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Self Defense/Quick Slippery TMA Footwork and Sports Style Ring Movement VS Hardcore Streetrats and Criminals Rush (and even UNTRAINED violent people)


QUESTION: I was going to ask this as a follow up to my Footwork and multiple opponents question but its such an inspiring topic I am going to ask a separate question altogether (be sure to look out on the footwork vs multiple enemies question because I will ask some followups on that tomorrow though).

Ok on this specific topic.

The knife stabber is so fast that it was fucking scary how quickly the knife stabber came in. Even from 10-20 feet away.

Now some of the vid's scenarios reminds me of several incidents where an MMA fighter, martial artist, and boxer were overwhelmed by criminals and stabbed to death. However from the vids I saw (they were on the news) they were EVEN further away from the criminals than the videos. I think it looked like 50 feet away, hell  in one vid the boxer was like over 100 feet away!

Despite being so well trained in footwork,and indeed most of the news pics and the TV news footages I seen even shown them already pumped up and having already moved around the area for minutes trying to escape by backwards movement a la boxing style or TMA dancing, the knife attacker withing seconds OVERWHELM the fighters quick evasive movement or escaping backwards boxer style footwork. And we're talking about attackers who were just 50 feet or even 150 feet away. We're not even talking about an ambush or unexpected attack but the martial artist or boxer already KNEW the attacker was a shady person (hell it may have been their job as part time bouncer or security to try to remove the person from the premise) and they  saw the guy pull out a knife in the footage just when they were 300 feet away (hell some articles I read even stated about a mile away). So THEY knew that it would be risky and they even expect such things on a routine basis because its their job.

From what I seen in the footages, articles, and photographs, they basically engaged in threatening the armed intruder to leave but the intruder kept going forward.

But like I mentioned by the time the intruder decided to attack, the intruder was still QUITE a FAR DISTANCE away (I already mentioned often 50 feet and some cases even over 100 feet away) and the boxer/MMA/TMA part time bouncer and security already were ADRENALIZED with their arms up, their feet already moving around the environment or even backwards to escape. BUT YET the attackers quickly close in within a minute or even seconds.

Now this goes beyond just knife attacks. I seen in prison footage of an inmates who was prize fighter in the recreational rings in the specific facility who easily get overwhelmed by several charging inmates DESPITE already being aware and attack is taking place and getting pumped in time to put up their stance and start tip toeing backwards in their boxing stance when they were like 20-30 feet away before his attackers got him. This guy was renown in the prison for being soooo quick in the ring that no one else could outbox him and even fast swarmers with slippery footwork had trouble chasing him down and pressuring him in bouts. I mean some of his opponents were among the HARDEST of the convicts in the prison in this prizefights.

In fact at least one of his attackers in this incident was also a former opponent who WAS NEVER able to close up on him in any of their ring bouts because he was waaaayyy slower. Yet in this incident he was the FIRST of the attackers to quickly catch up to him and grabbed him (pinning him down the floor in the process). Despite already the prizefighter some impressive footwork to move backwards when the attackers were still 30 feet away (and the first guy to catch him being described by other inmates as SLOW as snails in boxing footwork compared to the attacked boxer in the ring during their boxing matches).

Of course all the above incidents dealt with people who are obviously hardcore criminals and streetrats,some even being trained like the inmate who pinned the boxer (even though he was slower, he still was conditioned enough in boxing to have won a few bouts on his own against other inmate prizefighters who specialized in the boxing style fighter).

But I read about incidents where UNTRAINED fighters-we're talking about your teenage punk, housewife, and even elder citizens with Alzheimer walking on a cane- BEING able to overwhelm fighters (who were completely pumped up, aware of an imminent attack,quite far away by 20-30 feet or even about 100 feet, and even already  
had started executing footwork to evade or even move backwards in an attempt to escape). As in if you saw the footage you would be SHOCKED that they could move so fast- EVEN though the trained martial artist WAS even MOVING INCREDIBLY QUICK with his style's footwork as he attempted to escape while in his martial art's traditional stance.

