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Sunday, January 31, 2016

WWII COMBATIVES

Growing up I had always heard people say don’t ever mess with a WW2 combat veteran they will kill ya. I remember my mother’s cousin who was a WW2 vet, one day at a family reunion his three sons who were grown men at the time got upset with their dad and decided that they were going to teach him a lesson in front of the entire family. Well that didn’t quite work out the way they had planned. My mother’s cousin made pretty easy work out of kicking all three of his sons’ asses.

I was a boy at the time but I remember that when his sons jumped him from behind he made short work of them. I am thinking now years later that his sons were lucky that he did nt really hurt them I am sure he could have.

 WWII Combatives relied on speed, surprise, and overwhelming violence.  They were not teaching recruits in World War II how to arrest people.  They were not teaching chokes so the enemy could wake up later. It was all about war and killing. Quite simply it was KILL OR BE KILLED!

World War II combatives are close quarters combat techniques which include hand-to-hand close quarter combat methods, advanced firearm point shooting methods, and weapons techniques like the knife, the bayonet and improvised weapons. I mean talk about being able to defend yourself and fight like Jason Bourne!!!! This combat method was taught to allied special forces in World War II by such famous instructors as Rex Applegate, William E. Fairbairn and Dermot (Pat) O’neil.

W.E. Fairbairn taught unarmed combat to the famed British Commandos and the U.S. armed forces during World War II.  Fairbairn was recruited to train the British commandos in his combat method. During this period, he expanded his method into the 'Silent Killing Close Quarters Combat method' for military application. Fairbairn who was a 2nd degree black belt in Judo and trained in boxing  and other martial arts contributed more to the knowledge base of how to kill the enemy in close quarters than perhaps anyone else to this day.

W.E. Fairbairn, the father of close quarter combatives,  established his own method called Defendu (Fairbairn Fighting Systems) with Eric A. Sykes. Defendu was based on Fairbairn’s training in Kodokan Judo, and other fighting styles; and was designed to be highly effective.

In 1941 Rex Applegate was recruited by Wild Bill Donovan for the OSS, specifically to build and run what was called "The School for Spies and Assassins", the location of which is now Camp David. Donovan had Applegate learn all that he could about armed and unarmed fighting from William E. Fairbairn to form a brutal and effective system.

U.S. Army officers Rex Applegate and Anthony Biddle were taught Fairbairn's methods at a training facility in Scotland, and adopted the program for the training of OSS operatives at a newly opened camp near Lake Ontario in Canada. During the war, training was provided to British Commandos, the Devil's Brigade, OSS, U.S. Army Rangers and Marine Raiders.

Applegate was the close-combat coordinator for all clandestine missions and this role brought him into contact with other fighters and martial artists of the time period such as a Finnish soldier who killed 21 Russians with a knife and the founder of the British SAS: David Stirling. At one point during the war, Applegate served as the personal bodyguard to President Franklin D Roosevelt.

“Pat” Dermot O’Neill  was a devoted practitioner of Japanese judo a fith degree black belt awarded by the kodokan while living and working in Japan. He was also considered by many to be the protégé of William E.  Fairbairn.

O’Neill came to the United States at the behest and recommendation of WE Fairbairn who was at this time involved with the OSS. O’Neill was slated to work for the OSS, but was sent instead to serve as an instructor with the First Special Service Force, a joint Canadian-US commando unit known as the “Devil’s Brigade.” When the 1st SSF was sent into action, O’Neill refused to stay behind and declared that since he trained these boys he would damn well fight beside them.

After the war O’Neill served as a consultant on police and security for various Federal agencies, including the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency. In the mid-1960s O’Neill located in the Washington, DC area and began work with the International Police Academy there. This organization was funded by the Agency for International Development and was a cover for para-military operations and training run by the CIA.

O’Neill was considered a very tough man in his day and had a reputation for not backing down from anyone. His skill in judo was highly praised even at the kodokan.  The methods of hand-to-hand combat he devised and taught were greatly effective and such was proven in actual battle numerous times. O’Neill greatly influenced military close quarter combat for the United States Army, the United States Army Military Police Corps and the United States Marine Corps.

