Analysis of Fairbairn's Get Tough
I'm attempting a semi-serious analysis of one of the classic tomes of the RBSDer's library, Get Tough by W.E. Fairbairn. I picked this one for a couple reasons:
1. its technical approach is fairly simple and direct, so it should be fairly easy to go through and critique
2. it focuses on techniques common to the RBSD crowd (open hands to the head and neck, low kicks, knee to the balls)
3. William E. Fairbairn is well-regarded among "hand to hand combat enthusiasts" because he was a member of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, British Secret Service, and the Shanghai Municipal Police, where he was said to have been in hundreds of fights. Also, he was said to be trained in boxing, jujutsu, Kodokan judo (2nd degree BB) and Chinese martial arts.
So basically, we have a short, simple manual written by a man many respect as an authority on real-world fighting. Does it live up to the hype? Do his methods work? I ask because decades later, we see the value of sport-based training even outside the sporting ring. Our military has adopted BJJ, wrestling and kickboxing over its old training methods as the paradigm has shifted. Some old guys say that this is a mistake and we should return to Fairbairn's methods. A classic sport vs street argument.
Rather than rehashing that old thing (yes, aliveness is necessary for good training so you actually learn to struggle) I figured we could have a look from a technical perspective, since the curriculum is so short. So, let's pretend that under stress, our RBSD proponent will, in fact, respond with Fairbairn's karate chops and shin kicks, rather than being overwhelmed by fighting resistance they've never really faced. Let's assume that this is real combat, and let's also add that the opponent is at least as big/strong as the defender (since these methods are supposed to work on everyone). Will these measures really stop the attacker in the way they are supposed to? I'd like to hear opinions on both sides.
NOTE: Get Tough is technically a hand to hand combat book, not a civilian self defense one. However, many RBSD advocates basically recommend the same or a similar approach.
The book is divided into the following chapters:
-Miscellaneous Advice (this one is pretty interesting for discussion)
-Use of the Knife
-Disarming an Opponent of His Pistol
I figure I'll outline each one a post at a time and leave room for comments. If others are interested and involved, hopefully we'll get through the whole thing and have a nice, thorough discussion of everything by the end. Or you'll lolzorz @ krotty chops and it'll be one of those threads.
So, let's get to Blows!
#1: edge of the hand:
"Deliver edge-the-hand blows with the inner
(i.e., little-finger) edge e hand, fingers
straight and close together, thumb extended.
Contact is made with the edge only, about
half-way between the knuckle of the little
finger and the wrist, as shown in Fig. 1.
1. Deliver the blow with a bent arm
(never with a straight arm), using a
chopping action from the elbow, with
the weight of the body behind it.
Practice by striking the open palm of
your left hand, as in Fig. 2.
2. There are two ways in which this blow
can be delivered:
(a) Downwards, with either hand;
(b) Across, with cither hand; the blow
always being delivered outwards, with
the palm of the hand downwards,
never on top (Fig. 3).
3. Attack the following points on your opponent's body, delivering every blow
as quickly as possible:
(a) The sides or back of the wrist;
(b) The forearm, half-way between the wrist and elbow;
(c) The biceps;
(d) The sides or back of the neck;
(e) Just below the "Adam's apple";
(f) The kidneys or base of the spine.
Note. - If your opponent catches hold of you, strike his wrist or forearm; a fracture will most
likely result. This would be almost impossible with a blow from a clenched fist."
What do you think of Fairbairn's advice about the use of the edge of hand blow?