I AM NOT LYING a lot of those untrained housewives, elderly, teens, and white collar workers were often so unfit they resembled the nerd stereotype or were even morbidly obese and the investigations show they were not into track and field or any other athletic abilities but preferred solitary unenergetic hobbies like gaming, reading, and watching TV. Even assuming footwork is much slower than running, they were so out of shape they should not have caught up to the trained fighters they were assaulting (who really were FUCKING fast on their feet as they danced backwards in an attempt to escape while in fighting stance).

Now the fucking obvious thing to have done is to just RUN LIKE HELL. In fact I will go ask questions specifically related to RLH but they are such big topics I will wait for your response to this question (as its already opening a can of worms of another topic of flame wars in martial arts and MMA communities: ESCAPING while using boxing or TMA footwork while in TMA stance VS just turning your back and running like hell-but lets save that for my follow up question to this).

So for now I'm just focusing on all I wrote so far (and saving more later related to the header question and RLH VS footwork).

How the FUCK can people who are not track runners overwhelm someone already moving in footwork to escape so quickly? Especially out of shape civilians who are normally nonviolent? Hell I even extend this to hardcore criminals and violence professionals. Sure people in violent occupations and veteran convicts are in WAAAY fucking better shape than your average American but they aren't necessarily conditioned in Track and Field nor trained in TMA footwork and ring movement so I'm shocked they can quickly run over someone 50 feet away who already had started using say Silat movements to dance away in an attempt to escape.

I have even more specifics to ask but will wait for your response (because I am having difficulty finding the way to put them into words and probably will spend the whole night trying to formulate my followups).

ANSWER: "It's not that people are ignorant, it's just they know so much that ain't so"  Josh Billings/ Will Rogers

Let's start with this. Pretty much all your life you've been lied to about violence. And when someone wasn't lying to you, they were -- in good faith -- passing on a lie that they've been told. Now sometimes the lies are deliberate exaggerations to promote an agenda (i.e., "Violence never solved anything"). Sometimes the lies are marketing (i.e. Krav Maga is self-defense" -- notice I didn't say 'the best self-defense.' The lie is that it IS self-defense. Once you've sold that lie, then arguing over it being the best is just another level of bullshit.) Other lies come from Hollywood (where I have been told to my face, "Our job isn't to get it right, our job is to entertain"). A lot of BS comes from idiots in the field trying to take an idea/fact/ consideration/factor and inflate it into one grandiose, unquestionable law (i.e., the 21 foot rule -- as opposed to what do you learn from the Tueller Drill.)

But the biggest source of lies is people trying to take a complex and variable situation and reducing it to simplistic soundbites so there's a comfortable "You just do this" answer.


Do not look for them. Do not believe them. Do not pay money for training that encourages that attitude. Do not listen to people who spout them. But most of all, DO NOT fall into that trap yourself.

The clip you showed was from "Surviving Edged Weapons" a training film for cops. Are you a cop? Is it your job to approach troubled people? Is it your job to put a stop to unacceptable behavior? Do you routinely stand and question suspects? If not, how is a cop training film germane to your situation?  Because those are the circumstances that kind of attack is really effective.

How the cop was standing, where his mind was, what job was he doing ALL of them effected his actions. Because he was in 'cop mode' he wasn't expecting to be attacked. (I tell cops that what keeps them safe is the little picture of a cop inside most people's heads with "Do not attack" written beneath.) Being in interrogate the suspect mode, the cop was caught flat footed when Inasanto attacked.

Now you ask about MMAers, etc, getting torn up. Which yeah, it happens. But what mindset are they in? What are they doing? Where are they? All of those factors go into the equation. It's not just a frumpy housewife...

If you really look at MMAers who get killed in the streets you'll see an overwhelming pattern. They were doing something stupid in bad places. Believing their dicks are so big you could cut them off at the knees and call them tripod, they put themselves in dangerous places and bad times.

