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  • How effective are military knife systems (most drill instructors NEVER stabbed a person last time I checked)? Do you think military instructors can get be as bad as RBSD and martial artists in teaching dangerous stuff that can get you killed or in prison

Self Defense/How effective are military knife systems (most drill instructors NEVER stabbed a person last time I checked)? Do you think military instructors can get be as bad as RBSD and martial artists in teaching dangerous stuff that can get you killed or in prison


Before I start out on this, I will clarify as you seen in my last two questions I already have been reading various bits in your website. So I know you have utmost respect for pioneers of modern military fighting system (many who are now dead) such as Fairbairn and Applegates and you mentioned so many of excerpts from their works as well as tidbits from interviews you were able to have with such pioneers in your NoNoneSenseSelfDefense website.

With that being said, I do have a question to ask.,74.msg574.html?PHPSESSID=d7cb8253c8b

First read the link before what I have to say.

Now you said the problem with most knife and gun disarms is that the people teaching them are virgins; they never actually had to use these techniques to save their life from a truly dangerous socialpathic thug such as a hardcore convicted prisoner or a member of the Mexican Mafia.

I'll explain why I posted the above link. As someone who comes from a family with people serving in the military, I had access to PDF manuals and also DVDs, REAL military videos (as in officially sponsored by the DoD), and even got to know some instructors both by name (as in they are posting real military techniques on Youtube and writing books and such) and even personally irl. I also came into contact with so many "gung ho types" who think just that since they got back from bootcamp and currently are serving as army infantry or in the marines that they are tough BADASSES who can easily kick down an Aryan Brotherhood member trying to assassinate you or disarm a mugger with a blade all because they took a few knife lessons from bootcamp.

Now this is a microcosm of a MUCH MUCH MUCH larger problem with regards to the military that I will touch in some other questions a few days later so I will only ask about knife systems.

Now have you ever heard of more recent military experts such as Matt Larsen?

Well WATCH watch in HORROR.

While I won't deny he definitely has good points (particularly with AVOIDING being grabbed by the enemy) so many of his technique shown in this video alone not only BREAKS your #1 rule of TAKING the guy down before he even brings the knife out to begin with, he BREAKS every rule you stated in your website and REPEATS so many of the things you listed in your "knife fighting lies" articles such as  :FACEPALMS: touching the tip of the knife in the middle of a disarming technique!

The WORST PART? Matt Larsen is a DEVOTED martial artist with blackbelts in several style outside the military and he CREATED the Modern Army Combatives Program that even today is still the BASIC standard being thought to recruits. Read on in shock.

He's not even the worst of the bunch and it'd be so much fucking time for me to bring up many current experts in the field. If you want more, just watch this.

This is a small example of how they're teaching Marines in regards to "self defense" against knives. So much "closing in", "grappling" and other shit that you and other people who actually BEEN STABBED by knives and USED knives to kill such as Don Pentecost 100% WARN against doing!

However if you ever go to an internet forum or read a martial arts catalog, you will always hear "OMG Green Beret knife system!" and "instructor trained in MCMAP can show you how to fight with a knife" and other such BS that completely parallels the MARKETING crap you criticized the martial arts and RBSD world for promoting and that Billy Badass attitude you fucking hate so much.

Its not just mere marketing, I actually know instructors near the local base who are so sure of themselves that they can handle say a Hell's Angel wolf trying to hit you in the neck and that stuff. Literally the same parallels in the other "Self defense" subgroups you so frequently bash RBSD, TMA, etc because they never actually experienced getting gutted in the stomach.

However the thing that disturbs me the most is that statistically these knife systems seem to have failed our soldiers. Oh sure you hear stories every now and than about a brave marine charging at a bunch of Iraqi insurgents and slashing their necks or a Ranger getting attacked but being able to disarm a Taliban guy and pin him down so he can get captured and interrogated but THESE are guys NOT trained in street knife fighting (and even if they were trained in a system such as Japanese tanto, they probably never used it before on other than a tied criminal or helpless woman or child who broke their religious laws).

