Important Points To Bear In Mind When Culling The WWII

Methods For Help In Personal Training

William Ewart Fairbairn is perhaps the most celebrated of the WWII Teachers. As far as personal experience "being and doing" there has probably been no one in modern history better qualified to teach no-nonsense, get-him-before-he-gets-you close combat. Fairbairn, by actual record, participated in more than 600 armed and unarmed lethal encounters while "Officer In Charge of Musketry" in the Shanghai Municipal Police. The finest of Fairbairn's treatments of close combat include: ALL-IN FIGHTING, HANDS OFF!, and SHOOTING TO LIVE. Fairbairn was mentor to the almost equally well known Pat (Dermot) O'Neill. Rex Applegate — another legend from that era and on through the post-WWII years — began as Fairbairn's assistant and pupil, and later became his opposite number here in the States, when Fairbairn returned to England.

William Ewart Fairbairn is perhaps the most celebrated of the WWII Teachers. As far as personal experience "being and doing" there has probably been no one in modern history better qualified to teach no-nonsense, get-him-before-he-gets-you close combat. Fairbairn, by actual record, participated in more than 600 armed and unarmed lethal encounters while "Officer In Charge of Musketry" in the Shanghai Municipal Police. The finest of Fairbairn's treatments of close combat include: ALL-IN FIGHTING, HANDS OFF!, and SHOOTING TO LIVE. Fairbairn was mentor to the almost equally well known Pat (Dermot) O'Neill. Rex Applegate — another legend from that era and on through the post-WWII years — began as Fairbairn's assistant and pupil, and later became his opposite number here in the States, when Fairbairn returned to England.

1. The best of the WWII methods —

• The Applegate System

• The Fairbairn System

• The O’Neill System

• The Brown-Begala System

• The U.S.M.C. Raider System

All offer what is a very similar theme. Strive to grasp the general underlying similar theme that runs through each of these methods, rather than looking at each of the different systems as a mere collection of techniques.

2. While having no doubt that the specific techniques presented in the curriculum of each of the WWII systems is excellent and quite reliably serviceable, do not abandon entirely the techniques and tactics of whatever conventional martial art you may be studying, or that you may have studied in the past. When you find a technique that is either not included in, or played down in, a WWII system, that fits you well and in which you possess confidence, incorporate it into your repertoire.

3. Remember that numerous principles which underlie the conventional martial arts are no less valid than those that have been included directly in the WWII methodology. Explore — since you do not have the limitations placed upon you that the teachers and trainees during WWII had placed upon them — all of that which may be of value to you from all sources.

4. Validate skills that you examine and consider for inclusion into your repertoire by testing them rigorously against “The Applegate Touchstone” found in Kill or Get Killed. (“Will this work so that I can use it instinctively in vital combat against an adversary who determined to prevent me from doing so and who is striving to eliminate me by fair means or foul?”)

5. Capitalize on employing one of the most sensible rules that the WWII era teachers all emphasized:

Make no attempt to “master everything”. Find the skills that

best suit you, individually, and work incessantly on those.

With no limits on your time available for training, and the sources to which you may refer for guidance, try to keep building your personalized, individual skills and tactics repertoire. In the long run this will see you in possession of a unique, personalized, individually tailored system of your own — which is exactly what you are after. The classical-traditional “cookie-cutter” process of turning out clones of the system headmaster is one of classicism’s greatest errors!

Rare photo sequence taken from the Athletic Journal (US Navy photographs) showing Wesley Brown demonstrating the edge-of-the-hand blow to various targets. Brown, a wrestler, was a hand-to-hand combat in the Navy during WWII. Along with Joe Begala (who, following the war, became Kent State wrestling coach) he taught Naval Aviation Cadets. Although the Navy program (available in its entirely in the V-5 Physical Education Text of that era, HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT, was perhaps the most extensive of all the WWII systems, it was laced with numerous overly complicated techniques and too much wrestling-based manuevers. Nevetheless, the course was excellent, and stressed a tough, merciless attitude and many excellent, direct, practical actions.

Rare photo sequence taken from the Athletic Journal (US Navy photographs) showing Wesley Brown demonstrating the edge-of-the-hand blow to various targets. Brown, a wrestler, was a hand-to-hand combat instructor in the Navy during WWII. Along with Joe Begala (who, following the war, became Kent State wrestling coach) he taught Naval Aviation Cadets. Although the Navy program (available in its entirely in the V-5 Physical Education Text of that era, HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT, was perhaps the most extensive of all the WWII systems, it was laced with numerous overly complicated techniques and too much wrestling-based manuevers. Nevetheless, the course was excellent, and stressed a tough, merciless attitude and many excellent, direct, practical actions.

6. Do not fall into the two prevailing “traps” that the recent crop of “WWII era system” fanatics have fallen into:

a) Literally worshipping the WWII systems, and — ironically —

adopting the same nonsense attitude that often had been

responsible for, properly, turning them away from the

classical-traditional systems, in the first place

b) Adopting the “holier-than-thou” attitude of the lunatics who,

having discovered and adopted the WWII methods as

their own, now set themselves apart as The Authorities

on these methods, and — incredibly! — while noting

how “simple”, “easily understood and mastered”, and

rooted in common sense these methods are, proceed

to insist that they and only they are the “authentically

researched purveyors of WWII era combat wisdom”!

Every source of instruction and information that these

misguided individuals utilized to achieve their understanding and    knowledge of the WWII methods may be utilized by YOU.

7. Use these sources to learn about the WWII methods:

• Our web sites: www.americancombato.com and www.seattlecombatives.com

• The Close Combat Files of Rex Applegate

• Kill or Get Killed

• All-In Fighting/Get Tough!/Hands Off!/Shooting to Live

• Hand-to-Hand Combat (V-5)

• Combat Conditioning (Melson)

• Combat Conditioning (Hanley)

• Do or Die

• Combat Without Weapons

• FM 21-150 Combatives (1971 edition) This depicts much of the

O’Neill System

• (Films):

OSS TRAINING GROUP

HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT

USMC FLEET MARINE FORCE FILMS

POINT SHOOTING/BULLSEYES DON’T SHOOT BACK

GUTTERFIGHTING

It is possible that some of these publications (notably the films) may not be readily available. However, a thorough study of the first four books listed will suffice to educate anyone thoroughly in the methods.

World War Two saw giant steps ahead taken, as the then greatest experts in the world  amongst the allied forces, worked hard to provide instruction in what Rex Applegate referred to as the commando style of personal combat.

Virtually all of the post WWII practical systems derive considerably from the great wartime methods of the 1940’s. American Combato incorporates the cream of all of the top WWII Methods.

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