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Self Defense/What do you think about the nonsense knife defenses out there?


Being an aikido practitioner in a not so good area. I can only say the reason I do aikido is much more health related than protection related.

There are so many youth violence in the area and to make it worse, every one of those boys carry knives. People have been seriously hurt, I've even had my close male friends being hospitalized. I was recently told by someone to take up knife defenses from eskrima because it was the "best and most advanced" defense. But after what I saw...It really was a mess. All they do is to jab each other a few times then leave their arm out to deliberately allow someone to grab and disarm them while they stay in a stance like a hypnotized sheep. Where the bad boys usually go as extreme as hitting someone with bricks while stabbing them or 6 to 7  bullies all pumping knives into one person.

Do you have the same opinion that most knife defense out there has little value?


Allexperts ate my response. Hence what seems like the long time in answering.

Okay, most FMA stuff is dueling. That means two people who have decided to 'fight' go at it with knives. Thing about it as much as they want to avenge their honor, the other guy has a knife... that's too dangerous to close with. I mean I want to hurt him, but I don't want to get hurt myself.

So the tactics (and therefore physics) tend to be very specific. In duels, you don't get wild bullrush attacks. And by extension, you don't learn how to handle them. In duels you don't get mob rushes, so you don't learn how to deal with them, etc., etc.

I recently answered another bloke from England functionally asking the same question. Below is my response. But before you can understand it, you need to spend a few minutes reading this about social vs. asocial violence

The guy made a few mistakes about his understanding of the two so the first part is clearing that up, but it plays into the rest of the answer.


Social violence is what happens within (and for) a group. It's not species, but group. Overwhelmingly social violence is not lethal or injurious because that would weaken the tribe. There are exceptions, but they are very specific in manifestation.

Humans do asocial violence to animals and to those not of their group all the time. Two types of asocial resource and process.

While resource violence is often fatal to the animal, overwhelming asocial violence against other humans isn't. This regardless if it is resource or process. There are reasons for this.

Grossly exaggerating them
#1 criminals know they will hunted and prosecuted more fiercely if they use violence instead of the threat of violence. If they kill or kidnap they really will be hunted down.

#2 Abusers know not to break their toys because they're hard to come by. And unless the attacker gets off on the act of killing, a secondary power trip is knowing what he has forever inflicted on the person.

Now having said that, there are some complications. First off, there's a difference between a group and a crowd.

Second, although the retards are numerically rare, a lot of them try to walk into a crowd and treat it like a group. A group they must prove their dominance in. This is often the source of the 'what the fuck are you looking at?' come out of left field bullshit you can get at clubs and pubs. This, however, is distinctly different than the 'you're in the wrong place motherfucker' -- which is territorial.  Both situations can usually be effectively handled by making a good faith effort to withdraw. (Do NOT throw insults or fuck you body language as you are withdrawing -- that is not 'good faith')

Third, here's the problem with a lot of 'reports' about unprovoked attacks from behind at night. A lot of times, the person has engaged in these insulting monkey brain behaviors while leaving a situation or actually has done something to target him/herself (e.g. being dressed goth out at night in a yob-filled area).

The mob beating/robbery is a twisted form of social violence -- to those who are doing it. To those on the receiving end it is both resource and process violence. Bion hit the nail on the head when he said: Though boys throw stones at frogs in sport, the frogs do not die in sport, but in earnest.

The fundamental problem with dealing with this kind of violence is most people try to revert to social violence scripts. This leaves them woefully under-gunned and incapable of protecting themselves in time. Not because the social scripts don't work, but because it's the wrong 'tool' and it takes too long to pull the right one out.

There are two types of resource violence. Predation and protection. Both are equally goal oriented and not social.  

Often social violence is about things that cannot be put into a wheelbarrow. You cannot put your pride, emotions, social status or feelings into a wheelbarrow.

Resource violence is over things you can put into a wheelbarrow. You can put money, car keys, wallet, food, etc., into a wheelbarow. You too can climb in and sit in a wheelbarrow.

Self-defense is not fighting over things you cannot put into a wheelbarrow. That is social violence and it has specific scripts, rules and fighting tactics. Self-defense is about preventing damage to your physical body. And that is a whole different type of violence.

You ask for tips how to avoid these kinds of attacks. Brew yourself a pot of coffee or tea and go to  
There's lots of nuts and bolts stuff about dealing with all kinds of violence.

But those are details. The most effective deterrent I know of is the willingness to use resource protection violence when it is appropriate.

Two key points arise from this:

#1 The only real advantage predators have is most people are incapable of switching from social scripts to resource protection fast enough. Instead of looking at what's coming and switching to asocial mode (which is dangerous to the attacker(s)) they try to handle it socially -- even if they attempt to use force, they're fighting, not going for surviving.

#2 Predators recognize when someone is willing to flip this switch. Attacking someone who is willing to flip this switch is dangerous to the the attackers. This is a critical component for causing them to veer off and not attack.

While I can give you hundreds of tips about preventing yourself from being targeted, without this willingness, they are cars without engines.

Yet, the willingness alone isn't enough either. Without the combination of nut's and bolts details and the willingness to step outside social scripts you got nothin'

Conversely, you gotta be able to correctly identify what you are dealing with BEFORE you decide to react socially or asocially. Otherwise it's a fast track to jail and prison.


The significance of all of this is that there really isn't a way for an average individual -- even with some MA training -- to handle a bunch of yobs by staying there and 'fighting 'them. You're two best options are

1) don't walk into it/don't let them approach

(Which is harder than you might think because of social scripts and you not wanting to look weak or rude. But if you take that out of the equation getting the hell out of there before bad things happen is REAL easy.)

2) cut your way/blast your way out and get the hell out of there

(Which again, is actually physically easier than people think. It's harder to do emotionally and that is why most people stay there too long and/or try to do it too late.)

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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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