Combatives Founders

William Ewart "Dan" Fairbairn (1885-1960)

Colonel Fairbairn's Combatives know-how is unequalled in the chronicles of recorded modern day close combat till the present day. We begin Fairbairn’s lengthy history when he enlisted with the British Royal Marines as a teenager where the local recruiter forged his paperwork since Fairbairn was underage (1901).

William Ewart FairbairnDuring the time-span of his duty he successfully competed in annual international military competitions which included the use of the bayonet where he experimented and developed new methods for bayonet fighting, this is substantiated by military records. His tour of duty also included service in Seoul as a member of the legation guard for the British Consul in Korea. It is during this period he probably laid the foundation for close quarters battle with a baton.

In 1907 upon his discharge (he bought out his commission) from the Royal Marines in order to get married (and we presume to stay married), Fairbairn travelled to China and the city of Shanghai with its international settlement where he joined the S.M.P. (Shanghai Municipal Police) force. Most international authorities considered Shanghai to be the roughest area in the in the world to police during this period. The International Settlement of Shanghai was at the time an “open port" city that was rampant with every criminal activity and vice conceivable. Drug smuggling, kidnapping, murder for hire, political assassination, prostitution and the endless territorial Tong wars (Chinese gangs) were a daily occurrence.

Added to this, a multitude of other underworld activities absolutely made Shanghai the most dangerous place on earth, much like Johannesburg, South Africa these last decades.