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Self Defense/Jujitsu training and bouncing...


Hey Marc, big fan of your books (currently working through "Professional's Guide to Ending Violence Quickly") and your stuff with Rory Miller (I have pretty much everything Rory has made so far).

I'm a smaller-framed guy (6'1, but kinda lanky/skinny), I work as a bouncer, and I'm trying to get some proper training under my belt (usually my go-to method aside from strong verbal kung fu has been "drag and drop", which is quite unsophisticated and sometimes not as effective as I'd like).

So anywho, I've started training at a local jujitsu school who seem to be one of the better schools in the area, apparently a couple of other bouncers train there. I'm just not sure how applicable what I'm learning will turn out to be.

In training we often do the whole "compliant slow motion punch, deflect it and grab the arm, apply locks takedowns etc". My concern is that if somebody is really trying to punch you, not just like in practice with a willing partner, this doesn't really seem like a high-percentage move.

In fact a lot of the drills most martial arts schools seem to train in don't seem to be very practically applicable or have any direct relevance to real situations.

I'm just wondering if you have any advice for me as a younger and less experienced bouncer as to whether or not jujitsu is the right thing to be studying, whether you'd recommend any other styles, and how I can best train and prepare for the realities of bouncing.

Cheers, and keep up the good work!

So, just to be clear, it's not Brazilian Jujitsu?

Here's something to consider. When it comes to the martial arts, I liken the teaching styles of different countries to a handbook. A handbook that has important and useful information, but...

The Okinawan handbook has pages intentionally ripped out.
The Japanese handbook has blank pages (this page intentionally left blank)
The Chinese hand book is intermixed with the telephone book, the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare.

One is you don't know what's missing. Two is 'it's a secret.' Three is the signal to noise ratio is whacked out.

Fact is, when it comes to teaching in the US you don't which one you're dealing with. Any of them? One of them? Or, and this is a common American problem, all of them. Things weren't taught, weren't passed on to the gaijin. So when he came home, he started adding in things to patch the holes -- either to make it work or to explain why it doesn't (You must study for ten years before this advanced technique works)

I take an in depth look at the problem here.

This gives you a double edged sword.

On one hand, a whole lot of what you are being taught, you must field strip for application. There's a scene in the movie "Platoon," where the recruits are about to go out on their first patrol and the Sarge comes up and starts peeling off stuff and adjusting their gear. "Shit can this. Lose that. Tighten that."  

That's what you have to do with your training. Nothing -- despite advertising -- works out of the box for every situation. You have to strip it, tweak it, drop some stuff, add other stuff to make it work out there.

Having said that, the core concepts of jujitsu work. The question is, is what you are being taught either missing those concepts or has so much baggage piled on top that you can't see the stuff buried under all that crap? A whole lot of what is being taught out there is stuff that the person didn't know what was missing (torn out or blank) and started adding in shit (telephone book, Shakespeare) to make it limp along the best it could.

That's the other edge of this sword. You gotta be careful about not throwing out the baby with the bathwater and/or patching in stuff that makes it limp.  

Let's use ABCD as a base line. These four letters are what it takes for something to work. Except you were taught ABD (remember missing/blank pages).

Baby 'n bathwater is you look at ABD  and say, "Man, that doesn't work. So it's all shit" And you drop the training.

The patching in extra is you add stuff that you think will make it work. AB1234D  Then you say, "See that works!"

Well no it doesn't. Not really. Yeah it kinda limps along.

The raw truth is that lot of the time what you are being taught is AB1234D. And that's what you're most likely facing right now. You need to look at what you are learning, strip away 1234 and put back C.  

I know it sounds like a lot of work, but ABCD are fuckin' awesome. And they work regardless of how big, strong or fast the other dude is.

Your challenge is to figure out what are the core elements that MUST be there for something to work (ABCD) and to make sure they are always present in what you do. You gotta sort through a lot of shit, play with it, experiment with it and try it several ways, but once you find it, it's amazing how easy it is to defeat people.

I'll tell you another thing. Martial arts work way better from behind. Yet we as humans have what I call default fighting patterns from our Monkey brain

That takes us "Hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle" when we 'fight' (think of two bighorn sheep butting heads). The trick is not to fight head to head. Slip around the guy and get to his shoulder (I call this position the parrot from hell). Then go for the arm bar or take down.

Straight up, 99 times out of 100 it is the lack of movement that is causing shit to fail (This is the missing C) People try to root and fight from a stationary position. DON'T!

I'm going to give you really simple -- but hard to do - move.

Run around the guys attack. Get into the parrot position and then head for the door. No joke, play with this first with NO hands. Go slow enough that you can dodge the attack, become a parrot on his shoulder and then chest bump into him and push him somewhere by just walking forward.

Not hard at all. What's hard is NOT DOING all the shit you want to add to make it work better.

Practice this until you can move the guy easily just by moving your body (oh yeah, and check out how important movement is to not getting hit). Then, without changing what your body is doing, add in hands. Yeah they come up and deflect the attack as you're moving (but they're back up, not your main defense). Then you grab the dude and your limbs just start moving the dude earlier (your forearms do what your chest was doing). Add in a few more jujitsu tweaks that lock the dude into place and you walk him to the door.  

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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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