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  • Does being trained in "Espionage" (for lack of better term) does not guarantee you'll be able to survive the hoods and detect a sneak attack and remain aware of your surroundings in such violent places?

Self Defense/Does being trained in "Espionage" (for lack of better term) does not guarantee you'll be able to survive the hoods and detect a sneak attack and remain aware of your surroundings in such violent places?


This is the utter inverse of the sneak attack and one-hit KOs/kills question I asked several months ago

THe question I have comes from the fact that even people in violent occupations like war veterans from Iraq get snuck up on and are completely unware they just got whacked hard from a bat by some thug.

Yet despite how untrained civilians are often portrayed as being victims of various gangs sneak attacks a la the knockout games, I read in the Ghetto even your average mom who is obese and just want to go home to cook for her kids are RARELY victims of random sneak attacks;if anything accounts from people raised in the hood often descirbe their expeirences as though they have a "psychic vibe" to realize they are being SNUCKED up on. To the point one story I read for example an elementary black kid after walking up to his apartment and noticing a nearby white man had been roaming around before blocks away earlier when he was dropped from the school bus and before he entered the apartment complex, quickly ran into his house and locked it ASAP.

The next day the white man was arrested and it was revealed in a local town alert he was a habitual pedophile offender who often kidnapped little boys and raped them. So to see a little black kid detect a predator from a few blocks away just by seeing he walked randomly in the Apartment SHOCKED the hell out of me.

The same black boy (who is now an adult) also puts out some terrifying life or death situations he had to face. And he credits his survival skills to ahving lived in a ghetto all his life and even proclaimed the whiteman pedophile incident was just a typical daily thing he experienced.

Another eye witness account is about a white girl lviing in the New York Kings area in the 70s where Crime was infesting. One incident she stated that a police officer who was interviewing her left. But as she was going home for some reason she kept looking behind her back. It turns out she discovered the same police man was stalking and she quickly ran and yelled for help. Some male relatives heard her calling and wen t out home and the policeman ran away quickly. A few days later the local news showed a warning about crook police running around New York and kidnapping women.

While her area wasn't as dangerous as the black kids, crime was common enough that daily pickpockets was an occurence. But I just cannot believe she was able to quickly notice something was off about the policeman. In fact she stated the moment she met the cop he felt some aggressive vibe and wanted to run away but had to answer the police's questions due to local law procedures (but she would have ran AS FAST AS SHE COULD if the guy wasn't in cop uniform).

From all the Ghetto accounts, its as though Civilians alreadu have some 6th sense that could detect unshady people or trouble and its only (according to what I read) when multiple people are involved and the raid was absolutey predetermined and planned (for example gang members suddenly pop out in different escape routes) that these "untrained stupid" ghetto law abiding citizens get completely ambushed and overwhelmed.

So its truely shocking to read about war veterans returning home from the war zone only to experience getting killed with COMPLETE unawareness that some druggie or bloodthirsty sociopath attack them from behind (despite some of them even being in special forces and knowing about how to put a knife into someone from behind).

Smae thing about other violence professionals; I read one bouncer died in a bar from a whack on the head with a beer bottle. Despite this guy knowing how to approach an aggressive person from behind and putting him in  a chokehold to stop him from destroying his establishment.

Don't even get me started on newbie policemen who despite receiving training about awareness and how criminals often use sneak attacks, are completely caught by surprise when they patrol the ghettos.

I can put more examples.

But here's one thing I notice: Although the shocking incident of war vets being killed by untrained criminals including SF is shockingly high, I notice the death incidents for war veterans who GREW UP in dangerous towns are practically 0. In fact they are the ones MOST RELUCTANT to go back to their home town if its a ghetto. WHile most of the victims from criminal sneak attacks were SOLDIERS who GREW UP in MIDDLE CLASS America. Despite their training in sneak attacks and awareness of battlefield surroundings, they seem unable to apply the same thing back at home (even if its a dangerous location like a rough bar).

To bring up the police example, I noted the older policemen who's been on the job for years and frequently patrolled the hoods have BARELY ANY CASUALTIES from being snuck up on from behind and being hit. Most successful sneak attacks towards experienced policemen I noted tend to be from gunshots or involve multiple attackers. But like the white woman in New York and the black kid witht he pedophile, I am amazed how just by simply walking into a small alley, these vet police can notice something is off and leave before shit blows up or call for reinforcement. Some of thse cops even grew up LEARNING OUTDATED procedures abandoned from the police academy (often ignoring the threat of sneak attacks). So I'm amazed its the new recruits completely caught by surprise despite all the training they receive about the dangers of sneak attacks.

Is learning how to detect sneak attacks are being positioned something totally different from military style espionage and police academy and knowing how to kill (and even having done so) with a knife stab from behind (or a whack from a beer bottle or sucker punch, etc)?

Actually it's a little more complicated and simple than that. The human brain is both an amazing bit of engineering and pretty predictable in its screw ups.



As that indicates, most of our decision making is done on a subconscious level -- and quite frankly faster than conscious thought. Now normally this works. So we don't notice it. It's only when it doesn't ... well that's when it gets interesting. Right or wrong, we decide and do. It is only afterwards when caught -- or if we run into resistance -- that we come up with excuses, defenses and rationalizations for our decision/position.

Every day we make hundreds of thousands, if not millions of subconscious assessments and decisions based on the data we are receiving.  All of them faster than a drum beat (which a fast beat can go between 150 to 180 a minute) It's only the big ones, like continuing to walk towards some loitering thugs, leaning over to look longer at a cute ass or deciding to go into a store and get a snack that we notice. And even that just barely.

That is all background to the fact that in order to survive in an environment we need to understand and observe it -- until the process becomes subconscious. This so we can do it that fast. We learn to assign what is 'important' and then notice it. In the same vein what isn't (deemed) important and filter that. But here's the key, that's important/not important in an environment we're familiar with.

We're really good at seeing and understanding things in environments we're familiar with. With environments we're not familiar with? Not so much.

That's why someone who is familiar with an environment where certain dangers are common can take one look and say "Uh oh" and start to leave, while someone who isn't will walk right into it.

And that is just surface of the subject you're asking about. There are three layers beyond -- which I don't have time to explain in depth, so don't ask--  instead research.

1) One is how success can get you killed. Even pro's can get sloppy/cocky/overconfident and stop doing the things that make them good (or let them get away with what they were doing). Something 'working' becomes a habit. A habit that they half-ass because they just assume will work -- until it doesn't.

2) Is develop habits that check for danger instead of just assuming you'll spot it before it reaches you.

3)You're going up against thinking opponents. That includes them trying to hide their intent so it doesn't look like they're up to something. That's why you have to measure danger beyond a false, seemingly innocent front. But at the same time you need to have a reliable check list of what indicates danger -- or you're going to go nuts with paranoia and burn out.

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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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