Skip

No Nonsense Self-Defense
March 24, 2009 11:31 AM   Subscribe

No Nonsense Self Defense is a website that features many great essays about violence and self-defense, including “High Risk Behavior And Knowing Where You Are,”“Are Martial Arts Self-Defense?,”“The Best Way to Get Attacked,”“The Economy And Stress Violence,”and “Who's Going To Rob You?." But my absolute favorite section is "Psychology and Survival." If I can convince you to read only one of these links, please let it be that last one.
posted by jason's_planet (73 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite

 
I saw a heading called, "Knife-fighting" and thought, "Oh, this ought to be rich."

To Would-Be Knife Fighters
Here's a message to any would be knife fighter who thinks that by pulling a weapon in a fight will guarantee he will never lose...
Learn to take your beating like a man.


I haven't read that much, but I like what I've seen so far.
posted by cimbrog at 12:00 PM on March 24, 2009 [2 favorites]




Fuck Mark Mac Young. This guy is full of shit. He re-digests stuff that is common knowledge and repackages it with his "I was in gang and was bad so I know" bullshit.

Seriously. Do not waste your money.
posted by tkchrist at 12:07 PM on March 24, 2009


I have to agree. The "They're selling you crap. I'm not selling you anything...but buy this" schtick.
But some folks might not have seen some of this, not a bad idea to know what you want in looking for a class. If you want to learn a sport or self-defense or what. You're not going to learn escape and evasion in a Tae Kwan Do class.
But yeah, some of this is pretty old. LaoTze old.
"Powerful men are well advised not to use violence,
For violence has a habit of returning;
Thorns and weeds grow wherever an army goes,
And lean years follow a great war.

A general is well advised
To achieve nothing more than his orders:
Not to take advantage of his victory.
Nor to glory, boast or pride himself;
To do what is dictated by necessity,
But not by choice.

For even the strongest force will weaken with time,
And then its violence will return, and kill it...

Weapons are tools of violence,
Not of the sage;
He uses them only when there is no choice,
And then calmly, and with tact,
For he finds no beauty in them.

Whoever finds beauty in weapons
Delights in the slaughter of men;
And who delights in slaughter
Cannot content himself with peace.

So slaughters must be mourned
And conquest celebrated with a funeral."
etc.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:13 PM on March 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


Self-esteem -- everybody wants more of it. Take it from somebody, and they'll react angrily or even violently to try to regain it. Give it away, freely, to somebody, and they'll regard you as a friend. Give it to a group, and they'll regard you as a leader. I've come to think that this is what motivates everybody at their core.

Also, I really liked this write-up of what it means to be an alpha, which is pretty much the opposite of what a lot of people think.
posted by LordSludge at 12:13 PM on March 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


He re-digests stuff that is common knowledge and repackages it with his "I was in gang and was bad so I know" bullshit.

OK, maybe it's common knowledge to you and to people in your social circle.

But maybe this stuff isn't common knowledge for people who don't come from martial arts backgrounds.
posted by jason's_planet at 12:19 PM on March 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I dunno, I was reading it and it kinda felt like a bunch of multi-level marketing, like that he keeps talking about, say, readily apparent signs of criminal intent without saying anything aside from that you know them when you see them, or that after violence happens, it's easy to look back and see how things escalated. Sure, genius, when I know who won the NCAA, it's easy to fill in my brackets.
posted by klangklangston at 12:21 PM on March 24, 2009


He re-digests stuff that is common knowledge and repackages it with his "I was in gang and was bad so I know" bullshit.

I've taken martial arts for years and what I'm reading on this site is the exact opposite of the common knowledge you get there. He's presenting a world in which violence is terrifying, participating in it will mess you up, both physically and emotionally, and you have a really, really good chance of getting badly hurt when you enter a violent situation.

I'm not lookign to buy anything from him, but, speaking as someone who was once attacked by a man with a hammer, what he's saying jibes with my experience, and I'd say it's probably worth perusing for anybody who might find themselves confronted by violence -- which is all of us.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:22 PM on March 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


At first I thought they need a new DVD cover model, but it seems Massad F. Ayoob is a potent force of his own.
Massad Ayoob has authored several books and over one thousand articles on firearms, combat techniques, self-defense, and legal issues, and has served in an editorial capacity for Guns Magazine, American Handgunner, Gun Week, and Combat Handguns. Since 1995, he has written self-defense- and firearms-related articles for Backwoods Home Magazine. He also has a featured segment on the television show Personal Defense TV, which airs on The Outdoor Channel in the United States.
I now have a reason to look at the Outdoor Channel program listing.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:25 PM on March 24, 2009


"I've taken martial arts for years and what I'm reading on this site is the exact opposite of the common knowledge you get there. He's presenting a world in which violence is terrifying, participating in it will mess you up, both physically and emotionally, and you have a really, really good chance of getting badly hurt when you enter a violent situation."

Really? When I took judo, my sensei always said that the most important real-world applications were to know how to avoid fights and how to run like hell when there was one (especially if a knife or gun ever came out).
posted by klangklangston at 12:27 PM on March 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Note to self: astro zombies not susceptible to blunt force trauma.

Sorry if that was in poor taste. I'm glad you survived.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:28 PM on March 24, 2009


I'm not lookign to buy anything from him

Me either. I'm poor, so I just ignore the ads and focus on the free content.
posted by jason's_planet at 12:28 PM on March 24, 2009


You'd be surprised how many martial arts programs are filled with, and taught by, meatheads with Chuck Norris fantasies.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:28 PM on March 24, 2009




here is the quintessential nugget of insight from the "Animal":

Do you now see why avoidance of the whole problem is the best solution?

Really. Avoid getting mugged. Tell me more. You mean I should avoid getting mugged as much as possible. Damn. I knew I was doing it wrong.

The intent of this page is to show the average person the problems inherent in dealing with violent criminals. While we don't advocate paranoia or passively submitting to violent in order to understand the dangers, one must first understand who commits these kinds of crimes.

