Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Scientific Self Defense

Here is a link to an article about Lieutenant Colonel William Ewart Fairbairn. He led a colorful life and was a martial arts pioneer. Below is an excerpt.


By: William L. Cassidy

The author of the work, the late Lieutenant-Colonel William Ewart Fairbairn (1885-1960), is widely and quite correctly regarded as the foremost close-combat Instructor of the modern era. His remarkable career, which has been extensively documented, began in 1901 with the Royal Marine Light Infantry and service as a member of the British Legation Guard at Seoul Korea. In 1907 he signed on with the Shanghai Municipal Police, thereafter distinguishing himself as an innovative training officer and securing an international reputation by raising and commanding the famed Shanghai Riot Squad. During the period of his service with the force Fairbairn by actual record personally engaged in over 600 violent armed and unarmed encounters, in conditions ranging from routine police work to urban combat experience during the Sino-Japanese War.

Fairbairn retired from police work with the rank of Assistant Commissioner in 1940, at the age of fifty-five. Returning to Great Britain he was recruited by the Secret Service and gazetted as a Captain on the Army list. While so occupied he was the principal instructor's instructor to components of British Military intelligence, the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS); the Special Operations Executive (SOE); the Commandos, and other specialized forces.

"To put in simply, Fairbairn's methods worked. Stripped of all the unnecessary trappings, his system of unarmed combat made it possible for a person of average strength and skills to meet and win against an opponent trained in the martial arts." This simplicity is admirably demonstrated in Scientific Self-Defence, a work originally published to serve as the complete exposition of his basic unarmed combat method. This work is the foundation of much of his later effort, including such commercially published extracts as Get Tough!, and the manuals and outlines he wrote for various agencies.

What is the essence of Fairbairn's method? Fairbairn himself wrote in 1925 that he believed his "...system to be entirely new and original, and, further, it requires no athletic effort to perform any of the exercises given. This system is not to be confounded with Jiujutsu or any other known method of defence, and although some of the holds, trips, etc., are a combination of several methods, the majority are entirely original." In an article analyzing certain aspects of Fairbairn's wartime work, I observed that his methods, "...were, from the very beginning, designed as a peculiarly Western Martial Art, a means whereby the English-speaking world could come to grips with and win over oriental systems." These statements lend outline, but the serious student of the subject requires greater detail.


walt said...

But ... can't we all just get along?

Hmmm. Maybe not.

I see in one of his books he recommended learning just a few of the techniques, but learning them very well.

Rick Matz said...

He led quite a life.

Zen said...

Worth looking into.