Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bartitsu: the Steampunk Martial Art

Apparently, there is a type of martial art that modifies jujutsu to incorporate the walking canes carried by gentlemen of the Victorian era.

An except from the article explains it well:

"Bartitsu was the brainchild of Edward Barton-Wright, an English engineer who, while in Japan, was taken with a demonstration of jujutsu—itself almost a catch-all term for systems of Japanese grappling with a dash of striking. He quickly took up the art himself. After learning a smattering of judo (sport-oriented grappling) as well, he returned to England and soon set about making himself a public expert on matters of self-defense for the urban upper classes. Barton-Wright's earliest public demonstrations and publications displayed simple jujutsu skills, but soon he expanded his system. Adding boxing, savate (French kickboxing), canne de combat, and a smattering of Western wrestling styles to the Eastern arts, Barton-Wright unveiled bartitsu to the world in 1898.
One could call bartitsu the first modern mixed-martial art and it was certainly one of the first self-conscious attempts to mix Western and Eastern self-defense techniques. Barton-Wright recognized that fights have various ranges. The cane—and no gentlemen ever went without a walking stick of some sort—extends one's reach and lets a fellow defeat an opponent without dirtying his hands or coat. At a closer range the fist and foot come into play, and jujutsu and wrestling are necessary to deal with one's opponent’s boxing skills."

That's right, it's a real live martial art perfect for steampunk stories. I'll certainly have to incorporate it into mine...

No comments:

Post a Comment