Combat Judo, by Robert Carlin
Self-Published in 1945
Robert Carlin was a USMC “combat judo” instructor. Combat Judo is the name utilized (alternatively with ju-jitsu, judo, hand-to-hand combat, combat conditioning, and dirty fighting) by the marine corps during WWII. One of our own teachers, Charles Nelson, was recognized and certified as a “ju-jitsu”/“combat judo” instructor, and actually trained the marines whom he accompanied and fought alongside in the battle of Guadalcanal, in combat judo.
In reality, there is no formalized single system or martial art called combat judo as there is, say Japanese Kodokan Judo or Korean Yudo; however the various adaptations of that combination of ju-jitsu/boxing/dirty fighting/knife and stick fighting that different teachers developed and taught are quite excellent. Robert Carlin and Bernard Cosneck are the only two prominent teachers of what each referred to as “combat judo” who authored authentic and reliable books on the subject, in our opinion. There was a small paperback book titled Combat Judo which we’d advise anyone interested in real combatives to avoid.
There are some highly skilled martial arts teachers today who have dubbed the eclectic systems of self-defense that they offer combat judo. Their use of the term is just as legitimate and valid as was Carlin’s and Cosneck’s. (A review of Cosneck’s American Combat Judo appears elsewhere in this section of our site). What is important to understand is that the term in every instance, reflects the individual teacher’s personal collection of close-combat skills —— normally based upon a solid background in more formalized systems, but recast as combat judo to distinguish it from any of the classical/traditional approaches to self-defense.
Robert Carlin’s Combat Judo is a near impossible-to-find classic. Like Arwrology, by Gordon Perrigard, an original edition of this work would doubtless have a hefty pricetag. Unlike Perrigard’s work, Combat Judo is not available in a reprint. (We forward a PDF of this book FREE with a purchase of our Mental Conditioning book —— which is available on a quality CD).
Carlin was a knowledgeable and very sensible teacher. With few exceptions the instruction in his large format book is excellent. He wisely spends time in explaining basic principles required for success in close combat before getting into any physical techniques.
Basic skills emphasizing low, powerful kicks to the knee, open hand chops, finger jabs, heel-of-the-hand blows, and elbow and knee strikes are, properly, pushed as being the ones to rely upon in combat. The defenses illustrated and described are sound (with one or two odd exceptions —— like his advocacy of a “drop kick”, which is reminiscent of what pro-wrestlers used to frequently apply in their spectacular contests. We do not agree with this technique for actual combat.
Carlin demonstrates a good attack combination or two (and we wish that he would have given much more stress to this type of offensive technique than he devotes to “defenses”) which is excellent. He covers some very rudimentary knifework and combat handgun skill. We found it strange that he chose a six inch barreled revolver for handgun technique, considering that during WWII the Colt Government Model .45 automatic was mainly The Handgun primarily used not only in the marine corps, but in all of the U.S. armed forces. Such revolvers that were used by our servicemen were four inch barreled Smith and Wessons and Colts, as well as two inch barreled revolvers. But this is really an aside.
That which Carlin teaches is overwhelmingly excellent. It hardly matters whether he demonstrates pistol firing with a particular weapon model . . . so long as what he demonstrates is viable and authentic. And in Combat Judo it is.
Professionals and collectors like ourself will probably not rest until they manage to locate an original copy of this rare volume. We might even reprint it ourself so that affordable copies will be available on a wide scale. We’ll see.
This is one collector’s item that is also an excellent source of first class instruction; something that is true of only a percentage of the old, scarce “combat and self-defense” texts.
Again, if you order our Mental Conditioning Book on CD you’ll receive a free PDF of this book. Also a free PDF copy of Grover’s Defend Yourself!
We’d rate Combat Judo a “7” or “8” on a quality scale going up to “10”. We wish we had known Robert Carlin personally.