Combatives, the truth
Simply put, the Combatives methods of Fairbairn, Sykes Applegate and Underwood worked! And work well even today! Regarding the number of real life situations Fairbairn dealt with over such a long period of time (30 years) no one comes close to the experiences of this man (200 unarmed and at least that many armed incidents – it is said 600 in total).
His system of unarmed combat has made it possible for a person of very average size, strength and skills to challenge and win against even a highly trained opponent in the formal martial arts. His unequalled experience with many knife attacks and attacks with blunt instruments against his person are unlikely to be duplicated in this day and age. Professionals in the fields of clandestine operations, the military, law enforcement and even the underworld have little experience compared to Fairbairn (since few seek to learn as he did and also because we are thankfully not involved in a world war).
These methods have proved a sound basis for instruction in the use of edged weapons or defence against impact and edged weapons. His theories on the use of the hand gun at close-quarters represent the first systematic approach to combat pistol-craft ever devised, and remain valid to this very day (e.g. point shooting). The same may be said for his work on riots, his concepts of counter-sniping and his development of the role of police work in urban environments.
WW2 was the period where all methods of Close-Quarters Combat were at their peak. This is because anything less (of inferior effectiveness) cost the lives of patriotic, dedicated and expertly trained people that cost loads of financial recourses to find, train, prepare and insert. The contributions made by Fairbairn, Sykes, Applegate and Underwood in the Second World War are of incalculable value to us even today.
The methodology of Combatives is battle tested and has been proven effective under conditions of actual combat and civilian application. They are of great importance to anyone seeking realistic and effective training in military combat, law enforcement or civilian self-protection, and in this respect we are afforded the opportunity and privilege to stand of the shoulders of giants.