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The Sherlock Holmes School of Self-Defence: The Manly Art of Bartitsu as used against Professor Moriarty [Hardcover]

E. W. Barton-Wright
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 Jun 2011
When Sherlock Holmes wrestled with Dr Moriarty on thh Reichenbach Falls, he was employing a system of self-defence that was all the rage in Victorian Britain. In an age when footpads and fogle-snatchers meant a man of breeding took his life in his hands when walking across town, a martial arts craze took hold that did not escape Conan-Doyle's keen eye for research. Schools sprung up all over London, chief among which was E.W. Barton-Wright's "Bartitsu" method. The Sherlock Holmes School of Self-Defence commemorates Barton-Wright's exploits and the fighting techniques of the famous sleuth himself (though Conan-Doyle mischiveously spelled it Baristu). Learn how to defend yourself with an overcoat, cane, or umbrella, or even to wield your bicycle against an attacker. Wonderful illustrations based on original photographs instruct the reader in skills that range from the sublime to the elementary.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Ivy Press (23 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907332731
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907332739
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 11.2 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

E.W. Barton-Wright (1860-1951) studied jiu jitsu and judo in Japan during the 1890s and brought the techniques he learned back to England where he set up a school-at-arms teaching in hybrid of oriental and European self-defence he called Bartitsu.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting little book 6 Jan 2012
By S. Lindgren VINE VOICE
This book will most likely be purchased by fans of Conan-Doyle's most famous character, or by those looking for a small gift for those who love their Holmes. However, it has a somewhat wider appeal, particularly to those interested in the development of western, or at least westernized, martial arts.

The text and pictures / drawings appears to be an amalgamation of two articles written for Pearson's Magazine by E. W. Barton-Wright on his 'new' system, which was largely a combination of basic jujitsu holds and grappling combined with some practical stick-fighting techniques, suggestions of how to use a bicycle as a practical aid to self-defence, and interspaced with a handful of select quotations from Conan-Doyle's Holmes cannon. Books of this kind were very popular in the final decade of the 19th century and early 20th century, a good example being 'Broadsword and Single-Stick' by R. G. Allanson-Wynn & C. Phillips-Wolley, and 'The "Walking Stick" Method of Self-Defence' by Mr. H. G. Lang. It reads in a very similar way, and is quite entertaining, while certainly providing a useful additional insight into the contermporary late Victorian and Edwardian life and environment, and the kind of fighting methods Conan-Doyle had in mind for his character. Although this is perhaps the selling point and main object of the book, it should be noted that what it describes remains quite practical. Granted, relatively few able-bodied men or women carry walking sticks in the 21st century, which reduces some of the value of the sections on stick use, but they are still interesting to read, and retain a certain indirect interest and use.

The book itself is beautifully presented; the hardback covers are of good quality, with chamfered corners, and a nice maroon cloth spine. The paper and print are of equally good quality, while the presumably reproduced pictures are as clear and well defined as could be hoped for. Well worth buying.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Britain's 'Lost' Martial Art 19 Jun 2012
While this book will be a high quality hardback curiosity for the Holmes enthusiast, received with thanks, browsed and filed upon a shelf never to be visited again, it is for martial arts historians and enthusiasts that this book is a treasure. Bartitsu, quite possibly the first western mixed martial art, was created by Mr Barton Wright after travels and studies on several continents. His presentation of the art, unique to the gentlemanly regimes and comportment demanded in the late 1890s, is a snapshot of a lifestyle on the verge of a catastrophic change that would demise it forever.
The book itself is a superb quality production as mentioned in detail in other reviews. The techniques included are drawn from Barton-Wrights original published articles and will serve as a taster for a martial art that is still relevant. The Bartitsu Society carries on Barton-Wright's legacy, and if this book inspires you to seek further, then it has done it's job well.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true gem 26 Sep 2012
I ordered this book and received in just 3 days. As a bartitsu practitioner I was aware of the content
of the book, but never imagined such a high quality of binding and typography. This was a really surprise.
This book is a true gem itself, and it worth every penny. I highly recommend to every book lover martial
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiffing 26 Aug 2011
By Andy K
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent guide to help a chap deal with the kind of ruffian and cad one runs into nowadays. Who knew a bicycle could be such an effective weapon?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gift to a Sherlock Holmes Fan 8 Oct 2011
By Bamboo
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought it as a gift to a Sherlock Holmes fan. It was taken from my inquisitive grasp as soon as I finished 'yes, it is the baritsu mentioned by Conan Doyle'. I haven't seen it since. Next time, I'll time my comments.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly useful 6 Nov 2012
By Jacoby
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book was worth the money I paid just for the illustrations - the section on defending oneself with a bicycle are particularly funny. However, many of the techniques described are actually useful. I recommend finding a friend to practise with, or could make an interesting party piece.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I have seen the illustrations for Bartitsu also known as Baritsu and it is a very useful method of self defence.

