Defendu

Lieutenant Colonel Samuel G. TaxisLieutenant Colonel Samuel G. Taxis demonstrates how to break an arm

Summary

Defendu is a modern form or Close Quarters Combat designed by Eric A. Sykes and William E. Fairbairn. It is considered to be the basis of several modern fighting arts and is thought to be one of the most effective close quarter battle methods in existence. The system was developed just before the World War II and it was initially taught to the officers of the Shanghai Police. Defendu relies on techniques used in jujutsu, boxing and practical fighting, incorporating many dangerous and deadly moves. Today, these techniques are mainly used by the law enforcement agencies, by officers who often encounter dangerous face-to-face situations that need to be resolved quickly, safely and efficiently.

History / Origins

ETYMOLOGY

Defendu is sometimes also referred to as Gutter Fighting, the Fairbairn Fighting System, and the Fairbairn System. Modern forms of this martial art are called Modern Defendo. The word “defendo” comes from Latin and means “to defend, guard, protect, drive away”.(1) The term has first appeared in 1926, in a book written by the creator of the technique, William E. Fairbairn.(2)

BEGINNINGS

Beginnings of Defendu can be traced all the way back to the 1920s Shanghai. During this period, Shanghai was considered to be the roughest city in the world in terms of fighting crime, mostly due to its large and crowded port. The crime was thriving – murders, drugs smuggling, prostitution and kidnappings were everyday occurrences here. William Edward Fairbairn was a British soldier who had served with the Royal Marine since 1901, where he developed new methods of bayonet fighting. He joined the Shanghai Municipal Police in 1907 after his discharge from Marines, and served in one of the city’s dangerous red light districts controlled by the group of Tong members, famous for their lethal methods. 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. 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.

He later trained officers of the Shanghai Police, along with the famous China Marines and the Shanghai Riot Squad, a prototype for modern S.W.A.T. teams. 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.

PRESENT DAY

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.S. Army were also included in the training and Fairbairn himself was later transferred to the U.S. to give training to the special agents. He introduced his system at U.S. 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. Peacetime forces still use many of these techniques and the same goes for all special units and secret services in the world, including Mossad, MI-6, FBI, as well as various SWAT and Marine forces.

FOLKLORE

It is said that during his early days in Shanghai police Fairbairn was attacked on duty by the infamous Hatchet-men of Chinese Tong. 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. This weapon became famous during the World War II, as it was issued to the SAS, British Commandos and Airborne Forces and was used during the Normandy Landings in 1944.(3)

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Discipline
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COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: China
TIME OF ORIGIN: Early 1930's
PRACTISED: Approx. 86  years
FOUNDERS:

Eric A. Sykes, William E. Fairbairn

FOCUS: 

Close Quarters Combat

ALSO KNOWN AS: Defendo, Modern Defendo, Gutter Fighting
PARENTHOOD:

Jujutsu, Boxing

DESCENDANTS:

Special forces Hand-to-Hand Combat

OLYMPIC SPORT: No

NOTABLE FEMALE PRATITIONERS

NOTABLE MALE PRATITIONERS

Eric A. Sykes
William E. Fairbairn

Discipline
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NATIONALITY:
DATE OF BIRTH:
AGE: Approx. 86  years
BORN:

Special forces Hand-to-Hand Combat

RESIDENCE: -
ALSO KNOWN AS: Defendo, Modern Defendo, Gutter Fighting
OCCUPATION:

Close Quarters Combat

JOB TITLE:

Jujutsu, Boxing

RELATED FEMALE INDIVIDUALS

RELATED MALE INDIVIDUALS

Eric A. Sykes
William E. Fairbairn

Discipline
flag
COUNTRY: China
LOCATION: -
FOUNDED: Early 1930's
OPERATIONAL: Approx. 86  years
FOUNDERS:

Eric A. Sykes, William E. Fairbairn

ALSO KNOWN AS: Defendo, Modern Defendo, Gutter Fighting
SECTOR:

Close Quarters Combat

DESCRIPTION:

Jujutsu, Boxing

WEBSITE: -

ACOSSIATED INDIVIDUALS

ACOSSIATED ATHLETES

Eric A. Sykes
William E. Fairbairn

Practices

PHILOSOPHY

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.(4) Those who are skilled in Defendu can control the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and use them to their own advantage. Although this system has borrowed elements from Asian martial arts, Defendu does not feature “kata” presentations and formal rules. 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.

TECHNIQUES

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. In case one is grabbed by the opponent, grappling method is used, along with several ground techniques. Defendu techniques are primarily to be practiced without weapons, but in case of need, anything that comes in handy can be used, including bottles, sticks, knives and other cold weapons. Many of these techniques can be modified to include the famous Fairbairn–Sykes fighting knife.

TRAINING

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RANKS & GRADING

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WEIGHT CLASSES

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Rules / Rulesets

RULES / RULESETS

As Defendu is used in real-life situations, and not in rings and competitions, there are no official rules that regulate conduct during fights.

Organisations & Historical Places

ORGANISATIONS

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HISTORICAL PLACES

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Popular Culture

POPULAR CULTURE

As Defendu is included in training routines of almost all special forces in the world, many of its techniques are often showcased in popular culture. These include numerous movies, TV shows, video games and other popular references. Some of the most famous movies including many elements of close quarters combat include Navy Seals, S.W.A.T., The Negotiator, Commando, The Unit, Metal Gear Solid, the Bourne Trilogy and many others. When it comes to video games, a popular series called SWAT often features many real-life fighting techniques of Defendu and similar styles.

Useful Links

USEFUL LINKS

Links coming soon

References

REFERENCES

  1. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/defendo
  2. http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread730324/pg1
  3. http://www.fairbairnsykesfightingknives.com/
  4. http://www.intermartialarts.com/styles/defendu

COLLABORATORS

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Contact

CONTACT

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