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Self Defense/Is this a good way to train for knife defense/survival?



I have no real experience with weapons,but I can't help but think this drill is pure genius. The only thing I can think of to make it even better is to put the knife attacker in a bulletman suit so as to allow the students to truly go full contact without worry.

However,you're the weapons expert here and I'm not so I come here to ask what you think of this.

ANSWER: Sorry for the delay answering you the wife has been sick.

Short answer is FUCK NO!

Three things have to be put on the table before the longer answer makes sense.

Number one, is core mechanics have to be ingrained first. AND I DO MEAN ingrained. The physical component of driving -- what I call skillsets --only consists of three things steering, accelerating and braking. It's how you combine them given the circumstances that is the skill of driving. For example: What do you do when a car changes lanes in front of you? The answer is it depends on the circumstances. The art of driving is the ability to predict those developing circumstances and react/adjust before the situation manifests. What you don't realize these are incredibily complex assessment, identifications and problem solving BEFORE your reaction. In fact, before you're even consciously aware of it. ALL of this happens on a level of your brain that is not conscious.

That's the whole of driving. But let's look at the skill sets. For simplicity sake we're going focus on braking. When you are first learning to drive you tend to hit the brakes too hard and throw everyone in the car forward. This is because you haven't learned threshold braking. That is to say subtly adjusting the pressure on the brake to meet the speed of the car and the distance you have to stop in. As the car slows you adjust so as not to fly forward. This is amazingly complex ability to judge speed and the pressure you're applying -- that again takes place on an unconscious level. But you do it without 'thinking' about it.

That being able to EFFECTIVELY and APPROPRIATELY react without thinking about it is what ingraining is about. You can't afford to be having to think about creating good mechanics (not technique, good mechanics). At the same time, if you don't have good mechanics, you're just going to flail like most the people in the video were doing.

Techniques are supposed to be ways to manifest good mechanics, but unfortunately these days too much of what is taught makes them hollow. What I was watching in those videos was a lot of flailing with people who knew techniques but hadn't ingrained the mechanics. That shit will get you killed facing a blade.

The second thing that will get them killed is they were sparring.

I tell people about knives is the most important decision in your life is "DO I have to engage?"  The answer to that question is -- literally -- life or death. If the answer is 'no' you have time to run like hell. Here's a hint, if you have time to ask it, the answer is haul ass.

See MOST knife use is a threat. Whether it's a mugging or you two are in a dick measuring contest. You and he are facing each other making noise and trying to scare each other off by showing how big bad and dangerous you are and why he should back off. (Rory Miller calls this the "Monkey Dance" -- and when we're in it, we're real stupid, real predictable and trying to 'win.') In this context, pulling a knife clearly demonstrates that his dick is bigger and you need to back off.  THAT'S what he wants. You to get the fuck out of there. That's a win in the monkey dance.

NOTICE, that while there was a degree of retreating going on EVERYONE tried to stay there and 'fight.'A type of social violence. (Google Rory Miller, social and asocial violence.)That is a continuation of monkey dancing.

And it will get you fuckin' killed when facing a blade. The presence of a weapon is a game changer. It is no longer a monkey dance. You either haul ass out of there with complete commitment or -- if you have to engage -- you kill him.

By that, I mean he's dead on the ground in the next three seconds and you're heading to the hospital.No dancing around and sparring, no wild flailing, his brains are on the concrete and you've been cut. You can survive a single cut. That's why he has to be taken out so fast. If not, then by staying you're trying to fight a weedwhacker.

Problem number three: Knifers don't attack unarmed people like they do armed people.

The attack methodology  the attacker was using is straight out of 'dueling systems.' By that I mean in situations where two people are both armed and fighting over 'honor' they HAVE to respect the damage that the other guy can inflict. So you 'hang back' and do pokes and slashes to injure limbs, 'defang the snake' and make it so the opponent can't injure you when you close.

HUGE amount of what is taught as 'knife defense' comes from this mentality and -- while it works for those circumstances -- it doesn't work against the full on berserk attack that comes from someone who is intent on killing you when he is the only one with a weapon.

Against that kind of attack, you need either to run like hell OR mechanics that can work against such force.If you don't he'll blow through your defenses.

Watch that video again and ask yourself with each of those people "what would have happened if the guy with the taser had done a running charge?"

Now the longer answer. The guy doing the video was talking about all these buzzwords and how effective people were, but they were doing the stupid by not running like hell. (This is common monkey dance behavior) and he wasn't coming in hard and fast. Which had he been using the taser like a knife is used to kill someone, he would have been shocking himself too -- anyone touching the tased person gets shocked too. Usually people killing someone with a knife hangs on so the person can't run.

