You are here:

Self Defense/Does fast reflex means you're able to react to sneak attacks in time (esp from behind) and


QUESTION: First off read this INCREDIBLY STUPID thread I made.

I know its FUCKING stupid as HELL but its so related to what I said about how RBSD is teaching how to handle sneak attacks.

When I stated that some RBSD schools are literally spending entire days teaching you how to react to sneak attacks-and I'm not FUCKING LYING- they literally mean exactly mean what happened in the 2002 James Franco Spiderman movie scene where he fought Flash Thompson . I know your a comic nerd BUT watch the entire scene in the link below because it will be IMPORTANT to this question.

In addition WATCH this clip of the opening from the video game Pitfighter.

Last but not least this scene from Rocky 3.

BE SURE TO WATCH all 3 clips because they explain the gist of my background message.

One thing all three scenes show is the assumption that by the fighters shown that their REFLEXES and SKILLS will be quick enough that even if attacked at an unprepared state they will dodge and block every single blow.

As seen in the Spiderman clip, Flash caught him completely unprepared but his superhuman reflexes allowed him to dodge Flash's attack in a milisecond.

The Rocky 3 scene shows not just a "sneak attack" but totally embodies what I meant by "reacting" that the RBSD crowd is trying to teach. Rocky literally risked himself by INSULTING Paulie (who was at an angry state) in ARM'S REACH. In fact Rocky's facial and bodily expressions is WHAT THE RBSD community assumes sucker punches will be; you're alert is minimal and you don't have to be in stance  or proper bodily posture and you don't have to keep an eye on the person you insulted; you can safely holler all you want because your reflexes has been trained to the point of "muscle memory" being ingrained (as told to me by one RBSD instructor).

The clip from PITFIGHTER where the blackbelt does a BACKHAND attack while being blindfolded-CLASSIC training done in RBSD groups I met in order to "train" for sneak attacks.

Those videos should already be enough to clarify what I meant when I stated that RBSD spend a significant portion of their time "ingraining the reflexes, technique, and muscle memory" so you can block or dodge in time ina  complete sneak attack from behind or an unexpected "out of nowhere" attack from some guy just walking towards you. THAT's JUST THE START. I seen videos on how to defend against punches coming from your blindside to the left or right as your wealking down the street and someone beside you comes of of nowhere to hit you and so much more.

Literally the RBSD crowd is relying on "twitch" reflexes as the basis on reacting to surprise attacks.

I already know you stated the best solution is to not let the THUG enclose on you to attack range, but I am curious how legit this "reflex based" and "muscle memory based" defensive philosophy of "dodge or block the attack when it comes out of nowhere!"  and "develop  your muscles to react instinctively to sudden sucker punches,etc" that is so taught in the RBSD?

Seriously so many people want to learn the trick to being able to defend against a completely unexpected atack from behind a la Spidey Sense style intuition and block with your arms against someone who was just friendly with you for a moment but suddenly throws a barrage of punches at you when he is so close while you're conversing with him.

Now you already mentioned part of your answer in my sneak attack questions months ago but why am I asking the same question?

I'm actually now asking specific elements. Because I recently been reading anecdotes and watching prison fights and violent assaults from the ghettos.

Indeed the overwhelming majority of "victims" let their would-be attacker position themselves.

But a few incidents where the victim actually FENDED off the attack despite being CAUGHT completely unprepared. From the prison fights and Hood muggings I watched, the assaulted had enough reflexes to at least block in time or dodge the following flurries of punches after the first fist was thrown and as  a result they were able to counterattaack in time to scare away the enemy or at least lead to a stalemate long enough for prison guards or cops to intervene.

In some surprise assaults that took place where the victim could clearly see the attacker (EG the attacker was going to give the victim a candy bar at yard but suddenly throws his fists instead in FRONT of the victim's view where he can see the whole thing), the assaulted prisoner was even able to dodge or parry the first surprise blow and counter with a  grappling move to pin the sucker puncher into submission or counter attack with a combo that KOs the sneak attacker

So I am wondering if there is some validity to the RBSD approach of developing reflexes, technique, and muscle memory to defend against completely unexpected sneak attacks? Assuming you find yourself in Ragnarok, could reflexes and twitch muscle reaction save you from "fucking the dog" as you term it?

In addition to learning how to avoid being put in a position where possible criminals can attack you from unexpected areas, would you recommend developing the reflexes and muscle memory to parry and dodge a completely unexpected assault out of nowhere? I mean some prisoners and ghetto citizens were able to survive deadly assaults this way so I am wondering if I should adding this to my training?

ANSWER: I can answer your many and long drawn out questions in a very simple summation.

Most of these people are training (and looking for answers) to "I fucked up, I screwed up, I goofed and then I stepped on my dick ... what can I do to avoid the consequences?"

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: But does training to react to sneak attack through reflexes and muscle memory have some legitimacy?

