The Linacre School of Defence

The Linacre School of Defence

Studying the historical British martial arts of smallsword, backsword and pugilism.

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Bartitsu

The gentlemanly art of self-defence.

A montage of Bartitsu techniques
About Bartitsu

Bartitsu is a hybrid martial art and self-defence system devised by Edward William Barton-Wright towards the end of the 19th century and taught at his school in London between the years of 1898 and 1902. It incorporates skills from the following systems, to varying degrees:

  • Japanese Ju-Jitsu/Judo.
  • English Pugilism.
  • French Savate.
  • European wrestling.
  • The Vigny system of cane fencing.

For more information on the history of Bartitsu, please consult the Bartitsu Society's web site.

Bartitsu training

The LSD already offers tuition in classical pugilism (including grappling) which would be of use to a student interested in the study of Bartitsu, and we may be able to assist further with other relevant techniques. However, regular Bartitsu training is not available. If you have any questions about training, please e-mail enquiries at sirwilliamhope.org.

If you would like to look for training elsewhere, the Bartitsu Society keeps a note of available classes. Oxford University has Judo and Ju-Jitsu clubs for those interested in cross-training and other clubs are available in the city and surrounding area. One can also find Savate locally although this is a modern sport variant. If one is willing to travel then there is a neo-Bartitsu class in Farnborough.

Study materials

Courtesy of Marcus L. Rowland we are able to host an HTML version of Barton Wright's magazine articles where he illustrated some of the unarmed and stick techniques that were part of his art. These are available at the links below:

In addition, we have Mr. Rowland's article which originally accompanied these files, and which includes the credits for these images. When reading this it may be helpful to also consult this essay, written more recently than Mr. Rowland's article and with the benefit of several years' further research.

Barton-Wright's magazine articles have been reprinted in the two Bartitsu Compendia from the Bartitsu Society. These can be purchased here. These books also include a lot of historical background information, such as on the use of Ju-Jitsu by the suffragette movement, plus extracts from other relevant texts (e.g. on boxing) and guidance on the study of Bartitsu.

In addition to the two compendia anyone interested in Bartitsu would do well to study the 1906 text written by Percy Longhurst, which has been described as “truly the closest thing to a Bartitsu manual produced during the pre-War period”. Thanks to Kirk Lawson the original edition is available again, both in print and as a PDF download.

A DVD demonstrating basic Bartitsu techniques is available and reviewed here. It can be purchased from the Gallowglass Academy.

We have a copy of Sergeant Wheeldon's self-defence text, which can be found here. Also available is Lord Headley's advice on cudgel play. These are made available under the terms of the Creative Commons license.

A member of the British Federation for Historical Swordplay Copyright © 2004-2009: The Linacre School of Defence
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