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

QUESTION: Man,I was completely unaware of those problems you mentioned. I was really hoping the stun gun drill was the most realistic safe way to replicate a knife attack,but I suppose the rubber knife/marker drill is still the way to go.

I asked about weapons because 2 relatives of mine recently experienced being mugged with a knife. thankfully both go out unscathed. 1 did the smart thing and gave the muggers what they were after,the other did the opposite. the only reason he lived was because he was able to run away on time after he threw his drink(that he being mugged for)on the knifer's face.

I never really thought much about it until now,as all my previous fights were school altercations where weapons weren't really something to worry about. If you knew MMA,you'd probably beat the hell out of almost any school bully you come across(as long as you keep your fights inside school premises). but on the street,weapons are now an issue and MMA just doesn't have an answer for that.

Is there any source of free information you know regarding physical self-defense against weapons? Running away,being street smart,and not giving people a reason to hate you are definitely good to know,but when it comes to reliable physical techniques against weapons,I know almost nothing. I can't really figure out how to defend against this:
(I believe this is the "prison yard rush")

ANSWER: I'm going to start with a weird difference between social violence and asocial violence (specifically process predation/muggings) To understand it realize that in a supermajority of cases, VIOLENCE COMES WITH INSTRUCTIONS HOW TO AVOID IT.  Whether it is "Shut up or I will kick your ass" (social) or "Give me your money (asocial). Once again  -- overwhelmingly -- the instructions are legit. IF you do the ordered response, physical violence won't happen.

(While there is a slight chance of it happening anyway, that indicates it's process predation [a type of asocial -- where violence IS the goal]. MOST of the time if you look at the situations where things still go wrong is that the person who gets attacked either talks shit [for example AS he is leaving], takes too long to comply or some combo.)

Cutting away all the extraneous stuff there is a VERY important difference between the order of social violence and robberies.

Social violence
In a conflict situation 1) Instructions to avoid 2)  rejection of orders  3) attack
This can almost be turned into a formula "Instructions to avoid + rejection of orders = attack"

Robberies however work differently
1)Pretext of innocence while approaching. 2) drawing the weapon 3) beginning an attack. 4) STOPPING 5) Orders to avoid the attack being finished. 6) From there, a) if compliance, attack isn't finished and attacker leaves. b)if insufficient resistance attacker continues attack and either runs or robs and runs.

Your family members were safe because in the first case they complied, in the second case the resistance (when combined with running) was sufficient. (For that instance) However, what I am willing to bet on is that your family member who threw the drink, saw the guy approaching and knew he was 'trouble' before he even got close. This created a mental shift that allowed him to act quickly. (People without experience overwhelmingly can't react fast enough if caught off guard.)

A knife is a close range weapon. Beyond six inches of his closed fist, it can't hurt you.

Your goal, your ONLY goal, is not to allow him to develop that range. Anything is going to get you killed.

There is nothing 'free' out there that will teach you how to handle a knife attack other than 'don't let him develop the distance.'  In fact, it will put you into more danger because 'bad information' usually results in you not getting out of there in time because you THINK you know how to handle it.

No you don't.

Set your ego aside and learn how to spot trouble coming and get the hell out of there before it reaches you. That is the safest, most effective, free, information out there. Other options can get you killed against how knives are used.

There is a saying from "Watership Downs" speaking about rabbits. "All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a 1,000 enemies. If they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you."

Learn it. Live it.

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

QUESTION: Does "revenge attempts" fall under process predation? It sounds like predatorial violence. Anyway,yes. The majority of people who got attacked despite compliance were often people who couldn't resist disrespecting the attacker/"getting the last lick in". I've witnessed it a lot back in my younger days(and well,I myself have attacked people who behaved that way towards me in the past...but that's another story)

Well,I believe you do speak about how to avoid being robbed on your website. I haven't checked them out yet(the ones I did read about were mainly about martial arts and street fighting...all relating to social violence)but I'll do so now.

However,there is an idea that has crossed my mind. Are dogs effective deterrents against muggers? Usually dogs are used as home protectors,but what about when you are walking around fringe areas?

Although the reasons for revenge are often personal, it's social. Primarily because the person is doing it to regain lost face.

The problem with your dog question is that you're looking for one thing that works for everything. There isn't such a thing. Yes dogs will keep many would be muggers away, but there are always some who will act no matter what you do. It's the nature of the problem, there are no guaranteed answers

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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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