Lou Ferrigno. Bill was also the subject of a short film which in was nominated for an Oscar at the 53rd Academy Awards. Underwood was a fascinating and talented man with an incredible story. Who was Bill Underwood? The five foot, 2 inches, gentle looking man called the "Human Atomic Bomb"- "Mighty Atom" — "Little Giant Killer" as a 12 year old boy in Liverpool England, made after school pocket money selling programmes at the Vaudeville Pavilion Theatre.
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Underwood was in a white undershirt, dress pants and stocking feet. He wore owlish glasses with black frames and looked like an year-old Grandpa, with a stick-out belly, long arms and a kindly way. When he spoke, his accent betrayed his British roots, while his preference for tea — two bags to a cup — did not hint at any internal menace or capacity to cause grave bodily harm.
Nothing is going to break. He was that, and more. A photo of Corporal W. Robbie Cressman is an amateur historian and the keeper of the Underwood legend. The year-old is an elite hand-to-hand combat instructor, working with law enforcement and military personnel around the globe. Before Underwood came along, Canadian army recruits were taught to box and wrestle, gentlemanly stuff, featuring combatants bobbing and weaving and rolling around on a mat.
He was already in his mids and a veteran of the First World War when he volunteered for duty during the Second and became a trainer. His big idea involved teaching Canadians to fight dirty. Forget bobbing, weaving and wasted movements: press the attack and strike with the elbows, the edge of the palms and the outside of the forearm, hard bone surfaces. After the war, Underwood was deluged with invitations from police forces, requesting his services to train rookie cops.
Initially he declined. Combato was too dangerous, he said. Brunton met Underwood in when he was in his 20s. He wanted to make a short documentary about super seniors, leading active and inspiring lives. Underwood was puttering around Toronto in a beat-up blue station wagon, teaching Defendo. Bill Underwood would invite anyone to fight him at his annual CNE booth. He was a little old man. He never lost once, and he would keep his glasses on, levelling younger men using Defendo, his made-in-Canada martial art.
Bill told these tall tales, but they were true. Kathleen, his true love and wife of 53 years, died in Underwood grieved by going to Las Vegas, where he met the police chief, disarmed him with a Defendo move — and was hired to train the entire force. He never smoked. Bill Underwood bests an opponent at the CNE.
The big night was March 30, Underwood and Brunton walked the red carpet in Los Angeles. Brunton was star struck. Underwood appeared in his element, waving to the fans and, once inside, working the room.
He was born in His father, John, was a chef and a miserable drunk. Money was scarce. The men were small and fearless. They would challenge any man in the audience to best them on stage.
None ever did. Underwood would bring Tani and Maki tea and cigarettes between shows and ask them to demonstrate some tricks. He never forgot their lessons, and after immigrating to Canada in , built upon them, creating something new. Defendo consists of four leverage holds, five hand-grips and 12 pressure points. It includes a forward written by John R. Murray, then deputy chief of the Metropolitan Toronto Police.
It posits scenarios and steps to remedy them, with accompanying photos. Raise your other hand and point your thumb. At the same time, pull him toward you with the hand behind his neck. Underwood was discovered by Hollywood during a trip to California to visit his eldest daughter, Shirley. They laughed. Underwood offered to demonstrate Defendo, felling man after man, until a call went up the line to bring some of the decision makers to the front desk to check out the old guy.
But Underwood died penniless at age 90 in at a nursing home north of Toronto. The human rag doll is now He has a wife, a daughter and a good job, and has yet to encounter any thugs, looking to relieve him of his wallet in a dark alleyway.
But if he does, he knows just what to do. National Post.
Underwood was in a white undershirt, dress pants and stocking feet. He wore owlish glasses with black frames and looked like an year-old Grandpa, with a stick-out belly, long arms and a kindly way. When he spoke, his accent betrayed his British roots, while his preference for tea — two bags to a cup — did not hint at any internal menace or capacity to cause grave bodily harm. Nothing is going to break.
Combato (Defendo), The Art of Self Defense - Bill Underwood 1943
History[ edit ] Combato had its beginning in the Liverpool theatres with jujutsu demonstrations by travelling Japanese wrestlers, Yukio Tani and Taro Miyake. As a boy, Underwood idolized these experts, and rapidly established himself as a prodigy. 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-defence, 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[ edit ] From to Underwood taught his developing self-defence system in Canada and the USA under the new name.
Bill Underwood - Creator of Combato
Shaktinos Bill gave his first demonstrations and instruction to Butler, New Jersey and New York City Police Officers and requests and training only grew from that point forward. His big idea involved teaching Canadians to fight dirty. Just a moment while we sign you co,bato to your Goodreads account. Construction began next door — and then, they say, the nightmare began.
The art of Defendo: How a forgotten (Canadian!) martial art saved democracy