Outline History Of Course Of Instruction

The core of the instruction is based directly on the legacy of Close Quarter Combat handed down by the late (Lt. Col.) W.E. Fairbairn and (Major) E.A. Sykes who worked together out in
Shanghai on the Reserve Unit / Riot Squad of the Shanghai Municipal Police (SMP).

The former was a regular police officer from 1907 - 1940 and the latter a Special who served from 1926 to 1940. Fairbairn devised, trained and led the unit from its inception in 1925 and was also the chief instructor in self-defence, arrest and restraint, baton work and shooting disciplines. The training given to the SMP must be regarded as years ahead of its time and made the force arguably one of the best trained forces of all time. During the 1920's and 30's
Shanghai was known as one of the world's most dangerous cities being a melting pot for a host of people from all over the world and a haven for thugs, robbers, kidnappers, murderers and organised crime. To combat this crime wave Fairbairn had to devise a system of self-defence for his men that would stand them in good stead against the roughhouse methods and martial arts known and used by those that would go against them.

What was needed was a system that was relatively easy to teach, quick to comprehend, easy to retain and that which would work under stress and counter the methods used by their opponents. The result of his many years of research, study and first hand and hard won experience was his system called Defendu. When Fairbairn and Sykes retired in 1940 the left behind a force who were waging a virtual war against the criminals of Shanghai and they returned to England who were waging a real war against Germany. On seeing the state of things in this country, which was facing the threat of an invasion, they offered their unique services to the War Office. They were taken on and sent to the first of our Battle Training Schools where they developed and taught their own special form of close-in fighting, both unarmed and armed, which became known as close combat, unarmed combat, hand-to-hand and what we today term Close Quarter Combat when unarmed and Close Quarter Battle when armed.

Their methods were adopted and taught to the first of our special forces, The Independent Companies and Army Commandos, then to special units that operated under degrees of secrecy, then it spread out to all of our services and thence to all of our allies. The syllabus taught during wartime was of course much harsher in application than that taught to the SMP, but to some extent only from the point of view of its mindset. The basis of the techniques did not alter to any great extent, rather that the final methods were taken to a greater degree and a final conclusion.

The actual methods of the SMP and the influence of what was taught during the war by Fairbairn and Sykes is sadly needed today by the forces of law and order so that they can protect themselves in violent situations and in turn protect fellow officers and the public. An undertrained officer is a liability to himself and others and in a bad situation will not be able to enforce the law, as is his/her sworn duty.

C.O.D.A. Combative Oriental And Defendu Arts was formed in 1993 and is run by Peter Robins, Paul Childs and Steve Carter. Between them they have nearly 60 years training in various martial arts. For the past 15 years, Robins has been making a deep study of the methods of Fairbairn and Sykes, during their time in Shanghai and WWII. He has been fortunate in meeting and working with several of their former assistant instructors and is striving to keep alive the former teachings of these remarkable men. As well has having great historical value, these methods are of vital and important practical value to the next generation. It is with great pride and honour C.O.D.A. is endeavouring to carry this out.

(Text taken from an original C.O.D.A. document).

Peter Robins, Paul Child and Dave Smithers originally formed C.O.D.A in 1993. Since that time Dave Smithers has left and we have
recently suffered the loss of its chief founder Peter Robins. Solely Paul Child now runs CODA with assistance from some senior members all of who are instructors in their own right. CODA is a UK based combatives group that meet up the first Sunday of every month.

The group is pretty select and operates as a closed shop on a strictly invite only basis. CODA is based on its founder members former traditional martial arts training and Defendu, the system devised by W.E. Fairbain and Major Sykes that was taught to the men of the Shanghai Municipal Police force in the 1920's and 30's. The curriculum is an unarmed system with some aspects of stick work. Fairbain was the chief instructor to the SMP, considered to be one of the world's best, trained police forces and it is the wish of the members of CODA to keep this knowledge and skill alive. CODA is based on developing maximum impact in simplistic gross motor techniques that can be retained under situations of high stress. Major Sykes died in 1945, Lt. Col. Fairbain in 1960; today much of their skill and knowledge has been lost. There are very few instructors left from the old days, but there are a handful of people scattered around the world who wish to keep their memory alive.

This is why the name Defendu has been used in the acronym of CODA. It is part of their inspiration that CODA remembers those who trained in Shanghai and later (WW2) in the system developed by Fairbain and Sykes; they are after all the founders of what we today term as ''Close Quarter Combat''. Their great skill, spirit and teaching ability should be remembered and honoured.

The late Pete Robins was a leading authority and researcher into authentic WW2 Combatives, although his knowledge in this field was immense it is important to understand that WW2 training was and is not taught at CODA, and that it is the pre-war Shanghai Defendu that we seek to keep alive. The WW2 training was something else that we all share an interest in but is not what CODA is about. Pete Robins and Paul Child shared a joint training background in Bujinkan Tai-jutsu, having trained together under many top teachers in Europe and also those from Israel and from the home land-Japan.

They also trained under the Grand master Masaaki Hatsumi on several occasions. Their individual training takes in Lau-Gar Feng Sau kung fu from China, Kyokushinkai and Shotokan karate from Japan, and Uechi-Ryu karate from Okinawa, Jui-Jitsu and Aikido from Japan, Police Defensive Tactics from America, WW2 CQC methods and various weapon systems from varied origins. They claim mastery of none!

CODA is a member of the British Combat Association and our instructors are registered and insured with the BCA. CODA is also recognised by a unique group in the USA, the Gung-Ho Chuan Assn, which is an organisation dedicated to keeping alive their heritage of the Marine Corps Close Combat skills from the era of WW2. This is made up of serving and former members of the USMC. Most of these were also instructors in the Corp. We are also connected to American Combatives headed by former Marine, John Kary, which is dedicated to keeping alive the teachings of WW2.
The GHCA and American Combatives are currently teaching police, military and US Government personnel. CODA have taught their S.T.A.B. Strategy & Tactics Against Blades Programme to Essex Police DT Trainers and also to trainers from varied forces through out the DTTA Defensive Tactics Trainers Assn based in Bedford.

The late Pete Robins was an instructor with the DTTA. We are proud to state that our chief CODA instructors have conducted seminars and taught Defensive Tactics (edged weapon awareness) to British Police instructors and teach annually to the Royal Naval Reserves as part of an Adventure training weekend.

Here are some pictures of the late Pete Robins teaching a typical CODA class.

Here Pete Robins demonstrates the edge of boot kick and the Fairbairn head hold.
Basic Striking
Completion of the head hold
Paul Child, C.O.D.A. Instructor
Practicing the edge of hand blow on pads
C.O.D.A Instructor and Close Combat historian the late Peter Robins.

Although the main instructor for CODA is now Paul Child we are also lucky enough to have other respected Self-Protection and Close Combat instructors amongst our members including Alan Charlton of the Self-Protection Assn and Defensive Tactics specialist and chief instructor of his own C.Q.B tactical training services Dennis Martin.
Well respected in the field, Dennis Martin.

We are also lucky to have our over seas C.O.D.A Instructor and a major authority of Close- Combat and authentic WW2 Combatives, Den Brinkley.