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Hollywood Macho vs. Real Life
How NOT To Get Shot
Is It REALLY about SD?
Kinds of Violence
Krav Maga
Manufactured Tough
Monkey Brain
Pro vs. Amateur Knifers
Provoking An Attack
REAL fighting = Bullshit
Real Life Street Monsters
Realities of Street Violence Repercussions
Sanity in RBSD
Stigmatization of Violence
Tough Enough?
Technique vs. Attitde
Traditional MA vs. Real Fights
Training Won't Fix Your Life
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Some of the authors listed in the other column also write fiction. In many ways it's easier to learn application of this information in that context.

Heart Transplant
Andrew Vachss
Graphic Novel / Fiction

Pain Management
Andrew Vachss
Burke / Fiction

Clean Kill in Toyoko
Barry Eisler

Drawing Dead
Andrew Vachss
Cross / Fiction


Ripping, Poking, Pressing Vital Targets
Loren Christensen DVD
(Streetfighting, cops)

Effortless Combat Throws
Tim Cartmell
(MA, SD, law enforcement)

Hard Won Wisdom...
Alain Burrese
(SD, street, mindset)

Kill as Catch Can
Ned Beaumont
(Street grappling/wrestling)

Training Sudden Violence
Rory Miller DVD
(Training drills/physical)

Evil, Violence & Cruelty

Freedom from Fear
Peyton Quinn
(Psychology, overcoming abuse )

How do you teach reality to people
that only think they want it?
         Rory Miller

Street fighting

On this page:
Lies about 'street fighting' *| Where I am coming from | What's wrong with most self-defense training *| Realities of fighting, etc. | Alpha/Beta Behavior | Attracting Bullies *| Brutal reality vs. macho myth | Do I have what it takes? | Fantasy self-defense *| Is (Fill in blank) good for self-defense? | Is It REALLY About Self-Defense? * | Kinds of Violence | Legal repercussions | Leprosy of being 'tough' | Monkey Brain | Pro vs. Amateur Knifers | Provoking An Attack * | REAL fighting | Reality Based Combat Cults | Realities of streetfighting | Repercussions | Respect | Sanity | Self-defense pirates | Still want to be a streetfighter? | Teach you how to be tough? | Technique | 'Traditional' martial arts vs. 'real' fighting | What do you want from this training? *| What does being tough mean? | Violence Comes in Different Flavors | Why I don't teach streetfighting

It ain't no fantasy out there, Stud.

If you wonder "Will what I know will work in a streetfight?" then the answer is "no." Life on the Street is a short, brutal nasty. It's a way of living that usually ends up with the so-called "streetfighter" being a corpse in an alley. And that is what happens to people who spent their entire lives being violent.

Consider them ... 'professionals.' That is to say not only are their entire lives dedicated to it, but crime and violence is how they make their living. They're way better at it than you -- and even they die like flies.

Wanna guess what the chances of survival of someone has who goes to a training hall once or twice a week (and seminars on weekends) when he finds himself facing a dangerous and violent street rat?

Lies about 'street fighting'
"You can win a streetfight" is a common lie told to students of 'ultimate fighting systems.' But here's where it gets...tricky. The reason it's a lie isn't that the training doesn't 'work.' It's a lie because what is being taught is over-sold beyond where it does work.

Wait, but if it works...

About that. Let me start to explain by saying this: The lie is based on deliberately ignoring how violence happens. Not just in the streets, but pretty much everywhere. There are many types and levels of violence, typically this kind of training only focuses on one type. I'll tell you straight up, for that one type it works. This kind of training increases you chance of 'winning' in this sort of situation.

Yay! That means it's good! Right?

Well except for one thing. Let's for the sake of example say there are 20 different types of violence you can run into 'in the street.' That training covers one, but your ass is hanging out for the other 19. Do the math. 19 to 1 are not good odds.

Here's the lie, 'by training in this bad assed system' you can handle anything. Well, anything if it's that one type...and if the guy is alone...and isn't too big...and you have time to get your head in the game... and if he doesn't have a weapon...and if he doesn't...