Part of the technique draws on Far Eastern martial arts moves and the Baritsu method was tailored for the Victorian / Edwardian Gentleman about town (although not by Gieves and Hawkes the upmarket outfitters!) to utilise the tools a gentleman of the time had to hand, i.e. a walking stick, umbrella or bicycle!

A great piece of nostalgia but also worth a look as you may just one day have to use one of the moves in the book and the book will have proven to have been a wise investment.

Fair warning to Cads and Bounders everywhere!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny little manual 28 Sep 2012
By Andy
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book has a charming sense of humor spread across several step-by-step guides to performing self defense techniques. I found a friend who let me practice the grappling techniques, which make up the bulk of the book, and that truly was a fun time. But this book does cover some cane/umbrella based moves, as well as a portion on how to fight from/with a bicycle that nobodies willing to test out with me. Although my friend particularly liked the portion that teaches one how to defend themselves from someone shaking them by the collar. Almost all techniques are accompanied by illustrations that I felt helped guide me into the moves, without them I probably would have been lost. The book is also dotted with strongman tricks, illusions of strength to emphasize that bartitsu is not about power so much as it's about finding the right leverage. This book is definitely worth a read for any quirky anglophiles, the steampunk fan, or someone who would like to see what bartitsu was like.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 23 days ago by Sue
5.0 out of 5 stars she loved it. Its a lovely little book
Bought as a gift for a friend, she loved it. Its a lovely little book, hard back with nice illustrations.
Published 1 month ago by A. Ward
2.0 out of 5 stars Hmm.
This is a very short book, it reminds me more of those 1960's "teach yourself karate" books in the fact that it is more style than substance.
Published 2 months ago by Jason Bratley
5.0 out of 5 stars for chaps with tashes!
I am into steampunk and this is perfect!I also need a walking stick and the section on walking stick self defence is quite wonderful. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Simon D.
5.0 out of 5 stars Bartitsu for beginners.
Not to be taken seriously. This is a great work of fiction based on the great character Sherlock Holmes. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Gareth Jenkins
5.0 out of 5 stars I say old chap are you a Gentleman or a Ruffian
I bought it as a gift. It is well made, good quality and my friend enjoyed the book. It's not a book for ruffians.
Published 4 months ago by Michael Feeney
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully written
I enjoyed reading this book and will be having some fun putting into practice some of its contents. As a stick-sparring and martial arts enthusiast, I can see that some of the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Lucas Pitcher
4.0 out of 5 stars Good purchase
Bought this as a present for a friend, so I can't recommend it as a read but delivery and condition was good.
Published 6 months ago by Ms. S. Stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book with classy illustrations
The way that it was written was in a Sherlock - esque style english and I had fun reading it. I'm not quite sure about the martial applications but overall it was a pleasure to... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Diego
4.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic fun
As expected. Very well presented with an 'old-fashioned' victorian feel. Amusing and for many, perhaps, informative contents.
Excellent value. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Uncle David
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