What is The Defendu Gutter Fighting Close Quarters Combat System

Updated: Sep 23

Defendu is a Close Quarters Combat System and one of the first modern martial arts developed by William E. Fairbairn and Eric A. Sykes prior to World War II.

Sykes and Fairbarin took their extensive experience with Jujutsu, Savate, judo, boxing, and created a hand-to-hand combat system to train the Municipal Police department of Shanghai.


At the time Shanghai was one of the most violent places on earth. It was considered a global city of vice. Sykes-Fairbarin created the first swat team with a complete ecosystem of skills, techniques, and weapons.

Based on his experience with street fighting he was involved in during his police work, Fairbairn began to develop his own system of hand to hand combat.


Fairbarin was covered from head to toe with scars from knife wounds he received in life-or-death battles with criminals on the streets of Shanghai. He survived over 600 non-training street fights in his lifetime.

Defendu was brought in to teach an expanded Close Quarters Combat System to the Office of Strategic Services and Special Operations Executive members during World War II.

Defendu encourages its users to end the confrontation as quickly as possible using "brutal" means such as attacking the groin, throat, side of the neck, shin, eyes, ears, etc. It consists of several pragmatic and powerful strikes.


These strikes are taught as a system and not as disconnected strikes found in traditional martial arts. Done properly, these strikes form n endless loop around each other like boxing.

There is no blocking or defensive moves found in Defendu. Users are taught to always take initiative and remain at offense. Users are further instructed to employ cunning devices or expedients, especially as used to trick or deceive others.

Fairbairn went to train some of the most elite Special Operations soldiers of the time including U.S. Army Rangers, British-Canadian Commandos, OSS Spy Operatives, U.S. Marine Raiders, and Special Air Service troopers in hand-to-hand combat, knife-fighting. Defendu was developed to be able to be mastered in a few days due to the compressed curriculum and made it possible for a person of average strength and skills to be successful against individuals with extensive training in martial arts.


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