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  1. #1

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    Bartitsu as a street fighting go-to

    Howdy. I'm brand new around here--just starting with Jiu Jitsu. I've read through the forums, which are great, so I'm glad to become a member.

    Anyway, I just read a book called "The Art of Manliness," and the authors advocate for the employment of Bartitsu in a street fight. It seems comical, really, but I just wanted to share a quick summary of what the authors recommend. Would love to get y'alls' thoughts on this. Here's what they basically say:


    Bartitsu borrows the following techniques from the aforementioned fighting forms.
    1) Jujitsu: the shoulder lock and the sweeping ankle throw
    2) Boxing: the jab, the hook, and the overhand punch (a variation of the cross)
    3) Savate: the chasse cross kick and coup de pied bas
    4) Cane fighting: the jab, the thrust, and cuts

    The authors go on to describe how to use bartitsu as a form of self-defense, each of which employ a piece of the defending gentleman’s wardrobe.
    1) Whip your coat over the attacker’s head. This will surprise and temporarily blind him, thus giving you the opportunity to punch him or throw him to the ground. At this point, you can execute a jujitsu hold, which will incapacitate the attacker until the authorities arrive on the scene.
    2) Push your hat into the attacker’s face. Similar to the coat technique, the purpose of this move is to surprise and temporarily blind your attacker, which will open the opportunity to strike and/or wrestle him into submission. The authors note that your hat can also be employed as a shield against your opponent’s punches or knife thrusts.


    Now, I'm certainly no martial arts expert, but this advice seems really stupid, right? First of all, the author assumes you will be going out dressing like a Victorian gentlemen, and builds from that teaching you how to fight with another time traveler from the Victorian past. Seems to me the best defense against street thugs is to not draw their attention in the first place... like don’t walk through the rough parts of town while donning the author-recommended gentlemanly garb.

    Anyone else ever heard of "Bartitsu"?

  2. #2

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    Anyone else ever heard of "Bartitsu"?
    Yes, I have.

  3. #3
    Christmas Spirit's Avatar
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    There is some validity in pulling a coat or hoodie or shirt over some chumps head. Just like there is some validity in Barjitsu. Barjitsu's biggest failing is people often do not train it against resistance ... well that and you need a grappling and or striking background to really take the techniques from books to the STR34TS.

    Trying to learn anything out of a book or with videos or on your own is a great recipe for self-delusion and an inflated sense of ability.

    So here is the WMA forum. Note the number of Barjitsu topics. http://www.bullshido.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=128 Read and poke around there some. Keep in mind here on Bullshido you should READ MORE and post less.

    Good luck!
    Quote Originally Posted by ghost55 View Post
    Violence is pretty uncommon in clubs in this area, and the dude didn't seem particularly hostile up until the moment he slapped me.
    “I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by WFMurphyPhD View Post
    Slamming the man in the bottom position from time to time keeps everybody on their toes and discourages butt scooting stupidity.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by BackFistMonkey View Post
    There is some validity in pulling a coat or hoodie or shirt over some chumps head.
    The idea was to whip your own coat over the chump's head (or smash your hat into their face). Seems implausible as an effective technique, no?

    "Trying to learn anything out of a book or with videos or on your own is a great recipe for self-delusion and an inflated sense of ability."
    ^Good point.

  5. #5
    DCS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudermcmerican View Post
    Anyway, I just read a book called "The Art of Manliness," and the authors advocate for the employment of Bartitsu in a street fight.
    That would be enough for disregarding Bartitsu as a serious martial art or self defense system, however...



    Not bad at all-

    BTE, welcome to Bullshido.

  6. #6
    DCS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudermcmerican View Post
    The idea was to whip your own coat over the chump's head (or smash your hat into their face). Seems implausible as an effective technique, no?.
    An unexpected move that can distract your opponent enough so you can get a tactical advantage. It's not a completely silly idea.