WW2 would be the pinnacle of close quarters battle, hand to hand, knife and bayonet it all would gell during this time. Designated as the 1st Special Service Force, the Devil's Brigade was a joint World War II American-Canadian commando unit trained at Fort Harrison near Helena, Montana in the United States. Many modern American and Canadian Special Forces units trace their heritage to this unit. For the movie of the same name, see The Devil's Brigade.

Members of this unit received rigorous and intensive training in stealth tactics; hand-to-hand combat; knife, the use of explosives for demolition; parachuting; amphibious warfare; rock-climbing and mountain warfare. From the outset, the 1st Special Service Force was armed with a variety of non-standard or limited-issue weapons, such as the M1941 Johnson machine gun. The Johnson  LMG in particular helped greatly increase the firepower of the unit and was highly regarded by those who used it in combat and a fighting knife made exclusively for the Force called the V-42 combat knife.

In japan the Japanese military were doing the same with a special forces group of their own at the “Nakano school”  and were  coming to the exact same conclusions with close quarter combat  as Fairbairn, Sykes, Applegate,and O'Neill had. Hit hard, fast, hit the vulnerable areas, kill. NO BULLSHIT. Get IN and get the JOB DONE as quickly and brutally as possible. 


The Japanese military did employ a "knife" design as a combat knife as well as the traditional so-called "Tanto" design. The term TANTO merely describes a "hand sword" NOT particularly a "design" TANTO-JUTSU can refer to ANY knife. The tanto design that is familiar to most of us is actually called a "kogatana".  As I understand it Tanto-jutsu/Kaiken-jutsu usually means "knife fighting technique". TANKEN-JUTSU refers to the use of the BAYONET as a knife. This is taught as part of the JUKEN-JUTSU (bayonet fighting) syllabus.

JUDO IN THE MILITARY

My first experience with judo was in the combatives training I went thru in the Military. Later when I was 26 years old I pursued further training in judo which continues to this day. I am fortunate enough to have an excellent Japanese instructor who grew up doing judo since the age of six and who trained at the Kodokan, the headquarters of Judo.

Judo from its very beginning has been a self-defense and combat discipline. The original Judo from Jigoro Kano was and still is a full featured combat discipline which formed the basis for many Military and Police tactics around the world.

Judo served well as an official system of Japanese Imperial armed forces and Japanese police. In 1886 the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Academy hosted a tournament between the Kodokan (The Kodokan Institute, is the headquarters of the worldwide judo community in Japan.) and the prominent Jujutsu style, to determine which "style" the Academy would adopt into their training regimen. Out of the tournament's 15 matches the Kodokan won 12 and had 1 draw. The reason why the Kodokan was so successful at this historic meeting lies in one word: Randori. Randori or free sparring trained Kanos judokas in as close to real life and death combat as possible.

Judo was probably the first Japanese martial art introduced to the west, most notably through the U.S. military in the modern era. As American GIs were introduced to the Japanese culture from the early 1900’s onward it was inevitable that the martial art of Judo found its way into the American culture.

CPT. Allen Corstorphin Smith of the United States Army trained at the Kodokan in Japan. CPT.
Smith was awarded a  judo black belt from the Kodokan in Japan in 1916 and was the hand to hand combat instructor at the Infantry school at ft, Benning Georgia.

JUDO AND WWII COMBATIVES

World War II combatives are close quarters combat techniques, including hand-to-hand (H2H),
advanced firearm point shooting methods, and weapons techniques (knife/bayonet/improvised weapons) that were taught to allied special forces in World War II. The most successful programs were offshoots from the British Commando training taught by William E Fairbairn. Farbairn, a second degree black belt in Judo, had trained the police force in Shanghai, China before the war. 

Fairbairn was likely the single greatest authority on hand-to- hand close combat and personal defense skills with and without hand-held weapons of the 20th century.  He was the most prestigious, sought-after, and influential close combat trainer throughout the Allied Forces of WWII. The Commandos, the secret agents of England’s wartime Special Operations Executive and of America’s Office of Strategic Services, and special agents of the FBI all learned Fairbairn’s special system.

