Defendu

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William Edward Fairbairn was a British soldier who had served with the Royal Marine since , where he developed new methods of bayonet fighting. It is said that he engaged in hundreds of street fights during his long career and after one dangerous fight he sought the help of professor Okada, a Japanese jujutsu expert.

Carl Cestari teaching Defendu

He later learned the judo techniques in Tokyo and became proficient in Chinese systems. Not long after, he started progressing in his career, as he had showed amazing skill and mastery in close combat — Fairbairn spent all of his free time studying each form of face-to-face combat techniques he could find.

His colleague Eric Anthony Sykes helped him develop numerous techniques and skills of close combat and together they constructed the most famous combat knife in the world. At the beginning of the World War II, Fairbairn was commissioned in the British Commandos in order to teach them his lethal techniques in a secret location in Scotland. At that occasion, soldiers of the U. Army were also included in the training and Fairbairn himself was later transferred to the U. He introduced his system at U.

Defendu - Wikipedia

Camp X and his techniques were mixed with knowledge of several other skilled instructors of various backgrounds. In this process, Defendu , a highly-skilled form of unarmed combat, was born. This set of techniques was later referred to as Defendo in slang of Allied soldiers. After the demobilization following the victory of the Allied Forces in WWII, many skilled fighters spread throughout the world, spreading the art of Defendu as well. It is said that during his early days in Shanghai police Fairbairn was attacked on duty by the infamous Hatchet-men of Chinese Tong.

History of Self Defense: Fairbairn’s Defendu

At that occasion, he was severely beaten, heavily injured and left behind to die on the street. Many say that this was an eye-opener for him and a decisive event in the development of his famous techniques. Fairbairn worked with Eric Sykes for many years and together they developed the famous Fairbairn—Sykes fighting knife, a double-edged fighting knife. The said knife resembles a dagger and features a special foil grip. Special forces Hand-to-Hand Combat. The most important thing to consider when talking about Defendu is the lethal character of this technique.

Although it is sometimes practiced recreationally, its original intention is survival in life-threatening situations. Techniques of Defendu employ the psychology of using the energy of the attacker — Defendu avoids tiring and acrobatic movements such as high kicks or jump kicks. There is not much philosophy behind this system — it is an effective defensive mechanism which is intended to be used in real life situations which require violence.

The art mostly uses short distance fighting techniques, including methods like knee kicks, knee and elbow strikes, punches, chokes, throws, joint locks, sidekicks, elbow jabs and blocks. Practitioners are taught not to hit with their fists, but rather with the outside edge or the heel of their hands.

One of the important principles of Defendu includes quick charges toward the enemy and fast finishes.


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In case one is grabbed by the opponent, grappling method is used, along with several ground techniques. Fairbairn published his book, Defendu , in [2] re-printed as Scientific Self Defence in , illustrating this method and it is here that the term "Defendu" first appeared. Thus, in an attempt to highlight the originality of Fairbairn's material, the term did not appear in the edition of the book.

Fairbairn and others expanded on this system to create the Close Quarters Combat system that was then taught to the troops. This system was built on Defendu, but modified for military applications, rather than police and riot control. The original Defendu was oriented towards self-defense and restraint , while the Close Quarters Combat system concentrated on rapid disabling of an opponent, with potentially lethal force. The militarized version of Defendu is described in the military manual All in fighting , used as a supplement during WW2 CQB-training.

History / Origins

This book was later published in a civilian edition, missing the chapters on bayonet-fighting and rifle sighting, under the name Get Tough! Fairbairn published several more books on the subject of self-defense, all of which refer to Defendu only in relation to the earlier book. The start of the Second World War saw the Allied forces needing every advantage to give their soldiers and special forces a winning edge. They found one such edge in Fairbairn's system.

Immediately, Fairbairn was commissioned in the British Commandos and ordered to teach a lethal version of his system at the Commando school in Scotland. Army studied under Fairbairn.

Applegate and other instructors such as Col. Anthony Biddle , these highly effective skills were taught to U.


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  7. Fairbairn to North America , and Sykes to SOE, where he trained special agents for behind the lines duties [ clarification needed ]. Agents were trained in depth to dispose of their enemy quickly and quietly with brutal effectiveness.

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    Following his instruction at Camp X, Fairbairn was rejoined by Col. This introduction of 'The Fairbairn Fighting System' at Camp X in conjunction with input from many highly skilled instructors with various backgrounds and fighting skills was the beginning of the evolution of Defendu. As close quarters battle or unarmed combat training progressed throughout this period, it was added to and refined utilising western fighting principles.

    Defendu encourages its practitioner to end a confrontation as quickly as possible using "ungentlemanly" means by rapidly attacking vital spot area such as the groin, throat, side of the neck, shin, eyes, ears, etc. These strikes are taught as a method and not as a disconnected isolated strikes found in traditional martial arts. Done properly, these strikes will "chain" at each other just like boxing. Defendu was also designed to be able to be mastered in a mere days due to the extremely compressed curriculum.