We got really distracted after WWII by the martial arts craze that peaked in the mid-seventies. The street-earned wisdom of how to really win a fight, codified by men who’d been in the cauldron — men like Fairbairn and his associates — was forgotten and discarded in favor of the dojo-based formality of the traditional martial arts. But starting in the late sixties with a fellow named Bruce Lee, the pure street-centered combatives approach began to make its well-deserved revival. Two classics of that ilk are now newly available from Paladin Press (www.paladin-press.com).
Defendu by W.E. Fairbairn, first published in 1926, comes directly from the great man’s experiences in the streets of lawless Shanghai combined with his study of the traditional martial arts of the orient. The result is a straight-forward set of techniques to street survival that any modern combatives practitioner would appreciate. Note that Fairbairn had himself studied the martial arts ... but he also had a wealth of real-world experience in the wildest city of the day. You have to look beyond the static, almost quaint, black & white pictures of men in shirt and tie, but you’ll see the straight-forward viciousness that street combat requires.