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Self Defense/Physical Fitness Enduring Sports-Based Attack


QUESTION: OK another question related to components. You repeatedly mention one of the WORST mistakes you can make is try to use sports techniques against someone armed with a knife or gun. Because while you may throw a hard hit, they can fatally wound you  with one blow and a common tactic of a hardened knifer is to "exchange" a hit for a kill especially since sports strikes do shit to hurt.

You also pointed out that punches, kicks, knees, and sport strkes in general are the least lethal way to hurt someone even in an unarmed encounter. Thats its because these blows don't immediately cripple or kill someone that martial sports emphasize using such attacks for scoring and even the hardest hitters will exchange hundreds of blows per round even against  tomato cans.

So I am curious. One of the common sayings MT fighters always bring up is that "Boxers are easy to fight because you simply need to break their legs". And indeed this statement is ecoed across martial arts vs boxing debates because boxers are renown to have weak legs.

Hell since you already know I'm an MMAer who specialize in MT in my last question, I actually DONE it myself! I destroyed the legs not only of pure boxers but also other MMA fighters who specialize in handstriking during a few domination match I had with someone who pissed me off and agreed to go with me at the ring.

So this goes related to your statement about "exchanging a blow for a kill". I know its really complex because of a hell lot of variables and more importantly most hardasses would not let you land a blow before they take you down with a knife. Even if you do fight them, as you rightly state most streetrats took enough martial arts to know basic defenses against MT roundhouses and such. However since you emphasize even untrained knife fighters are dangerous and conditioned fighters could shrug a MT roundhouse and palm strike, I am wondering.

Boxers are often TOP conditioned. And even though they don't train with leg techniques, they run a lot. So if physical conditioning allows you to endure sport blows like its nothing, shouldn't boxers be able to endure kicks to the legs?

I understand the hardasses would be able to endure such attacks, but what about your untrained (and to a degree inexperienced) but physically strong gansters and punks? I mean I seen a Crips initiate thinks he so big and bad at my local bar. He is a muscular man so I understand why he was so cocky. But he got taken out by a single uppercut from the bouncer (who was a former boxer). In addition I mention I had to defend myself against cocky douches in my last question and I cannot tell you how many of them would get taken down by a single knee. These punks too had six-pack abs and toned bodies but I took them now just doing MT ring-style knees. I'll grant I train with kettlebells frequently and thus my legs are developed strong and these guys don't look like they  trained specifically in MT but were more of track and field runners or swimmers by their physique.

But not counting hardasses and people who use weapons, I am quite curious about what you mean by physical conditioning allow you to take sports blows easily? Is there a specific definition of what you mean?  I mean boxers getting taken out by hits to the legs despite being in top conditioning and running a lot (a couple even doing leg pressses and squats) made me curious. Same with other muscular guys being taken out by a single  TKD kick or a Kung Fu sports open-hand strikes.

If being at top shape means you can endure sports blows, why do so many muscular fit guys go down (and by go down I mean as in GASPING hard for breath and could't stand up, in some cases even vomiting and coughing out blood)? I mean the guys I took out using ring knees, many of them often fell to the ground and holding their  abdomen in immense pain despite being fit enough to have 6-packs. Some were even Arnold Schwarzenegger in build and I was fucking shocked how quickly they went down after 4 or 5 knees (I was actually execting a full out fight where I'd come out exhausted.... BUT WOW JUST WOW at how they were gasping for breath after the 3rd knee).

Or do you have a different definition of "fitness" when it comes to enduring blows?

ANSWER: Ever go to the dentist and react to the ow?

It's not just being in 'good shape' it's also very much having experience and familiarity with that kind of pain and in that particular spot.

Most people aren't used to taking muay Thai cut kicks (we used to call them stick kicks) in the leg, you are. Legs aren't targets for boxers nor are they for most martial art styles. (Look at their stances.)This does make them vulnerable to them even though they are fit.

Until you meet up with someone who is or who comes from a profession where they legs take a lot of hits. Such a person can take them almost as good as a muay Thai fighter.

Thing is muay Thai fighters are REALLY familiar with impact pain all over. So with what I just described, what kind of pain aren't the familiar with?

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


Not counting street rats, do most career criminals and convicts so fit in general that even kicks to the legs, spear thrust to the throats, powerful uppercuts, etc will often not take them down?

Part of my confusion as I  mention is witnessing the Crips initiate go down from one uppercut from the bouncer. Which you always state try a sports technique on a criminal and you're in for a rude awakening (even if no weapons are involved).

Now the serious question.  From a purely physical point of view, can you train without actually sparring or hardening your shins, fists,etc by maiming yourself by hitting trees or getting hit 100 times by a bat to endure sport style blow? One of the reasons MT fighters are so tough is they frequently kicks trees and traditional karate fighters hit hard wooden poles to strengthen their fists.

However most hardasses in the West don't train that way and although they have experience, most don't train 12 hours  a day like pro MT fighters do. So I am curious if its attainable without having to go to a specialize traditional MA regime? You yourself admit even though you were in good shape in your youth, you weren't exactly spending entire days sparring in the dojo or hitting your legs with baseball bats to harden them. Yet you were able to endure even pro-level MA style blows in your anecdotes. Assuming you lack the means to spar and access to traditional methods, how do you hardasses develop the mindset and physical endurance to last professional fighters' sports blow?

Look you're rapidly moving into: Who would in a fight, the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus?

The most accurate answer is "It depends."

I have a standard I tell non-professionals to work for. "Train to handle the average asshole."

Don't worry about being able to drop a gangmember, because odds are he'll shoot your ass instead. Besides, really most gangbangers aren't in that good of shape anyway -- that's part of why they use tools.

Another part goes back to an old saying of mine "Where I'm from we used empty hands to beat women, children and punks. When we were serious, we reached for a weapon. See empty handed fighting is something that you do inhouse, among people of your peer group. If the dude is an outsider, completely different rules apply.

The average asshole is a term I coined for your run of the mill, drunk, pissed off construction worker you'll run into in a bar. His profession of manual labor not only keeps him in shape, but it builds pain and hardship tolerance. You think getting kicked by a muay Thai fighter hurts? Try getting slammed when a load shifts. Thing is, unless something is broken, they're expected to just get up and keep on going. Which they do.

This is a guy who through just toughness and the pain numbing effect of booze can take a whole lot more than most martial arts. Give him good reason to be committed to get you and you can bust his nose and he'll keep on coming. But he ain't nuthin' special, he's just a pissed off, buzzed construction worker.

My ability to take hits back in the day was as much that as my psychological make up. I'm kind of like a wolverine. You hurt me and I'll chew my way up you hit me with.

My saying of "Pain and emotion are motivational messages. When we feel them, we feel we have to react."

Well a lot of people when they feel pain, react by backing off. Others, react by coming at you.  

Now the bad news, while in the general population these counter attackers are rare, in circles where physical violence is common, they're a LOT more common. But you won't know what the guy is until you hit him and he either folds or lunges for your throat.

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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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