A short video showing some technical stick sparring from the 2012 Bartitsu School of Arms.

Bartitsu is the eccentric "mixed martial art" founded in London in the late 1800s as a combination of Japanese jujitsu, Swiss/French cane fighting and British boxing. It was famously written into the Sherlock Holmes stories (misspelled as "baritsu") when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle needed a deus ex machina device to explain how Holmes had defeated his arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty, in their battle at the Reichenbach Falls.

Although Bartitsu was forgotten for almost a hundred years, it's been experiencing a revival since the early 2000s, most recently spurred on by the success of the Robert Downey, Jr. movies.

In this type of sparring, the mask, gloves, forearms, thighs and calves are all legal targets. Stick strikes and thrusts as well as unarmed strikes, weapon traps/disarms and standing grappling may all be employed.

Fighters are encouraged to experiment with variations on the standard high guards, for example by lowering the guards as positions of invitation. They may acknowledge hits verbally and/or gesturally, but the emphasis is on continual action.

The weapons are 3/4″ diameter, 36″ rattan sparring canes from Purpleheart Armory, equipped with solid rubber ball handles to simulate the steel ball handles of real Bartitsu canes. The asymmetrical balance of the cane is a key factor in Bartitsu stick fighting.