Original Name: 
Founded By: 
William Ewart Fairburn & Eric anthony sykes - During World War II
Country of Origin: 
United Kingdom

Defendu is a form of western martial art developed by Lt. Colonel William Ewart Fairbairn. Fairbairn developed this form as a self defense system. He extracted the movements and techniques from Tenshin Jiu Jitsu and made it simpler and flexible, easy to learn and remember even under stress. As this martial art does not include any complicated moves and do not demand physical fitness, any one can learn this in very short period of time. William Ewart Fairbairn introduced a simple and pliable art to individual need of user; he actually developed this system and taught this to the Shanghai police.

More information about style: 

In Defendu there are no rigid movements or traditional actions to which you have to adhere. Although adapted from a Japanese martial form it is almost like any original western martial art form. Though this was introduced as a defense system for police, it is a method of mostly unarmed combat. Arms are used only very rarely. It is for fighting against brutal realities of the world. It can be called as the first police defensive tactics system. Defendu covers mostly with control techniques, as well as restrain techniques against the enemy. This includes striking, kicking, biting, gouging, trapping, holds and joint locks, throwing etc. We can say that this martial art uses mostly grappling techniques. This is mainly equipped with core striking and throws techniques.


This system uses the psychology of using attacker’s energy. The word Defendu itself means “Gutter fighting” and this can be said as one of the best fighting systems that have developed ever. Defendu avoids high kicks and jumping techniques and such acrobatics, and hence very easy to be practiced by women also. There are no movements above abdomen and for this reason alone this martial art does not have any physical restrains.


In Defendu, techniques useful for fighting short distance is mostly taught, as attack is likely to occur from close range and with out any warning. Among the striking methods most important is punching, knee kicks, knee and elbow strikes etc. When the opponent is very close, less than two feet away and has grabbed you, for defense purpose you will be using grappling method. In this method, one opponent will be trying to gain control over the other, carry out a take down or just try to avoid strikes of attacker. In this method, usually both the opponents fall to ground. Defendu teaches some basic ground fighting techniques also. Chokes and take downs are the basic grappling defenses.


Many of the Asian martial arts have movements like in a dance and study of this is called “kata”; but in Defendu there is no such movements and it is simple defensive mechanism to be used in real life situations. Fighting with weapons are also not taught, but according to the situation one can use any thing that comes handy like, beer bottles, fire extinguisher or even a stick that one gets hold of, at the time of defense. Since there is no use of weapon, there is less chance of death also. In modern days Defendu is mostly practiced by women and it is them, who benefit most with this unique simple technique developed by Lt. Colonel William Ewart Fairbairn. In simple words we can call it a civilian self defense system.