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Urban Combatives


W.E. Fairbairn's Combative Concepts

Illustration from Denis Martin's CQB Services.

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The Oxford English dictionary defines vehemence as showing a strong and intense feeling of demonstrative
aggression. This has also been referred to as your killer instinct or the Gemini principle and Sigmund Freud called
your 'It' Factor. This intense source of energy exists in all of us and is indeed an essential piece of the puzzle that
goes hand in hand with the combative mindset that then create the WILLINGNESS to step up and do what ever it
takes to win the fight. Everyone's access point is set at a variable level. What may trigger this instinct in some people
may not be enough in others. There is a documented case that illustrates this to good effect. The incident involved an
aggravated robbery that turned to a brutal rape after a man broke in to the house of a single mother. The woman was
unable to find within herself what was needed to fend off her attacker, and instead gave in without a fight in the hope
that the ordeal would be over quickly. For whatever reason this lady gave in with out a fight or struggle was unclear
but as soon as her attacker had finished and decided to turn his attention to her eight year old daughter, everything
changed. As soon as he made his way into her room, within literally several seconds of opening the door of her
child's room, the attacker slumped to his knees clutching his neck in a desperate attempt to pull out a pair of scissors
that were rammed into his neck full force by the child's mother. In this example it is clear that the threat to her child
was indeed enough for this lady to access her vehemence to a high enough degree to protect her own. This is of
course an extreme example, but such an example is necessary to illustrate the first point that killer instinct does
indeed exist in every body and secondly that most if not all of us can relate to the fact that we would indeed be
prepared to do whatever it takes to protect the life of our own child or loved one.
Once we can acknowledge the fact that this powerful resource of energy exists within each of us, we must then
decide how best to make use of it in a combative situation. The ideal goal would be to fine-tune this energy into an on
and off switch that we can control. If all options to avoid and escape, verbally dissuade, loop-hole or posture, fail and
the situation is now about to become combative, then as Den says your initial introduction into the altercation must
be significant. It must make use of the 3 essential elements of speed, surprise and aggression. These elements
combined with the WILLINGNESS to do whatever it takes to win the fight are what make up the essential core or
power base of our vital pyramid {MIND SET}The next element we need to add to this equation, once the decision
has been made to attack, is our {TACTICS} which in this case are pre-emption, continuous attack with forward
pressure. This is the exact point where the switch is flipped and vehemence is bought to bear. {SKILLS} are the
physical tools that we employ to end the combative situation and terminate the threat quickly and clinically. We can
use training drills that make use of the basic gross motor strikes that we all practice as examples that will allow us to
put all these elements together; all that is required is a piece of impact equipment such as heavy bag or a pad/shield
held by a partner and our imagination. All drills should consist of basic gross motor strikes. Here is an example to use
that takes the Combative attacking sequence that was used in the opening scenes of Kelly MacCann's Combatives 3
tape series. Here MacCann starts by using two Cycling hammer-fist blows then flowing into a flurry of elbow and Ax
hand strikes.

Vehemence Presentation

Here is an illustrated example of a continuous attacking drill that can be used to practice switching on short bursts of
controlled aggression. Add visualisation to the drill and try to muster as much emotional content as possible.

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From a non aggressive fence throw two Cycling, off hand face smashes to hammer-fist strikes.

Using the same open hand strike, flow straight into a sequence of elbow to Ax hand strikes.

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Using maximum aggression and forward pressure.

Understand that this is merely an example that I have taken to illustrate the concept of what I'm talking about, once
you have that you can apply it to any technical sequence that you favour. This is merely a drill that will allow you to
practice flicking the switch on and off. For those who have difficulty in switching on their aggression, you will need to
add the most powerful resource at your disposal, and that is the use of your mind through visualization or mental
imagery. Bruce Lee summed up the Combative mindset when he said ''If you just heard that one of your friend
got badly beaten up, you would probably sit down and have a think about what you are going to do about it.
If however you came home one day to find that someone had beaten your grand mother senseless for the
price of her pension, then something inside you just goes BAM!! There is no thought you just want to
destroy the mother f**ker!". So use this example, close your eyes before the drill and imagine whatever it takes for
you to flick on the switch then blitz the pads with your continuous assault for no more than 3-5 seconds with as
much vehemence as you can possible muster, then switch it off as you finish. The object is to create a controlled
explosion of anger.

Pronounced (ar-ti-fiss) Defined in the English dictionary as trickery, a clever trick intended to mislead someone. This
is a method of deception that can create the opportunity to eliminate a threat pre-emptively, thereby putting an end
to a potential altercation quickly and clinically. There are two main ways that we use artifice/deception and they are
by either misdirection, in order to create a distraction or through brain engagement, where we ask our aggressor a
brain-engaging question just before we strike.

The latter method was favoured by Geoff Thompson who would line up his opponent by using the fence and then he
would say something like '' so what you trying to say?'' he would follow this an instant later with a well practiced right
cross/hook punch to the jaw that would put a clinical end to the situation. This method can be applied to any
favoured pre-emptive strike that you choose, as long as you stick to the main principles of controlling space with
your fence, talking with your hands whilst using deceptive dialogue.

