ONE of the problems with so much you read and hear regarding self-defense, close combat, weapons, mental conditioning, survival, realistic tactics in combat and emergency defense predicaments, is that it is really opinion for the most part, not fact. Often the opinion makes sense for some people whose situation and circumstance is almost identical to the writer’s/speaker’s. But all too often the opinion has little or nothing to do with sound thinking, experience and desirable action. Sometimes the facts are unappealing, and —— humans being human —— people turn away from the facts and toward that which they want to hear, coming from someone’s opinion.

Opinions untainted by dishonest intentions (i.e. “opinions” that are not influenced by commercial interests, and the desire to make money or to prevail over some ideological adversary by obfuscating the truth —— the facts) do not constitute moral indictments of those who espouse them, so long as the advocates of the opinions truly believe them to be true. However, motives do not alter facts, and for whatever reason, opinions that are not true cannot assist those in the combat disciplines who seek and need the truth.

                                    How To Tell Fact From Opinion

HONEST effort in the form of study, research, and experience is what produces factual knowledge. Some people are in a better position to do studies, and research; and few have any great store of experiences in lethal or at least serious armed and unarmed combat from which they can draw reliable conclusions about the phenomenon. Fewer persons still have the interest, time, and tenacity to wring out this subject and get down to the facts, reliably. With no intention of boasting, a simple fact about us is that we do (and did) have the interest, time, and tenacity to discover the facts, and we are not shy about proclaiming that the facts are exactly that which we present —— in our teachings, writings, and miscellaneous public presentations. We have been immersed in this field that we love since childhood; and as we now approach 70 years of age, we retain the purpose that prompted us to make a career in large measure of teaching and educating people about the true combat (i.e. “martial”) arts of war; both to acquire for our own benefit, and to teach others, and to clarify and describe and teach for all who are interested, all of that which really works in real close combat and self-defense emergencies. We actually gave ourself way back in our younger years, almost the same assignment that Bill Donovan gave Rex Applegate of the OSS: That is: “Learn everything there is to know about close combat …”. And, just like the good Col. Applegate said prior to his passing: “That was a weighty assignment that we are still carrying out.” we too are still carrying out our self-assignment. Happily, our period of immersion in the necessary tasks has been well over half a century. Wartime necessity limited Rex Applegate’s initial endeavors in the direction he was headed to a much, much briefer time period. World War II itself, remember, lasted about five years. The good Col. Applegate certainly continued learning and researching and developing his fount of knowledge long after the close of the war and for the entire rest of his life. He is known —— and famously and rightly so! —— for the magnificent body of doctrine he compiled, taught, and documented in the single greatest volume on close combat ever written: his Kill — Or Get Killed. Applegate’s primary mentors were William E. Fairbairn and Eric Anthony Sykes. Another of Fairbairn’s protégés was Pat (Dermot) O’Neill, famed close combat trainer of the First Special Service Force. Applegate was a tough, rough brawler and military police officer who would not back down from a buzz saw, before he was recruited into and assigned to work with Fairbairn, in the OSS. But Applegate’s ability in close combat prior to his wartime assignment did not derive from martial arts training. He had “learned by doing” one might say. Pat O’Neill was the most highly graded Kodokan judo expert of caucasian extraction in the world, during the 1940’s. He held a fifth degree black belt —— and he had earned it at the Kodokan by defeating some of the greatest native Japanese experts there. His judo specialty was ground fighting; something those enamored of the current fad might find interesting to note he abandoned completely when developing the O’Neill System, for actual wartime combat troops. Although greatly senior to Fairbairn in sport judo (Fairbairn was a second degree black belt) O’Neill was a rank amateur in real world combat prior to meeting and learning from Fairbairn. This O’Neill did when he joined the Shanghai Municipal Police, for which Fairbairn was “Instructor In Charge of Musketry”, as well as the Department’s ju-jutsu (later in Shanghai to become Fairbairn’s own Defendu) teacher.

These REAL close combat and self-defense masters were only concerned with THAT WHICH ACTUALLY WORKS IN REAL COMBAT —— whether unarmed, or with any modern hand-held weapon. Their lives and the lives of their fellows, and of tens of thousands of allied servicemen who they were tasked with training depended upon that which these men formulated and taught as wartime doctrine. There were no commercial interests being served here. No dojos trying to get signatures on the dotted line, and no multimillion dollar sports events set up to make huge profits. The only thing that mattered during WWII to these formulators and teachers of close combat/self-defense was: “Does it work?”. If “yes” then they used it. If “no” they discarded it. Period.

Naturally there were then as there are now, many excellent techniques contained in the classical martial arts that there was no time to include in the nitty-gritty basics of the wartime methods. Culling all of those skills that met the same standards as that of the wartime methods is that which we have done, painstakingly sifting through karateju-jutsu and numerous related disciplines for those skills, and then weaving them all together with the wartime doctrine into a cohesive, modern American System of all-in close combat and personal defense. Too, there were concepts that the wartime masters advanced which enabled some new techniques to be developed, and new training methods as well. Thus came about American Combato (Jen•Do•Tao) in 1975. This System is fact-based and only fact-based. Its correctness can be seen in the number of copycats of it, since its inception in 1975. It works!

Amongst seasoned detectives attached to the “burglary” unit of any major police department, it will be acknowledged that burglars (like plagiarists and copycats) normally show great contempt for those whom they burgle or steal from. Thus we have had and continue to have malicious critics scattered amongst those few other legitimate fellow postwar teachers of effective, modern close combat. who teach the facts and the truth. Sadly, self-defense-seeking people will, because of their failure to look at the facts, continue in some instances to be duped by what really can only be referred to as “the contemptibles”. Since we have always advanced the facts, and since we continue to this day to do so, we can feel only a bare minimum of sympathy for the duped. The facts and the truth is available on three web sites:

www.seattlecombatives.com   /   www.prescottcombatives.com   / and  www.americancombato.com

No man in history was better qualified to know and to develop skills that worked in real world hand-to-hand and close combat situations than the late William Ewart Fairbairn. Working with his partner, Eric Anthony Sykes, the two advanced the Art of practical close combat in leaps and bounds during the second world war. While those who point to Fairbairn’s personal participation in more than 600 dangerous encounters with armed and unarmed —— often martial arts skilled! —— felons, as proof positive of the man’s bona fides, are entirely correct, they frequently miss this further avalanche of evidence: Fairbairn trained thousands of men, in Shanghai and later in the 1940’s, during WWII. He trained FBI agents, MI6 personnel, and countless British Commandos, U.S. Marines, and other instructors (the most notable of which was then Capt. Rex Applegate). His methods proved superior to anything these “real world applicants” of close combat had ever known or used before!

Sport has always been and continues to be much more popular —— especially to Westerners —— than repetitious training and drill in skills with which competition is impossible. That’s all well and good, and people should most definitely follow that which they find most enjoyable, and which suits them best. But the problem today is that many are being duped into believing that sport and combat training are synonymous. WRONG. They are totally dissimilar; though each is no less worthy or “legitimate” than the other. They are simply different. People are advised to make informed decisions before embarking on any course of training.

Look to the facts. They have long since been established as far as that which works in combat and that which is best suited for esthetic enrichment and fitness, or sporting competition.

You can train for combat and self-defense, or you can train for any of the other worthwhile objectives, found in sports and in numerous long-term strictly classical and antiquated “martial arts”. Sports, as well as the latter can, at an advanced, expert level, be adapted to self-defense in emergencies. The former remains exclusively for self-defense and war.

Those are the facts. Never mind the opinions.