The "average person" is apparently unaware there are dangers in dealing with violent criminal. But the Animal isn't. No sir.

For the average person -- and even the average martial artist -- there is no reliable way to muster enough firepower to effectively stop these people before they harm you. While it can be done, it takes intensive training and a different mindset than most people are comfortable living with.

So. I DON'T need to buy one of your books then. No. Wait. I AM comfortable living that way Marc! So how do I train. TELL MEEEE! I want to learn your non-martial-art art Dango Jiro and learn how to Street Fight by not being a street fighter and not actually competing in anything or against anyone but the fat out of shape instructor in the video.

I earned the name "Animal" in Los Angeles back in the 70s and 80s. I ran the streets and the night during the most violent period in American history, a time of the highest murder rate ever.

Earned? With who? When? I'd like some concrete proof of this "past."

This guy is such a god damned fraud its laughable. He has been challenged for fucking years to back up his bullshit and has never once gotten in ring with anybody to prove his bad assedness.

It's funny ow his language has changed over the years o now appeal to liberals. He used to brag about how he was a Street Fighter (tm) now he kind off-hands deliberately as he is the wizened old fighter ashamed of this mysterious past like Dalton from Roadhouse.
posted by tkchrist at 12:29 PM on March 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


I got out of the hammer guy situtation by talking the guy down. After I unsuccessfully tried to knock him out with my fist. Which didn't work and briefly made things much worse.

It's kind of funny to look back on now, but I was a wreck for quite a while afterward. Not sure how I would have felt if it had escalated to the point where one of us wound up in the hospital. I imagine much worse.

I used to think it was funny when people in movies would fight, and one would cry out "Not the face!" But one punch to the jaw can result in weeks and weeks of dental surgery. Having just had a root canal, I don't find this funny anymore. Anyone who is about to get in a fight should ask themselves "Do I really want to spend the next month or so in a dental chair?"
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:32 PM on March 24, 2009


He used to brag about how he was a Street Fighter (tm) now he kind off-hands deliberately as he is the wizened old fighter ashamed of this mysterious past like Dalton from Roadhouse.

Holy shit, THAT is a self-defense book I'd be willing to buy.

For the most part, this seems to be saying, "Don't fuck around." Which, while somewhat common sense, is probably a good thing to remember any time your blood is boiling.
posted by 235w103 at 12:32 PM on March 24, 2009


I've taken martial arts for years and what I'm reading on this site is the exact opposite of the common knowledge you get there.

Then you had better get your money back.

So are we arguing that most Martial Arts schools suck? And? Suck at what? Getting you some exercise?

Jesus. The guy just states the obvious over and over. But has he given you any tools to actually deal with anything on that sight? Anything that isn't available in hundred other places. Places that he conveniently shits on?

Look. ANYBODY trying to sell you that they have some sort of monopoly on this kind of insight and truth is a charlatan.

He's presenting a world in which violence is terrifying, participating in it will mess you up, both physically and emotionally, and you have a really, really good chance of getting badly hurt when you enter a violent situation.

Serisouly. This is insight to you. As brilliant as an imagination as you have and THIS is insight?
posted by tkchrist at 12:36 PM on March 24, 2009


Well, I've experienced violence, so it's not news to me. But I can't believe you haven't experienced the people in martial arts classes who are there because of their love for kung fu movies.

I'm not sure disabusing them from their fantasies is a bad thing. In fact, most martial arts schools would be wise to tell their students that most of what they are learning are for entertainment purposes only, but I suspect they would lose a lot of students if they didn't pretend that they have some sort of effective system of self-defense.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:43 PM on March 24, 2009


The guy just states the obvious over and over.

Step outside of yourself (and your emotional reactions to the author) for a second.

Is it entirely possible that there are people on MetaFilter who don't have your background and awareness?

Is it entirely possible that we have quite a few sheltered people here?

Is it entirely possible that the advice given in some of these essays might actually benefit them?

Think about it.
posted by jason's_planet at 12:52 PM on March 24, 2009


"Who's Going To Rob You?."

When I taught self defense back in college, I had one exercise that always seemed to be a favorite: after a couple of weeks of training, when the person was beginning to understand how to use themselves in a way to be dangerous to others, we would go to a big public area, like a mall or a park, and I would tell them to "think like an attacker, and decide who you would mug". At first there is a lot of reticence because most people don't like viewing themselves as the bad guy, but one they got into the spirit of it, they would start seeing the things I wanted them to see: the people who walked assertively as opposed to those who looked scared. The people careless with showing their valuables versus those who hid them, and so on.

After a while we would have conversations like "I'd mug him", "Why?", "Because he's listening to his headphones and completely oblivious, he's not looking around, he'd have no idea I was even there till it was too late..."

And once they had that mindset, I found that they were a lot more careful about not projecting the image of inattentive victim themselves.
posted by quin at 12:53 PM on March 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


What he says in the essay on "Violence Geeks" is something that deserved to be said:

[[ The problem with violence geeks is -- as much as they go on about 'self-defense, and no matter how much they fantasize about heroic combat against hordes of slavering bad guys -- what they are looking for is revenge. After a lifetime of feeling inferior, a lifetime of backing down and a nearly pathological hatred of the idea that they are not ALPHA MALES, they're looking for payback. More specifically, they're looking for an excuse to 'go off' on someone. ]]

Fortunately for such people, the Fighting Dirty: A "No Sweat" Guide to Hardcore Self-Defense Training DVD is available for sale right there on the site.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:58 PM on March 24, 2009


Why take any advice at all from the kind of a**holes who get in street fights?
posted by grounded at 12:58 PM on March 24, 2009


It's also entirely possible that it's no coincidence Marc MacYoung reads and sounds exactly like an angry, psychotic bully.
posted by mattdidthat at 1:00 PM on March 24, 2009


"Serisouly. This is insight to you. As brilliant as an imagination as you have and THIS is insight?" - tkchrist

What the heck, tk...I have never first-hand witnessed an escalating situation, let alone been in one. You make it seem like it happens All-The-Time (TM)

Violence to me is as distant as CSI or Call of Duty. Honestly. Besides, you're being challenging...that's a big no-no according to the site in the post.
posted by Khazk at 1:03 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


posted by grounded Why take any advice at all from the kind of a**holes who get in street fights?