  7. #7
    Christmas Spirit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCS View Post
    An unexpected move that can distract your opponent enough so you can get a tactical advantage. It's not a completely silly idea.
    Not completely silly I agree. I would still rather use their coat/jacket/shirt/whiteytightymanpanties to obscure their vision and limit their mobility. If you play your cards right you can pull their pants down to their ankles and their undies over their forehead. At that point you can deal with your attackers at your leisure.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghost55 View Post
    Violence is pretty uncommon in clubs in this area, and the dude didn't seem particularly hostile up until the moment he slapped me.
    “I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.”
    BILL HICKS,
    1961-1994

    Quote Originally Posted by WFMurphyPhD View Post
    Slamming the man in the bottom position from time to time keeps everybody on their toes and discourages butt scooting stupidity.

  8. #8
    DdlR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudermcmerican View Post


    Bartitsu borrows the following techniques from the aforementioned fighting forms.
    1) Jujitsu: the shoulder lock and the sweeping ankle throw
    2) Boxing: the jab, the hook, and the overhand punch (a variation of the cross)
    3) Savate: the chasse cross kick and coup de pied bas
    4) Cane fighting: the jab, the thrust, and cuts
    The "Art of Manliness" author was an interested lay-person rather than an actual authority and he made some inaccurate assumptions and over-generalizations. In fact, Bartitsu was (and is again) a cross-training system between several martial arts and combat sports as they were being practiced at the original Bartitsu Club in London, circa 1900. That system includes all of the techniques listed here and then some, but modern self-defense applicability is third or fourth in the priority list. The main aim is to revive the original style for its own sake, as a recreational martial art, via a combination of academic research and pressure-testing through sparring, etc.

    This is what it looks like when it's practiced as a martial art, i.e. trained seriously and tested against resisting opponents:

    The authors go on to describe how to use bartitsu as a form of self-defense, each of which employ a piece of the defending gentleman’s wardrobe.
    1) Whip your coat over the attacker’s head. This will surprise and temporarily blind him, thus giving you the opportunity to punch him or throw him to the ground. At this point, you can execute a jujitsu hold, which will incapacitate the attacker until the authorities arrive on the scene.
    2) Push your hat into the attacker’s face. Similar to the coat technique, the purpose of this move is to surprise and temporarily blind your attacker, which will open the opportunity to strike and/or wrestle him into submission. The authors note that your hat can also be employed as a shield against your opponent’s punches or knife thrusts.
    The "overcoat trick" is verbatim from one of E.W. Barton-Wright's 1899 articles; the hat technique isn't part of Bartitsu at all, but rather from one of the French self-defense systems that arose in the decade after the heyday of the Bartitsu Club. That said, the techniques are basically sound and can easily be adapted for modern use. For example, Barton-Wright advocated wearing an overcoat over the shoulders, in the manner of a cloak, rather than putting your arms through the sleeves, specifically so it could be used as a distraction/blinding weapon if necessary; the same advice is applicable to any modern long winter coat.

    Now, I'm certainly no martial arts expert, but this advice seems really stupid, right? First of all, the author assumes you will be going out dressing like a Victorian gentlemen, and builds from that teaching you how to fight with another time traveler from the Victorian past. Seems to me the best defense against street thugs is to not draw their attention in the first place... like don’t walk through the rough parts of town while donning the author-recommended gentlemanly garb.
    See above, but also note that Barton-Wright's first piece of self-defense advice (way back around 1900) was to avoid dangerous situations if possible. That said, again, regardless of the "Art of Manliness" author's agenda, the main purpose of modern Bartitsu training is to revive the original style for its own sake, rather than re-inventing the wheel of modern RBSD ("reality-based self defense").

    Anyone else ever heard of "Bartitsu"?
    Yes.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BackFistMonkey View Post
    There is some validity in pulling a coat or hoodie or shirt over some chumps head. Just like there is some validity in Barjitsu. Barjitsu's biggest failing is people often do not train it against resistance ... well that and you need a grappling and or striking background to really take the techniques from books to the STR34TS.

    Trying to learn anything out of a book or with videos or on your own is a great recipe for self-delusion and an inflated sense of ability.
    That's true, but do note that people sometimes hear "reviving a historical martial art" and jump to the conclusion that the revivalists are bookworms with no practical experience, which is not often the case. Most of the first generation of modern Bartitsu (and other HEMA) revivalists had serious backgrounds in a wide range of MAs and combat sports.

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    I'd rather have a large hot coffee in a styrofoam cup in my hand than a cloak if waylaid by a ruffian.
    "Systema, which means, 'the system'..."

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