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Self Defense/Applegate/Fairbain and Folsom/Pentecost system


Hi Mr. Macyoung. I was recently in interest of 2 Paladin Press books written in 1943 in training manual format for WWII. The other a systemic book written by Pentecost in Prison.

I noticed that they're all quite similar in that they tend to keep the knife kept behind the freehand. Both said that this leaves the attacker able to hit or do normal functions with the free hand as well as stabbing so that the knife hand will get a sure probability of getting into the victim. I was wondering if there's any variation of difference between either principles or practice of this military and prison systems?

The biggest conflict I had with the 2 was on the unarmed knife defense bit. Although both Applegate and Pentecost advised to create distance either with chairs or strikes. Applegate eventually went into a few joint locks commonly found in Japanese martial arts that entangle and attack the elbow against a knife wielder pre-emptively before he can put the weapon in motion. This is almost similar in a way to grappling. But Pentecost advised that grappling gives the defender a 'heavy price' to pay as he leaves himself open to get stabbed. The author of the prison system himself advised traps and strikes as the most reliable as it stuns the attacker and lets someone get away.

What's your take on the 2 different methods please? I always wondered if the locks on the knife hand might be dangerous if the attacker swaps his knife into another hand. Do you think the differences are caused by the changes in knife design or other issues please?

Many thanks in advance.

There's significant differences, mostly in other training.

Applegate's stuff had something missing in the modern training of both Japanese martial arts and grappling. The moves he was 'showing' aren't the sport version. That is to say the bone breaking, immobilizing,  twisting nastiness that they took out of judo, jujitsu, etc to make it a safe sport was still in what he had 'taught.'  That shit in it's original form had a damned good chance of breaking you in half before you had a chance to stab the guy.

Second, Applegate's 'books' are not 'manuals' as we think of them today. Modern manuals assume you will never meet the person so you must tell them everything. (Think of a computer manual). Those are more of a handbook. A reminder, fast reference 'cheat book' that works with existing hands on training. So if something isn't working you can go back and instead of complete explanations and detailed instructions, it's in short hand.

Third, like the old sword fighting manuals in days of yore often the illustrations are done at the wrong range. You draw them far enough apart so you can see the details and mechanics. Except what you're seeing doesn't work at that range. It works GRRRRRRRREEAT at close range though

Pentecost on the other hand, doesn't break bones and twist like Applegate. But he immobilizes in a different manner  

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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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