Think of it as primate research.
posted by mattdidthat at 1:03 PM on March 24, 2009


Well, I've experienced violence, so it's not news to me. But I can't believe you haven't experienced the people in martial arts classes who are there because of their love for kung fu movies.

Astro. Zombie. This is me you are talking to. How many times as have outlined this very point when it concerns martial arts? A dozen. Two dozen.

I have said again and again Martial Arts are to give you the Self Defense skills to prevent a heart attack. IE: good exercise. Which is what you should be most worried about in the first place.

Again. Are we here to talk about how bad most Martial Arts Schools are? Or how this guy is essentially multi-level marketing to those former students disenfranchised my said martial arts schools because they aren't the bad-asses they so desired to become through Martial Arts. It's the same god-damned thing. This has been his shtick for years: "Martial arts won't make you a bad ass. BUT I WILL!" "Don't be a streetfighter. It's BAD. But I will teach you to be one!"

It's contradictory straw man ridiculousness.


I'm not sure disabusing them from their fantasies is a bad thing. In fact, most martial arts schools would be wise to tell their students that most of what they are learning are for entertainment purposes only, but I suspect they would lose a lot of students if they didn't pretend that they have some sort of effective system of self-defense.

Again. Most are entirely effective for the thing you stand the greatest risk of being killed by: Heart Disease.

AS for self defense. Well I don't fret much about that bullshit. But. I have been in a few fights. Hell. On paper I got a CV almost as bad-ass as Mac Young. KA-POW! And I can tell you that the basic skills you learn in most Martial Arts schools are just fine for about 70-80% of the piddly little altercations the average middle class person faces, especially a white male in North America. In most schools you will learn to stay calm. You will learn to keep your balance. And if you went to a half way decent school you will learn to take a punch. These are perfectly adequate skills for frigg'n handing over your wallet to a mugger.
posted by tkchrist at 1:04 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Then what are we arguing about? I don't disagree that he may be a big talking blowhard who has a site designed to seperate a fool and his money. Do you disagree that he makes a good case that any fantasies someone might have about violence are going to be dramatically different than reality?

There are a lot of knife-fighting systems that are popular out there. He uniquivocably makes the case that if you pull a knife out during a fight, you're probably going to jail. It's good advice, even if you think the guy giving it is a chump who just wants to make a sale.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:11 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


What the heck, tk...I have never first-hand witnessed an escalating situation, let alone been in one. You make it seem like it happens All-The-Time (TM)

Oh my god no. The exact opposite. The fact that you have gone your whole life without being involved in a fight or Self Defense situation make it perfectly clear that learning to avoid one is not very hard, is it?

Of course that is a very bourgeois kind of observation for me to make and easy for us since we don't live in places that are all that dangerous. Some people do. And MacYoung's insights become even more obvious.

Is it entirely possible that the advice given in some of these essays might actually benefit them?

Think about it.


It's them I'm worried about.
posted by tkchrist at 1:11 PM on March 24, 2009


tkchrist: "On paper I got a CV almost as bad-ass as Mac Young."

Maybe the mods will let you change your account name to tk "Animal" christ.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:11 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


"But has he given you any tools to actually deal with anything on that sight? "

Well...bu-but you can order the DVD for $24

"In fact, most martial arts schools would be wise to tell their students that most of what they are learning are for entertainment purposes only, but I suspect they would lose a lot of students if they didn't pretend that they have some sort of effective system of self-defense."

Yeah, I think most folks wake up to the fact - whether they have a real background in it or not - that there's more money in seeming than being, and selling the 'you can be too' stuff makes a lot more money than genuinely training someone.

A while back a guy I knew got busted up and thrown in front of a train. He was in one of the mystique type training schools. First words out of my mouth were "Well, that's a big f'ing surprise." I probably shouldn't have said it, but it needed to be said. And everyone in the room knew it. It's funny tho how people's morals follow their wallet. You've got these cliche's in the front of some dojos about honor and whatnot, and yet, push comes to shove, it's a business and the dough drives the bottom line, not the morals. Me, I would rather live in a hovel than have a death like that on my conscience. No matter what kind of money I was raking in. But then, my sensibilities are all delicate n' shit.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:12 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


No one mentioned how retro this site is. It feels just like the internet right after the Richard D James album came out. I can imagine reading this in a suburban library somewhere.
posted by fuq at 1:13 PM on March 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I earned the name "Animal" in Los Angeles back in the 70s and 80s. I ran the streets and the night...

This sounds like a Meatloaf song.
posted by grounded at 1:19 PM on March 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


Do you disagree that he makes a good case that any fantasies someone might have about violence are going to be dramatically different than reality?

IMHO Mac Young is presenting an alternate fantasy to people who actually DO hold these fantasies.

I know of no one who has done any kind of serious study of actual fighting that harbors these fantasies other than in the most superficial terms. He is presenting a strawman to a select market.

I know alot about this guy. He's been around for years.

When MMA first emerged in the early 1990's he used that as his marketing wedge. He targeted Martial Arts types who were threatened by guys who actually could fight and proved it and Mac Young was telling these guys that MMA was a faggoty speedo wearing sport and none of the skills represented anything "real", but he had the "secrets."

The funny thing was nobody in MMA was claiming any kind of Self Defense ground for their sport. Only guys like Mac young were. But Mac Young went on and on. All the MMA guys were saying was it was about fighting. So they asked Mac young to climb in a ring a show his Bonefides. And when Mac Young was confronted he bitched out. Which tells me all I need.

There are a lot of knife-fighting systems that are popular out there. He uniquivocably makes the case that if you pull a knife out during a fight, you're probably going to jail. It's good advice, even if you think the guy giving it is a chump who just wants to make a sale.

Well. I trained a little Kali. The very first time we trained knives the Rick Faye pulled out a photo album of ER knife wounds and then went on to talk in detail about knife carry laws.

