Bartitsu vs. the Knockout Game


With all the media coverage over what is being referred to as the Knockout Game, various commenters have proffered approaches to defend one’s self, such as this one by Tony Blauer. While I wholeheartedly agree with the advice offered by Mr. Blauer, I’d be remiss if I didn’t put an anachronistic spin on this issue.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a lawyer. I am not a member of the law enforcement community. I am not a self-defense expert. I am not a vigilante. I assume no responsibility if you actually act on the hypothetical situation I outline below.

So what is a gentleman about the town to do when approached by a band of ruffians intent on ill will? Why, utilize his well-honed Bartitsu skills, of course! For those of you unfamiliar with the martial art of Sherlock Holmes, it was developed by Edward William Barton-Wright around the turn of the twentieth century. It was (and some would say still is) the gentlemanly martial art.

One of the aspects of Bartitsu is cane fighting. I can thin of no better “prop” for a proper gentleman than the Cold Steel City Stick. Its utility is only surpassed by its style.

Armed with the right training and tools, one can again feel confident in walking the savage streets.

So, a pack of street thugs with no ambition in life…

vs. a lone neo-victorian steampunk dandy…

It’s a tough call. We would hope the prowess of Bartitsu would avail, but I have my reservations. One being that a weapon can often end out turned on the unprepared wielder. Another being the power in numbers.

I am however reminded of the sage advice given by some drill sergeant during hand-to-hand combat training in Army Basic training. I don’t remember the line exactly, but it went something along the lines of “if you think you’re going to go back home and be all Bill BadAxe because of this training, then you are going to get your posterior handed to you” (or something like that).

I am also reminded of advice given when I was performing military security during the Atlanta Summer Olympics. Many of the schools in the area had been converted to makeshift barracks for the games, and I had the honor of spending three weeks on a cot in McNair Elementary School. The area had a negative reputation (which seems to be reaffirmed by this news article) and we were told that even soldiers need to travel in groups. It would seem one of the best ways to avoid being a target is to not be a singular bullseye.

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