Bartitsu, first developed by Edward William Barton-Wright in 1898 after returning from Japan, is considered one of the first martial arts to hybridize styles from Eastern and Western methods, primarily cane fighting, fencing, jujitsu, savate and english boxing. Nearly 70 years before Bruce Lee developed Jeet Kune Do (Considered the first modern mixed art) Barton-Wright devised a system that would meet the needs of various scenarios in self defense.
In his observation, he saw that the Japanese arts of Kodakan Judo and Jujitsu were well fitted for close-contact defense, incorporating throws and grappling maneuvers, but limited at longer range. From this, he incorporated the use of cane as a long distance defense object, and boxing as a mid-range solution for striking and kicking.
In his notes for a lecture delivered to the Japan Society of Londan in 1901, Barton-Wright wrote:
Although it was a short-lived venture, the Bartitsu Club in Soho was considered one of the first establishments to offer self-defense specifically for women. Many of the club's early instructors went on to establish their own academies.
Had it not been for a small reference to the art in The Adventure of the Empty House by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Bartitsu may have been forever lost in obscurity. Explaining his victory over Moriarty during their struggle at Reichenbach Falls, Sherlock Holmes credited "baritsu, or the Japanese system of wrestling, which has more than once been very useful to me".