Again. It's a strawman. There is no Kali school I know that doesn't go into detail about that kind of thing. The underlying premise is knives are not for fighting they are for killing when your life in on the line.

If you only understood the irony. Mac Young used to argue knives where why grappling was useless on the street. Another strawman.

Thank god I just train in Sport fighting these days. I never have to worry about this nonsense.
posted by tkchrist at 1:25 PM on March 24, 2009


Tkchrist, just to assume a counterfactual here, how valuable and/or trustworthy would the material on Animal's website be, if he weren't trying to sell shit? In other words, I understand that his advice is not worth paying for, but is it still of value if you're getting it for free?
posted by jonp72 at 1:28 PM on March 24, 2009


"Insecure Alphas is a term we picked up from the Dog Whisperer Caesar Millan. (Who, if you want some really good insights into how alpha/beta behavior works in pack animals, we highly recommend that you watch his TV show)."

That is all I need to know. This guy is stupid.
posted by dirty lies at 1:42 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Do you now see why avoidance of the whole problem is the best solution?

Really. Avoid getting mugged. Tell me more. You mean I should avoid getting mugged as much as possible. Damn. I knew I was doing it wrong.


Predatorial/Criminal violence may be unavoidable and demand to be met with force, but that's a fairly rare type of violence. (He goes into that with the whole Territorial vs. Predatorial Violence.)

Territorial violence is that stupid pride-based fight that escalates from each person defending their ego and attacking the other's. A buddy of mine got beat up at a bar a couple weeks ago for bumping into somebody. Coulda been avoided with a friendly, sincere, "Awww hey, my bad!" (how hard is that??) but noooo, my friend tried to intimidate the other guy into backing down... which is almost guaranteed to escalate the situation. Idiot.

Or like when the boyfriend/husband sees you hitting on his girlfriend/wife, he's obviously going to feel marginalized and react angrily. Super-easy to defray that situation with an "Ooooh, man, do I feel like an idiot!! Wow, that's hilarious... Hey, lemme buy you guys a shot..." Conversely, respond with a tough-guy "Oh yeah?? What are YOU gonna do about it???" and you're almost guaranteed the guy will fight you. He HAS to. You've taken his self-esteem and he needs it back -- and he'll do his best to take some of yours in the process.

I know it sounds silly, esp. for a seasoned fighter like you with nothing to prove, but A LOT of guys act all chest-puffy like this! And then they wonder why they got attacked -- I hate to blame the victim, but they're practically BEGGING for it!!

I think the author's point is valid: Lots of violence can be avoided, and that's almost always the best solution. But a lot of people really do think the best way to approach hostile situations is to display greater force (threat display), when all that usually does is escalate the situation, often into violence. (see his Best Way to Get Attacked)

When you recognize the ego-dynamics (self-esteem exchange) of a hostile situation, you can even turn a near-attacker into a friend. And THAT is pretty damned cool...

So even if the guy used to be a dick, at least now he seems pretty spot on.
posted by LordSludge at 1:43 PM on March 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Tkchrist, just to assume a counterfactual here, how valuable and/or trustworthy would the material on Animal's website be, if he weren't trying to sell shit? In other words, I understand that his advice is not worth paying for, but is it still of value if you're getting it for free?

Well instinctually I would say not all that much value other than it being interesting intellectually. Some what I read was 100% "true." But for me that's not necessarily helpful since it seemes so obvious. For you? You will get food for thought I guess. There was a bunch of contradictory stuff that makes question what is marketing and what is honest insight.

Maybe I'm holding an irrational grudge. So honestly? I don't know. He doesn't seem to be hard selling as much as he used to. just reading it won't get you killed.

I do know there are lots of guys out there that say much of the same sorts of things and offer some good skills on top of that who I would recommend. But I am very biased in that regard.
posted by tkchrist at 1:46 PM on March 24, 2009


I know it sounds silly, esp. for a seasoned fighter like you with nothing to prove, but A LOT of guys act all chest-puffy like this! And then they wonder why they got attacked -- I hate to blame the victim, but they're practically BEGGING for it!!

Hey. Are you practicing that Jedi Fight Avoidance de-escalation shit on me?
posted by tkchrist at 1:48 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I will say he's both wrong and right about use of violence. Yeah, jail if you use a knife, blah de blah. Your mom will tell you the same thing. For the most part if someone has a weapon and I don't, I'm going to do what they want. The presumption here is - you're in a fight, you pull a knife, and - what? It's the same b.s. scenario posed in the '27 ninjas' thing. Why would you pull a knife in the first place if you're in a fight? What, you started the fight then whipped out a knife on a guy? Chances are then you're one of the psychopaths he's talking about.
Most folks are pretty level headed. Been at a few parties where someone shouted "Gun!" and everyone scattered. Smart. I didn't see anyone doing Richard Pryor's 'machoman' (I'll take that knife and shove it up your ass).
But most folks who are acquainted with violence know better. And he misuses Grossman's work.

"IMHO Mac Young is presenting an alternate fantasy to people who actually DO hold these fantasies"
Bing.
My mom talks about using a knife to cut up this girl who was in a gang. Leader of the set apparently. My mom would get the crap kicked out of her by 5-6 girls every couple of months and she'd had enough, last time she wound up in the hospital for a month and missed school, couldn't work. I have a lot of uncles, and they're not soft, but they're old school and you don't fight women (even though they put some hurt on the male members, which, really, only added to my mom's grief). So she 'carved one of their asses up' and they stopped messing with her.
Humans for the most part won't fight unless they're really threatened. But when they are, and they feel they have to do something about it, they don't really feel too bad about it. For my mom, it was a choice of keep taking a beating and keep missing work and maybe not eat, or escalate and force the fight onto her terms.
Most folks who get this stuff, it's not about that. And if it is, it's pretty self-evident. You know where the people on your ass hang out, all that. About 90% social.
And that's why most situations are fairly easy to get out of, especially if there's nothing at stake but maybe some people who hate your guts anyway think you're a chicken. Oh no!