When you've only been shown one thing, it's easy to believe it's everything -- especially when that's what you want to believe. But also realize the credibility of the lie is you have seen it work --in training. Also, again in training, you're being told it works for everything. You haven't seen where it doesn't work.

Or worse -- and way more fuckin' common -- the instructor has come up with some cock-a-mammy 'technique' that supposedly addresses the problem. Like you know grappling techniques to defend against a bunch of people kicking you when you're down, defending against a knife while empty handed, and my personal fave, gun disarms. Yep, with this superstud training you can handle it all...

Unless the guy walks up from behind you and puts a bullet in your brain. But of course, I'm sure some stud instructor has come up with a guaranteed technique for that too.

The danger to you isn't from what you know not working in the right situation. The danger is from believing that it works for every situation. Not a good attitude to have when dealing with people for whom violence -- in its many forms -- is a part of life.

There's another lie out there. That's "There are no rules in a street fight."

This is complete and utter horseshit. There are all kinds of rules out in the streets. You just don't know them. They are strange and different than those of the middle class. (But, and this is what most people miss, they make sense given that environment.) These rules are also fewer in number. There's way less micromanagement in the street over every detail of life. Conversely breaking the few rules there are calls down savage and fast punishment. Often to the point of hospitalization or death. So, fewer rules, but more strictly enforced. Got it?

Also, it's not that there's no warning. Although it can be assumed if you're in that environment you know better (and if you break the rules it's assumed you did it maliciously and deliberately), there usually are warnings. Like a super majority of the time. Oh and while we're on the subject, the deal they are offering is legitimate. For example, the offer to leave (or there will be violence).

If you can resist the urge of talking shit as you leave, odds are good you can leave safely. It's that not talking shit that so many people have a problem with -- especially the ones who say "But what if he follows me?" (Hint: Odds are good the reason he's following you is because what you just had to say as you were leaving.)

What catches people not from that that environment off guard is the speed physical violence follows you not listening to the warning.

That's not the same as no rules. The closest there is to no rules in the streets are addicts. Who'd rip off their own mothers (and often do). Even then though, others set and enforce the rules for the addicts -- often with brutal and bloody results. These aren't 'fights.' if the addict is lucky all it is is a beating. Just so you know, beat downs and stompings are far more common in the streets, than 'fights.'

Being a streetfighter isn't about swaggering into a local blue-collar watering hole and eyeballing a bunch of working Joes (most of whom had a hard day at work and just want to drink their beer). It definitely isn't about punching out one of those guys who takes umbrage at your rude behavior. But that's what so many Internet warriors are training for.

Trying that behavior will get you hospitalized, if not killed, by someone from the streets. See one set of rules you don't know is when weapons will be used and when they won't. The "streets" have rules, just like any other place where human beings get together and interact. And you break or ignore these rules at your own peril. Unlike in civilized circles, here people take matters into their own hands.

What wannabe tough guys and so-called "street fighting experts" don't want to accept is that prowess in fighting has very little to do with street violence. The kind of violence typical among street folks is a complete different ball game. As different as the rules of the street. Breaking those rules is the fastest and best way to get your brains blown into a fine pink mist. That's because the guys who will kill you for breaking those rules aren't interested in fighting and they won't give you a chance to prove how good you are at it.

In their little fantasy clouded minds wanna-be tough guys think training to fight with a construction worker in a bar is the same as being the able to survive against the kind of monsters that prowl the streets(1). Monsters that even street rats steer clear of. These martial arts studs have no clue that violence comes in many different flavors and levels -- each calling for some other response than what their training prepares them for.

That's where we run into another common lie about this subject, that is, "We train to cheat."

Ya know what? It's easy to 'win' at a game when you're the only one cheating. It's a lot more complicated when everyone else is cheating too -- including multiples working against you. So here's a question about your cheating training. "Does it teach you how to counter other types of cheating? You know, like the guy who pulls a knife when you're doing your bad assed ground and pound? (I ask because I worked a 'murder case' like that.)

Survival on the street is about a whole lot more than physical prowess or fighting skills. People who live with constant violence are cunning, vicious, dangerous and most importantly, they cheat. They don't want to "fight" you, in fact, they'd prefer to either shoot you or bust a bottle over your head from behind. You don't 'fight' empty handed ... in that world, empty hands are used to beat your women. If the guy's a threat you reach for a weapon. If he's a serious threat, you shoot him in the back.

