Baker Street Wiki
Baker Street Wiki

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used the word "Baritsu" as the name of the combat method that Sherlock Holmes used to defeat Professor Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls. Sherlock mentions it in The Adventure of the Empty House:

"We tottered together upon the brink of the fall. I have some knowledge, however, of baritsu, or the Japanese system of wrestling, which has more than once been very useful to me."


Sherlock is referencing his fatal battle at Reichenbach Falls, which was told in the 1893 story "The Final Problem."

The Adventure of the Empty House was first published in Collier's on 26 September 1903 and was the first story collected in The Return of Sherlock Holmes.

Real world[]

There is an eclectic real world martial art and self-defence method called Bartitsu. It was originally developed in England in 1898–1902 by Edward William Barton-Wright. The name was a portmanteau of his name and jujitsu, a significant part of the method.

The term "baritsu" did not exist outside the pages of the English editions of The Adventure of the Empty House and a 1901 Times report titled "Japanese Wrestling at the Tivoli", which covered a Bartitsu demonstration in London but misspelled the name as baritsu. It is likely that Conan Doyle used the 1901 London Times article as source material, copying the "baritsu" misspelling verbatim, particularly in that he had Holmes define "baritsu" as "Japanese wrestling", which was the same phrase used in the newspaper headline.


Illustration of Sherlock Holmes performing a wrist lock from the 2009 book, "The Sherlock Holmes Handbook" by Ransom Riggs.


Illustration of Sherlock Holmes using his cane as a weapon from the 2009 book, "The Sherlock Holmes Handbook" by Ransom Riggs.