You walk into the wrong biker bar? Leave. They want the respect anyway. Doesn't cost you a damn thing. And you don't have to buy anything or convince yourself of anything. Just splitting is a huge hunk of not getting into anything dangerous. But that's really not what he's saying. He's telling you how wrong THEY are. What's wrong with THEM, why THEY want to fight you and how you can deal with it if you listen to him.
But if you want to walk away, that's something YOU have to deal with. If you can't, your pride or whatever is going to get you hurt.
If you're not fighting, or otherwise, on your own terms you've lost to begin with. Most people have pretty good situational awareness and avoidance is going to do you a lot more good than any advice.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:54 PM on March 24, 2009 [8 favorites]


Case in point: "Contrast this with the fact that a "truly" pacific person will be safe around violent individuals. It is a litmus test for true non-violence. A peaceful person will literally cause a violent person to "relax.""
I think there's a lot of regurgitation of other material here, without understanding the source. Ghandi was pretty peaceful. But he and his followers still took some serious ass kickings. He won by taking advantage of circumstances and sapping his enemy's will to fight. Pacifism was one (albeit very useful) tool. So the pop psychology, all that, useful as a shoehorn to other stuff, but this I wouldn't rely on as a source itself (anymore than quoting the Tao Te Ching on the web makes some schmuck into Lao Tze).
Give him credit for ceding that this is complex, but
posted by Smedleyman at 2:07 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well. I trained a little Kali. The very first time we trained knives the Rick Faye pulled out a photo album of ER knife wounds and then went on to talk in detail about knife carry laws.

Heh, I remember that photo album. In fact, it seemed like there was a section of almost every class dedicated to the subject "Here are some excellent way to get your ass kicked" or "Here's what happened to this one idiot who thought he was a badass." It also seemed like there was a section of students who really needed to hear that said repeatedly.

As for the site, I was hoping for something more insightful. I value and use good de-escalation advice, but as I read I found myself clicking in circles and not getting any new information. I can certainly see where advice that boils down to "You are not a badass. Don't be an idiot. If confronted with a violent individual or situation, GTFOD at the first opportunity." would be useful to many people, but if I want specifics, I'm not paying this guy.


After a while we would have conversations like "I'd mug him", "Why?", "Because he's listening to his headphones and completely oblivious, he's not looking around, he'd have no idea I was even there till it was too late..."


My own personal favorite piece of self defense advice is TAKE OFF YOUR @#$%*! HEADPHONES. Almost every street assault I've heard of recently has involved someone who was either clearly, visibly intoxicated or listening to an iPod.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:26 PM on March 24, 2009


Hey. Are you practicing that Jedi Fight Avoidance de-escalation shit on me?

Certainly, but it's also true. I definitely notice that the better a person is at fighting, the less inclined they are to try to start a fight. (out of pride, that is...)
posted by LordSludge at 2:30 PM on March 24, 2009


As for the site, I was hoping for something more insightful. I value and use good de-escalation advice, but as I read I found myself clicking in circles and not getting any new information. I can certainly see where advice that boils down to "You are not a badass. Don't be an idiot. If confronted with a violent individual or situation, GTFOD at the first opportunity." would be useful to many people, but if I want specifics, I'm not paying this guy.

My feelings precisely. Like give us a hypothetical or something, right?

BTW. You train at MKG in Minneapolis?

PS. Now I feel kinda bad for shitting in Jason's_planet's thread. Sorry about that. MacYoung has got my goat for years.
posted by tkchrist at 2:33 PM on March 24, 2009



Certainly, but it's also true. I definitely notice that the better a person is at fighting, the less inclined they are to try to start a fight. (out of pride, that is...)

I'll tell you what it is in my case. I used to think I was pretty okay. Then I started training with guys that were really, really, good — like elite good — who did not look the part AT ALL. And it dawned on me I had better not go around thinking I was tough.

That and seeing lot's of sparky in top shape dudes get their asses handed to them by drunk fat guys who threw wild hay makers.
posted by tkchrist at 2:38 PM on March 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh. And being 45 year old with bad knees puts a damper on your career as a Caped Crusader.
posted by tkchrist at 2:44 PM on March 24, 2009


I do know there are lots of guys out there that say much of the same sorts of things and offer some good skills on top of that who I would recommend.

Would you like to say who? Sorry if this is obvious from other posts of yours, but I don't remember you mentioning anyone specifically in the past (except Dan Inosanto's name sticks out).
posted by adamdschneider at 2:44 PM on March 24, 2009



BTW. You train at MKG in Minneapolis?


Yeah, a long time ago. A good friend of mine was an instructor there for a while.

That and seeing lot's of sparky in top shape dudes get their asses handed to them by drunk fat guys who threw wild hay makers.

Drunk fat guys (and crazy bitches) fight differently, and probably more frequently, than people who learn techniques in classes. People in classes "spar," drunk fat guys kick asses, take names. The rules are completely different.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:49 PM on March 24, 2009


What, no comments on this?

"With this conscious knowledge, the woman can then remove herself from a situation that is becoming dangerously unstable. And in doing so easily prevent herself from being raped."


He then goes on to describe a bizarrely specific, narrowly defined scenario where a woman can EASILY prevent her own rape by leaving the situation when she realizes the guy might be about to rape her. Why, it's as simple as that!
posted by peep at 2:51 PM on March 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Like Astro Zombie, I have been attacked by a person wielding a weapon.

Unlike Astro Zombie, I found this site to be utter bullshit. Romans? Barbarians? The hell? I thought this was no-nonsense as billed, but seems it's lots and lots of nonsense covering up a bit of common sense.

Save your money, and check out The Gift of Fear from the library.
posted by dhartung at 3:08 PM on March 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Jeebus - I went 22 years without experiencing violence of any sort, and then I got attacked on a Sunday evening at 7pm walking down a busy main road in a very posh town by three yobs off their faces on booze and rage.

