bartitsu society martial art for

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Bartitsu Society… a martial art for Steampunk!

It might be safe to say that anyone familiar with any depth into the Sherlock Holmes (including the most recent film endeavors), are somewhat aware of Bartitsu, the martial art that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced in his works.  What one might not know it is undergoing a revival, with classes of Bartitsu and Neo-Bartitsu (similar to the classic form, but with elements of Chinese boxing, classic sword fighting techniques, and Brazilian Jujitsu as part of it – per its Wikipedia entry).  In addition, its has its own homepage – the Bartitsu Society (as one can see above), which is chock-full of excellent reading and supplemental writings regarding this martial form.

I’ve been quite keen about learning more (contrary to my painful classes practicing saber fencing), so if this happens to pique your interest, and as any Steampunk gentleman would certainly be up to the task of standing up for his or a companion’s honor (or simply dealing with ruffians), do take a visit to their online locale!  It has a very in-depth library of articles (since 2008!), and is likely to devour a good bit of time… so make oneself comfortable  and take a jaunt to:

A documentary on Bartitsu, by the Bartitsu Society

For more information, please visit:

The Art of Manliness article on Bartitsu, at:
More regarding “Canonical Bartitsu” versus “Neo-Bartitsu”:
… and a plethora of Bartitsu videos on the the Bartitsu Society’s YouTube channel, at:


Tony Wolf


thanks for the plugs. Im the principal author of the articles and have been heavily involved in the arts revival since 2002.

Just a couple of pedantic notes in the interests of accuracy …

The quote regarding neo-Bartitsu including Chinese boxing, Brazilian jujitsu etc. is from an interview with Richard Ryan, the "Sherlock Holmes" movie fight choreographer. He was explaining the inspirations of his fight choreography for that project, rather than what is actually practiced under the neo-Bartitsu banner. For your reference, the interview is available on the site (search for "Richard Ryan").

Neo-Bartitsu generally draws from the canonical material produced by Barton-Wright, supplemented by boxing, jujitsu, kicking and stick fighting techniques later popularised by his associates and their students.

On a similar theme, there is no question of canonical vs. neo approaches to the Bartitsu revival; that was an erroneous inference made by the author of the article. In reality, the revival includes both approaches, the canonical (c1900) material providing a base for the neo (modern) effort.


@ Mr. Wolf – Thank you for the clarifications, & most certainly look forward to visiting in the future, sir!