Self Defense/Four questions


Hey Marc. Firstly, thanks for writing your books, they've been invaluable in helping me avoid a lot of misinformation. I have three questions to ask, that I've been curious about.

In your opinion what are the best martial systems and arts to train in to broaden your range of options and concepts(the "tool bag")?

On a similar note, what's a good way to get a skill set using improvised weapons? I get how weapons like staffs, sticks carry over, but things like chairs, bottles, belts, etc. don't seem to have many "classical" counter parts.

My third's about Neuro-linguistic programing. In one of your early books you recommend studying nlp. Lately it's been regarded as borderline pseudo-science, and judging by some of the stuff I've seen it does seem kind of hit and miss(Like the more extreme vocal mind control stuff). What parts would you say are most important for self defense, and are there any other modern sources for the same skills without having to wade through as much marketing/scamming?

Thank you in advance.

I have a real hard time answering the 'best' kind of questions. Different systems cover different aspects. For example when I wanted to learn how to function in closed spaces, I went to Wing Chun. When I wanted punching, I went to boxing. When I wanted ripping and tearing, I went into 'kung fu.' Kicking, muay thai, etc., etc.

What I will tell you is avoid 'one-stop-shopping' schools like the plague. Places that claim to be able to teach you 'mixed' martial arts or the owner has 'mastered' 27 different styles, usually do NONE of them well. Generally you get someone who has kept the body mechanics of his 'original' art and just added the handwork and forms of others. So you're not getting kempo, silat, wing chun and FMA, you're getting silat flavored kempo, wing chun flavored kempo and FMA flavored kempo.

If you can't find a 'classical counterpart' then the best defense is to duck. Believe me when I tell you there is NO good way to block a thrown chair. And yes there are obscure Chinese, Filipino and Hindu forms for things like flexible weapons (belts) and throwing weapons. Beer bottles are basically short clubs/ truncheons /maces. Except most people try to swing them like a stumpy baseball bat.  A tool that can teach you a lot about how to use other weapons is a bullwhip. People look at me like I'm nuts when I tell them that the mace is used like a bullwhip. But it's true.

The original NLP (before it went weird) was a useful tool. What I recommend people do these days is look into non-verbal communication (e.g. Desmond Morris "Manwatching/Peoplewatching")  It helps you see the stuff that we unconsciously broadcast and telegraph about what we are about to do.

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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Read "In the Name of Self-Defense" the streets don't give a Ph.D in scuffle.

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