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Self Defense/Which martial art to take for the physical aspect of self defense.


Hello again Mr. Macyoung. First and foremost, I am really sorry that I didn't rate your question. Unfortunately I've been kind of under strain of time limit, which I'm really sorry, your answer was really insightful and I should have been ashamed to not respond so quick. I do honestly apologize to that. The fortunate side is that my neighborhood is kind of average, and there's not much suspicious or anti-social activities.

Secondly, from doing more research and this time on your very intelligently designed website, I have found out that violence exists on more than one level and that will determine the level of force used.

In my past experience, the type of "Drunken Uncle Albert" incident happened sometimes but there were also quite a lot of more brutish assaults happening in the media as well as to some of my friends. So out of these martial arts which one do you think is more versatile for the kind of extreme defensive situations please. I've only got a few choices of boxing, kuntao, kendo, and judo.

Although there is one Okinawan karate school around, I can't really trace the lineage and there are red flags showing that it could be a mcdojo as they put brand on their uniform as any commercial school does, and the coach really pressurise his students for belt tests and it happens every 3 weeks. There are loads of children blackbelts.

I absolutely agree with the old saying that no martial art is best, however, which one in your personal opinion do you think would be suitable for the kind of extreme scenario please? Or do you think that maybe I need to do a bit of cross training in both kuntao and judo as a local police suggested to the public please?

Thank you very much sir, and I will really try to make sure I respond in time. Thank you. I cannot stress it.

Self-defense none of them.

Self-defense is a legal concept. At the very simplest it's a scale of how much force is appropriate -- as the circumstances and degree of threat changes -- what is self-defense and what is not, changes.

For example, the exact same move -- in one set of circumstances is self-defense. In another, it's excessive. In still a third, it isn't enough to save you.

You ask what works in an 'extreme scenario.' My first grumble into my whiskey glass answer is 'close air support.' But then again, my standards of 'extreme' is a whole lot different than yours.

Realistically, I can't answer that question until you have this 'starting point' information.

If you ask what works for different types of social violence I would have to say 'it depends on what you're facing.'  

If you're asking about dealing with asocial I'd have to say none of them.

Boxing is great for hitting and learning all kinds of really important things that are lost from many modern/commercialized martial arts.

Kuntao, lots of different forms of that.  Basically, the fighting style the Chinese merchants/immigrants brought with them blending with local fighting styles.  Some of the stuff is really effective and brutal and some of the crap I've seen is just glorified commercialized karate.

If what you have in your area involves the twisting, binding, tripping and hitting on off angles that is common among the stuff I've seen, the problem isn't effectiveness, it's scaling the brutality back so you don't end up taking showers with guys with tattoos for excessive force (which ain't self-defense).

Kendo, unless you're carrying a sword, not much use except as an art and tradition.

Judo. I like Judo. Even though the big craze is in BJJ and other MMA influenced shit. (Oh BTW the fastest way I know to end up taking those showers, is doing MMA stuff outside the pub.) A big part of my fondness for judo is in a lot of social violence - the other person's attack pattern is 'hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle.' It doesn't matter if the guy is pissed and angry or sober and angry, he'll attack like a run away train.

Judo teaches you to get off the tracks and use that runaway force against him.

You ask which one? Well they're all important. Of the three, they teach you different things and they work in different circumstances. (Kendo teaches you stuff too, but you get more out of it if you have the other ones under your belt.)

But none of them will teach you 'self-defense.' They will however, give you the tools to choose the appropriate level of force given different circumstances.

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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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