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  • How effective would going at an attacker hiding in the shadows (aka blindspots) and rushing at him preemptive?Or even "pretending" to fall for it for a last minute counterattack? How about backup?

Self Defense/How effective would going at an attacker hiding in the shadows (aka blindspots) and rushing at him preemptive?Or even "pretending" to fall for it for a last minute counterattack? How about backup?


Ok now another one of my  sneak attack questions.

First off to bring up an incident you had in the past.

You're description of the scenario is what you typically see in movies and TV shows-especially Spy flicks like James Bond and crime movies like The Godfather.

In fact your reaction of leaping backwards out of the way in the last minute and preparing your weapon in expectation of a  Ragnarok Scenario I just saw recently in Casino Royale when Craig went into the bathroom and got ambushed.

Reading felt almost like watching an action movie until the final sentence where you de-escalated the situation with words instead of going all James Bond on him.

Now I have a question.

First I will list WIM scenario

1)You realize that waiting for you at the corner in the dark alley is someone hidden behind angles and trashcans. However you go about your own business walking straight for the trap then suddenly WHAM! you do a backfist or reverse kick and you knock the attacker on the ground than leave the area.

2)Same as one but you instead of doing some  fancy reverse attack, you turn around and punch the guy hard or some other attack that quickly knocks him out.

3)Same scenario as the two above, but you SURPRISE the attacker by rushing at his hiding spot directly and OVERWHELM him.

4)Alternate scenario similar to the burglar's ambush on trying to whack you with an ax. Except you don't fall for his attack and stop just moments before you're in range to hit him. So he waits patiently. You decide to play a waiting game and keep distant from the door for the burglar to come out and you take him on.

5) You know the burgler's there and keep your distant away moreso. You get your cellphone and call the cops

6)Same EXACT thing as what happened to you (you're 100% surprised and he just swings an axe out of nowhere)  except when you leap back to avoid burglar's attack, you surprise him by QUICKLY TACKLING HIM immediately and you slam him on the ground or wall and disable him.

7) You find something's odd and realize the possibility of the burglar so you RUSH to the door faster than he can expect and slam him while he's still waiting and start to uppercut him till he's KO

8)You just FLEE the SCENE PERIOD and come back with backup.

Now I added a few more scenarios than my header question.

But all scenarios I listed are CLICHES of Hollywood action cinema and Saturday Morning Cartoons and late Night PM live action TV-ESPECIALLY Spy and Crime flicks and shows........

And believe it or not I seen RBSD  RECOMMEND each and every action described above as WHAT to DO if you realize an ambush is waiting for you as someone is hiding in the corners with a baseball bat.

Literally instructors often tell you to either not fall into the attack and outwait the attacker or call the cops (or if those aren't possible, get backup nearby)....... Or PRETEND to go into the trap itself and GET the ATTACKER.

Particularly popular are scenarios 3 where you DIRECTLY rush at the attacker and surprise him with a pre-emptive counterattack.

However I have seen RBSD instructors who state that because some states make pre-emptive illegal no matter what, its best to walk into the trap and let the guy throw the first blow in which you do some behind attack (spinning backfist or reverse roundhouse and other BS Hollywood fancy martial arts) or you quickly turn in time to assume fighting stance and fight off the guy.

So how effective are all 8 scenarios I mentioned? Common sense say 5 (call the cops) and 8 (flee the scene ASAP) are best but are there even problems with those nonviolent scenario approaches?

WHat input would you give on each and every scenario I mentioned?

In particular I am curious about scenarios 3 and 7 Rushing attack method. I know the chances of not finding an escape rout is almost impossible but assuming you get cornered to a wall and you decide "FUCK IT I choose to be judged by 12 than carried by 6!" what problems would rushing at the sneak attacker bring?

If rushing at him is a good option (even the best) would scenario 3 and 7 entail totally different sets of actions (since someone awaiting you in a dark alley is different than awaiting behind the other room by the house's doorway).

Many people love to boast if a burgler was awaiting in a room in their house, they would just rush at him and tackle him at the doorway before he can swing his bat thats why I ask about scenario 7.

Also scenario 6 is a popular action film and TV cliche where you after dodging the surprise attack the hero disables the attacker in "3 moves". Why didn't you rush at him? I mean the missed swing would have left him open and a bit unprepared+he would have to spend seconds bringing his ax up for another swing?

I lack experience by 6 seems like the best thing to do after you dodge and he's open rather than keeping distance and getting your own weapon (in which he's fully recovered and is prepared to strike again)?

The answer to all of those questions are, "It depends."

A term I picked up from a SEAL Team Six member sums it up a different way, "The situation dictates."

Notice in both of those the underlying theme. There are variables that you won't know until you're on the scene and it's happening. Those variables will dictate what is the best answer at the moment. It doesn't work the other way around (In these kinds of situations you always do ______)

Five of the most common variables are:
Time (where in the process are you)
Environment (location/mobility)
His skill/intent/ability
Your skill/intent/ability

These vary. What is the best of a list of suck ass answers in one second can be a complete disaster two seconds before or two seconds later.

Using the time the burglar tired to put a hatchet into my head. The reason I leapt away was because I could.When I came through that door, it was open space to my left and I was still holding the door knob. When he shouted and swung that ax it was faster and safer to move the door out of my way.

Could I have charged him? Well, yes, but the truth is I didn't know he had the hatchet until I was in the bathroom doorway. Had I rushed him, he would have put that ax in my back. Or quite likely my slamming into him would have driven it into me. (Watch quarterbacks getting sacked and you'll soon see how rarely do they drop the ball. Now imagine those sacks with a blade.)

Yet at the same time, a half second later (or had there been a wall to my left)I would have had to charge. This not even knowing that he had a hatchet. That's because sometimes it's too late to withdraw and you have no choice but to go forward and through. If it was a bare fist or even a club a charge would have worked. Yes it would have been a blunt force trauma, but so what? Changing range against them reduces their power -- but not against a blade or a gun.

My skill and intent is that I'd been completely geared up and ready to rock and roll less than a minute before. But because I didn't hear anything, I'd dropped my guard, figuring it was over and the burglar was gone (Lesson learned, the place isn't secure until you've searched EVERY inch.) So technically speaking I was still adrenalized.  Had this been three in the morning and I was on the way to the bathroom, I probably would have gone down.

His intent wasn't to kill me personally. My demise would have been a byproduct of his escape. Escape, not murder, was his goal. That's a large part of why he he stopped moving forward after his first swing missed.  Because he wasn't closing, there was no need for me to charge him after his initial attack. Had he kept coming, different story...

You can make up all the different scenarios you want in your head, and the only thing you will come up with is the best answer for that particular scenario. But the addition or subtraction of different aspects/factors and changing certain variables, will change the answer.

This is why I talk about "Learn to do the math."

Learn what does change. Learn what doesn't change. Learn what certain things mean. Learn what certain changes mean (base ten, base eight, binary) and how they ALL effect the answer.

7+2= 9
7x2= 14
7-2= 5
7/2= 3.5

Same numbers, different variables. Different answers. The same thing applies to what do you do in a situation.  

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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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