on training floor, including locker rooms, bathrooms, water cooler, etc.
  2.     Sign the SFMAI waiver if you are new, and if you are new to the Bartitsu Club of NYC, sign our waiver as well (additional waivers required for seminars with visiting instructors)
  3.     For Sunday classes sessions, pay your tuition of $20 (cash only). For seminars, tickets are required (via advance registration or at-the-door purchase)

Since we do not have a Bartitsu instructor residing in New York City, the study group sessions are led by elected curriculum tutor Jesse Barnick. Historical combat expert Professor Mark P. Donnelly, whose July 2011 Bartitsu seminars in New York City helped to launch the group, regularly returns to NYC to teach our seminars, and has kindly agreed to advise us via e-mail, telephone, and Skype.

Note that 50% of student tuition compensates our instructors while the other 50% goes to our host dojo, The Society For Martial Arts Instruction (SMFAI), a kick butt not-for-profit 501c organization committed to empowering people of all ages through the knowledge and practice of martial arts and somatic movement sciences. If you cannot afford the tuition, please write to bartitsu@nycsteampunk.com and explain your financial challenges; your e-mail will be kept confidential and we may be able to come to an arrangement for dedicated practitioners.

Curriculum may include any of the following:

  •    Intros, warm-up with Victorian/Edwardian calisthetics, pugilism shadow boxing with attention to proper form and structure
  •    Savate kicks, coup de pied bas
  •    Safe falling, Ju Jutsu locks and defense against grabs, "How to Put a Troublesome Man Out of the Room", grabs to wrists, coat lapels, etc.
  •    Parasol defense, bayonetting with parasol, locking with cane or parasol, drills from "Self Defence with a Parasol" 1901 article
  •    Cool-down and debriefing


We have been on hiatus due to the lockdown, but are planning to resume classes in 2023.
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The Bartitsu Club of NYC in the New York Times [Bartitsu: The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes]
"Regilding the Gilded Age in New York", New York Times, March 1, 2015 print article

[Bartitsu: The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes]
Professor Donnelly and the Bartitsu Club of NYC on the cover of the Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2013
>> article and video report
>> scan of print article