Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Have Walking Stick or Parasol, Will Defend Self

I've said it before and I will say it again here; Tonys are not to be trusted, trust me. But more on that in a moment.
Bartitsu/ Baritsu: I have mentioned this before. I discovered it two years ago while doing research on self defense schools and their mode and philosophies. I saw the word in conjunction with Judo/jiu-jitsu and was instantly intrigued as it smacked of Non-Asian in nature. To be honest it sounds exactly like it is, an un-clever yet straightforward name from its originator and the school it was born of.

Born in Victorian England it is a cross-training of Judo, boxing, Swiss grappling and french cane fighting. Roughly.
I wont mince words here. This is pretty sweet to me, yes, it has blatant steam punk overtones and I think that any martial art that allows me to use my cane, is "win" in my book.

Apparently, this martial art was so prevalent at the time that even many ladies of class learned it for self defense, and even more proactive pursuits. Yes, suffragettes were using their parasols and Bartitsu expertise to fight off angry mobs and even police.
Kind of bad ass, when I order a few of the books and manuals I might snag the one about Edith Garrud. Tink was definitely interested.

Now, as I went about my research (click link, click link, Google search, etc. . ) I noticed a familiar white haired figure on the Bartitsu site.

Tangent: Back when I was writing a paper on the history of stage combat/fight choreography I came across a book that hadn't been fully published yet called "A Terrific Combat" and was intrigued but couldn't pursue it further as I had a due date to contend with, so it was left to fall from my memory. I did remember the name as I attempted to find the same author in conjunction with other published works concerning stage combat.
Okay, back: This guy was Tony Wolf, what's he doing on the Bartitsu . . oooOOoooohhh . . . . Of course, Tony is among the leading modern revivalists and educators of Neo-Bartitsu and the editor of pretty much ALL of their literature AND a co-producer/co-director/co-dude-on-the-spot of their documentary.
See, Tonys are not to be trusted, trust me.

I'll be honest (perhaps, due to a phenomena, or something I haven't quite explored or thought very deeply about, But something I WILL post about soon, I have the notes typed up) something still feels pedestrian or amateurish about the whole affair. Not that there is anything wrong with that, nor does it lessen how cool this is and how much respect I have for all involved for going out and doing it (something which I need to do more of). Perhaps it is because it is so new and those involved are focused on the core subject and let other things be addressed as they come, or because it is that obscure that there is no need for anything more elaborate as far as the website and the movies and the books. Look for my next post to explain the feeling I have (ooh boy, feelings, I know) about professionals in like areas of expertise as martial arts, fight re-enactors/stage combatants/even weapon specialists and their interactions..

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