I have just finished reading this book by E.W Barton-Wight and I thought I would put together a book review for you.
For those who don't know, Bartitsu was a martial art developed in England around England during the years 1898 by Edward William Barton-Wright. Barton-Wright was an engineer who spent a number of years in Japan where he studied Jiu-Jitsu. He had previously studied boxing, wrestling, fencing, and Savate prior to his stint in Japan. Upon his return, he set about fusing all these arts together to create what he considered to be a practical martial art for dealing with scallywags and ruffians on the streets of England. The result was Bartitsu. The art was relatively popular at the time of its inception but has since faded into the mists of time with one notable exception. The art was immortalized by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the Sherlock Holmes stories. Sherlock Holmes it seems was an expert practitioner of this gentlemanly martial art.
The book itself is a short read, with the style being very much of its time. Some of the language and expressions used transport you straight back to E.W. Barton-Wright's time. This was a style intended for suited gentlemen to defend themselves from attack.
The book can be broken down into two sections, the first section is devoted to unarmed defence against grabs, bear hugs etc... This material is interesting but nothing new or different from many other self-defence books. Anyone familiar with Jiu-Jitsu will recognize a lot of the moves.
Where this book really comes into its own is the second section. The book begins to talk about self-defence using walking sticks, canes, umbrellas and even a bicycle.
This section was by far the most interesting. We live in interesting times within the UK. We have knife crime at an all-time high, everyday folk have almost zero options for self-defence. The government seems intent on criminalising everyday people by banning things, instead of tackling the criminal culture which is the root of the problem.
It is against this backdrop where I believe Bartitsu deserves a resurgence in popularity. The Bartitsu techniques using walking canes and umbrellas may well offer an option for self-defence.
The Umbrella may well be the only option left available to someone who wishes to carry something for last resort self-defence. With the right application, these implements can be used to ward off attackers and keep loved ones safe.
To purchase the book "The Sherlock Holmes School of Self-Defence - The Manly Art of Bartitsu" here is the link.
For umbrellas suitable for self-defence I would recommend these. They are virtually unbreakable and will stand up to serious punishment. Ideal to make you feel safer on the streets.