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In This Hub:
An Intro to Self-Defense
Anger and Self-Defense
Assertive or Aggressive?
Are Martial Arts Self Defense?
Attack Range
Best Self-Defense Weapon
Crime ISN'T a Fight
Economy & Stress Violence
Finding Good SD Training
Five Stages of Crime
How NOT To Get Shot
How To Get Attacked
Kinds of Violence
Legalities of SD
Mental Preparation
Nature of Violence
Normal, Abnormal, or  Dangerous?*
Personal Safety Pyramid*
Physical Training*
Pride, Self-Defense & Fighting
Problem Neighbors
Repercussions of Violence
SD and You
SD ISN'T Cut and Dried
Self-Esteem and SD
What's Wrong w/SD
Violence Geeks Blog
What's With the *?
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Campfire Tales from Hell
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Beyond the Picket Fence
MacYoung, et al
(Social skills for survival)

What's your definition of self-defense?
Seriously, how do you define that term?
(Reading from the State's penal code)
If your personal definition doesn't match
what I just read, then you're going to be arrested
and convicted for "defending yourself." 
That's because what you did wasn't self-defense.
Maybe you weren't hurt, but it wasn't self-defense.
                Marc MacYoung

Self Defense

On this page:
Self-Defense pool *| Pyramid of Personal Safety (If you're new to the idea of self-defense)* |What's wrong with most SD training| Are martial arts self-defense? *| An intro to self-defense *| Why 'self-defense' isn't cut & dried *| A violent crime is NOT a fight * | Attack range | Five Stages of Violent Crime* | Anger putting you in danger? | Assertiveness vs. aggressiveness | Economy & stress violence | Fighting is NOT self-defense *| Home invasion*| How NOT to get shot * | How to get attacked * | Knowing and protecting your boundaries | Legal * | Mental preparation | Normal, Abnormal, or Dangerous?* | Pride, self-defense & fighting* | Problem neighbors Repercussions | SD training is NOT about fixing your self-esteem| Thoughts on the nature of violence | Training for self-defense * | Violence comes in different flavors | Violence Geeks Violence NEVER solved anything ... | What does self-defense mean to you? | What needs to be in self-defense training?

Let's start with what we're not going to do. We're not here to sell you our

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That's because we don't have one. The reason we don't have one is there is no such thing.

We're here to introduce you to the factors you need to consider to ensure your personal safety. With that in mind, we need to start with an important paradigm shift: Self-defense is about what you do.

That is a simple, but profound concept. One of the few worthy of being called a "paradigm shift." It's not what some system does for you. It's not some item that does everything for you. It's not a carte blanche to rain hell on someone. It's not about your fear, pride or anger. It's especially not about what you think self-defense is.

Self-defense is proportional actions you do to prevent physical harm from happening to you -- even if it means physically injuring someone else. That's it. As you'll soon see, that word 'proportional' is the tricky part. Real tricky. If we want to expand the subject (as many people want to) we can include the many things you can do to ensure your safety that are not physically injurious to someone else -- including not putting yourself into such circumstances and even running fiercely. That's it. That's the maximum range and nothing more. But even with those limited standards self-defense is a massively complex subject

Why? Remember the word 'proportional'? It's got a legal concept of "reasonably believes" attached to it. To use an old clich?about Mafia murders, 'reasonably believes' is like your feet in a bucket of cement before being dropped into the ocean. When, instead of the law's definition people act to their personal definition of self-defense, they buy a bag of cement, mix it up, put their feet in, let it dry and hop to the river and jump in. All on their very own. Oh wait, I'm sorry they do have help. Often their self-defense instructor sells them the cement, helps them mix it and carries them to the river. Yes, it's that bad. And that's assuming that the training works.

Which is an awfully big assumption.

While we're on the subject, self-defense training isn't therapy. Nor is it some psychological aid to build your self-esteem. We're not here to help you empower your dysfunction by using violence. If a situation has gotten to the point of where it is becoming physical, then it's spiraled way out of control ... usually because of emotions. You don't put out a fire by pouring gasoline on it. Which is what programs telling you to 'tap into your anger' for self-defense or promising to make you 'a warrior' are doing. (Those two approaches are very common in women's self-defense and combatives training.)

Nor are we going to give you a bunch of half baked, simplistic advice (like carrying your keys between your fingers). We're not going to tell you to carry specific self-defense equipment -- which we conveniently sell at inflated prices. We're not going to show you martial arts techniques you can use to fight off a mugger (most of those will get you killed anyway). We definitely aren't going to tell you that you have the right to go berserk on someone because you feel threatened and call the resulting carnage 'self-defense.'

If you're looking for these things, you've come to the wrong place. This site is for thinking people. It's to help you assess your danger and figure out what kind of training you need to address your situation.

Self-Defense As A Pool
So how are you going to tell if a type of training is what you need?

Let me give you a visual to help you determine your self-defense needs. Imagine a public pool. It's big. Bigger than even an Olympic sized pool. Now you that you know about such pools is they are shallow on one end and deep in the other. Someone who hasn't ever seen one, wouldn't know this. All that person would see is the surface. A surface that looks the same whether it's two feet deep or twelve.

