Deep in the badlands of war-torn Afghanistan, SAS Trooper Bleddyn "Taff" Davies learnt something important about the nature of war.
"Things go wrong all the time," Mr Davies said yesterday.
In the cramped rooms and twisting tunnels of Afghan compounds, where the fighting often becomes desperate and dangerous, all the modern technology Diggers and their allies possess can suddenly be rendered useless by tight confines and surprise attacks.
Often, the only weapon they have left is their hands, feet, elbows and knees.
Thanks to Mr Davies, Australian and US special forces troops are being shown just how lethal they can still be when the guns and body armour are stripped away.
Being only 168cm tall and weighing 70kg, Mr Davies may not look it, but the humble 42-year-old Rockingham father of two trains the world's toughest soldiers how to fight and survive in close-quarters battle.
For the past four years, he has also been a secret weapon for the West Coast Eagles, despite never seeing a game of footy before he took the gig.
Mr Davies, who has worked under a veil of secrecy for years, revealed for the first time yesterday that Australian Commandos, US Navy Seals and Green Berets were among the elite troops he has taught his new close-quarters fighting style.
Mr Davies joined the Australian Army on his 18th birthday, three weeks after migrating from Wales with his parents.
Selected to join the SAS in 1991, he says he was laughed at after asking when he would be taught hand-to-hand combat.
"I remember saying to one of the instructors, 'What about hand to hand?' He laughed at me and said, 'You've got your assault rifle, your pistol, your knife and your teammates. If you're fighting with your hands, there's something wrong'."
But as Mr Davies later learnt the hard way, things go wrong in battle, particularly in Taliban compounds where tight confines make aiming and using weapons before the enemy is on you very difficult.
After three years of peacetime service, Mr Davies left the SAS in 1994 to join the WA Police force but returned to the regiment after the 9/11 terror attacks.
This time, his private martial arts journey ensured his combat skills were up to scratch. Proficient in several forms, Mr Davies was drawn to the practicality of the style known as Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Now a master, Mr Davies is the only practitioner whose black belt was confirmed by six-time BJJ world champion Robert Drysdale and the legendary pioneer of the art, Royler Gracie. Mr Davies deployed with the SAS to Iraq in 2005 and to Afghanistan in 2006 but was reluctant to share operational details.
"When people find out what our special forces troops have done in Afghanistan, they will be very proud, but surprised by the magnitude of the conflict," he said.
In 2008, he left full-time military service and returned to the police force before resigning to concentrate on building up his own training centres: The Arena Mixed Martial Arts in Rockingham and Bibra Lake.
As a reservist in 2009, he scored an unlikely job after joining in a preseason training session the SAS ran for the West Coast Eagles.
"I'd never seen a game of football," he said. "I lined them (the Eagles) up and said I need to see how you tackle and I need a volunteer."
David Wirrpanda stepped up.
"He tried to tackle me. I did a little bit of a foot thing and I literally dumped him and he fell down," Mr Davies said.
"I said, 'Mate, you must have slipped, get up and go again'.
"I'm only a little guy but I dumped him twice. Wirra is a strong tackler. It's just that there wasn't a strong focus on technique at the time."
This season will be the first since 2009 that Mr Davies has not been the Eagles' tackling coach because of his increased commitments to train special forces.
West Coast leadership and development manager Peter Worsfold said Mr Davies was a "great bloke" and a "tough nut". "Every time he came here, he was making a difference," Mr Worsfold said.
Mr Davies says he ran close-quarters combat classes for SAS troopers until 2010, but his efforts failed to gain traction.
Then, in 2011, he met serving commando and martial arts expert Sgt Paul Cale, who was doing something similar in Sydney.
They joined forces and were soon signed on to train the commandos, with Mr Davies being flown to Sydney one week a month.
After that success, the Navy Seals and the Green Berets asked to borrow the pair that same year.
Mr Davies said their work was "quite different to what's been done before". It was also saving Australian lives on the battlefield.
Unlike civilian martial artists with no combat experience, Mr Davies and Sgt Cale factored in the realities of war-like conditions.
Many effective self-defence moves for civilians were not practical on the battlefield for a number of reasons, including that many would give the enemy access to grenades and knives hanging off a Digger's body armour.
What they teach is less about set-piece responses and more about making it instinctive for soldiers to use their body or random objects to create the space needed to use their weapons.
"We don't teach lethal, kill-you-with-my-hands moves," Mr Davies said. "We don't teach a martial arts style. We teach concepts that lead to an end result.
"It needs to be super simple."
At present, the only way for non-military personnel to find out more about the fighting style the pair have developed is to be on the receiving end."That's not something you want," Mr Davies said.
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