A year later when a car full of young men pulled over and one of them shouted that I should 'take it up the arse' I almost started crying with fear because I didn't know what to do and felt angry and helpless.

I for one welcome essays on how to deal with animals.
posted by cardamine at 3:12 PM on March 24, 2009


Save your money, and check out The Gift of Fear from the library.

I enjoyed On Combat quite a bit, though I had to skip over a lot of really heavy-handed preaching against video games. I was like, dude, write a book.

Oh, wait, you already did.
posted by adamdschneider at 3:13 PM on March 24, 2009


PS. Now I feel kinda bad for shitting in Jason's_planet's thread. Sorry about that. MacYoung has got my goat for years.

I appreciate the apology. We're good.

But I don't think you were shitting in the thread, per se. For one thing, you actually have some idea of what you're talking about. Thread-shitters are the people who know nothing about the topic but jump in to let everyone know just how deeply offended they are. If you'd been angrily denouncing the very idea of a thread about self-defense, that even talking about the topic is somehow whitemale, republican and imperialistic, yeah, that would be thread-shitting and I would be pretty pissed off at you.

You had a past with the guy. He got on your nerves. I wasn't aware of this history. And on a site with tens of thousands of members, I can't really be aware of everything that people will bring to a particular thread, so I can't predict how people will react. I put it out there and where it goes is where it goes.

I've been posting here for a couple of years now and I know that, if I need to have everyone kiss my ass and tell me "WOW, j_p, your posts are OSSEM! Where DO you find this stuff?" I'm in the wrong place for that.
posted by jason's_planet at 3:17 PM on March 24, 2009


Is it just me or is this does anyone else imagine these articles being read by the Rex Kwon Do guy from Napoleon Dynamite?

"However, what is far more common is that the person who is offered a choice 'leave or else' either cannot keep his mouth shut AS he is leaving. Just break the wrist and then walk away. BREAK THE WRIST, WALK AWAY."

"Understanding what you are dealing with is critical to finding the most effective response to the situation you are facing. And that includes increasing the chances of resolving the situation without having to resort to physical means. Bow to your sensei. BOW TO YOUR SENSEI."
posted by edverb at 3:18 PM on March 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


More Nonsense Self Defense
posted by eye of newt at 3:29 PM on March 24, 2009


> the better a person is at fighting, the less inclined they are to try to start a fight. (out of pride, that is...)

>> started training with guys that were really, really, good — like elite good — who did not look the part AT ALL.


I couldn't help but be reminded of the hilarious contrast in the Emilianenko vs. Thompson fight (Dailymotion video clip here).
posted by PsychoKick at 3:36 PM on March 24, 2009


Would you like to say who? Sorry if this is obvious from other posts of yours, but I don't remember you mentioning anyone specifically in the past (except Dan Inosanto's name sticks out).

I'd feel kind of weird. Depends on what your looking for.

The kind of general intellectualized breakdowns of violence and that sort of thing then the Gavin De Becker book mentioned above (The Gift of Fear) is good.

Training wise I favor sport stuff. The Fighters Notebook (look it up) for a clear break down of what to know if your a fit younger person looking to train some basic MMA style techniques. But that will be mostly for fighting and fitness not self defense.

For more pure self-defensy stuff that also has that heady more strategic component I like Tony Blauer. The whole SPEAR thing is brilliantly simple. Though Blauer is a huge jock with cheesey Head Coach type humor and that can be off-putting to some people his stuff is simple. I have a love hat thing with him but i can't deny his stuff works very well. You can find people training it at Crossfit gyms.
posted by tkchrist at 4:00 PM on March 24, 2009


eye of newt, it turns out that MacYoung himself mentions that Jim Carey sequence.

...save your money...

MacYoung didn't charge me anything for his history of the development of boxing. "In all the broohaha over who's right and who's wrong, nobody has ever bothered to ask 'Hitting for what purpose?'"
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:11 PM on March 24, 2009


history of the development of boxing.

Yeah. I guess. You could also read it for free here when I said about the same thing in another thread. And at least I admitted I coped it from Frank Benn.

It's weird. I swear not ten years ago MacYoung was taking a diametrically opposed tactic talking about how ineffective sport fighting was. This dude contradicts himself way too much. I am so confused.
posted by tkchrist at 4:38 PM on March 24, 2009


Jeebus - I went 22 years without experiencing violence of any sort, and then I got attacked on a Sunday evening at 7pm walking down a busy main road in a very posh town by three yobs off their faces on booze and rage.

I hope you were not injured. That really sucks.

A year later when a car full of young men pulled over and one of them shouted that I should 'take it up the arse' I almost started crying with fear because I didn't know what to do and felt angry and helpless.

I for one welcome essays on how to deal with animals.


Well. If it makes you feel any better your not alone. I feel angry and helpless when that happens too. And it every once in a while it does to me too.

All you can do is know that those guys that do chicken shit like that are pathetic cowards with lives that are shit. You are better.

MacYoungs essay on that site don't really give you any tools to actively deal with "animals." All he does is give you some syntax to deconstruct what you pretty much already know but have yet to parse. All he does is describe a problem and then say "you know what doesn't work?". Honestly there is no "there" there.

Becuase he knows the same thing you do instinctively. Short of going on killing spree you can't really do anything to stop guys from driving by and calling you names. All you can do is control how you react to it. And even there he gives no tools, no techniques, to deal with the psychology of it. Not for free anyway.
posted by tkchrist at 4:51 PM on March 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Man. Reading through those posts. I am illiterate. Talk about pathetic. Sorry.
posted by tkchrist at 4:52 PM on March 24, 2009


I ran the streets and the night...

He must've been on the other shift because so did I. Unfortunately the Streets had some sort of mechanical issue that they could never quite fix and I got sick and tired of trying to get fat people and screaming children strapped into the Night before the previous train got back to the station. Finally I moved to selling snow cones by the Merry go Round.

I hate to break this to you TK, but there are a lot of people out there for whom this really is going to be sage advice.

