Elementary education schools Midtown West : Karate versus Bartitsu
Elementary education schools Midtown West



Elementary education schools Midtown West : Martial arts comparison series



Elementary education schools Midtown West : The reemergence of a martial art is a central part of the story of Bartitsu. So, let’s enjoy the story of Bartitsu and how it differs from karate.


In the 1890s, we see the creation of Bartitsu as gentlemen’s martial art. The English use it to defend against Edwardian street thugs in London.


Bartitsu brings several fighting forms together. These include French kickboxing (Savate), bare-knuckle boxing, Japanese Jiujutsu, and also cane fighting (Vigny). Its name is a derivative of the creator’s name, Barton-Wright, and Jiujutsu.


This is the first time anyone combines European and Asian martial arts, to form a hybrid martial art. Often Bruce Lee gets credit for creating the first mixed martial art, but here we see an earlier example.


“Bartitsu is self-defense in all its forms.” – Edward William Barton-Wright


Interest in Bartitsu fades away during the 20th Century. However, interest sparks again with the Sherlock Holmes movies featuring Bartitsu.


The philosophy and fighting techniques of Bartitsu


The three philosophies of Bartitsu are to:


  1. Off-balance the equilibrium of an attacker
  2. Surprise before the opponent can regain balance and use their strength
  3. Achieve mechanical or anatomical control to subdue an opponent through joint locks. These include the manipulation of the ankle, knee, neck, elbow, shoulder, wrist, and also the back.

The use of a coat or hat is part of the training. Firstly, a coat defends against knife attacks. To be readily available, people wore their coats over their shoulders without putting their arms into the sleeves.


Secondly, in a Peay Blinders style, the student learns to slash a hat across the face of an attacker. This will temporarily blind them. Also, the hat is a shield to stop incoming blows.

Bartitsu is not a martial art your child is going to learn. However, it is a fascinating story. Sherlock Holmes will inspire millions of children to partake in a martial art, such as karate. Elementary education schools Midtown West