You feeling less confident? Good. If you aren't seriously concerned, you don't understand the danger. Caution keeps you sharp. In this business over confidence will get your ass killed.

On the plus side, street people usually reserve their worst shit for each other. Individually they may not fear you, but while they don't fear the cops so much these days, they have a legitimate concern about the heat the cops can bring down on them for hurting civilians. I tell you that because most of the time they'll leave you alone and stay in their own areas. Where you're going to run into trouble is when you go into their area trying to show how big your dick is.

Where I am coming from
Louis L'amour once said, "Adventure ain't nothing but a romantic name for trouble. It's great reading about in the comfort of you arm chair, but it's pure hell when it comes at you in a dark and lonely place."

He's right I've walked out of those dark and lonely places and I've buried a lot of friends who didn't make it. Some of them who were better at violence than me. So don't expect me to blow sunshine and smoke up your ass about making you into a great street fighter.

What's Wrong With Most Self-Defense Training?
On this link I blast a supermajority of self-defense training. I give you examples of why so much of the training is going to result with you either dead or getting raped in the prison showers. Now the bad news, take those problems with SD training and multiply it and you have an idea about the problems with what is being taught as 'street fighting.'

Kinds of Violence
Despite all their talk about how dangerous street violence is most people in the RBSD/martial arts world don't have a clue about how or why violence happens. I'm not just talking about 'on the street,' I'm talking pretty much not understanding the entire subject of violence.

In fact, the who ones who natter on the loudest about the 'realities of street fighting' are generally talking about a high school fight on steroids. Before you even think of unleashing your deadly fighting system on someone you might want to learn about the kinds of violence -- and why assuming any incident is a matter of life or death will get you in trouble.

Realities of street fighting, violence and life in the streets
Most of the people who claim to be able to tell you about what's involved in real violence or street fights are like virgins trying to convince you they know everything there is to know about sex because they watch a lot of porn. These guys have no clue what life on the street is like, much less how people from that hellhole fight.

REAL Fighting
The term "real fight" has become endemic in MA/SD/RBSD circles. It is bandied around as both as a badge of honor ("we train for real fighting"), a mythical ideal ("In a real fight, I'd...") and as boogey man ("That wouldn't work in a real fight"). Fact is, there is no term that makes me want to reach for the puke bucket faster than 'a real fight.' It is an idiotic misconception that has been marketed so fiercely that the lie has been accepted as the truth. Take a look at why real fighting isn't real.

One of the most bandied about and yet most poorly understood words when it comes to this subject is respect. It's not what you think it is and it isn't coming from a very smart place.

'Traditional' martial arts vs. "REAL fighting"
I have a serious problem with the argument over traditional martial arts vs. real fighting. It's subset of "what works in a real street fight?" Be warned, this page BBQs the "sacred cows" of both camps.

Is (Fill in ultimate fighting style) good for self-defense?
Before you even ask this question you had better know some realities about the bullshit terms and ideas that are being peddled out there regarding fighting. And what kind of trouble all these "ultimate fighting systems" will get you into if you don't use your head for something other than a punching bag. If you don't know a few fundamental differences you'll end up dead, crippled, sued or in prison.

Is It REALLY About Self-Defense?
A lot of people get into so-called self-defense training for reasons that have nothing to do with actual self-defense. On the Is It REALLY about SD? page we take a hard look at an elephant in room that people don't want to admit to.

Brutal reality vs. macho myth
Start by accepting the fact, that at least 50 percent of the people who engage in fighting lose. The savage truth is that you are not going to be fighting someone who will fold in shock and pain from your super-secret-kung-fu -dim-mak-death strike. He's been hit and hurt before and knows how to still keep on functioning. What's more, you'll be fighting someone with something up his sleeve that will cause you serious damage if he uses it and he does know how to use it.

Do I have what it takes? There is always the concern: Do I have what it takes? In the middle of a shitstorm is the last place you want to find the answer is no.

