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46
4.7 out of 5 stars
ALL-IN FIGHTING
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Not only an instructional work by the famed Bill Fairburn that presents an excellent self defence system but gives a snapshot into the mindset of a Britain fighting for its very existence. Excellent work.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Easy to understand, very quick to read - gives a useful basic knowledge of how to seriously harm someone. Obviously of historical interest for how the WW2 commando was trained.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 10 January 2010
This is a book of primarily historical merit and could prove disappointing to any mixed martial arts or martial artistry interesed readers or shoppers. Fairbairn and Sykes were officers with experience in Hong Kong and of asian fighting styles which they sought to import into their training of Commandos during the second world war.

The book has no index but it has a very clear preface, introduction and contents page, which breaks down into blows; releases; holds; throws; miscellaneous advice; disarming (pistol) and the rifle in close combat. Each chapter is broken down into specific topics, for instance in the miscellaneous advice into chair and knife; the match-box attack; smacking the ears; the art of getting up from the ground; getting up from the ground (backwards); attack with a small stick or cane etc. When these headings are addressed within the body of the book it is broken down further into a set number of instructions with corresponding illustrations on the adjacent page and supported by notes.

The stilletto (spelling) dagger and its use in combat is featured here as is the "smatchet" something between a Ghurka knife and a machette, as are some odd rope trick securing techniques and Fairbairn instructs on how to get out of some "come along" holds. It makes for interesting reading, throughout the introduction there is a kind of "gentlemen at war" mindset which is to be found in some of the books of this kind and I'm pretty sure doesnt exist so much today or would appear pastiche or spoof. Reading Fairbairn's reply to officers who found this kind of "rough housing" objectionable, prefering noble boxing, wrestling, rugby and football instead made me think.

An interesting read for readers of either military reads or war time literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 May 2014
Excellent diagrams and text, make this book invaluable for any woman or man, who may be assaulted in the street.

How to escape from a variety of holds; disabling your opponent with one, or two sharp blows; applying a chop without hurting yourself, are just some of the useful techniques. All techniques can be practised in simulation with another person, or on sandbag dummies.

A word of caution; because this book is about killing or disabling an enemy, it must be understood that to use some of the techniques in civil life, may lead to charges by the police if you go too far - be careful!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2012
I'm a 2nd (very soon to be 3rd) degree black belt and instructor in a well known Korean martial art and this book is as relevant today as it was in the era it was written for when it comes to the unarmed self defense (about 80% of the techniques in the book are almost identical to what we teach today!... although our syllabus is about 500% larger than this book goes into)... The only exception to relevance is the knife killing and shooting to kill stuff but that said, still an interesting bit of the book and an insight to the reality of the world our (certainly my) grandfathers lived in!!!. I say this is a good bit of history and should be read by anyone interested in the fighting arts and self defence....
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2011
The author of this concise guide to unarmed combat and self-defence is a legend. W. E. Fairbairn (1885-1960) spent over thirty years in the tough environment of the Riot Squads of China's Shanghai Municipal Police. In order to lower levels of Police mortality at the hands of Chinese Tongs, he studied ancient Chinese and Japanese martial arts, including Ju-jitsu, and was the first foreigner to be awarded a black belt in the discipline. He developed his own system which he called `Defendu'. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he was recruited by Britain's Special Operations Executive as an Instructor in unarmed combat and expounded the deadly mysteries of attack and defence to scores of trainee agents about to be dropped into occupied Europe. His methods were approved and officially adopted throughout the British army. Fairbairn also developed weapons and defence aids such as bullet proof vests. He is best known as the co-inventor of the famous Sykes-Fairbairn knife. In this book he expounds his distilled experience of unarmed combat. Fully illustrated, it shows how to deliver deadly blows with hand, fist, knee and boot; wrist, bear- and strangle holds (and how to break them); how to throw an enemy, and how to break their backs; how to disarm a pistol-wielding attacker; and securing a prisoner. The book also contains a chapter on the use of the rifle in close combat by Captain P. N. Walbridge.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2013
I am a judo player and at the end of our session we practise self defence and simplistic as this stuff is it works, thats why I gave it five stars.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An excellent book however one word of warning - remember this was designed more an an aide-memoir rather than a stand alone publication. I purchased it for historic value and to accompany a seminar, and would recommend that other purchasers remember its intended purpose rather than treat it as an end in itself.
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on 6 March 2015
I bought this for reference after coming across a mention of Fairbairn in an action novel. It's a fascinating insight into no-holds-barred unarmed combat, though some of the holds rely on you grabbing items of German uniform or assume you'll be carrying a rattan cane, so perhaps of limited use in a pub brawl.

Some of the manoeuvres are quite complex; you can see why they might have had to drill for hours to get it right. Thankfully, it's fully illustrated.
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on 31 May 2014
After reading this, you can understand why German occupation forces went in fear of Commando raids. Who'd be a cold, miserable sentry on a misty night that could end with a Fairbairn blade ?

IIRC, there was a 'spin-off'', supposed to be printed by the Germans, explaining how to counter these moves. It was so inept, yet littered with dismay, that it was thought to be 'Aspidistra' propaganda...
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