It is important that we ask a question that requires a response, such as ''what's this about?'' Why you picking on
me?'' at the end of the day it doesn't really matter whether the question is relevant to the situation at hand or if it is
totally abstract, so long as it makes the aggressor think of a response, regardless if he intends to reply or not is
unimportant. What we are looking to do here is to engage his brain for a split second so that he is not thinking about
his intention to attack but instead what you have just said. This will create the window of opportunity that we need to
strike. This will also act as an action trigger for our attack that will take away any indecision on our part of when to

To train this response we need to associate our selected question with our favoured strike/s and bring it to play each
and every time we practice on the pads, bags and with our training partners. This then becomes part of our
practiced game plan (see volume one.) The other way we use artifice is through misdirection. This has been around
for many, many years and has been used by everyone from WW2 veterans to East end gangsters. The notorious
Kray twins were known to offer someone a cigarette and then a light then as they lean forward to light it they would
punch them hard in the jaw which was by now slightly open, and knock the individual completely unconscious. A

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similar method was use by special operatives in WW2 when most people would carry a metal cigarette case, which
would be held flat in the palm of the hand and then rammed hard into and through the jaw, chin-jab style as the
recipient leaned in for a light.

Here are a few excellent methods of deception through misdirection that were shown to me whilst on a Dennis
Martin training course, by my good friend and training partner, John Deacon who has a thirst for anything
combatively functional. The first was discovered by accident whilst practicing chin-jabs with a partner. One of them
needed to cough to clear their throat and put out his hand onto his partner's chest and said ''hold on'' as he turned
away to cough. John then took this idea and turned it into an excellent deception technique.

The hand to the chest acts as a fence that will give you tactile awareness of where your aggressor is and what his
intentions are, the slight turn away is done whilst still keeping your opponent in view and is used to set up your strike
from an open or closed hand held in front of your mouth to cover as you cough before exploding forward and
through the opponent's face with your strike.

The next one makes use of misdirection by engaging the aggressor's attention in the following way. As the verbal
argument starts to escalate make a quarter turn away from your opponent as you place one arm across your chest
as if pointing to a rip in your shirt by your shoulder, this is a discreet way of chambering for an Ax hand strike, as you
do this say something like ''What do mean? Look what you've done to my shirt.'' From here drop step forward and
explode into an Ax hand strike to the aggressor's neck area.

One final method is to use vulgarity, as the argument starts to escalate take your hand up to your nose and blow
snot into your hand, from here make a motion as if to flick the snot at your aggressor's feet as he reacts in disgust to
your action explode into and through him with your main artillery strike. This could also be used to buy you just
enough time to draw an improvised weapon such as a pen or a mobile phone etc.

The force aspect of Fairbairn's concepts is simple enough we must deliver the maximum amount of impact to our
aggressor's body through our strikes. W.E Fairbairn understood the mechanics of the drop step and body torque as
a means to increase impact force as do the modern combative Instructors of our period. The following are five
principles of power development it is theses principles that will make your technique an efficient means of employing

An Instructor from the Combatives group G.H.C.A by the name of John Watson came up with the acronym
S.W.A.M.P that is used to define the five principles of power development or generation of force that is now being
put into practice by students of Combatives the world over thanks to the teachings of Kelly MacCann and Bob

S - Stay relaxed
W - weapon first
A - acceleration
M - move in the direction of the strike
P - plunge your body weight into the

Stay relaxed. Staying relaxed is essential for your body to move swiftly and economically. For explosive movement
you need to stay loose, the more relaxed you are, the faster your limbs will move and the harder your strikes will be.
Concentrate on being relaxed before you explode into the technique.

Weapon first. We want to move the weapon first in order to deliver the strike without telegraphic intentions. As Bob
Kasper says ''Let him feel the technique before he sees it''. This is especially applicable to our main artillery
pre-emptive strike, which is of course what we should always seek if we have no alternative left but the physical.
Forget chambering for a strike and avoid facial expressions, just throw your blow from wherever your weapon/tool
happens to be.

Acceleration. Accelerate forward off the back foot for a fast delivery. Once your body is moving, continue moving
as fast as you can and don't stop until the man is down. Remember that tense muscles move slower so stay relaxed

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and accelerate through the target. When you throw a technique, throw it fast. Accelerate, and keep accelerating until
it's over.

Move in the direction of the strike. In order to put your body weight into a strike you must move in the same
direction. Your body weight at speed will create power and force through the target as long as it is moving in the
same direction.

Plunge your weapon/tool into and through your target accompanied with your full body weight behind it. In order to
do this you must be applying two other principles: Moving the weapon first and moving in the direction of the strike.
To plunge means to throw all of your body weight directly into the strike before your mass settles.
Shock relates to the effects of our impact delivery to the aggressor's body and the effects this will cause to the
Central Nervous System (CNS) as well as the damage caused to him physically, mentally and emotionally. Our aim
should be to create complete sensory over load to the recipient through our own body dynamics, mental and
physical commitment to put the man down by striking continuously with bad intentions.

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