Attracting bullies' attention Have you ever wondered why bullies pick on some people but ignore others? There is an entire complex set of behaviors and signals that are going back and forth. Unfortunately, many people who think that they are showing the bully why the bully should leave them alone are sending an entirely different message. A message that instead of warning him away, attracts the bully over to get in your face.

Professional vs. Amateur Knifers
What are the difference 'ways' you will be attacked with a knife? Clearing up an unfortunate choice of words about how a 'professional' and an 'amateur' will attack you with a knife.

Fantasy self-defense
There is a great tendency for instructors of the martial arts to promote themselves as competent to teach self-defense. Find out why that is not necessarily true and why you are risking your life if you accept what they are saying without carefully looking into the subject beyond their simplistic fantasies about self-defense.

Legal realities
Contrary to what many ultra-studly martial artists tell you, a fight doesn't end when the body hits the floor. That isn't true with self-defense, and it definitely isn't true if you were involved in starting the fight in the first place. You will be facing police, legal repercussions and probably jail.

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Monkey Brain
We humans have -- as a default setting -- primate behaviors guiding our actions in conflict. While these patterns are not inescapable, if you don't know about how your brain is wired your monkey brain is going to be driving the bus. And monkeys make bad drivers.

Being tough = having leprosy
Contrary to what many young and inexperienced people might think -- being "tough" doesn't solve your self-confidence problems, make you feel better about yourself, impress people, make you more popular, prevent you from being picked on or get you laid more often. In fact, it tends to do just the opposite. Instead of lessening your problems, it makes them worse. It makes you more of a social outcast. And on top of that, you also have people trying to kill you.

Realities of streetfighting
It isn't glamorous. It isn't fun. And if you put yourself into situations where you are having to face real streetfighters, it means you are being an asshole yourself. That's right -- to be a streetfighter, you have to become the very thing you hate.

Repercussions of "Winning"
Contrary to what you may think a fight doesn't end with a body hitting the floor. That's usually only the beginning of the repercussions your victory will bring you.

So you still want to be a streetfighter?
Ted Truscott, "The Fighting Old Man," has an excellent Web page about some of the other "realities." This is especially important for anybody who still thinks that being wild child or a streetfighter is a good idea.

Teach you to be tough?
Unfortunately, there are many martial artists who -- for lots of money -- claim to be able to teach you how to be an undefeatable, toughman, streetfighter. The simple truth is most of these programs are just glorified martial sports programs. That is if they aren't a cult.

What does it mean to be tough?
The idea that the martial arts can make you tough is erroneous. Being tough isn't about fighting. It is about being able to handle whatever life throws at you and keep on going. And what life is going to throw at you will be far worse than an imagined bad guy.

Pirates and training
Unfortunately much of the information that you will receive from most people claiming to be able to teach you how to street fight, has been pirated. That is to say it has been lifted from somewhere else, not entirely understood and then repackaged and sold to you as the TRUTH(tm) about street fighting. It will get you killed. Learn how to spot pirates before you become a victim of them.

What do you want from this training?
If you have a hole inside of yourself, this kind of training won't fill it. If you are thinking that by learning how to be an ultimate bad ass street fighter will cure you of low self-esteem, fear or the belief of your cowardice you're not only going to be sorely disappointed, but you're going to waste a lot of money too. Let's take a look at what this kind of training doesn't solve.

Reality Based Combat Cults
Although cults in the martial art world are bad, they abound among the streetfighting crowd. These cults offer the promise of the ultimate fighting system, training you to be a street warrior, WWII Close Quarter Combat secrets to use in the street and countless other fantasies to entrance the dissatisfied spirit into their grasp. Cults have some very specific ways of doing business. Compare a group's behavior against these danger signs.

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Too many "reality based self-defense" advocates (read guys who touch themselves while watching Roadhouse) sneer at technique. They insist what is important is ferocity and physical conditioning. This is like bragging on what a great racecar driver you are when you don't even have a car -- much less a racing car. They have no idea how ridiculous they look standing there holding a skateboard claiming to be race car drivers. It's time to take a long hard look at what you think a technique is. What does a technique do, what doesn't it do? And why bad technique will set you up for a failure that no amount of attitude will save you from.

