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  1. ty5 is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/19/2011 12:50pm


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    Thanks for the links, they are very intersting. There always will be differences of opinon in this area, simply because Conan Doyle developed the Holmes character throughout the stories, from boxing, single stick and fencing references in the early works to Bartitsu in the story we are talking about.

    I suppose one way to look at it is what was in Conan Doyles mind when he wrote the strories, in the early ones it was most likely that he thought of Holmes practisting boxing, single stick etc as seperate martial arts (as many did in Victorian England) and that the Bartitsu reference was just intended to explain the wrestling aspect, rather than Bartitsu meaning a encompassing art including boxing, single stick etc that Holmes practised, as Conan Doyle made no further references to Bartitsu.

    Though it is good that Conan Doyle did include Bartitsu, because as you say it was the catalyst for the modern intertest in Bartitsu, though this seems to conincide with the general increase in interest in historical western martial arts in general though.
  2. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/19/2011 1:20pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by ty5 View Post
    Thanks for the links, they are very intersting. There always will be differences of opinon in this area, simply because Conan Doyle developed the Holmes character throughout the stories, from boxing, single stick and fencing references in the early works to Bartitsu in the story we are talking about.
    Conan Doyle wasn't hugely concerned about continuity and certainly wasn't above forgetting or randomly changing details from story to story (like the way Dr. Watson's old war injury mysteriously shifted from his shoulder to his leg).

    I suppose one way to look at it is what was in Conan Doyles mind when he wrote the strories, in the early ones it was most likely that he thought of Holmes practisting boxing, single stick etc as seperate martial arts (as many did in Victorian England) and that the Bartitsu reference was just intended to explain the wrestling aspect, rather than Bartitsu meaning a encompassing art including boxing, single stick etc that Holmes practised, as Conan Doyle made no further references to Bartitsu.
    The problem with discussing Doyle and Holmes is that we're talking at two levels; what actually happened historically on the one hand, and fictional continuity on the other.

    Historically, there's no doubt that he wrote of Holmes' proficiency in boxing and singlestick fighting (and, later, baritsu) as those proficiencies became useful plot devices in various stories; Bartitsu hadn't even been founded at the time Doyle wrote the pre-1898 stories. Again, the chances are very high that Doyle literally did just copy the baritsu reference (typo included) from a London Times newspaper article, and that he actually knew almost nothing about Bartitsu.

    Fictionally, since Holmes said that his knowledge of baritsu had "more than once been very useful (to him)", that can be read as meaning that baritsu was a direct analog of Bartitsu and thus included boxing and stick fighting as well as "Japanese wrestling", or that he had used baritsu in other, unrecorded adventures. The authors of modern Sherlock Holmes pastiche stories frequently elaborate his knowledge of baritsu in various ways. It's all part of the fun of "playing the game", which is how Holmes enthusiasts describe the pastime of pretending that Holmes was a real person and coming up with ingenious explanations for Doyle's various continuity errors, obscure references and so-on.

    Though it is good that Conan Doyle did include Bartitsu, because as you say it was the catalyst for the modern intertest in Bartitsu, though this seems to conincide with the general increase in interest in historical western martial arts in general though.
    It definitely does; most of the first generation of modern Bartitsu researchers and practitioners were also involved in reviving other historical Western martial arts. The second generation is coming in from a wide variety of martial arts and combat sports (and Steampunk!)
  3. ty5 is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/19/2011 1:37pm


