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Silent Killing-Some WW2 History

By Rich Dallas

A COMBAT Martial Arts "Foundation" for an Assassin's Tradecraft

Silent Killing - Most of us in Western culture are at least vaguely familiar with the "mainstream" Martial Arts such as: Boxing Karate Tae Kwon Do Collegiate Wrestling Judo Jiu-Jitsu Skill in these arts, along with physical conditioning, form the FOUNDATION of the Assassin's Tradecraft. A distinction needs to be made, however, between what I refer to as "Parlor Style" martial arts and "Combat Style" martial arts. Parlor style is a way of practicing that does not have combat effectiveness as its main objective. The main objective might be physical education, weight loss, meditation for enlightenment or maybe just to socialize with the opposite sex. Karate and Judo at the YMCA or in after school programs fit in this category. They are a good place to learn the basics and get started, but there is a vast difference between these programs and a COMBAT martial art program. The difference is one of intensity and of focus.

Kiddie Karate (Above) -In the parlor styles, you will hear a lot of conversation between students, less discipline, and less emphasis on physical conditioning. Although they may teach techniques that appear similar to those of a combat school, they are full of "tough-guy wannabes". Compare that atmosphere with that of a combat style Karate club and you will see differences that are IMMEDIATELY recognizable and DRAMATIC. First you will smell sweat, ("Hey!...That's just not polite!") like in any football locker room; which means they're working a lot harder The students are almost ALL much leaner, with greater muscle tone.

There wlll be very little talking going on; with the exception of perhaps a coach or trainer shouting instructions. They will make extensive use of safety equipment: Boxing Gloves, Headgear, Shinpads and a Teethguard and will be throwing HEAVY kicks and punches at each other...with the intent to injure. They put on suitable protective gear and train with full contact. This is because in NO OTHER WAY can you learn the proper distance and timing to have a damaging impact. There is no other way to learn what can and cannot be accomplished with unarmed combat skills. And in no other way can you develop the confidence and CERTAINTY that your unarmed combat skills will be effective enough when you need them. It also ensures that you will not be "squeamish" about the possibility of being hit yourself.

In the 1970's, long before what is known today as "Mixed Martial Arts", Karate competitions were judged by "points". Contestants would square off and throw token punches and kicks to the head or body. A point was awarded for a blow that that came within inches of the target area that was unopposed by a block or parry. CONTACT with the opponent's body was penalized. Theoretically, you could attain a Black Belt without ever hitting an opponent or being hit! The same was true of Kung Fu stylists. The author remembers an issue of Black Belt magazine (mid- 1970's) that featured "northern style" Kung fu on the cover. In that issue, there was a brief article on Kung fu stylists from China facing off with Muay Thai Kickboxers form Thailand. Out of 7 or 8 matches, IN EVERY CASE, the Kung Fu stylists was knocked out in the first round! That was proof enough That FULL CONTACT was the way to train.


"Silent Killing"-The Assassin's Martial Art

The art of "Silent Killing" is this type of COMBAT MARTIAL ART. This art got its name during WW2, when a British soldier by the name of Maj. William Fairbairn assembled a course of instruction for British Commandos and US/Canadian Army Rangers. The art has a much more focused purpose. This course taught various methods of quietly eliminating sentries behind enemy lines, without the use of firearms. Maj. Fairbairn was an expert in various forms of unarmed combat i.e. Jiu-Jitsu, Chinese Boxing and Knife-Fighting. He also had real-world practical experience applying his techniques as head of The Chinese Riot Police for the City of Shanghai. His course of instruction was then taught to select members of the British Intelligence organization: Strategic Operations Executive (S.O.E.) and the U.S. Office Strategic Service (O.S.S.); fore runner of the American CIA. The word "MARTIAL" as in "Martial arts" means Military or Warfare related. That being understood, the art of Silent Killing as described in these web pages deserves to be called a Martial art in the truest sense of the term. Killing quickly, discreetly and quietly, without attracting attention can have a major psychological effect on an enemy organization. You are, in effect, TERRORIZING THE TERRORISTS! In the mind of the terrorist, the thought that he could be brought to justice at any moment, when he least expects it, can be a very strong deterrent to further mischief, mayhem and murder.


The photos below are taken from an actual WW2 British Commando training film demonstrating a simple, powerful technique from the SILENT-KILLING course; The CHIN JAB:

Delivered like a boxer's Uppercut, the Chin Jab as taught by Fairbairn, is delivered by "pounding" the palm of the hand UP under the chin. This can cause an INSTANT knockout, even when delivered by a beginner! It is usually delivered right after a knee-strike to the groin, which causes your opponent to lean forward slightly, exposing the chin to a terrific WALLOP!

It was Major Fairbairn's purpose to teach simple, basic and easily learned techniques; Techniques that will turn the average individual into a dangerous, even DEADLY opponent in hand-to-hand combat. He believed that by focusing on a small number of powerful techniques (perhaps only 6 or 7) and delivering them to the most vulnerable areas of your opponent's body, you could transform yourself into a FAR MORE DANGEROUS FIGHTER, far faster than by taking a full course of instruction in any martial art to the Black Belt level. For example, it can take anywhere from 3-5 years of instruction to reach Black-Belt level in a serious combat style of Karate. Fairbairn, by HIS methods, could turn out a deadly hand-to-hand fighter in a mere 80 clock hours of instruction; an instructor of these dangerous and skilled fighters in a matter of months.