Why I don't teach street fighting
One of the more common charges against me by people who's fantasies I have fouled with this information is that I am secretly saying "come study my ultimate street fighting system." Once they assign this ulterior motive to me they dismiss anything that doesn't sit well with their cute little dreams of becoming an ultimate street warrior. The fact is I don't make my money by running an internationally franchised street fighting program. I make my living writing, selling books/DVDs (my own and other people who I respect), lecturing on crime avoidance and doing expert witness work in court cases involving self-defense, multiple attackers and knives. There is no Ultimate Animal Street Fighting system lurking in the shadows. So I'm not tearing others down to sell myself and my fighting style. I'm pointing out legitimate problems with what is being taught; problems that will get you killed. While I do teach and occasionally travel, I don't teach people how to be a street fighter. (Oh and another reason I travel is to testify for people who've gotten their asses in legal jams for using their training.) Basically I teach them how to survive against . street fighters and attackers.

Alpha/Beta Behavior
There is a fantasy among wanna-be streetfighters, that some ultimate fighting system will make them an ALPHA MALE! The problem is most people really haven't thought about what being an alpha really is. So instead of: 1) coming across as an alpha, you're going to look like a macho parody 2) the situation de-escalating, you're going to escalate it.

Getting Attacked 101
Believe it or not there is a list of things you can do to get attacked. Unfortunately, in trying to establish control and dominance over a situation or trying to show that you aren't afraid most people run down the check list of ways to provoke an attack and do them all. Then they wonder why they were attacked.

Let me put this bluntly, the MA/SD/RBSD/WSD/Streetfighting/DT/knife fighting/ combatives 'world' attracts some fruit loops. And by this I don't mean "Man, that dude is crazy" I mean "We the jury find ..." insane. Before you stake your life on someone's information, make sure he isn't a Barking Moon Bat with a rich fantasy life when he's off his meds.

Violence Comes in Different Flavors
Many people don't know what 'self-defense' is because they don't understand there are different kinds of violence. Not only do different kinds of violence have different goals, but your actions have significant influence on whether or not the situation goes physical. If you blindly react to any threat as though it demands you to unleash your self-defense training you are seriously increasing the chances of the situation escalating into the most dangerous kind of violence -- an event you may not survive.

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#1) What being a 'streetfighter' is mostly about is 'wait for you in the shadows with a shotgun,' the rest is knowing how to survive when you have failed at the first part. What that usually means is spending a lot of time going back and forth between hiding from people hunting you and being the guy waiting in the shadows for them. That's why all this macho, hand to hand "combative" and mixed martial arts training is bullshit. It's a sport. If it has any live-fire application, it's teaching you how to be a barroom brawler in the local waterin' hole. It's not preparing you for the caliber of violence you will find on the "street" ... even though they claim it is. Return to Text

In the Name of Self-Defense
Marc MacYoung
(Violence, crime & aftermath)

Criminal Personality
Stanton Samenow
(Behavior, mindset)

Meditations on Violence
Rory Miller
(Difference between MA and actual violence)

Complete Idiot
(Boundary setting)

Violence, Blunders...
Marc MacYoung
(Street, culture, psychology)

Little Black Book of Violence
L.Kane/ K.Wilder
(Intro to young men about violence)

Hostile Ground
Ed Lewis
(Street, violence, de-escalation)

FTW Self- Defense
Clint Jahn
(Street culture, self-defense)

Anger Management
For Dummies

Bouncer's guide to Ballroom Brawling
Peyton Quinn
(SD, street, bouncing)

Pain Resistant Attacker
Loren Christensen
(SD training/cop)

Cheap Shots, Ambushes...
Marc MacYoung
(Street, self-defense)

Facing Violence
Rory Miller
(Sequel to Meditations flaws in training)

Hidden Rules of Class
Ruby Payne
(Socio-economic mindsets)

Effortless Combat Throws
Tim Cartmell
(MA, SD, law enforcement)

Street Smart
(Firearms, crime, safety)

Writing Violence:
Marc MacYoung e-book
(Defensive action and failure)

Explosive People
Albert Bernstien

Low Kicks
Fred Hutchinson
(Street, SD)

Taking It To The Streets
Marc MacYoung
(MA, SD, street)

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