HANDS OFF!, by W.E. Fairbairn

Published in 1942 by Appleton-Century Company, NYC. 48 Pages – Photo lllustrated

An original Fairbairn classic: HANDS OFF! Owning an original wartime edition is always a treat, but a reprint is available from Paladin Press if all you want is the information and instruction contained in the book.

An original Fairbairn classic: HANDS OFF! Owning an original wartime edition is always a treat, but a reprint is available from Paladin Press if all you want is the information and instruction contained in the book.

THIS is one of the great Fairbairn classics. A reprint is available from Paladin Press, but every serious close combat teacher and student will want to have  “Fairbairn Originals” if possible. This is an excellent little book.

All of the material in this wartime publication represents Fairbairn’s doctrine specifically for women. Obviously, techniques suitable for females can also be executed by males . . . so although written for women, men who are serious about the subject of personal combat will find much of value inside this little gem.

Fairbairn and his daughter Dorotea pose for the photographic illustrations.

This book contains the best description and illustration of the proper hand formation for the chinjab smash — a key and vital unarmed combat blow. It also describes some simple, speedily executed self-defense techniques against common attacks. Extremely valuable are Fairbairn’s terse introductory comments regarding the subject of self-defense in general, and ju-jutsu in particular. For example:

“TO TAKE THE BATTLE INTO YOUR OPPONENT’S CAMP, TO CATCH HIM OFF HIS GUARD, IS SEVENTY-FIVE PER CENT OF THE BATTLE WON.”

— from the Foreword

This little book covers 20 basic techniques . . . all adaptable to numerous predicaments. Our personal favorite technique — not mentioned in any of Fairbairn’s other works — is one that was taught to both male and female agents of the wartime Special Operations Executive and the Office of Strategic Services. It is the final (20th) technique described in Hands Off!:

“Give Me A Light” This was one of the “dirty tricks” taught during WWII to spies, saboteurs, and guerrillas of the  allied forces. It instructs the student in how to send a blazing package of matches into an enemy’s face and reder him susceptible to whatever you then wish to do — whether that be to escape or to attack him further. Some might regard this action as “dated”, but it still could be used — and to have a document in which The Master himself describes one of those special tricks he taught to secret agents during WWII is nifty.

Original copies are pricey . . . but worth it, in our opinion.