I've mentioned my last "violent encounter" here before. I looked out the window, saw men in blue who were having a rough day did not need another distraction. I went and hid in the basement. My one regret was not belly crawling into the kitchen and getting the police tactical guys the bag of popsicles out of the freezer. They'd have had to be officially displease with me but they looked like they were gonna die under all that gear. Instead I did what the nice man in uniform with the futuristic looking assault rifle told me to. C'est la vie.

My previous encounter started with me sitting where I am right now and my wife going into the kitchen and saying, "What are you doing in my house?" I grabbed the nearest large blunt object (a 4 ft. piece of hickory) and turned to stone. My wife had her management voice on and from what I could hear he seemed content to tell her a really bad lie so I was content to let him. I was busy working out my "if this gets ugly" decision tree. It never came to that.

The weird part about this is I know two guys who seemed to think I did everything right. One works for the Illinois State Police Academy, the other is a Federal Marshal. Everyone else seemed to think "rush in there and open a can of woop ass" was the bestest answer evar! Including one guy who really seemed to believe that wearing a 9 mm on your hip in the shower and while playing computer games made a lot of sense and suggested shooting him through the wall as a viable alternative to cutting off my wife's retreat route while simultaneously escalating the situation.

Unfortunately, unlike Kurt Russle, I can't fit into my Snake Pliskin outfit any more.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:34 PM on March 24, 2009


I'm not lookign to buy anything from him, but, speaking as someone who was once attacked by a man with a hammer

Oldboy?!
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:35 PM on March 24, 2009


How to fight
posted by P.o.B. at 6:01 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


From his website:
    "Since the age of 10, he has studied several styles of martial arts, including Karate, Wing Chun, Baqua/Hsing-I, Five Family Gung fu, Boxing, Western swordsmanship, Kali and various forms of Pentjak Silat. That's thirty five years of training and application. He has field-stripped and bastardized every style he studied in order to make it street effective. However, out of respect to his teachers and their styles, when it comes to martial arts, he doesn’t claim to teach anything other than the training system he and his wife Dianna have created, Dango Jiro. A body movement and tactical application system that draws from all of those arts (Don't be confused by the Japanese name, it means "Mulligan Stew"). When it comes to street survival and professional use of force he teaches No Nonsense Self-Defense. A combination of formal martial arts techniques and principles and his real life experience, supported by research into the areas of psychology, criminology, sociology and legal use of force."
And he was a Street fighter (tm)!

I see no mention of who he studied under, for how long, or to what rank he achieved. I see no records of his fights, (ER or police reports or something) no competitions he won. He wasn't in the military so he has no proof of his combat experience. Where did he bounce? Where was he a prison guard? Does he have degrees in criminology or psychology? Where from?

If a guy who purports to have this much experience — enough to found a system and write a book—you'd expect some real verifiable bonefides to back it up. But no.

I'm not saying you HAVE to have those things to have insights or to even be gifted as a self defense instructor. But you DO if your taking everybody else apart and founding your own "system" you claim is the better than everything else.

Also "Dango Jiro" means dumpling soup. Not stew. But now I'm just nit picking.
posted by tkchrist at 6:02 PM on March 24, 2009


After reading through a few links I left with the same opinion as stated above: rehashed, obvious, a bit asinine marketing. But I've been training for many years. When I lived in south chicago, I had shit happening, or coming close, all the time. Youths throwing rocks, a crazy swinging punches for no reason, a man deliberately talking shit to my girl to provoke shit, even one guy who tried attacking me with his umbrella, plus a couple of knives pulled, one a mugger, one totally crazy.

Every situation involved the same thing, keeping my guard up, staying calm, standing erect and backing the fuck away. I am a coward and will talk as much as I can, and luckily it usually works. Now in a small dull town i just get drunks yelling stupid stupid shit, which compared to actual violence is not worth attention. The best thing that I've learned from martial arts is simple: never have anything to prove. I've seen so many fights over words. Ridiculous. I just don't have time to assuage some youth's disaffection: I've got drinking to do.
posted by sarcasman at 6:28 PM on March 24, 2009


Now you may think I don't know what I'm talking about ... except for the fact that my bank account is a whole lot bigger because attorneys call me when they have a case where knives were used. This should interest wanna-be knife fighters for three reasons:
1) I have personally survived several knife incidents and I've seen a lot
more first-hand, so I know how knives are commonly used.
2) I know the dangerous and illegal fantasies that are commonly taught
in the 'knife fighting' business -- and most of it is NOT self-defense.
3) I prefer to work with the prosecutors.

So basically you have a choice, you can listen to me now, or you can listen to me in court.


He does make a compelling argument about his knowledge and abilities.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:04 PM on March 24, 2009


You really want to mess someone up, give them a bad piece of fish.
Man, I ended mid sentence up there, I didn't intend on finishing on 'but.' But I was about to puke. Amazing what you can do in the half second before absolutely having to do something (like die, or regurgitate salmon). Haven't been feeling well, my buddy loaned me his laptop, sitting on the bed writing, had to hurl and I didn't want to do it on the laptop (irony, same guy who introduced me to this site, got acct. etc, funny) so in a fluid motion I slid off the bed and to my knees, snagged a garbage basket, pretty smooth. However - inertia. The laptop slid, I started puking, I leaned in, the blanket under my feet twisted and the laptop fell into the basket full of nastiness. Whereupon I yakked again on it.
So, short hospital visit later. I'm back with a new metaphor. No matter how bad ass you are, no matter how composed your mind, sometimes shit just happens to where you have to retreat the field.

This stuff might be food for thought for some folks, but you have to ask what purpose is the violence for? I mean - streetfighter? Wha? He just goes to dukes in the street with people?
I got into martial arts because most of my family was in it and we were minorities in a rough area. So it was a way to not get your ass kicked. Plus I had a savage temper and my uncles thought it'd be a good way to instill discipline. Then I went into the military. And most of my life has been involved in using violence. But with purpose.