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    It's all part of the fun of "playing the game", which is how Holmes enthusiasts describe the pastime of pretending that Holmes was a real person and coming up with ingenious explanations for Doyle's various continuity errors, obscure references and so-on.
    I think this is definitely one of those situations, given all the information we have gone over, in fact if I was going to get really geeky about it (which is pretty easy for me, as I am a bit of a Sherlock Holmes nerd), I would put the timeline as Holmes studying boxing, single stick and fencing as a young man and then when Barton-Wright established his academy a person with Holmes interests would naturally have checked it out, as most martial artist likes to try out something new.
  4. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/19/2011 1:43pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by ty5 View Post
    I think this is definitely one of those situations, given all the information we have gone over, in fact if I was going to get really geeky about it (which is pretty easy for me, as I am a bit of a Sherlock Holmes nerd), I would put the timeline as Holmes studying boxing, single stick and fencing as a young man and then when Barton-Wright established his academy a person with Holmes interests would naturally have checked it out, as most martial artist likes to try out something new.
    Unfortunately that doesn't work chronologically; even though Doyle wrote "The Adventure of the Empty House" after Bartitsu had been founded, it was set a number of years before E.W. Barton-Wright returned to England from Japan. Various Holmesian scholars have come up with different "in-game" explanations for the anachronism.
  5. doofaloofa is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/19/2011 1:44pm

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    Have you any info on the British Military hand to hand and melee weapon training of the Holmes era?
  6. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/19/2011 1:47pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by doofaloofa View Post
    Have you any info on the British Military hand to hand and melee weapon training of the Holmes era?
    Plenty - what would you like to know?
  7. ty5 is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/19/2011 1:51pm


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    Quote Originally Posted by DdlR View Post
    Unfortunately that doesn't work chronologically; even though Doyle wrote "The Adventure of the Empty House" after Bartitsu had been founded, it was set a number of years before E.W. Barton-Wright returned to England from Japan. Various Holmesian scholars have come up with different "in-game" explanations for the anachronism.
    Ah I see, I think I will read up on those at some point.
  8. doofaloofa is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/19/2011 4:06pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by DdlR View Post
    Plenty - what would you like to know?
    Did they have a 'sytem', or was it ad hoc? Differences between common Infantry Man and officer class, stuff like that
    Bung us a few links to get me started

    Thanks ;)
  9. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/19/2011 10:21pm

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    It's hard to generalize about British Army hand to hand/melee training during the 19th century because policies changed throughout the period. By and large, certainly in the early parts of the 1800s, the official conception of warfare was "our chaps over here, their chaps over there, mass artillery fire, advance, repeat until many dead". There wasn't much perceived need for, nor official interest in detailed, time consuming close combat training. Basic Army training per se tended towards marching drills, shooting drills and so-on.

    If I was to generalize, though, I'd tie the development of more sophisticated close combat systems and training to three and a half major factors:

    1) increasing military action (especially guerilla warfare, etc.) between British troops in "the Colonies" and the well-trained warriors of various native cultures (Afridi, Zulu, Maori et al), which the generally ill-trained British soldiers often lost, leading to:

    2) the establishment of the Grand Assault at Arms, which were regular, large-scale tournaments in melee and close-combat skills including both bayonet and sword fencing in different combinations, various forms of mounted combat (with lances, etc.), instituted to encourage officers, especially, to take close combat training seriously, and:

    3) the increasing sophistication and resources offered to the British Army Physical Training Corps, based at Aldershot Camp, which eventually produced generations of highly trained military instructors in fencing, boxing, quarterstaff (!), wrestling, gymnastics and related skills.

    The remaining 1/2 stands for the efforts by Captain Alfred Hutton during the late 1800s to drastically improve Army saber combat training via an infusion of techniques from historically earlier fighting styles, especially George Silver's system. Hutton was a passionate historical fencing revivalist and was also an instructor at the Bartitsu Club. In retrospect, his proposed system almost certainly would have been a much more realistic and effective method of sword fighting than the Army was offering at the time, but the brass never accepted it.

    After WW1, military swordplay was almost completely relegated to sport and ceremony and hand-to-hand combat training concentrated on boxing (for general fitness and aggression) and a stripped down method of rifle-bayonet fighting.
  10. doofaloofa is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/20/2011 3:34am

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    That is great!
    Thanks
    I will digest it
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