Working this pool analogy, the shallow end is pretty simple and doesn't require any great skill. With just some basics you'll be fine. The deep end? Well that's a lot more complicated. A lot of fear management issues can be handled at the shallow end. The deep end requires a whole lot more knowledge, skills, and stress inoculation (the ability to think, act and not panic under pressure). Otherwise you're going to drown.

Your circumstances dictate how deep your needs are. That's to say where you are in the pool determines what you're going to do to be safe. That means if you're looking for some general personal safety information because of what might happen, you don't really need that much training. If you're in a high risk profession or something bad is happening, you're heading into deeper water and need to up your game.

This brings us to the problem on the other end of the spectrum. That's someone who really is in a situation that's in the deep end of the pool, but they want a simplistic, kiddie wading-pool, "you just do this and it will all go away" answer. What's worse is how many people when they hear there's no push button answer, get pissed off. Worse they don't want to pay or invest the time and effort it's going to take to clean this mess up. This to the point of choosing courses of action that increase their danger -- because they're mad there's no simple answer.

Now that you know that, know this.

The intent of this hub is to acquaint you with the factors and issues involved in personal defense. The truth is self-defense is a very complex and fluid situation. The reason for this is 'self-defense' extends beyond the physical. What you do before, during and after all determine whether or not it was self-defense. You can get in as much trouble over-defending yourself as you can ineffectively defending yourself.

Your best defense is to look at your lifestyle, figure out what kind of threats you are most likely to face, and implement strategies that reduce the chances of them happening. But before you can make informed decisions, you have to know the risk factors and complications.

This hub will introduce you to these issues. We provide this information so you can make informed decisions about the risks you are most likely to face and tailor your actions to be effective against those threats. You are the one who must first assess the degree of threat you face and then decide what are the appropriate tools that work with your comfort level.

Pyramid of Personal Safety (If you're new to the idea of self-defense)
Physical self-defense is -- at best -- damage control. By taking a multi-layered approach to personal safety you greatly decrease your chances of having to engage in physical violence. We've come up with the Pyramid of Personal Safety to help you.

What's Wrong With Most SD Training?
If knowledge of the law and how our court system works were water, then what most people (including so-called 'self-defense' instructors) know could be flicked in you eye and you'd barely blink. However, with what they don't know you could drown a thunderin' herd of buffalo. Kind of scary when you realize that 'self-defense' is a legal standard, not a personal one. As such, if you over-react with 'defending yourself' you're going to be facing charges. This especially applies to if you were taught to fight instead of defend yourself. But that's not the worst of what's going on with training. There's a lot of dysfunction, emotional baggage, ego, pride, fantasy, bullying and even cruelty going on under what's being called SD training

An Intro To Self-Defense
What IS self-defense? More importantly, what ISN'T self-defense? Where do you cross the line from self-defense into assault? And why is the subject so complicated? On this page, we give a layman's explanation -- not only about what self-defense is, but why it is so easy to cross the line out of self-defense and get yourself arrested.

Why 'Self-Defense' Isn't Cut and Dried
First, do you know the difference between crime and violence? Second do you realize that what is self-defense in one situation, isn't in another? These are examples of why self-defense isn't a simple issue.

What Does Self-Defense Mean to You? Self-defense can mean a lot of different things. To make it even worse, it can mean a lot of different things to different people Before you read any further, let's take a look at what you think self-defense is.

A Violent Crime is NOT a Fight!
While there are many reasons why a situation may escalate to physical violence, someone intent on committing a crime is NOT there to fight you. Therefore attempting to 'fight' him is extremely dangerous.

Attack Range
Do you know how to tell when you're about to be attacked? How about being set up for one? Let's talk about recognizing attack range

Thoughts on the Nature of Violence
What is violence? The answers may surprise you -- especially about you being violent.

Economy and Stress Violence
Whether it is a depression or a recession, crime goes up in economic hard times. but not just how you might think it does. There is a direct link between the economy and stress violence.

Are Martial Arts Self-Defense?
While that is what the school owner will try and tell you, before you sign the contract you might want to consider this.

Fighting is NOT Self-Defense!
There are many reasons to fight. And usually they boil down to either to gain or to preserve something. Often these goals are both subjective and non-physical (you can't put self-esteem into a wheelbarrow). Self-defense is only about the protection of your physical body, not your emotional well being. Many people not realizing this, think they are 'defending' themselves when they are in fact, fighting.

Is Your Anger Putting You in Danger?
Strong emotions are normal during conflict. Unfortunately anger, is the fastest way to provoke an attack from a violent person. Also, it's the easiest way for you to cross the line from self-defense to attacking.

Assertive vs. Aggressive
Like anger, being aggressive can often escalate a situation to physical violence. Whereas being assertive can prevent it. Learn the functional difference between the two and why one will cause and the other will defuse violence.

Before you can enforce your boundaries, you have to know what they are. Unfortunately, in the heat of the moment it is easy to cross the line from being the defender into being an aggressor.

