Looking for something to spice up my training/fuel creativity. I need a resource with various reality based self defense scenarios. I'm willing to buy a DVD or two, even attend a seminar, but not sign on to any kind of program. Ideally, I'd like video, or a book with complete instructions on how to run the drills.

Criteria are:

  • Should be suitable for civilians and take into account the limitations of legally acceptable use of force for civilian practitioners
  • Should not require excessive equipment purchase (e.g. fully body armor) beyond simple things like kick-pads, head protection, mouth guard, focus mitts, etc...
  • Should allow medium to semi-full contact between practitioners with reasonable amounts of body control.
  • Should take into account disparities between armed and unarmed opponents. Preferably, should include both unarmed defender vs. armed attacker and armed defender vs. armed attacker.
  • Should be adaptable to multiple martial arts styles, not predicated on knowing a certain martial art. I am most definitely not looking for "if he does x then you do y" kind of stuff. Primarily, I want the setup to the confrontation. I can take it from there.
  • Should take into account the existence of, or possibility of the existence of, multiple attackers, with an eye toward escape rather than disabling the assailants.

I'll be applying judgment to whatever products are recommended, so if a recommendation does not meet all the above criteria, that's OK. But the more criteria it meets, the better.

I most emphatically do not want to learn some secret, pressure-point reliant, ancient wisdom cobbled together from the five orange-belts some strip-mall master earned before declaring himself grand-master of his own style. I also am not interested in uber-masculine "every style but mine is BS". Preferably, I'd like info from police/military sources, but, again, suitable to civilian self-defense.

I've already considered Blauer Tactical Systems. I like their stuff, but I'm not shelling out the dough for a full body suit, nor am I willing to train (regularly) wearing one. I would attend a seminar where such things are done, and probably get a kick out of it, but I want something I can practice semi-regularly.

  • Well, about 99% of the time in a hand to hand fight, the first punch the dude will throw will be a haymaker. How predictable. Take a walk through the outskirts of Chicago, LA, Saint Paul, whatever. You'll get plenty of experience. I would recommend carrying a gun though, just in case. You can turn one of those single use cameras into a taser, in case you can't get your hands on a gun. That was a joke. Don't follow that advice.
    – coltonon
    Jul 20, 2014 at 20:09

3 Answers 3


I found Rory Miller's book on drills to be an excellent resource.

A lot of realistic self defense exercises depend on a combination of figuring out safe practices vs. realistic stress testing.

Regardless of the exercise, I find what is useful is setting up clear communication at the beginning of training - how hard are you supposed to go, what's off limits for the sake of -this- particular exercise. As you work with more skillful folks, who can act appropriately, you turn up the stress and turn down the restrictions.

  • Looks like a great book. I'll give it a look. Jul 14, 2014 at 11:27
  • I'll second Rory's book, or any of his books. All good stuff Jul 15, 2014 at 15:34

Marc MacYoung's No Nonsense Self Defense is a good place to start. His advise is reasonable, easy to follow, and does work. It won't teach you how to fight but it will teach you how to stack the odds in your favour when avoiding danger. He has a whole section with books and DVDs that should be good but I cannot recommend anything from there.

Now, from your question, it looks like you are more interested in fighting than self defence. Which, BTW, is just fine depending on what you do. Clearly, Krav Maga comes to mind. You could look to your local LEO or better yet a defence attorney and ask them about the legality of whatever self defence method you choose -- but never talk to the police.

Finally, something out of the blue: stage fighting! You say you want something to fuel creativity. Start making up scenarios in your local dojo, play act things, and see how well you can choreograph a fight. It's actually good fun!


If you want to learn how to handle real-life scenarios, best thing to do is the experience real-life scenarios. The SECOND best thing (and the one which won't land you in hospital or jail) is to get your hands on videos of real-life scenarios. Youtube is actually a pretty good source for school fights, drunks getting KTFO'ed, backyard brawls, etc. Watch a few of them and try to figure out what they all have in common. HINT: drunks can't punch and everyone wants to put you in a headlock.

Here's a random video

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