Compare this guy to, say, Chuck Zito. He's an actor (now) he was on Oz, Carlito's Way, etc. He's a black belt, and fought golden gloves, but he was a Hell's Angel. And he bodyguarded for Jean Claude Van Damme, et. al. He was in jail for six years, etc. So you have the 'why' of it. He's got experience because Hell's Angels use violence as a matter of course. Jail can be a violent place. Bodyguards need to be well trained, etc. Most people get involved in violence as a sport, a business, something and so gain experience.
'Course, he's got a book to sell too, and he's a big self-promoter (but y'know, he's an actor, so), but you see the why of it in how he came up. Not just the list of accomplishments. Not that I'd listen to Zito. Guy likes to fight. Though he is smart about it (said once about big men he likes to take his time because they tend to use up all their gas early on). But you want to learn from someone who fought because they had to and prefers to avoid it if you're looking for 'no nonsense.' Otherwise you're fight training. Nothing wrong with that at all. But why pick up a skill set you're never going to use just for insurance when you can develop a set of habits and a mindset that focuses on the outcome you want?
posted by Smedleyman at 12:34 PM on March 25, 2009


I'll agree that MacYoung is a bit of a blowhard, and he doesn't offer the sort of concrete tools which would make his stuff worth paying for as far as I'm concerned. On the other hand, in my years of martial arts training I've met plenty of students who really did not seem to have a clue with regards to the insights that tkchrist describes as "obvious".

(This might be more a sad commentary on those students and their instructors than it is praise of MacYoung.)
posted by tdismukes at 12:40 PM on March 25, 2009


He then goes on to describe a bizarrely specific, narrowly defined scenario where a woman can EASILY prevent her own rape by leaving the situation when she realizes the guy might be about to rape her. Why, it's as simple as that!

Yeah, I was going to comment at length about that, but I realized that I couldn't get across that for the most part, in light of the existing cultural paranoia about rape, you'd pretty much have to grow up in a fallout bunker not to have been steeped in the advice that you should be cautious around enviroments that contain a man. He tried to address the standard observation that women should be able to enjoy a hedonistic night on the town if they want and missed the point. Complaints about telling women to avoid partying is a cultural critique about a tendency for humans to blame the woman and not address the fact that purdah is not a panacea, not safety advice that what ought to be is.

What I found frustrating is that he didn't address female violence except as a victim of men who want to rape or stalk them, or of boyfriends who beat, and he didn't seem to cover being a third party. Now I've never had to deal with serious, fuck-you-up-and-spit-teeth combat, but physical fights were not uncommon when I was an adolescent/teenager, and it wasn't dating partners or potential rapists I had to deal with, but primarily being willing to step in when a male friend was about to be mildly assaulted by a group of guys. I'm the first to admit I'm a coward, and normally run away from confrontation with my tail between my legs, but there's been several occasions where the decent human thing to do was to break up the game of 'let's shove and punch the faggot'. Only a primate with their serotonin levels out of whack actively seeks fights, but while the police are my first answer to being a witness to a mugging or whatever, I wouldn’t mind him saying something about conflicts you get out of based on willingness to lose teeth to protect someone else.

He's view on women not confronting sexual harassment was also terrible advice. A couple of times my unwillingness to escalate has encouraged behavior that a sharp put down would have stifled (and did, later, when it had already gone on long enough to hurt instead of annoy), and while a guy who kept up the behavior after a verbal put down should be turned over to the authorities, his ideas about how independent career women aren't prepared to deal with the uncivilized underbelly of guys who stalk and sexually harass was a little odd. Similarly him talking about younger female power and how women can’t handle seeing their men fight and attack their males because they hate having their authority challenged was a bit fruitcake and completely off the topic of Real Fighting ™.
posted by Phalene at 4:29 PM on March 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Chuck Zito has the Eye of the Tiger.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:29 PM on March 25, 2009


Wow, apt, 'cos zito's site is cheesy.

I think at some point a lot of this (selling self-defense) is about assuaging frustration or developing a sort of fantasy. For some people, perhaps getting raped is the worst thing that can happen. For some perhaps it's death.
Much of this is about avoidance, but sometimes it's unavoidable. (Like my puking on the laptop). So it's never been about what you can do, how you can resist, or what you can take, it's about what you can come back from. That depends on compassion, sense of self and reality, not any skill you can develop. There are women getting systematically raped. What is anyone going to do against an armed squad? Not that it's not horrific, but the ability to put that behind you if it happens is much more important than one's ability to stop it. Even if - or perhaps especially if - one fails.
What is your trainer going to say "you should have trained harder?" Crap.
All this is predicated on the idea that you should do something to stop someone else from using violence. 'Should' being the operative word. Well, you shouldn't have to.
If you can - great. If not, it's not your fault. I might lay some blame at the feet of someone telling you that you should resist in a certain manner (if it fails, it fails, well intent like everything else when it comes to violence, bends to the harsh reality of success or failure), but mostly it's the fault of the aggressor and/or initiator.

So I think the big lie here is that if you are underinformed something might happen to you and it's your thing for not picking it up. Well, not true. Sometimes it's not a matter of skill or training or information. If you avoid violent situations, keep your eyes open, use your head, pay attention, for the most part you'll be ok. If not, well, maybe you get hit, and if you do maybe you could have done something about it, but there's no guarantee that you could have. No one's unbeatable and with some forethought just about anyone can be gotten to. So you get robbed, you lose some money, maybe you learn to keep your eyes open. You get raped, beat, stabbed, shot - maybe you learn from that. But for the most part, you have to move on and live your life. The fear of harm is often far worse than the harm itself. Allowing fear to dictate one's actions certainly are.
It's much more important to get past it, avoid it if it's avoidable, and not worry too much about what braggarts or anyone else has to say about it if you can't. It's not their life to live.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:41 AM on March 26, 2009


Is it just me or is this does anyone else imagine these articles being read by the Rex Kwon Do guy from Napoleon Dynamite?
Maybe it's my low taste but I just kept thinking of the Mall Ninja.
posted by hattifattener at 7:59 PM on March 26, 2009


« Older A Quiet Revolution Grows in the Muslim World   |   Moonwalk Mode Unlocked Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post