"I'm such a bad ass I can walk alone in Harlem at night."
No you dumbshit, that's how you get killed. (And why so many of them do)

A huge part of the problem is the attitude these guys have. They're so convinced of their bad assedness that  they don't do the very things that would keep them alive. Like not fuckin' standing there watching the guy charge them from a ridiculous distance. There's this thing called 'moving' which goes a long way to for saving your ass. So instead of hauling ass they stand there.

And if it you watch most of these videos where bad shit happens to someone you'll see a distinct pattern. Most of the time the guy who has bad things happen was either in someone's face, standing there (refusing to move) or wasn't moving fast enough for actual evasion.

Instead of fretting about finding a way to successfully stand there and trying to fight, start looking into why that guy is standing there watching the guy charge him. That's a more productive direction of research

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

QUESTION: OK I finally found a way to formulate my words and will ask my follow up (indeed they sort of go in hand of your response just right now).

Indeed most people trained in a sports system or TMA get killed because not only where they were caught unprepared but they just stood there. In fact they were in places no sane average person should be (in the hood, in a bar with lots of bikers,etc).

But the incidents I am referring to are SECURITY GUARDS and BOUNCERS (who are well trained in MMA/Boxing/TMAs-fuck many of them are even part time prize fighters) who are 100% PREPARED and ADRENALIZED (as in the vids and articles show an aggressive "BRING IT ON I'll FUCK YOU UP!" expression) with their stance already in place and more importantly they already began to retreat backwards in utilizing their martial arts/fighting system's footwork WHILE the ENEMY was 60 feet away; I should also add when they realized their opponents had knives, they were still MUCH FURTHER AWAY like 150 feet or more.

They weren't "Monkey Dancing" as you call it; the people who murdered them or jumped them were TRESPASSING on private property and as being the bouncer/security/mall cop in their area they were doing their jobs when they confronted the people.

Now that thats put out of the way, I will finally go on to some aspects I am confused about but heavily goes into this question.

Years ago I saw a boxing manga called Ashita No Joe. The protagonist Joe had an upcoming fight with a local tough guy (and aspiring pro-boxer) Rikishi. Joe was known fo rhis hard hitting power and speed and in fact much of the story is about an old man Dampei (former boxing coach) seeking to turn him away from his juvenile delinquent ways and train him in the art of boxing because he had so much potential.

But at this point in the story Joe hadn't even learned the fundamentals of boxing (bob and weave, footwork,  parrying,etc) and was only relying on the bare basics ( jab-straight, hooks, uppercuts, basic blocking stance) along with his gifted incredible speed, hard chin, and dynamite KOing power so far in previous brawls in prison (including a few bouts in the ring against other equally untrained inmates).

Because of his physical gifts and his victories over other inmates Joe was incredibly confident he will win the bout. However once he got into the ring with Rikishi, he got a rude awakening and Rikishi was literally handing his ass down. As Joe was literally as helpless against his opponent as you were against that old Vietnam War vet you tried to have a knife scuffle with in your youth and got pawned in what looked like movement so fast you were seeing cartoon streaks.

Joe got so desperate decided rather than taking Rikishi on, he'll run around the ring while trying to hit him every now and so. However at this point footwork was one of the fundamentals he hadn't learned yet so when he moved around the ring and attempted to "hit then escape" on Rikishi, he was literally moving as though he was sprinting away for his life. Like running like hell from an opponent charging at you with a knife.

However thing is within a few comic panels, Rikishi realized what Joe was trying to do and with a laughing expression he USED boxing footwork to chase down Joe and rip him to shreds. Now I forgot to add details, but when I call Joe a delinquent earlier, I am talking about an orphan who's lived and survived the streets often committing crimes to survive. He even got into scuffle with policemen and the Yakuza and in the earlier chapters involved him successfully outrunning some street criminals and policemen and escaping.  Even before he got into prison, he was already drawn as quite in shape with a clearly lean and toned body.

