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. Charlies 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.