Because in some of the prison fights and brawls in the hood as I mentioend despite being completely 100% caught unprepared in a sneak attack, prisoner and ghetto guys were able to react just in time to parry and block the incoming blows to fend of the attacker long enough for backup to come or even fight off the guy on their own. In several prison fights, I even see the completely SHOCKED 100% unprepared guy dodge the suckerpunch thrown out of nowhere just like in the movies and quickly cripple his attacker in a second.

I also ask because military hand to hand combat systems and classical Asian martial arts (that were not dumbed down) even practise reacting to sneak attack style training. You just have to see all those Commando Krav Maga techniques of disarming a guy about to attack you with a knife from behind or those various old school Kung Fu style training where a blindfolded Shaolin monk fends off attacks from all directions against multiple Shaolin martial artists. I even seen some books by real street fighters like Don Pentecost Knife fighting guide teach last minute reaction to surprise attacks if you were caught off handed.

So I am curious if there is some genuine usefulness to such training but the RBSD, Westernized traditional martial arts, and other "realistic combat" training styles bastardized such concepts and training drills in an unrealistic manner and focuses too much on them?

ANSWER: Overwhelmingly what is being taught in RBSD/Martial Arts /WSD is fear management, not danger management.

But what's far worse is most people are trying to come up with answers to problems using the limited tools and obsessions that they have. I was once on a WSD (Women's Self-Defense) instructors forum and someone asked how she could take a gun into the shower with her. I sat there and read people coming up with out-to-lunch scenarios, before I blew up. Lock your fuckin' door,lock your windows, get a dog, get an alarm, but most of all DON'T be such an asshole that people have reasons to come into your home and murder you. Or if you have, MOVE!

In other words a gun isn't going to fix the problem.

In the same vein all that ambush training isn't going to do you any good if you stand there fat, dumb and stupid watching a bunch of muggers approach and surround you. While we're at it, if the guy is good (or just lucky enough not to kick a rock or scuff a shoe)and coming up behind you with a baseball bat you're screwed.

Those RBSD guys play tough but what they're really talking about is low level shit -- and that especially means with their responses. When someone is dedicated enough to getting you that he's coming from ambush, odds are he's got a weapon. If not, gee you get sucker punched, a lot of the time you can suck it up and keep going. Then all that punchy things they talk about CAN (not necessarily will) work.

Catching a shank in the guts as the first move, not so much. The only thing getting all punchy and kicky on him is going to do is give him more chances to stab you

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I have to ask though because we ALREADY BOTH agree in the first place BE AWARE of your SURROUNDINGS! And AVOID being put in SNEAK ATTACK RANGE! As you repeatedly stated in your answers about my questions on sneak attack.

WHY the FUCK does military and even classical martial arts (again the OLD SCHOOL STUFF not DUMBED DOWN from mainland Asia) TEACH that BS "OH someone suddenly just popped out of nowhere and I have to parry in an instant!" or "I just realized someone threw a thrust from behind me so I have to be fast and disarm him from behind"?!

I mean I saw some photos of Commando Krav Maga (which is the style of Krav Maga originally being taught to Israeli commandos and was so top secret before they dumbed it down for the masses;and yes this is still being taught to commando level soldiers in the Israeli military) of Commandos exhibiting disarming a gun pointed from behind, I saw a video demonstration of SEAL tactics showing how to dodge if a friendly guy catches you off guard with a knife thrust so fast, and did I mentioned the SHaolin Kung fu about being blindfolded and fending off other trained monks?  I seen Ninjitsu hand to hand combat systems teach stuff like fighting in complete darkness.

I am wondering why such BS Ambush attack reactions exist even in military system and old school martial arts including styles you phrase such as old school Krav Maga and Wing Chun?

Thats where the gist of my question comes from.

I mean rather than focusing on these BS drills wouldn't SHaolin monks be better off teaching signals like subtle hand movements indicating he's pulling out a knife or wouldn't Israeli commandos be better of teaching to LOOK behind your back ever 1-3 minutes and using your hearing to lean if you're being stalked?

It's not awareness and surroundings as are taught in the MA. What's taught as such tends to be complete bullshit because everyone wants to rush past it and get to all the fantasy ways you can kick ass

The ability to respond to an an ambush is a need arising from a lifestyle or profession where you are likely to be ambushed. It's a mindset arising from experience and understanding, not training.

You piss the wrong kind of people off and they're prone to ambush you. When you work certain jobs or run with certain people, ambushes are a fact of life. Why? Because they work. Odds of surviving a good ambush are very slight for an individual. (Your odds go up when you're in a group and everyone is a potential target.) When you've seen bodies and bloodshed arising from ambushes, that's a level of awareness that goes deep beyond your consciousness. On a deep survival level, you know what's going to happen if you don't get out of the circumstances he's developed. It's not about technique, it's about recognizing you're about to die and an unconscious response of HELL NO!

Without that mindset, all that training is just macho fantasy.  

Self Defense

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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

See CV

Too numerous to list here. My CV (for my expert witness work in court) is at

Read "In the Name of Self-Defense" the streets don't give a Ph.D in scuffle.

Awards and Honors
See CV

Past/Present Clients
See CV

©2017 All rights reserved.