Most recently I was given the opportunity to read and review another new release from author and martial artist Neal Martin. His latest book is titled “Self Defense Solutions” and subtitled “How to get better results from your combatives training and improve your self-defense”. I have decided, that instead of a review that I would make a book announcement. Being that I am a combatives practitioner, I was deeply interested in Mr. Martin’s views. This was a quick read, clearly explained and true to the intended topic. That being said the author poses some interesting views of Combatives and Defensive Tactics from a martial artists, perspective.
The things that I liked most about this book:
The chapter on “Target Hardening”
What those of us in the military, paramilitary and profession of arms call Situational Awareness or SA.
This is an excellent topic for a chapter in a book like this. Although the topic, views and perspective of the author was on point, one would have liked to see more instruction of target hardening methods and techniques. Although from the perspective of a security professional this chapter was a bit lagging in content. It is still a great conversation starter so to speak for the average “Joe” or “Jane” who may be completely oblivious to the concept as a whole. This coincidentally is a very important and focused subject that this writer teaches for his Women’s Awareness and Self Protection Clinics.
One of the most true statements in the book was the following in regard to many different “Reality Based Self Defense Programs”:
“I’ve never gouged an eye out of its socket, but I’d wager it isn’t as easy as some people think. I’d also wager that most people who talk about gouging out eyeballs from their sockets wouldn’t have the internal capacity to do so.”
~ Neal Martin
There was also a bit on closing the distance in a street fight that I mostly agree with.
“Bottom line is that, for a small person, closing distance with a bigger attacker is suicide for they would just be playing right into their attacker’s hands.
The other stated tactical advantage of getting in so close is the “psychological invasiveness” of doing so. Most people get very uncomfortable when you invade their space and get in their face, so, psychologically speaking, they are now cowering and you are at an advantage because you are used to working within such confined spaces.
This is debatable as well. Some people may feel a sense of panic when someone is that close to them, but enough to significantly affect their determination to hurt you? I doubt that. More likely it would push them into savagery, which in my experience is what happens when you get that close to a psyched up attacker, they resort to biting, gouging and clawing out of instinct”
~ Neal Martin
Some of the other things that one found interesting are the chapters on Force Disparity. This is a concept that as a Defensive Tactics and Combatives trainer for the US Government, I found interesting how Mr. Martin perceives the subject. I also enjoyed the discussion of the Self Defense Psychology theory. These are all topics that martial artists and Combatives and Defensive Tactics practitioners alike need to bring to the forefront of their training.
There was very little reference to real "combatives” training in the book. As someone who has practiced “real” and official combatives and defensive tactics syllabus from recognized programs; I felt that the material here in was more geared toward “Krav Maga” and "Reality Based "Self Defense “Systems”. Unfortunately many of these programs, systems and training centers try to piggy back of the reputation of the real combatives programs and syllabi that are out there.
During the “Fundamental Flaws of Combatives Training” chapter; one would like the author to be more descript in his solutions and less general or vague. The following script is taken from the book and sums up the aforementioned chapter. Which also further defines my point.
“I’m not going to get into details here on what should be in this system (read my Combatives Instruction book for basic guidance in this area). Suffice to say, a system is not a collection of someone’s favourite techniques. That’s going back to the random machine building again. A true system requires a bit more thought than that. And actually there it is, the fix for any training flaw you can think of: Put a bit more thought into it!”
~ Neal Martin
As one who is trained not only in Pressure Points and “Vital Targets” but also one who has consulted medical authorities on the subject matter and has not only been trained in Traumatic injuries and Lifesaving but have actually done it in extreme combat scenarios in real life, I disagreed with much in the Vital Target chapter.
Strong points were more towards the theoretical aspects of training. Excellent job on these areas. I loved the “Target Hardening” chapter would like to have seen more of this type of content. This is a Combatives and Self Defense book, I like pictures, and other more visual content.
I would recommend this read to anyone considering signing up for Krav Maga. It highlights much of what is seen in Krav Maga training halls as well as many other “Reality Based” Martial Arts. This book should be titled, “The truth and dangers about Krav Maga and the Reality Based Self Defense Market”. Overall assessment: Great introductory read for those considering "Reality Based" Self Defense training. Be sure to check out Neal's latest book on Kindle.