Originally Posted by JLibourel
Just a few more thoughts on this thread:
As far as Holmes' knowledge of martial arts goes, Holmes told Watson that he had used the Japanese art of baritsu to hurl Professor Moriarty into the chasm of the Reichenbach Falls. I just asked my colleague Dave Cater, editor of Inside Kung-Fu, if he had ever heard of a martial art called baritsu. He said he had not. In the movie, Dave informed me, Holmes states that he had been studying Wing Chun (a real martial art) for four years.
I suspect "baritsu" may have been a figment of Doyle's creative imagination. Doyle was very free and easy about making up stuff like that. For example, the "swamp adder, the deadliest snake in India" in "The Speckled Band" is otherwise unknown although people have tried to identify it with the Russell's viper or the banded krait. Doyle obviously didn't know squat about snakes: You can't train a snake with a whistle, they're deaf, and they don't drink milk. The term "Penang lawyer" for a cane weighted with lead seems to have been made up by Doyle. In one of the stories, Dr. Watson mentions using a gun called a "tiger cub." Neither I nor yet my pal Garry James, who knows a great deal more than I do about British firearms of the Victorian era and is quite a Holmesian into the bargain, had ever heard of such a gun.
For all the reverence paid to the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce Holmes movies, bear in mind that in some ways they do more violence to the stories than the current movie. They yank Holmes and Watson out of the late Victorian era and plunk them down in the 1930s and '40s. In at least one of the movies, Holmes is fighting the cruel Nazis, with whom Professor Moriarty has allied himself. I can recall Holmes expressing his amazement to the evil professor that even he could stoop that low! Mind you, it has probably been about 57 years since I was watching those movies on TV!
I believe that Baristu was a british victorian martial art, made up to exploit the skills and stories that came back from the colonies. probrably taught at one or two schools and died out quickly. I think taht I have seen articles written about it.
+1 about the changes to the origional stories - I think that most of us ae being nostalgic for movies and stories that have been "interpreted" quite a bit. I seem to remember that Holmes wasn't supposed to be very elegant or socially adept - I remember the boxing and wrestling, the shooting and fencing, the chemestry and other studies. also, I seem to remember that they were much younger in the begning of the stories than we usually like to think of them
havne't seen the movie, will probrably end up seeing it on a plane.