The Knife-hand Strike

(above) Another Technique form the Silent Killing course- THE KNIFEHAND STRIKE Figure 1 shows the outer edge of the hand used for striking. Figure 2 shows one method of testing the strike by "chopping" the palm of your hand. Figure 3 shows one path for delivering the strike. The hand travels from the left shoulder chopping across the vulnerable throat area.

Link to Instructional Film Featuring W. E Fairbairn Himself!

The TRICK, revealed in this video of an OSS Training film, is in how to deliver this technique with enormous power and IMPACT to a vulnerable area on the human body. The entire training film is instructive for the Assassin. It covers the Chin Jab, some important tips on the use of the pistol in close quarters, and the knee strike to the testicles. At about 12 minutes and 50 seconds into the film, he reveals the secret to having tremendous damaging impact against vulnerable points on the opponent's body. Video instruction on the Chin-Jab and edge-of-hand strike: The key phrase is "...a sharp SLASH, with follow-through..." : OSS Training Film The Assassin's Tradecraft is more than just a martial art. It is an instrument of warfare. Silent Killing, and the Physical Conditioning it requires form the FOUNDATION of the Assassin's Tradecraft.


Defendu-Fairbairn's Martial Art-(170+ Pages)-The pre-cursor to Silent Killing

Defendu, William E. Fairbairn's seminal manual on close-quarters combat, is finally available in a quality reprint edition. Originally published in 1926, (about 14 years before the start of WW2 and the creation of "Silent Killing")the book was the first to present Fairbairn's hard-core system of close-in fighting under the name by which it became legendary among practitioners of no-holds-barred self-defense and battlefield skills. Through Defendu and his other revolutionary books (including Scientific Self-Defense, "Get Tough and All-In Fighting), as well as his years spent training members of the Shanghai Municipal Police in the 1930s and elite-unit soldiers during World War II, W.E. Fairbairn probably had more influence on the evolution of practical hand-to-hand combat than any other individual in modern history. As U.S. Marine Corps veteran and CQC expert Kelly McCann writes in the exclusive foreword to Paladin's reprint edition, "W.E. Fairbairn contributed more to the knowledge base of how to kill the enemy in close quarters than perhaps anyone else." Paladin spent years actively searching for a copy of Defendu through the Internet, out-of-print book outlets, rare-book shops and military book specialists before we found one we could borrow to make this reprint edition possible. So it is with great pride that we add this highly sought volume, with an insightful foreword by best-selling author Kelly McCann to our library of Combat Classic titles.


GET TOUGH! 120+ Pages

HOW TO WIN IN HAND_TO HAND FIGHTING-You can benefit from fighting knowledge distilled from LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF ENCOUNTERS actually fighting ruffians, thugs, bandits and bullies on the streets of pre-war Shanghai. The father of modern hand-to-hand combat, Capt. W. E. Fairbairn, taught the famed British Commandos and US Army Rangers from this classic, long-out-of-print manual, on unarmed combat. Known for his "get tough" attitude, Fairbairn designed these practical methods after years of training troops and now you can profit from his experience.


Modern Army "Combatives" Field Manual Includes Silent Killing, Mixed Martial Arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Major Fairbairn assembled the techniques of "Mixed Martial Arts" long before it was called by that name and made into a sport. He understood that the soldier on the battlefield needed the most effective methods possible in order to survive and WIN! The Soldier (Black Ops or Otherwise) needs a combination of both striking AND grappling skills to win a hand-to hand encounter. In WW2 it was called "Silent Killing". Today the Modern Army calls it "COMBATIVES". Combatives today includes all the best of Fairbairn's Silent Killing methods with the addition of devastating and potentially LETHAL Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques! THIS IS AN ASSASSINS MARTIAL ART!

________________________________________________________________________ Link to Strangulation and Choking and Strangling Implements


SILENT KILLING PRACTICE-Commandos practicing "Sentry Removal" using the specially design Fairbairn-Sykes stiletto:

The razor-edged and needle-point sharp Fairbairn-Sykes Stiletto with Sheath:

AND...Here is VERY GOOD historical article on the Silent Killing course that appeared some years back in Soldier of Fortune Magazine: Link to a historical article on The Silent Killing Course during WW2 If you have some experience in the martial arts, you can design your own training drills. The link below will provide you with a copy of the actual course syllabus for the Silent Killing program in PDF format. If there ever was an ASSASSIN'S MARTIAL ART...this is it! : S.O.E. Silent Killing Course Outline In addition, there are certain methods that could also be called "Silent Killing" that were not taught in the program, but that will augment and AMPLIFY what was taught. You will find these methods elsewhere on this website. The Nunchaku as a SILENT KILLING tool: The Nunchaku Page

Link to Article on Scouting: (These were not your "Boy Scouts of America" !) Like the Black Cat


The Silent Killing Tools of the Trade:

From top to bottom: A canvas bag or sock filled with rocks, sand or buckshot. A specially designed razor-sharp bayonet or dagger. A Japanese CHOKE-STICK. A hatchet, Ax or Tomahawk A Strangling wire, cord, or ligature with wooden handles (called a Garrote) WW1 issue Trench Knife with heavy brass knuckle-dusters with brass skull-crusher knob in the pommel.