You know those scenes in the Sherlock Holmes movie when Robert Downey Jr. uses seemingly modern fight moves to kick some Victorian ass up and down the streets of London? You know how you felt like that was stupid and unrealistic?
Boy, do you feel ignorant now.
Apparently, an old martial art from jolly old England called Bartitsu — the kind of word you'd think referred to a topless barmaid — was responsible for self defense against butter-toothed bandits and pickpockets.
Arguably the first brand of mixed martial arts (MMA) that ever existed, it was taught in London in 1898 by Edward Barton (Bart-itsu makes more sense now) Wright who wanted to help gentlemen and women feel safe. Like a sir!
He brought two instructors from Japan to teach Jiu-Jitsu and a Swiss walking stick instructor, so that Englishmen could use their brollies like swords to mess a mofo up. He mixed this with boxing and Savate kickboxing.
I'm guessing that kicking a man in the face in 1898 was about as predictable as the concept women might one day own property and ruin men spiritually and financially. So those monocled morons would never see it coming. KA-BLAMMO!
The martial art was forgotten for a long time until readers (nerds) found out about it in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's book "The Empty House" and decided to emulate the techniques.
If you grew up thinking Sherlock Holmes did little more than tell Watson that things were elementary and rub lint off his plaid tweed suit, you're sorely mistaken. And that's understandable. It's hard to imagine the English doing anything cool (which is why an American played the part in the movie).
So now when someone tells you that Bartitsu is a real martial art, you can say, "No shit, Sherlock."