So its not like Rikishi quickly  outsped an accountant within seconds with his footwork. In fact when Rikishi caught up with Joe in a SINGLE PAGE, the narrator detail was commenting how fucking lightning fast Rikishi moved with his boxing footwork and Rikishi even laughs at Joe, bluntly telling him running like hell won't save him even if they fought outside the ring in an open grassfield or on an emptry street in Tokyo because his footwork is so well-developed in its technique and fast that Joe wouldn't be able to outrun him even if Joe was a trained track and field athlete.

YES the manga was portraying someone properly trained in footwork as BEING SO MUCH faster in catching up another athletic opponent than a track and field athlete would have been able to catch Joe.

Now I'll grant that Rikishi was a former streetrat and he was an aspiring boxer who was already spending everyday in prison conditioning himself for his future boxing career once he got out from jail and he was shown so conditioned he could literally box a small bull. So he's not exactly your average policemen (who are athletic to a degree but not necessarily to the same level as a pro-athlete or even your amateur enthusiastic hardcore track runner and so on).

But the Rikishi scene of using his footwork to quickly outrun an opponent who was in incredibly very fit shape and the commentaries by the narrator and Rikishi about how proper footwork in boxing is VERY IMPORTANT to this question.

You mentioned so many times that rather than training in learning how to do 5 roundhouses in 15 seconds or how to disarm a knife, the best thing civilians can train themselves for an unavoidable (predatory) violent situation is to get themselves in enough shape to FUCKING RUN LIKE HELL! And I recall a few times you said time is much better spent in the trackfield or participating in cross country events instead of the dojo or participating in a cage fight for self defense.

Because I'm having difficulty finding the words to describe some BS I seen  and because it will lead into more complex questions (so complex that I'll simply ask them as a follow up), I'll just end it with a comment about my experience:

From what I seen, the RBSD and even Traditional Martial Arts world holds the same opinion as RIKISHI does towards sprinting like hell to escape or run around and hit run. FUCK going beyond Rikishi and his fight in the manga, the RBSD and traditional martial arts world even TAKE the cartoony fight in Ashita no Joe to an even whole other level of CARTOONINESS: I seen them comment that RUNNING AWAY by simply doing so as an untrained unfit bystander would run like hell is something UNSAFE and CONTEMPTIBLE.

Before you assume I am repeating cliches, this is specifically what I MEAN: These RBSD and TMA guys are actually RECOMMENDING ESCAPE from a dangerous situation. BUT THEY are telling people just RUNNING like hell is NOT enough because of various risks including getting hit from behind in an escape attempt.

INSTEAD use FOOTWORK (specifically using boxing style footwork while moving backwards) to escape because in their opinion its far more suited for dangerous encounters, far better than the good old bystander RUNNING LIKE HELL because shit is broken loose. I seen claims that using boxing or TMA footwork will allow you to escape a dangerous encounter with violent even faster than a track and field athlete or cross country runner would.

I am tempted to post another comment by RBSD, TMA, and other people in the fighting world but will just stop here for now.

WHat is your take on the "Rikishi footwork" notions?

I mean seeing some fat obese housewife who was angry at her husband (who was a boxer style boxer) catch up to him and stab him to death despite the being 70 feet away and the husband already in his boxing stance and utilizing Muhammad Ali style victory to gradually move backwards with amazing grace and finesse  (not to mention lightning speed) SHOCKED me. Becuase the boxer guy was already moving backwards incredibly quick to the point it seems like he'll escape without a single cut because his wife is fat and out of shape. But to see the fat wife suddenly CHARGE at him (from 70 feet away) and stab him within 50 seconds makes me question this notion about boxing and TMA footwork being much faster than say track and field style running. I mean the housewife is FAT and OUT OF SHAPE!

ANSWER: I try to tell you about people lying to you about, misconceptions of violence and you respond by quoting manga at me. This is not going well.

Here's a big problem with RBSD and MMAers working as bouncers. For everything they say I can come up with about fifty examples where it doesn't/didn't work.

Does that mean it doesn't work?

No. It means the biggest problem is people trying to take a specific tool and saying it works everywhere.

