In the early 1900s, one of the most dangerous cities in the world was Shanghai, where two British police officers, William E. Fairbairn and Eric. A. Sykes, served in  the Shanghai Municipal Police. Seeing how many patrols suffered injuries and mortality rates were high over the street arrests and patrols, Fairbairns brilliant idea came up: Protocol hundreds of injury or fatal police actions collected, and involve experts to start their assessment with scientific methods.

In this research took part psychologists, doctors. and of course, Fairbairn and Sykes as well. Their goal was to develop an ever-more efficient and faster  way to learn close combat systems. The collection and research work took several years, Fairbairn issued in 1926 the first Defendu book. After this education there was a significant fall in police attacks and injuries.

Successful innovations brought Fairbairn and Sykes notoriety, and because during the Second World War, the Allies desperately were looking for any opportunity and a solution to the Germans advance, Fairbairn and Sykes were commanded by the Allied forces to train advanced formations. The former police system was further simplified because the British, American and Canadian soldiers had to cause maximum damage in the shortest time.  So self-defense had transformed into lethal force. This system is used by the infamous Night Squads and the Devil's Brigade members as well as amphibious units. This training was also received by Rex Applegate, US Army Colonel and Colonel Anthony Biddle, who is the US infantry, marines and ranger trainer. This system is based on the CIA, the FBI and educational material for the OSS members. Fairbairn and Sykes also need to be thanked for the foundations of today's modern  bullet-proof vests and British Special Forces overall system characteristics, as they were shaped by Fairbairn-Sykes knife-fighting techniques.

Defendu has also developed dynamically in those days, always corresponded to the specific job descriptions and is looking for answers to new challenges. The training camps concentrated on the knowledge that allowed them to enable the soldiers, elite squads or clandestine operators to survive. All instructors working there had a body of knowledge and experience and were influenced by Fairbairns Defendu , perfecting the movement of material, tactical and mental training. After the Second World War, these trainers and soldiers all over the world which used a hand-centered system started to run on multiple threads, and the name changed from Defendu to Defendo.


The Krav Maga founder fled from Bratislava during the German occupation in 1940,to escape to Palestine. South Africa called when the Free Czech Legion team went to the British protectorate, and in 1942 with the State of Israels armed organization, the Haganah was in superannuation. During this time, the British armed forces instructors trained members of the Haganah and the armed struggle began. The British instructor taught Imi Defendo, so it is likely that this knowledge was the basis for the future Krav Maga. Starting from 1944 Imi has also participated in the Haganah, Palmach, Pal-yam soldier- and a number of police trainings. 1948, after the formation of the IDF, the Israel Defense Forces, the British withdrew from the already established Jewish state and we can talk about the territorial divisions of the two systems. Imi continued to work as a fitness trainer and Krav Maga instructor, 20 years later, once removed, the system was made available to civilians.

Currently, all 18-year-old boys and girls spend 21 months to 3 years in the IDF, which is still has Krav Maga as the official close-quarter self-defense and tactical system. Jyrki Saario The founder of Scandinavian Defendo learnt Krav Maga in the 80s from Imi Lichtenfeld. He became the Krav Maga Nordic Director, Expert degree, so "full circle" - as they say. Jyrki currently carries out not only the professional supervision of the Scandinavian Defendo and Defendo Alliance, but founded a network as well, with the aim of getting "back to the basics", Imis original 61 techniques which are still taught in Krav Maga.

Defendo and Krav Maga Often the question arises, how KM and Defendo differ. Much more relevant is to ask this question: what is similar. Both systems are easy to learn, and effective. Instinctive reactions are the basis for  fundamental techniques, and not following traditions, but also realizing the emerging needs. Great emphasis is on both the mental system as well as the tactical training. A variety of them can be found in the origins: while the military developed Krav Maga for close combat, Defendo is preferred by the security forces, especially police life is meant to be helped. Therefore Defendo has an extra focus on control. Defendos "camera-friendly" techniques provide an opportunity to involve the police which uses coercive measures to subdue the offender without breaking his face or without hitting or kicking the most sensitive parts of the body. Of course, Krav Maga's security forces also form segments, and Defendo does not always have "its soft gloves on" when treating the attacker.. Ultimately, people are still struggling against the man attacking them, not the styles, or systems that are fighting each other.

So something like: the systems are not similar enemies, the systems are similar and fight the same enemy.