Mikonosuke Kawaishi an 8th degree black belt in Kodokan judo developed and taught a terrific and extremely deadly form of  close combat/self- defense. Mr. Kawaishi's methods are probably the most ruthless form of Judo ever to be put before the public, and were designed for the keen Judoka, and the Police Forces and Military Establishments all over the world.

Finally there is “Pat” Dermot O’Neill the fabled hand-to-hand combat instructorr for the Canadian/American First Special Service Force (the “Devil’s Brigade”). O’Neill had been a detective with the Shanghai Municipal Police Department, and had learned Defendu directly under Fairbairn. O’Neill was the highest ranking Caucasian judo black belt in the world in the 1940’s.

Fairbairn, Oneill and Kawaishi were all Judo trained men. All three of these men were incomparable masters of practical, all-in fighting and close quarter combat.  EACH ONE taught a repertoire of vicious, direct skills to disable the enemy as quickly as possible at all costs.

Various aspects of Judo were taught to all U.S. military police as an effective way to deal with arresting and controlling drunken, brawling GIs without seriously harming them.  The great Judo legend Masahiko Kimura shared a story in his biography about being approached shortly after WWII in the summer of 1946 by a Capt. Shepherd of the U.S. Military Police to train Military Police personnel in Judo.
  
The United States Air Force has at times in its history been at the forefront of Combatives Training. Soon after the establishment of the Air Force as a separate service in September 1947, GEN Curtis Lemay was appointed as the Commanding General of the Strategic Air Command (SAC). GEN Lemay, who had masterminded the US air attacks on the Japanese mainland during World War II, knew that more US bomber groups in Europe had suffered more combat casualties than the US Marine Corps had in the pacific. Many of the lost Airmen ended up as German Prisoners of War. He was determined that all of his flying personnel would have a working knowledge of hand-to-hand combat to aid in escape and evasion.

In 1951 GEN Lemay appointed Emilio "Mel" Bruno, his Judo teacher and a former national American Athletic Union (AAU) Wrestling champion and fifth degree black belt in Judo, to direct a command wide Judo and combative measures program. He devised a program combining techniques from Aikido, Judo and Karate.

 In 1952 the Air Training Command took over the program. The Commanding General was General Thomas Power. Because of the deficiency in qualified instructors, Power sent two classes of twenty four Airmen to train at the Kodokan for several weeks.

Based upon the success of this trial and after an official delegation from the Kodokan toured SAC bases in the United States, Bruno set up an eight week training course at the Kodokan. Students trained eight hours a day, five days a week and upon return to the United States were assigned throughout SAC. The course was a Japanese designed mix of judo, aikido, karate and taihojutsu.

From 1959 to 1966 the Air Force Combative Measures (Judo) Instructors Course was taught at Stead Air Force Base in Reno Nevada. The 155 hour course consisted of: 36 hours fundamentals of judo, 12 hours aikido, 12 hours karate, 12 hours Air Police Techniques, 12 hours Aircrew self-defense, 18 hours judo tournament procedures, 5 hours code of conduct and 48 hours training methods. There were also a 20 hour Combative methods course and a 12 hour Combative survival course for Aircrew members.

Being recognized as so effective in combat, Judo became the basis for most of the hand-to-hand combat skills taught to soldiers in basic training throughout all branches of the U.S. military.

 "Strikes are an inefficient method of ending a fight. However, they are a significant part of most fights, and a solider must have an understanding of fighting at striking range. It is important to note that while at striking range, you are open to being struck. For this reason, it is often better to avoid striking range." - Combatives, US Army Field Manual FM3-25-150, Department of the Army, 18 January 2002, Washington D.C.

 "Marines should avoid being on the ground during a close combat situation because the battlefield may be covered with debris and there is an increased risk of injury. However, many close combat situations involve fighting on the ground. The priority in a ground fight is for Marines to get back on their feet as quickly as possible." - US Marine Corps Close Combat, MCRP 3-02, Department of the Navy, 12 February 1999, Washington D.C.

Judo is a sport but it is much more "combatives" oriented.  The judoka trains at a close quarter combat range developing avenues to quickly put an end to a hand to hand or close quarter combat situation. There is a reason that old school law enforcement and the United States military taught Judo...IT WORKED.