THE ATLANTIC: Learning to fight Sherlock Holmes style

It’s sundown at a small park in Burbank and I’m dressed in head-to-toe black, carrying a big stick and ready to street fight, Sherlock Holmes style. I’m not exactly a ninja—the closest I’ve been to hand-to-hand combat was fighting over the last cupcake at Thanksgiving. But even so, I have signed up to learn bartitsu, the esoteric and gentlemanly Victorian art of self defense. Before I chicken out I spot my instructor, Matt Franta, a dapper gentleman in a three-piece suit.

Franta’s bio describes him as an actor, fight choreographer, and stunt performer with black belts in tae kwon do and hapkido as well as experience in karate, judo, fencing, and kickboxing. He’s also a member of the International Knife Throwers Association.

Bartitsu was developed by Edward Barton-Wright, a British engineer who moved to Japan in 1895. After returning to London, just before the turn of the century, he created a mixed martial art hybrid, combining elements of judo, jujitsu, British boxing, and fighting with a walking stick.



Five Days More Important Than My Wedding Day (In No Particular Order!)

Today I’m in the Los Angeles studio of BBC’s Radio Five Live, debating whether it is okay to be single, partially in response to Kate Bolick’s article in The Atlantic (this question seemingly only applies to women since I don’t see anyone asking George Clooney if he’s worried about his status!) It’s crazy that we put so much emphasis as a society on marriage as an accomplishment. I recently got engaged and everyone keeps congratulating me on ‘the most important day of my life’. Call me crazy, but while I love my boyfriend very much, there are several days that will outrank my wedding day. Read more

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