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Self Defense/How do arts relying on balance go offline and counterattack?


QUESTION: I would really appreciate it if you could explain how judo/aikido move offline please; it would be really helpful since I might am starting my security/bouncer works in a university night club, (just got my SIA licence). Judo and aikido is what most bouncers there learn.

I have read the following webpages from your website and I definitely would put safe habit + routes, situational awareness and common sense first and foremost to prevent and avoid edged weapon and other urban dangers. (The city has a knife culture with youths. A girl was tragically killed with a single stab to the hears by a schizophrenic pyscho with concealed knife on a bus, or some dudes with unsuspecting shopping plastic bags of knives.) I also now get that grappling should be the absolute last resort when the stuff hits the fan from hell. (Definitly going to buy some your books on behaviours.)

Though this is more of a curiosity question of how than if. You have always suggested that arts like judo or others focuses on ‘dodge and move off line’ thus it is efficient against ‘hey- diddle- diddle-straight-up-the-middle’ tactic that people seems to do like the following video.

You have in particular pointed out the ‘punishment’ knife use built solely at a melee range to slash & intimidate vs the ‘killing’ knife use which is built solely for a wild attack to murder, that for the ‘punishment’ type it would be better to move in and finish it before any more damages build up. Though my instinct’s telling me don’t put that hips into the guy with the knife. Maybe this is valid?

I don’t want to be the ‘what if monkey’ against judo or aikido on balance because I don’t have extensive experience in them but I just don’t know the type of training that they trains allows you to go ‘offline.’ (Maybe I have poor observational skills or the offline movements are so minor to almost be invisible.)

I’ve only watched a couple of judo aikido bouts and they seem to always function fighting face to face, within each other’s arms without any forms of evasion or whatever you prefer to call it that allows you to get to an angle or side to side with the attacker.
After watching that attack video, I really get the feeling that the guy with the weapon is going to slam into the judo/aikido type and hit him multiple times because he is so exposed by handing his body on a plate.

There are some people in my security circle who claims redirection/deflection is better than blowing the balance in every way. Which brings even more questions and fears about safety in bouncing.

The training there is quite lacking. The only thing they teach covering the “10%” of the physical violence is to stand big and try to “intimidate unruly customers” with the assumption that they will back down out of fear(which may work if I wear a Michael Meyer’s mask), their training didn’t even advise me to run/escape/retreat/step down in self preservation and to ‘talk’ no matter what the circumstance is because apparently, escaping from the dangerous zone ‘escalates’ gang violence in their professional words.

Thank you. Sorry for the long drag.

ANSWER: You stacked a lot of questions intermixed with a lot of assumptions.  Those assumptions are likely to get you killed.

Read Rory Miller's "Meditations on Violence" and "Facing Violence"  He talks about the difference between social and asocial violence.  Social violence is WAY more complicated than most people think. They fear the bogeyman of asocial so much that they ignore social.

Here's the bitch, there's tons of unspoken rules, assumptions, and default mechanisms that come with social violence. The biggest on is that it's a fight.

Ritualistic social violence (e.g. a fight) apparently has some behaviors wired into us. As in we all do it -- when we're in that mode.  In the US we have big horn sheep that live in the mountains. During rutting season the males charge forward and butt heads. You can hear the 'crack' from a mile away. Thing is, the sheep are designed to do this safely. Their skulls and spines are marvels of bio-engineering to take these massive impacts without causing injury.

However, what a lot of people don't understand is that if a ram really 'wanted to' eliminate the competition, it would t-bone other rams and knock them off the edge of cliffs. That's what they'll do to a predator. It doesn't do that, because the mating competition is social and the predator is asocial.

I tell you this because moving out of the way is simple. You just take a step. Sometimes you step and turn.

The HARD part, is changing your mindset so you do it when you're being attacked. See the default programming for social violence is to stay there or go hey diddle diddle...

That's to say your own default program will screw you up. Thinking what you're doing is 'social violence' will keep you on the 'railroad' tracks. When you're caught up in that mental state you will not even consider moving off line. And if there's a knife involved you will get stabbed.

Here's where it gets tricky. When it comes to being a violence professional, you have to adapt an asocial mindset (effective violence) and strategies, but for social purposes. That allows you to be extremely effective with violence without the 'downside' of asocial violence.

For example, if you're thinking in terms of 'winning' you're playing in the social violence pool and you'll default into fighting. If however, you take a professional approach of 'this ends now' you'll have countless other options just magically appear before you. As Rory often says, "It's easier to beat someone up from behind." If you goal is to end it now, it's easier to do it from another direction than hey diddle, diddle...

Once you understand this, getting to that other position becomes a priority and moving off-line is just a by-product. Sit down and think long and hard what your job is. Once you have that clearly established in your mind, you'll find your tactics follow. Here's a hint: Your job is to protect the owner's interests.  Now what are all the ways you can go about doing that job.

Oh yeah and as to those who say this is better than that. Fuck the art, get the job done. There's not 'best way.' Deflect when it's time to deflect. Blow balance when it's time to blow balance. Hit when it's time to hit. Control when it's time to control. Dodge when it's time to dodge.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much sir, it's extremely helpful for a beginner. This clears up quite a lot of things. No wonder why most people says the job's people skill over fighting and struggling skills.

The best point you've mentioned was that I need to adopt an asocial mindset for social problems. Which book of Rory Miller's 'Facing Violence' or 'Meditation on Violence' do you think I should go first to develop the understanding between the difference and strategies please?

Also would you say that to change the mindset from social to asocial develops through experience? Or does it come mainly through knowledge of the difference between the two please?

Sincere appreciations.

No I am not telling you to adopt an asocial mindset to social violence -- because you are NOT a violence professional. It is not your job to engage in violence. I was explaining to you via example what happens with different mindsets.

There is a time and a place for asocial violence. Just as there is a time and a place for social violence and all of it's rules.  Your challenge is to learn the when and where of each so you can respond correctly  -- including recognizing that it's about dick measuring and the best answer is to walk away.

The smartest thing you can do is to learn to recognize when 'Nothing good can come from this" and know when the absolute best answer is to just walk away.

The hardest part of that is your little monkey brain is going to be screaming at you that you're a pussy for not getting into a stupid, no-win fight. That's why you need to be able to recognize when walking (or hell, running) is the best answer. At the same time recognize when a certain level of violence is the best answer. But you're not going to be able to do that until you get that part of you who is both afraid of violence and obsessed with it under control so you can see the issue clearly.  

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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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