is a blog of Vancouver fight instructor David McCormick.

I teach responsible citizens how to defend against ruffians and other unethical assaults.


Invented by Edward William Barton-Wright and taught at an exclusive club which closed in 1906, Bartitsu was once advertised as having “over 400 techniques,” but is more properly understood as a complete system of antagonistics performed almost entirely with an upright stance.

Bartitsu is a system of self-defence using different tactics at different distances.

  • Close: Jujitsu, the Japanese art including throws and joint locks
  • Arm’s length: Pugilism, also known as Scientific Boxing or Fisticuffs
  • Out of arm’s reach: Savate, kicking method of the French
  • Armed: Walking stick or umbrella

Bartitsu is a neologism composed of the inventor’s name with its main distinction from other contemporaneous schools: Barton-Wright + Jujitsu = Bartitsu.


Since Bartitsu only exists in historical articles with few images and limited descriptions, we can only infer how the original Bartitsu club actually performed these skills. Therefore, many Bartitsu researchers study other combat systems of the era and assume similarities. Neo-Bartitsu is the expansion of these ideas to all forms of practical self-defence and modern understanding of body mechanics, psychology and modern weapons.

Victorian Era

Immerse yourself in the elegance and mystery of the late 19th century:

  • Walking sticks or umbrellas are indispensable accoutrements
  • Small sword duelling
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Jack the Ripper

Modern Combatives

I also study the following systems (in order of mastery):

  • Wing Chun
  • Escrima
  • Shotokan Karate
  • Russian Systema


The mystery surrounding the historical Bartitsu and the association with the master detective Sherlock Holmes lends the art a certain theatricality. Conveniently, I also teach stage combat, the techniques by which actors fight on stage or in films. Theatre and film use Bartitsu:

  • Steampunk
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Dracula

Read more about stage combat at my other blog:

Academie Duello

Join me at the best western martial arts school I’ve found: Academie Duello in downtown Vancouver


What are classes like? How to get started: Bartitsu Lessons