||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (May 2013)|
|Also known as||Combato, Underwood Systems|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|Parenthood||Jujitsu, Western Grappling, Boxing|
Defendo is a martial art and self defense system created in 1945 for law enforcement by Bill Underwood, a British-born Canadian. Underwood had created Combato in 1910, a "non-boxing or wrestling" unarmed combat system which he taught in Montreal, Quebec and Toronto, Ontario and Defendo grew out of this system.
Combato had its beginning in the Liverpool theatres with ju-jitsu demonstrations by traveling Japanese wrestlers, Yukio Tani and Taro Miyake. As a boy, Underwood idolized these experts, and rapidly established himself as a prodigy.
The name Defendo was created on August 15, 1945 in New York City by Underwood's daughter, Pat, when Underwood was a guest in the United States training U.S. Army Rangers and for the American FBI for use in unarmed combat. Underwood was frequently requested by American and Canadian Law Enforcement Agencies to teach his Combato system during World War II, but as the war had ended he refused on the basis that Combato was too aggressive. Underwood was asked to modify the system to remove its lethal applications and instead 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".
A new name
From 1945 to 1950 Underwood taught his developing self-defense system in Canada and the USA under the new name. In 1950 he published under copyright "Defendo, Police System of Self-Defense", which became one of the first open-hand police tactics manuals used by police departments in Canada and the United States. From 1950 to 1969, Underwood traveled throughout Canada, the United States and in the UK (1965), teaching his system. In 1969, under copyright Underwood published "Defendo, Occidental System of Self-Protection".
From 1969 to his death on February 8, 1986 in Newmarket, Ontario, Underwood was well known for his system and honoured and profiled frequently by the North American media. In 1980 a short documentary film about Underwood's life and work, entitled Don't Mess With Bill was nominated for an Oscar at the 53rd Academy Awards in 1981. The film was produced by Pen Densham and John Watson.
Between 1980 and 1981 Underwood appeared four times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He also appeared at that time on all of Hollywood's major talk shows including Real People, That's Incredible, Merv Griffin on all occasions promoting and teaching his system of Defendo.
- Bill Underwood, "Police System of Self-Protection", Toronto, copyright 1950
- *Pbill underwood, "Defendo" Occidental System of Self-Protection, Toronto, Copyright 1969
- Cressman, Robbie. "Bill Underwood". Fight Times Magazine. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
- "Don't Mess with Bill", IMDB
- Underwood Family's Archives
- Current and past Canadian Forces Persons - Intelligence
- Toronto Star Publications
- Canadian Provost Corps.
- Martial Arts Illustrated, June 2004 Cover and Feature
- Canwest News Service: Ottawa, 2003
- British Royal Armouries Museum: 2003
- Toronto Metropolitan Police Archives
- The Canadian National Exhibition Archives: Toronto, Canada
- Johnny Carson Archives, Los Angeles California
- Academy Awards Archives, Los Angeles California