Fairbairn Fighting System

Get tough!

Fairbairn Self Defense techniques and strategies for women


Commando Knife
If you are looking for confidence building self defense then the Fairbairn method has never been bettered, but often copied. Col. William Fairbairn was a Police Superintendent in Shanghai for over 20 years before WW2. A 2nd Dan Jujitsu from the Kodokan and trained by the Empress of China's bodyguard. In 1940 he was placed in command of training the British & Dutch Commando (later becoming the Royal Marine Commando), US Rangers, OSS, SOE and others in unarmed combat, close quarters combat and knife fighting. He also selected various defense techniques especially for young women being parachuted into France as agents and these methods are just as valid in todays violent times.
W.E.Fairbairn


Fairbairn is also famous for the knife he designed with his associate, Eric Sykes, which is the symbol of the British Special Air Service (SAS). That design has changed little, being used by the Special Forces of the US & UK to this day. more.....

What is Self Defense?


Self Defense is a separate discipline from martial arts although it contains elements from Karate-do, Jujitsu and others. The purpose is to disable, maim or even kill an attacker if necessary in order to save yourself. Although martial arts expertise helps you quickly learn self defense techniques, these techniques were developed during the 2nd World War for field agents and have yet to be bettered for simple effectiveness. Most of these techniques are perfect for women as they are angled at defeating bigger and stronger opponents.


Self defense does not follow "Queensbury Rules", anything goes and this means dirty fighting. But if the objective is to stop yourself being raped or murdered by your attacker then that is what has to be done. Common day items can be brought into good use such as keys, pens & hair spray. Fairbairn said that everyone should carry a knife and know how to use it but that may or may not be legal in your jurisdiction so you need to check. Of course in many localities such weapons are illegal to have in public - unfortunately criminals have little time for the law. If you can run away to where there other people then that has to be the thing to do. However your exit maybe closed off, your attacker may have hold of you, you could be in a lonely parking lot or garage and it may be dark - now you have to fight effectively and put your attacker down.

However the most effective self-defense is avoid situations in the first place! I teach how to cope with various scenarios to avoid situations and/or physical contact. Awareness is the key.

A note on the popular Krav Maga - Several websites, especially http://kravmagatechniques.net/ are making false claims and using others "doctored" videos. They claim that Krav Maga is "as used by the Special Operations Executive in World War 2". This is not true. Krav Maga was a great system, now commercialised, very similar to the British Fairbairn System developed in Shanghai but they have no connection.

More information


Some History
The Fighting knife
WE Fairbairn Books
Churchill's Secret Army!