Five Stages of Violent Crime
Crime is a process. It takes time to develop. And once you know what a developing crime looks like you can take steps to prevent it (or articulate in court why what you did was necessary). The Five Stages will show you what to look for.

Home Invasion
The newest page is Home Invasion. Whether it's a robbery, break in rapist, serial killer or you surprised a burglar, strangers in your home are not good.

How NOT to get Shot
There are all kinds of half baked theories about gun disarms, but what is seriously lacking is good solid information on how NOT to get shot when the bullets are flying.

How To Get Attacked
Speaking as a professional who's job it was to tell nasty people "no," we noticed there were people just seemed to be wearing a sign that said "ATTACK ME!" While many will think we're talking about people who project 'victim,' we aren't. The people we're talking about have an innate talent to just piss off violent people. It almost seems like these folks have a checklist of ways to provoke an attack. Believe it or not, there really is a checklist. There are certain behaviors that will get you attacked! This page will help you prevent from running down that list.

Mental Preparation
Believe it or not, stopping an attacker isn't the hardest part of self-defense. Far more insidious is how what you think can interfere with you being able to protect yourself.

Self-defense is a legally defined term. While in different lifestyles the concept of self-defense varies widely, it is this legal standard that your actions will be judged by. Therefore, unless you're not afraid of doing time in prison, it is incumbent on you to meet this legal criteria.

Normal, Abnormal, and Dangerous
A sad reality of self-defense is odds are you're going to end up on the witness stand facing hostile counsel. One of the ways attorneys operate is, like computer hackers pinging for computers without firewalls, the lawyer is going to ping for weaknesses in what you say and know. After you say "He was..." a common strategy is "How do you know he wasn't...?" (For example, you say, "I saw him do a witness check before approaching." The attorney responds with "Is is not possible he was looking for a friend?") Do you know how to answer such a question? The Normal, Abnormal, Dangerous model gives you a way to answer such questions.

Pride, Fighting, Self-Defense & Self-control
The sad truth is many people are willing to do anything for self-defense -- except exercise emotional self-control. This is a categorically bad idea that will put you into violence faster than anything else. IF you don't get mauled, it will have also ruined your claim that it was self-defense

Problem Neighbors
Having problems with an irrational, hateful and seemingly insane neighbor? In such cases you'll find yourself wondering, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PERSON? Is he insane?" The answer is no, not really. Odds are what is happening is you've run across someone who 'lives by the feud.' The problem neighbor page will help you understand what motivates these people, why being 'reasonable' doesn't work and why they won't just go away ... until you handle them correctly.

In essence this hub isn't about the physical aspects of self defense. it about showing you the issues involved in self-defense, This is where you can get information on training for the physical aspects of self-defense.

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.

Don't Expect SD Training to Fix Your Self-Esteem
Realize that SD training is designed to protect your body, NOT your pride or bolster your sense of self-worth. While it can be an important part of psychological healing, self-defense training alone is not enough. Unfortunately, many people who have been traumatized, instead of seeking professional help attempt to self-medicate with this kind of training.

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.

Violence Geeks
There are people who are terrified of violence. There are also people who go into self-defense training with the intent of getting even. I refer to these people -- people who are itchin' to unleash their training on someone -- as Violence Geeks.

Violence NEVER Solved Anything ... oh yeah?
Politically correct thinking would have us believe that any kind of violence is wrong (first off they need to read the section as to what violence really is). Often these people use their pacifism as a self-righteous weapon, especially against those whose job it is to use force to protect others and keep the peace. Anyone who has had to use justifiable force (or currently uses it professionally) has dealt with the scorn and contempt of those who contemptuously proclaim " violence never solves anything," as a put down. Marc wrote a blog to rebut this long standing clich?and how to answer when it is being used as an insult instead of wisdom.

What Needs To Be In Self-Defense Training?
Many organizations offer "self-defense" training. But what they are selling is anything but 'self-defense.' Most of these programs teach either over-the-top responses (which is illegal), a blend of ineffective techniques and bad advice (which is dangerous) or are a sales pitch to get you to join their martial arts program. Before you pay your money for such training you might want to know what needs to be in an effective self-defense program.



Return to top

What You Don't Know Can Kill You
(How your SD training will put you into prison or the ground)

Anger Management
For Dummies

A Time To Kill
Greg Hopkins
(Christian Self-Defense)

Concealed Carry for Women
Gila Hayes
(Carry issues for women)

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

Marc MacYoung
(Crime recognition/avoidance) 

Deep Survival
Lawrence Gonzales
(Crisis mental preparedness)

Rory Miller

(Close quarter violence)

Emotional Vampires

Albert Bernstein
(Boundaries with dysfunctional/ manipulative people)

Writing Violence Vol: IV  Defense
Marc MacYoung

(Defensive action and failure)

Law of Self-Defense
Anthony Branca
(Legal issues of SD)

Calling the Shots
Jenna Meek
(WSD, pistols, concealed carry)

In the Name of Self-Defense
Marc MacYoung
(Violence, crime & aftermath)
Read AFTER "What You Don'tKnow..."

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