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Self Defense/Question about comparing how "terrifying" the different RoE


There is a thing thats been bugging me in the historical community lately.  Namely about narrative. For years we always hear statements about how motherfucking tough guys Spartans, Samurais, knights, Roman legions, and other legendary elites of the past. Indeed go to an internet forum and you'll frequently read about how tough the Band of Thebes were and how even modern military special forces like the SAS have such an easy training regiment in comparison that their best units won't last a single day in the Spartan military lifestyle. Even professional historians have been praising how these legends such as the Mongols live a lifestyle much harsher and fight in wars far more brutal than what current soldiers are accustomed to.

However quite recently the narratives been slowly changing. These two links sum up the new narrative thats being accepted. BE SURE TO READ EVERY LINK because they are all necessary car parts.

Indeed the as the linked posts above shows (especially by the user Caldrail), there is a recently created narrative that modern warfare using guns and explosives is far more terrifying than fighting someone trying to cut you with a sword. To go with that, the new narrative even states that you're more likely to get PTSD in modern firefights than from someone slicing you're body apart with a  bayonet. Not just by internet posters but even professional historians are stating that World War 1 was unique in that its the first war where loud explosions were a daily occurrence and its precisely because of the continuously loud nature of WWI why PTSD became such a wide scale occurrence, far larger than any other war in history prior.

However you wrote in your books that fending off a knife attack is one of the most terrifying things you can experience. You imply as though there is something unique about someone truly skilled with a knife that other "rules of engagement" and forms of violence lack. Despite your experience facing guns (especially in your teen years), you mentioned how in a few flight situations that involved unarmed angry groups (as in they expect to beat you up with their fists) you were terrified for your life as you ran.

So I am curious about all this talk. Even the RBSD world frequently argue about whether facing a knife or facing a gun is more terrifying.

First off, about that 'debate,' fuck feelings.

When you're in the process of trying to stay alive. Emotions are either a help or a hindrance. They either will help you stay alive, or they will get in the way and get you killed. It's how you use them. Do you use them as motivation (to power your actions?) or do they get in your way?

The fact that people are arguing over it means they are engaging in mental masturbation, NOT a legitimate discussion about anything relevant.

Some years ago a friend of mine was in Europe -- but camping on a small island --with a mixed group of Swedes and Americans. Word came through that a big ass storm was coming. His observation was that the Swedish women immediately started working to batten down the hatches. (The Swedish men and -- after a moment-- American men joined them.) However the American women stood there and -- as my friend described it -- had to decide how they felt about it.

Two points about this. First, the storm doesn't give a shit about your feelings. You gotta do what you gotta do, to survive it. The ohshitohshitohshit emotion gives you the turbo-boost to do what you gotta do.

Second, by mentally masturbating (about your feelings) instead of pitching in, the hard work gets done by others. In a 'civilized' society this is tolerated (if not encouraged)so the strategy works.

In dangerous circumstances, you do what you gotta do to survive. If you can't get past emotions (or if your emotions hinder you from achieving this) then you die. It's a simple as that.

Now the question is how close or far has your conditioning put you to being able to do this?

People in times past were conditioned -- by life in general -- to be closer to this point. Okay great, maybe that made them more 'bad ass' on an individual level.

But the individual doesn't count for shit in matters military. Better technology, team work, etc. make for a more  effective fighting force. 1200 -- including 300 Spartans -- stood against 10,000 Persians at Thermopylae. Bad ass right? Well a platoon of modern soldiers would walk through them in about 10 minutes.

So how bad assed they were doesn't mean anything.

Don't waste my time about other people's debates over meaningless questions

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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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