Ultimate System of Self Defense

Fairbairn’s DEFUNDU Training

Before Reality Self Defense, Combatives, and Krav Maga; there was one, ultimate system of self-defense that the U.S. and British Commandos, MI6, the CIA, the SOE and even James Bond used. It was called DEFENDU and is considered an ultimate training “art”.

Defendu is a modern martial art developed by William E. Fairbairn and Eric A. Sykes prior to World War II and has been reported to have been successful in over 600 violent street altercations. It is a hand-to-hand combat system based on practical experience mixed with jiu jitsu and boxing that was developed to train the Shanghai Municipal Police. It was later taught in expanded form to Office of Strategic Services and Special Operations Executive members during World War II.

Defendu was instrumental in fighting the drug triads in Shanghai, the Imperial Japanese and Nazi Germany. This method was taught and deployed to elite police units, espionage operatives and military special forces all over the world and is accordingly still used today by elite forces where violence is part of their daily job description.

Who is Fairbairn?

William Ewart Fairbairn who was born on February 28, 1885, was a British Royal Marine and was a police officer. He developed hand-to-hand combat methods for the Shanghai Police during the interwar period, as well as for the allied Special Forces during World War II. He is the creator of DEFENDU that has its own fighting system. This includes the innovative pistol shooting techniques and the development of the Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife. The television series Secrets of War suggested him as a possible inspiration for Q branch in James Bond.

DEFENDU’s distant past

Fairbairn‘s training and knowledge is in boxing, savate, jiu jitsu, judo, wrestling and his own altercations he was involved in during his police work. He began to develop his own system of hand to hand combat, initially referring it as “Defendu”.

At first, it was designed to be simple to learn and to provide effective results. Later, Fairbairn was called upon by the British to help train Allied troops in World War II. Together with Fairbairn, they 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.

In the military manual, Defendu was described as militarized which was then enhanced during the WW2 CQB-training. It’s original version was slanted towards restraint self-defense as the Close Quarters Combat system concentrates on rapid disabling of an opponent with potentially lethal force. Later on, the book was published in a civilian edition and he then published several more books on the subject of self-defense, all of which refer to Defendu.

To put it simply, Fairbairn’s Defendu worked. This system of unarmed combat made it possible for a person of average strength and skill to meet and win against a highly trained opponent in the martial arts. Although there are several techniques which help the average person accomplish this, here are two basic moves which you can learn and implement quickly:

Snap Kick

A snap kick is the fastest by lifting the knee and snapping the lower leg into the target. Power is generated primarily from the sharp extension of the leg and the speed with which the lower leg shoots into the target. Imagine having the laces of your shoe making contact with the groin of your opponent.

It doesn’t involve the hips as much as other kicks do, which is why it is easy for beginners. As a result, kickers don’t have to compromise their balance by shifting their center of gravity. This means they can quickly step in with a follow-up technique or retract the leg to its original position.

Elbow Strike

In this technique one needs to keep your arms up near your head in a standard guarded position. If you leave your arms hanging by your side, you will be leaving your head vulnerable.

If your arms are up high, you will be able to intuitively block strikes by your opponent without much movement. In this position you can quickly counter with your own elbow strikes by leaving your arm bent, and bending it even higher as you raise it above your head. The Elbow strike is then completed by striking downward, across the attacker’s face.

Combination Kick – Strike

As in most combative arts, gaining a superior fighting advantage comes not through the use of one individual move, but using a combination of moves. In the two examples above, using a Snap Kick into an Elbow Strike is both simple yet effective. Once again, striking down low with the low line attack of the Snap Kick to the groin and then following up with a diagonal downward elbow strike to the face can yield immense damage. DEFENDU focuses on simplicity, so even when multiple moves are used in combination, they are easy to transition and adapt if by chance your opponent throws blocks and counters.

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