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Self Defense/Training in both a orthodox and southpaw stance vs. specialization in one.


Hi Marc. Your books have been a great supplement to my training, thank you for writing them.
For applying martial arts training too self defense situations, should one focus one training equally in a southpaw and orthodox type stance, or should one focus on learning one? Being left handed, I currently train mostly in a southpaw stance. However, I find this limits my ability to move into a fence position against a right hand attack. The prospect of having to effectively double the training time for each technique is daunting however. Is it worth it?

Sorry for the delay in answering. I got wrapped up in our big annual event.

As to your question. No matter what you do, you need to remember that training is not application. Or putting it in shorter form, training isn't doing. The main difference is you.

You are the one who has to make it work in a live fire situation. The best training in the world will fail, if you don't put this element into it. The analogy I use is imagine a canyon you have to get across. Without a bridge it's going to be a bitch. You can do it, but it's going to be a lot of hard climbing. On the other hand,people think that their training is a bridge across a canyon. One that they can just stroll across. Often to the point of patting themselves on the back for how smart they are for having that bridge. There's just one problem.

The bridge isn't complete. YOU have to finish it to get the last length. You have to be the one that makes it work. To get to the other side, there's something that is needed that you're just not going to get out of training alone -- no matter how good the training.

Some people will just say 'oh  you're talking about the will to win.' That's part of it, but not all of it. Yes, it's the willingness and commitment to do what you have to do (different than the will to win). But it's also being able to assess the danger, to know when it's time to do it and -- more importantly-- when it's time not to. It's understanding and being able to read the dynamics of the situation so you can exploit what is happening in the situation (to end it) instead of trying to force your training onto the situation. It's knowing how to work from any position you're in and against whatever you're facing. (For example, you don't want to box against a knife). It all boils down to your commitment and ability to Git r' done.

Do you need to know how to work from both leads? Yes. If southpaw is your strength that's good. Do you need to know how to work from (and against) a right handed lead. Yep. Because both will happen. Is that alone going to be enough? No, you still have to make it work against someone trying to kick your ass.

But FAR more important is to learn the difference between fighting and self-defense. Because by the very nature of your question it sounds like your training more for fighting than you are self-defense. (Hint, self-defense is legal, fighting is illegal.) There's a time to fight. And there's a time for flat out self-defense, but those are two totally different critters.

So like I said, learn the mechanics, but don't mistake learning the mechanics for being able to do. The better your training, the smaller the length of bridge you'll have to complete. But in the end, it'll be you that makes it work.

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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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