I presume people are enamored of it due to its connection to Sherlock Holmes. I have heard there is an article in the latest issue of GUNS AND AMMO about the firearms Holmes used in the stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, so your cult analogy might not be far off.
In the Jeremy Brett series that was on PBS, Holmes does make use of old-school bare knuckle boxing to dust of a "rapscillion" in a pub.
No-one has practiced Bartitsu per se since about 1904, but there are some jujitsu clubs in the UK that trace their lineage back to the schools set up by Tani, Uyenishi and their students. Tani himself was the chief instructor at the London Budokwai for many years (the Budokwai is the oldest martial arts school in Europe, active since 1918, but they've been teaching primarily Kodokan judo since 1920).
Edited to add: there are other "survivals", more-or-less directly based on Bartitsu; aspects of the stick fighting syllabus were passed down through various associations, etc., but as a complete method combining pre-WW1 jujitsu, boxing, savate and walking stick defense, Bartitsu only really existed for the couple of years that the original Bartitsu Club was active in London.
The Bartitsu Society has been collating source documents for the past six years and has published a number of articles and one good book on the subject. I believe that some of the senior guys are prepping an article for the Journal of Asian Martial Arts.
Last edited by DdlR; 10/15/2007 2:43pm at .
The Bartitsu Society is a group of martial artists and history enthusiasts who are interested in what Barton-Wright was doing around the turn of the 20th century. I suppose that any hobby or interest shared by a group (Sherlock Holmes fandom, etc.) could be described as being cult-like, but it seems like a stretch.
Originally Posted by sinanju441
...do I put my picture up again? Do I?
I actually meant "cult" as in "cult following," like Star Wars fans who actually practice light saber techniques (such people really do exist). I do appreciate the fine information I receiving at this site, however.
I am wondering if Bartitsu is actually considered Bullshido by people at this site. I ask only because I wouldn't mind trying a few of the seminars related to it. I do not consider proponents of an art to be impartial, but that is stating the obvious.
Well if there goal is to recreate the art as the guy was working on it...then there ya go. If they are trying to come up with the most effective martial art...they are a little behind the times.
Bartitsu was basically a process of cross-training between 1900-era boxing, jujitsu, savate and walking stick fighting. On balance, I don't think that it could be described as bullshido; training seems to have been as alive as it could be within the realm of reasonable safety, all of the "source arts" were sound and there was no mysticism attached to it.
The modern revival is divided into two phases, canonical Bartitsu and neo-Bartitsu. The canonical phase includes training in the art as it was practiced back in the day, based on the very detailed material produced by Barton-Wright himself. Neo-Bartitsu is an effort to fill in the gaps via serious research into the self defense and combat sport books that were written by former Bartitsu Club instructors and their students. It's directly comparable to the modern re-construction of Renaissance-era swordsmanship.
The consensus within the Bartitsu Society is that there's no point in trying to re-invent the Jeet Kune Do/MMA wheels, but that with a bit of tweaking, it's possible to redact this old-school material into a viable self defense method and/or competitive formats. It's very early days for that side of things, though.
I think it would be a lot of fun just to practice old school European cane fighting.
It is fun. Here's some footage of Craig Gemeiner, demonstrating the Vigny/Bartitsu stick fighting style -
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