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Defendo is a martial art and self defense system created in 1945 for law enforcement by Bill Underwood, a British born Canadian. Underwood was originally the creator of Combato a “non-boxing or wrestling” unarmed combat system which he taught in Montreal, Quebec.
Combato had its beginning in the Liverpool theatres with jiu jitsu demonstrations of traveling Japanese wrestlers, Yukio Tani and Taro Miyake. As a boy, Underwood idolized these experts, rapidly establishing himself as a prodigy. The name “Defendo” was created on August 15, 1945 in New York City by Pat Underwood, the daughter of Bill Underwood.
Underwood at the time was a quest in the United States training U.S. Army Rangers and for the American FBI in unarmed combat. Bill Underwood was recently requested by American and Canadian Law Enforcement Agencies to teach them his Combato system as the War was officially over but he initially refused on the basis that Combato was too aggressive. Underwood was asked to modify his system to remove its lethal applications and focus on the Law Enforcement applications of self-defense, compliance and control tactics. He realized that he could not call this system Combato, so his daughter Pat Underwood proposed that he call the system “Defendo”.
From 1945 to 1950 Underwood began to teach his developing self-defense system in Canada and the USA under this name. In 1950 Bill Underwood published under copyright “Defendo, Police System of Self-Defense”. This book became one of the first open-hand Police Tactics manuals for many Police Departments in Canada and the United States. From 1950 to 1969 Underwood travelled in Canada, the United States and in the UK (1965) teaching his system. In 1969 Canada, under copyright Bill Underwood published “Defendo, Occidental System of Self-Protection”. From 1969 to his death on February 8, 1986 in Newmarket, Ontario Canada Underwood was well known for his system and honoured and profiled frequently by the North American media. In 1980 a short documentary on Underwood’s life and work with Combato and Defendo titled Don’t Mess With Bill was nominated for an Oscar at the 53rd Academy Awards in 1981. Between 1980 and 1981 Underwood appeared 4 times on the Johnny Carson Show. He also appeared at that time on all of Hollywood’s major talk shows including Real People, That’s Incredible, Merv Griffin etc… on all occasions promoting and teaching his system of Defendo. Combatives
Current and past Canadian Forces Persons – Intelligence –