A hammer is a great tool. As is a screwdriver... but each of them has a time and place where they are the right tool. And in the same breath, the wrong tool in other circumstances. It ALL depends on the circumstances. Or in the case of violence who is involved.

Yes someone who is fat and out of shape can sprint surprising fast. Does that mean everyone who is fat and out of shape can? No. So looking for a universal rule is wasting time.

But what's worse is how many people who have a hammer try and sell it as a universal-does- everything- tool. What is taught as RBSD is overwhelmingly MMA repackaged as some kind of hard core street fighting. This is the same BS as people who are pure MMA saying it's 'real fighting.'

It's not. Violence comes in all kinds of levels, forms, degrees and manifestations. Just because someone is prepared for (and even good at) one doesn't mean he's going to be able to handle something different. In fact, if you're too good at one, you'll often fuck up when faced with another. Because you didn't recognize it's a different form.

Yeah you're standing there yelling back and forth with someone. That's an argument. Then that person charges. Having been physically attacked by this person before you think it's just another bout of hitting. Then they stab the fuck out of you. Big tough bouncer who's got contempt for all the drunks he's wrangled, gets sloppy and gets killed -- even though he's pissed and adrenalized. That anger and adrenaline has gotten in the way of him seeing the danger.

This happens ALL THE TIME.

Then you get these dipshits, internet warriors and Kool-Aid drinkers who claim they've found the ultimate answer.  Or they come up with problems with why a strategy won't work.  Usually to justify staying there and trying to fight like they've taught you.

Hey you know what? Sometimes running works. Sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't you have to do something else. But you ain't going to know if it will work until you try it.

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

QUESTION: FUCKING SHIT, I'm not sure I should bring up the next thing because I actually already get your point about how situations are so various. I get it footwork doesn't work everywhere.  OH FUCK I wish there was a way to quote my text using this site format because I want to separate the first part of what I wanted to ask next. BUT I'll avoid that specific other question I wanted to ask and instead ask a secondary one (incredibly related to this topic that I wanted to ask a a separate question but its so hand-in-hand that I will ask as a follow up and besides you already brought it up in the last paragraph).

Before I continue, YES I actually understand your point about all the differences in circumstances. But I asked the last follow up out of sheer curiosity because of how much not only is footwork EMPHASIZED so much as the supreme way of movement in the fighting world.... And I also have to clarify I am 100% how so many imaginary situations come up indeed by self defense instructors as simply looking for some bizarre excuse to FIGHT and even just flatout hurt someone (OH if you don't break his arm, he might pull a gun out and shoot you if you let got BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH and so many other BS excuses). I 100% believe de-escalation and AVOIDANCE are the BEST and FOREMAST thing you should do in self defense and if those don't work, your first result is to ALWAYS get the  OUT OF THERE ASAP-HELL RUN LIKE HELL out of there like Satan is chasing you for your soul is what i believe is the proper tone to say this.

But are there genuine situations where doing running as a first result is NOT necessarily the best option, in some circumstances impossible, or even the WORST possible path (may be flatout suicidal)?

Because your last sentence "you ain't going to know if it will work until you try it" is a VERY popular maxim as far as running away to escape danger go but now people are taking it to an extreme that makes me go WTF. I already actually wrote the details on a draft of the furthers of this specific but it so ridiculous I don't feel like adding it right now. Because its not just on the BS of the RBSD and footwork claims, but its borderline Will Farrell comedy that I'm dying from laughter just looking at what I wrote.

But I am genuinely curious if there are situations where running away as your first option will just worsen it? Although its not a self defense situation and not even a violent one, I remember in my youth I playe da prank on my dad during winter and he was angry like hell so he was going to chase me and give  a spanking to discipline me. Being the naughty child I was, I ran outside the house during a winter day and after walking sprinting on the snow on the front yard, I suddenly lost my balance and tripped. I failed to realize it but parts of the YARD  were FROZEN SOLID!

I was than now laughing like hell to myself because I realized what an idiot I was and soon I was going to get a spanking but my dad saw what happened and he got so concerned he brought me back in the house and immediately started mending my bruises.

