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Self Defense/Fiinding application of whatever styles?


Hello sir, thanks for your time.

I have heard that you are an avid fan of 'field-stripping' from any form of physical training.

I agree in that I feel martial arts are great at what they do to fulfil their style's philosophical mechanics perfectly, e.g. BJJ does what it does and rolls people on the ground with no woo-woo training, karate is great at striking someone with speed and power, aikido is really fluid and efficient with timing, boxing are the best punchers etc...

Yet despite functional body mechanics, some of the context are not perhaps useful in all situations. e.g. BJJ is not suitable as first resort, commercial karate is weak at grappling or weapon work, some joint locks aren't for non-restraint situations and boxing punches has risks of fractures etc.

I am curious as to how to strip down a martial art to find the techniques and concepts that are designed for real life combat while separating the ones that works for sport or is more of a physical poetry for traditionalism's sake than combat.

Do I use common sense? Read on assault patterns and what works for bouncers, LEOs? Test it out with simulations?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

The good news is: You've got the components. The bad news is: You've got them in the wrong order.

I am often asked questions about what is the one technique that will do it all? There ain't no such critter. It's only recently that I've come up with a new way to explain the problem with this question. That is they are asking for a single answer to what is a spectrum of problems. A spectrum that the answers range from walk away to tear the guy's throat out with your teeth. The problem is the people asking the questions is they don't understand that so it's impossible to explain to them why their question isn't realistic.

You on the other hand are asking about an important concept, but you're asking the wrong question.

Instead of asking, "I am curious as to how to strip down a martial art to find the techniques and concepts that are designed for real life combat while separating the ones that works for sport or is more of a physical poetry for traditionalism's sake than combat."

You should be asking: How do I learn A) to assess the danger of a situation and B) the applicability of an approach to various levels of danger, needs and goals?

That's because all techniques work -- in the proper context. Take them out of that and they fail.

There are great sports moves. I'm talking you'll win that competition. However, use them in the streets and you'll either end up dead or in prison. For example a ground and pound. Know of a case where the guy who did it is in prison for manslaughter (dude's head bounced on the concrete) Worked another case where the dude on the bottom stabbed and killed the pounder.

If you recall when I talked about field stripping I used the movie "Platoon" as an example. Where the Sgt walked up, started adjusting packs, pulling off gear, and tweaking equipment. He was adjusting what these guys 'had' before going out into a specific environment.

Thing is like those recruits, many students of the martial arts are given all kinds of stuff, but without any real context of when and how to use it. That's why things have to be field stripped.

I will flat out tell you that BJJ works.  For when you're not trying to hurt someone. No shit, it is abso-fuckin-utely GREAT for sitting on a drunk friend who is freaking out or if you're in an environment where the entertainment for the evening is NOT kicking the two guys on the ground to death. Man if you gotta sit on Drunken Uncle Albert at a family reunion, BJJ works straight out of the box.  In other circumstances DON'T!

But they don't teach you that in BJJ schools. They tell you it works all over and everywhere. No it doesn't. It's a good tool. In fact, in the proper circumstances it's a great tool. The trick is to know those circumstances.

You'll find that what you strip away and shit can changes due to the circumstances. But you need to understand the circumstances before you can effectively field strip, keep with you, or leave back at the base. I tell you this because once you realize it's a spectrum of problems, what you don't or do changes to where you are ans what's happening.

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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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