Charles Nelson 1915 - 2003
It is with a heavy heart that I report the death of one of the very last links to authentic Close Quarter Combat from the WW2 era. Mr Charles Nelson who died on Wednesday the 10th of December 2003 aged eighty eight in the presence of his family. Charlie fought a tough fight with a severe case of pneumonia that eventually claimed the life of a truly great man. His funeral was held on Sat the 13th of December at the Moore's funeral home in Jacksonville, Arkansas.

For those who are unfamiliar with Charlie here is a brief overview of this legendary man; Charlie Nelson was born in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. When he was three years old his parents separated and he was placed in an orphanage under the care of Catholic Nuns. At around eight years old he was sent to a home run by Christian Brothers, who taught him how to play baseball and how to box. If there was ever a cause to fight, the Brothers made the kids put on boxing gloves and settle it. At the age of fourteen Charlie was placed on a farm in upstate New York. He ran away a few times and lived on other farms. At nineteen he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served for ten and a half years. When he joined in 1934, the Marines were teaching hand-to-hand combat, bayonet fighting and jiu-jitsu - all of which Charlie absorbed. He trained with other Marine and F.B.I. agents under Colonel Drexel Biddle a famous Close Combat instructor of that period. Charlie met up with a Sergeant Kelly, who had been attached to the International Police in Shanghai, China in the 1930's. Sgt. Kelly was looking for someone to practice with and Charlie had the qualifications. This is how he came to learn a unique fighting method that no one else in the U.S. taught at that time.This method was based on Mongolian wrestling techniques intended to maim or cripple. Combined with other methods that Charlie had studied through out the years, these techniques formed a complete system. Charlie’s method combined boxing, jiu-jitsu, karate, principles of Tai Chi and Aikido, and dirty fighting. Keeping only what was useful and practical for self-defense, there was not a wasteful technique.
Over the years Charlie had many students with black belts in other martial arts come to him; all were amazed at how little they knew about real self-defense, despite years of training. They felt that his method had rounded out their knowledge of self-defense. Many black belts and other so-called experts in the martial arts have been killed or injured in street fights because their skills didn't work outside the dojo. Charlie was convinced that anyone even with no prior martial arts training or experience could learn to defend themselves in any ordinary or life-and-death situation. After he left the Marine Corp Charles Nelson went onto teach his system of Self-defence for the next fifty years in New York City after retiring from teaching in some years ago after passing his system on to his most senior student and a worthy successor Mr Bob Spiegel whonow teaches the Nelson system in New Jersey USA.