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  1. #1

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    Defendo vs. Defendo vs. Defendo

    Just noticed there are three separate martial arts called Defendo developed by completely different people.

    There's Defendo created by William E. Fairbairn and Eric Anthony Sykes. It's actual name is Defendu but many (most?) of its practitioners call it Defendo. It's a close quarter combatives system taught to soldiers during World War II that emphasized lethal force. From what I read, it's got the most confirmed casualties of any close quarter system -- probably just because World War II had a lot of casualties in the first place.

    Then there's Defendo created by Bill Underwood. This system came from an earlier system called Combato. Likewise, this was taught during World War II -- but to law enforcement instead and emphasized compliance instead of lethal force. Apparently, this was the first actual system called Defendo since Fairbairn really called his system Defendu.

    Finally, there's Defendo created by W.H. Wolfe. This one is actually Modern Defendo and is slightly based on Defendu, but is really quite different.

    Defendo (a.k.a., Defendu) was created by a Brit. Defendo (a.k.a., Combato) was created by another Brit who emigrated to Canada. Defendo (a.k.a., Modern Defendo) was created by a Canadian.

    So, does anyone here practice Defendo? If so, what are your feelings about the other forms of Defendo?
    Last edited by atomicpoet; 12/23/2010 6:52pm at .

  2. #2
    lionknight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atomicpoet View Post
    There's Defendo created by William E. Fairbairn and Eric Anthony Sykes. It's actual name is Defendu but many (most?) of its practitioners call it Defendo. It's a close quarter combatives system taught to soldiers during World War II that emphasized lethal force. From what I read, it's got the most confirmed casualties of any close quarter system -- probably just because World War II had a lot of casualties in the first place.
    Finally, there's Defendo created by W.H. Wolfe. This one is actually Modern Defendo and is slightly based on Defendu, but is really quite different.
    Where do you have proof of that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lionknight View Post
    Where do you have proof of that?
    I don't, but there's a book at my brother-in-law's house that makes that statement. After I read about it, I decided to research Defendo (Defendu?). It was plausible to me, but I don't necessarily think this is true.

    Regardless, I'll delete that from my OP since I'm not trying to talk about Defendo's "d34dl1n355", but the difference between all the Defendos.

    EDIT: Damn it, I can't edit. If you're reading the OP please forget it was even mentioned.

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    Okay, so I just finished reading W.H. Wolfe's book on Modern Defendo (in PDF format). Nowhere has he made any mention of Underwood's system, but he does spend an entire chapter chewing out Defendo imposters. I quote:

    Student’s of mine have even broken off association and started their own variant. Some of the more unscrupulous ones are even claiming they created Modern Defendo. And of course there are those who have just jumped on the Defendu/Defendo/Modern Defendo bandwagon.
    I also discovered that's there's also another system called Combato -- this one's American Combato (a.k.a., Jen-Do-Tao), which is different from Underwood's Canadian Combato. American Combato is an RBSD system. I have no idea if it's related to any other Combato/Defendo/Defendu/Modern Defendo system.

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    DdlR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atomicpoet View Post

    Then there's Defendo created by Bill Underwood. This system came from an earlier system called Combato. Likewise, this was taught during World War II -- but to law enforcement instead and emphasized compliance instead of lethal force. Apparently, this was the first actual system called Defendo since Fairbairn really called his system Defendu.
    I remember seeing Bill Underwood on a TV show called "That's Incredible!" back in the 1980s. He must have been in his 70s by then. Seemed like a cool old guy, he demoed some wrist locks and said that he liked to celebrate every birthday by diving into a pool off a high platform.

    There's a tangential "family" relationship between Defendo and Bartitsu in that Underwood apparently studied with former Bartitsu Club instructor Yukio Tani when he (Underwood) was a boy. I think that Defendo has been very substantially revised since Underwood's day, though.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by DdlR View Post
    I remember seeing Bill Underwood on a TV show called "That's Incredible!" back in the 1980s. He must have been in his 70s by then. Seemed like a cool old guy, he demoed some wrist locks and said that he liked to celebrate every birthday by diving into a pool off a high platform.

    There's a tangential "family" relationship between Defendo and Bartitsu in that Underwood apparently studied with former Bartitsu Club instructor Yukio Tani when he (Underwood) was a boy. I think that Defendo has been very substantially revised since Underwood's day, though.
    This is true. Canadian Use of Force Systems no longer teaches Underwood's original Defendo/Combato system. In fact, they consider it "outdated".

    Very interesting video here.

    YouTube - The Truth about DEFENDO

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    Where to begin. Defendu is not defendo, very few people practice Defendu, as it was a police oriented martial art. People do practice Fairbairn's stripped down version as shown in Get Tough! I know of no one who teaches/practices Fairbairn CQC refers to it as Defendo.

    Underwood's Defendo is a post WWII development from Combato. Still a confusing history. There was also an Australian Combato during WWII, but that is another story.

    American Combato is Brad steiner's take on WWII combatives dresssed back up as a martial art. Canadian Combato is not Underwood's version, but a former student of Steiner's, Dave Walmsley. The name is an intentional jab at American Combato.

    Modern defendo has no verifiable connectiion to Fairbairn's Defendu or Underwood's defendo.

    Take Robbie's version of history with a grain of salt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cdnronin View Post
    Where to begin. Defendu is not defendo, very few people practice Defendu, as it was a police oriented martial art. People do practice Fairbairn's stripped down version as shown in Get Tough! I know of no one who teaches/practices Fairbairn CQC refers to it as Defendo.

    Underwood's Defendo is a post WWII development from Combato. Still a confusing history. There was also an Australian Combato during WWII, but that is another story.

    American Combato is Brad steiner's take on WWII combatives dresssed back up as a martial art. Canadian Combato is not Underwood's version, but a former student of Steiner's, Dave Walmsley. The name is an intentional jab at American Combato.

    Modern defendo has no verifiable connectiion to Fairbairn's Defendu or Underwood's defendo.

    Take Robbie's version of history with a grain of salt.
    W.H. Wolfe claims Defendo is Defendu. He also claims to have modernized Defendo. Is he lying?

    YouTube - what does defendo mean?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by atomicpoet View Post
    W.H. Wolfe claims Defendo is Defendu. He also claims to have modernized Defendo. Is he lying?

    YouTube - what does defendo mean?
    Yes. I spent several years in discussion with Fairbairn's official historian, Peter Robins(RIP), author of A Warrior and a gentleman. There's alot of old history, search on this site for Wolfe, several interesting threads will come up.

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    Defendo my nuts.

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