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The Bartitsu Lab

Scientific self defence for the discerning lady or gent 

Bartitsu was founded in the late 19th century by Edward Barton-Wright. A railway engineer by trade, he studied Ju Jitsu in Japan, before coming back to London to open an academy teaching martial arts. 

The academy taught Boxing, Wrestling, Savate, Ju Jitsu and many more arts besides. The distillation process of these - he called Bartitsu. 

The syllabus and teaching of this, with modern interpretation and inspiration, has given rise to 'The Bartitsu Lab'. 

What is Bartitsu?

It's a blended martial arts system designed for self defence. London during the late Victorian era was a dangerous place. Street gangs were abundant and crime was rife. 

London, as one of the world's first industrialised cities, acted as the testing ground for the art - which fused disciplines together for purpose of urban self protection. 

Bartitsu was custom built around a solid understanding universal fighting principles (balance, strategy, psychology) and practical skills (striking, grappling, weapons). 

What's 'The Bartitsu Lab'?

TBL is a 'test and learn' approach to Bartitsu. We cover the key skills required with a scientific method. In this way, we ensure that content is always relevant, practical and reliable. 

It means we explore different arts, bring in guest instructors, and test what we think we know. Bartitsu is a 'process' through which we can apply any art. 

For us, the art must always evolve to meet the challenges of its day. TBL allows us to do just that with Bartitsu. 

What arts are taught?

Schools differ in their methodology, as many of Bartitsu's leading lights were visiting boxers, wrestlers, martial artists. 

However, universal to them are the following arts, which make up my Bartitsu curriculum:

Boxing:

I teach boxing from Broughton-era bare knuckle style (which includes grappling), London Prize Ring (the last gloveless ruleset) and early Queensbury rules (gloved, but with gloveless principles).

We teach this from a number of period texts, but also making use of today's training equipment. This includes a mixture of scenario work, bags, pads, and sparring. The power of boxing for self defence, fitness and confidence is phenomenal. As valid a tool today as it has been for centuries. 

Savate:

This French kickboxing art uses guile, accuracy, flexibility and body mechanics to defeat opponents. One of the only styles to be taught wearing shoes, it uses pin-point striking to defeat assailants. 

There are two strands to this art. 'Chausson' a high kicking pastime of French sailors, which boomed in Marseilles, and Savate, a street fighting, low kicking iteration. In the Bartitsu curricula I teach, we cover both sporting and self defence Savate. We also work with my Savate coach, the talented Alain Jean-Baptiste.

Ju Jitsu / Wrestling:

Bartitsu combines catch wrestling with traditional Ju Jitsu to dominate grappling encounters. I teach this using both traditional 'kata' or set sequences, and as 'live' grappling for self defence. 

There is a great emphasis on restraint and control techniques, balance disruption, atemi (striking) and controlled takedowns. The east meets west approach of Ju Jitsu and wrestling allows Bartitsu practitioners to be flexible according the situations they face. 

Weapon studies:

A great many weapon based arts were taught in Bartitsu, a tradition we carry on today with some modern interpolations. Weapons include:

  • Walking stick 

  • Knife 

  • Quarterstaff 

  • Cudgel / baton 

  • Incidental weapons (pens, bags, umbrellas etc)

  • Cutlass / military sabre 

Why Bartitsu?

The arts of Bartitsu are perfect for the world of self defence. They are practical, powerful, low maintenance and thoroughly tested. 

Think of the Bartitsu method like MMA for the street. It covers all angles of attack, with approaches that work. 

Bartitsu can be used by anyone, of any ability, to keep themselves safe. Give it a try today.

 

 

Anatomy of a typical Bartitsu class:
  1. Skills training
    The arts of boxing, Savate, Wrestling, Ju Jitsu etc as a standalone method
     
  2. Flow training
    How to blend seamlessly between these arts
     
  3. Scenario practice
    How to apply the techniques in real life scenarios
     
  4. Free play
    Sparring and free practice