When I read statistics, the amount of war veterans-specifically those from the army and the marines (the two groups that have the most funds directed towards military hand to hand) that die from knife wounds are just staggering. We're not talking about sneak attacks or surprise attacks (such as just passing by and hitting his kidney as you close in), we're talking about actual knife attacks resembling duels such as a mugger drawing his blade while he is five feet from you or some robbers who only intended to pull out their knife as a threat display. This is a typical example.

And its not just the US, there are examples in other countries. One from the UK.

So just like RBSD and McDojos, otherwise honest folks in the military are being killed because of Bullshido techniques from what I'm seeing in modern systems.

But the military still have such confidence that their drill instructors are teaching the right thing as far as knives go.

However as I mentioned earlier, there are so many DVDs and books being sold under former "SEALS, Marines, Rangers, Green Berets, (INSERT SPECIAL FORCES), etc" and I cannot tell you how much this stuff sells so well.

I'll even be honest in saying despite seeing so much BS I am intrigued enough that I purchased the original Army manual Matt Larsen wrote (but this was before I witnessed the video and I am now quite hesitant in opening it up out of fear of learning bad habits that will kill me in a self defense scenario).

Now I'm splitting hairs but what is your personal opinions on all this? I am asking you because not only have all your advice totally matched stuff I saw in prison documentaries and real footage altercations but you also made the infamous quote of "most instructors teaching disarms are virgins" problem and indeed Matt Larsen and other people who made this modern shitty stuff HAVE never experienced dealing with criminals.

I mean you mentioned so many times in your website how DANGEROUS Fairbairn and Applegate approach on knife fighting and how realistic their system addresses many problems such as how to clean a blade so it doesn't rust and avoiding hitting areas that may break or seriously damage even grade A military knives made of the strongest steel so you obviously have so much respect and fear for their systems which used to be what the British and American military TAUGHT to recruits in hand to hand knife fighting.

Were their systems so much vastly different and lacked the dangerous BS stuff that I just saw in the video links above?

Just by your opinion alone, how much would you stake your life on say MCMAP for example?

I mean you also mentioned when you first saw Krav Maga you were terrified as FUCK as how terrible a system it was but when you saw draftees learning the system years later you were aghast with how fucking dumbed down Krav Maga became when they started teaching it at basic training to draftees who never intend to have a career in the military once they served their responsibilities as citizen and leave.

First off, you're fundamentally asking specifics about a general problem.

That problem starts with the ROE (rules of engagement) are different for cops, military, UFC/PRIDE (professional athletes) than they are for civilians. This is part of the reason why people who are cops, military or MMA teaching 'self-defense' to civilians by in large make huge fuckin' mistakes. You can do shit that civilians can't. You have attitudes, civilians don't. You have backup, equipment and training civilians don't.

Yet, because of marketing and a drive by civilians this is what is currently taught. I say drive, because civilians -- thinking it's the same thing -- believe what works there will work for them.

This is quickly eclipsed however, by the "Ain't I a cool stud for knowing this" aspect.

There's an old Willie and Joe (Bill Mauldin)cartoon where these two scruffy combat soldiers watch a truculent, shiny new recruit swagger by. One of them says, "That can't be no combat man. He's looking for a fight."

The bootcamp swagger is a well known phenomenon -- and simply stated, it extends past bootcamp. Hell I know SF combat experienced guys who feel the same about the new guys who just joined special forces.  Where it isn't recognized as such is in the martial arts, reality based self-defense and MMA wanna-bes. There you find a really screwed up situation. That is people looking for the bennies of being a bad ass without the cost.

Thing about military combatives -- and I actually do mean what is taught in the military, not the marketed to civilians versions -- they aren't about combat.  As one Marine DI summed up the training boots in Gracie BJJ training so well, "We don't expect them to fight at this range. What we're doing here is instilling in them the willingness to fight at any range."

Which, if you think about it, is a brilliant assessment.

But again, pulling stuff from other 'macho sources' people pretend this gives them superior skills and abilities in a completely different context.

It's not just the BS instructors and their system, it's the guy who wants the benefits and glory of being a 'combat man' without the danger of actually being there.

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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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