It may seem like a completely different question but it goes hand in hand with some other questions and paragraphs I wrote related to escaping using footwork vs escaping by just sprinting (not to mention the last paragraph of your recent response). Because that incident always comes up as one where running is outright suicidal (and I already mention I advocate avoidance, de-escalation, and running like Satan is chasing as the FIRST RESORT before using physical force to defend oneself).

Situations where running can make it worse? Yeah, running from the cops. If they catch you, they'll be rougher on you.

Situations where running can make it worse? Yeah, running into a worse location.

(Hint, don't run from danger, run to safety. If you're being chased by a pack head to the lights and the noise. {That's where people are.) If you run and turn down a blind, dead end alley, you've made your situation worse.)

Situations where running can make it worse? In weird fucked up abusive relationships.

Situations where running can make it worse? Where you don't have time OR you try to do it for too long.

Recognize two things. One, that a group will set things up to their advantage. Think of that spot as an X. Get off the X. If outright escape isn't going to work, do what I refer to as a tactical withdraw to a point where you have more advantages. Sometimes those advantages really aren't that much better, but they're still better than what they were. So you take what you can get. Thing is if you keep on running past that, you've pissed away those advantages you could have had.

Two, when facing a group, outright running MIGHT trigger a chase response. Let's call this -- in very limited circumstances -- a 50/50 chance. Take that 50/50 and cut it in half again. In that 25% of the time, one or two will give short chase. The other 25% they all will. In the first situation you run and they give up. So running works. In the second situation, you run too long and one of them catches up and knocks you down. Then you're really hosed. So the trick is you 'run fiercely' -- it becomes a run, hit, run, hit strategy. Where you're basically running, but you make it dangerous to catch, much less chase you. You turn blind corners and drag things over, so they turn the corner and trip. You grab something and if someone catches up, you whirl around and hit them with it and start running again. One guy gets close you whip around and drop him and then run again before the rest catch up.

Will this cause them to quit chasing you or become more dedicated to catching you?

NOBODY KNOWS! You're playing odds. Usually yes, on quitting. Often no.  

Here is a raw fact of life that all those natterers on 'what you should do' do NOT want to accept. There are NO GUARANTEES in violence.  Everything is a crap shoot. If you can't accept this. If this scares you too much... then DON'T play the game.

This leads to the next couple of points. Take the whole of violence and slice it up into a pie. These are all the things that are involved in violence. Physical is ONLY 1/8 -- one slice -- of the pie.  

I tell you that because people who obsess on finding the one thing that will always work (guarantee) are not just foolishly obsessing, but they're trying to find that guarantee in what is only a small fraction of the bigger issue.

Is footwork important? Yes. Is knowing when to do a strategic withdraw important? Yes. Is knowing how not to get your ass into situations like this in the first place important? Fuck yes. Is knowing what it looks like when it's developing important? Yeah. Is being willing to exit before it gets to that point important? Oh yeeeaaaah. Is knowing how NOT to provoke them into attacking you important? Way more important than foot work. Is knowing how to convince them that it isn't safe to attack you important? Oh yeah, but not as important as knowing when to get the hell out of there is.

Do these RBSD or MMAers who have you all confused talk about this stuff? No. Because they're focusing ONLY on that 1/8 and trying to find an ultimate, but simplistic answer to a complex situation.

Changing tracks. An old business quip is half of my money on advertising is wasted. I just don't know which half.

Half of what these guys are saying is outright bullshit. The question is which half? The salesmen and liars are going to be peddling their 'answers' as everything you need to know. That's the half that is wasted -- because violence is a whole lot more than just physical.

Well here's more bad news, their answer, MAY work in certain kinds of violence, but it's NOT universal. YOU have to figure out where it does work, where it is important, and where it doesn't work, where it's not so important.  You'll never figure that out unless you look at the rest of the pie.

When you look at that, THAT'S when you'll see what's missing from what these guys are saying.

The other half  

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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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