Thursday, June 07, 2018

What You Don't Know Can Kill You

I’ve been reading Marc MacYoung since 1989, when I stumbled across his first book—Cheap Shots, Ambushes, and Other Lessons—in a Paladin Press catalogue. I was a Career Trainee the CIA at the time, and MacYoung’s emphasis on thinking like the opposition, situational awareness, and various stages of alertness all tracked perfectly with Agency counter-terror training. I’ve been playing around with martial arts since I was about 15, but I’d never come across a civilian instructor who even touched on this stuff, let alone knew it at least as well as the paramilitary instructors at CIA. Suffice it to say, I was hooked.



And I still am. MacYoung’s latest—What You Don't Know Can Kill You—co-written with firearms instructor Jenna Meek, is essential reading for anyone who recognizes that your problems might be far from over after you’ve physically defended yourself. “Self-defense” is a tricky and surprisingly poorly understood legal concept, and MacYoung and Meek deal with it crisply and clearly, with plenty of case studies and hypotheticals. The book is a fast read, and having just finished it, I feel I have a much more solid idea of how, where, and why doing too much to defend yourself can be as dangerous as doing too little.

I should add that in the course of addressing the ins and outs of legal self-defense claims, and how getting them wrong can put you in prison or in the ground, the authors have also managed to put together a good primer on different types of violence (social, asocial resource predators, asocial process predators) and on various cost-effective counters.

If you’ve invested significant time and money in self-defense training, whether empty-handed or with weapons, I’d strongly recommend that you spend a few more bucks and a few more hours reading this book. Any self-defense system that doesn’t integrate the concepts MacYoung and Meek cover will be dangerously incomplete. It would be a shame to figure that out when it’s too late—especially when you have the opportunity to figure it out so easily right now.

Also recommended: Survive a Shooting, by Alain Burrese. I got to read a pre-release copy recently and the book is comprehensive, practical, and well organized. It goes without saying that it's a terrible shame that a book like Survive a Shooting is needed, but the need obviously exists, and I'm glad Burrese has addressed it.



Bonus: while covering the specific topic, Burrese also offers smart, cost-effective strategies that will help keep you safer in the world generally.

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