Practical Self Defense - A Recommended Book List

With the popularity of MMA, there is no shortage of martial arts training.

While that MMA and its component arts a great choice to study for most people, the issue is that it takes a great deal of time and discipline to become proficient at it, and a lot of what it learned is aimed at a sports oriented application.

One thing that comes to mind is the old adage, "you fight like you train". What this means is that the thousands of repetitive movements become imprinted in our limbic system, hard-wired in our brains so to speak. So all the countless hours spent sparring or rolling with another trained practitioner will do little to prepare you for the erratic and untrained movements of a dangerous attacker in the street.

This is the main reason why many reputable self-defense schools with offer scenario-based training to best emulate a real attack. 

Self defense training

Aside from the basic default operating mode of awareness and avoidance, when one finds themselves in an unavoidable encouter in the street, having conditioned their instinctive responses to gross motor skills which work best in short violent street encounters are advisible. Pre-emptive striking, knees, headbutts, elbows, and so forth, which direct maximum force against your adversary's weakest areas.

There are no better manuals of preparing yourself for the worst, should it happen, than these best-of-class books listed below. (yes some are very "old school", but definitely not outdated in their practicality)

Recommended Best Self Defense Books

Dead Or Alive - The Choice Is Yours by Geoff Thompson 

This book stands out as a genuine self-protection manual in today's market. Its primary focus is on equipping you with the skills to prevent violent encounters altogether. However, in the event that you do encounter such a situation, it also provides comprehensive guidance on mastering self-control and managing your emotions. This enables you to effectively defend yourself physically if necessary.

Streetwise: The CompleteManual of Personal Security & Self Defence by Peter Consterdine 

This comprehensive illustrated manual encompasses every facet of self-defense and personal security, whether in urban settings, vehicles, or homes. Alongside detailed explanations of diverse combat and martial arts tactics, the author offers invaluable insights into identifying potential threats and effectively managing and responding to imminent attacks.

The Gift Of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence by Gavin de Becker

Gavin de Becker, a renowned authority on violent behavior, equips you with the ability to detect even the most subtle indications of danger before it escalates. Dispelling the misconception that violent acts are inherently unpredictable, de Becker draws from his extensive experience with high-profile clients in Hollywood and government agencies to provide actionable strategies for safeguarding yourself and your loved ones.

From discerning the signs when approached by strangers to recognizing threats from individuals close to you, from handling stalking situations to unveiling the origins of anonymous threats or harassing phone calls, de Becker addresses crucial scenarios and highlights the most critical errors to avoid when dealing with threatening individuals.

Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected by Rory Miller 

This book serves as a fundamental introduction to the landscape of self-defense. It outlines seven essential elements crucial for comprehensive self-defense training. Neglecting any of these aspects can leave individuals vulnerable.

Whether you're a teacher, student, or simply curious about self-defense, this book is indispensable. It offers invaluable insights for anyone seeking a deeper comprehension of violence. We wholeheartedly endorse this book for anyone eager to embark on a journey of self-defense learning.

Championship Fighting by Jack Dempsey

Dempsey was perhaps one of the top three boxers of all time, and his manual from 1950 is years ahead of its time.

Dempsey, a smaller individual, used superior technique to devastate many larger opponents. The "Manassa Mauler" used to delight in beating up big guys! This is a must read for any boxing-history buff or serious student of martial arts. It is one of the best books on boxing ever written.

Kill or Get Killed by Rex Applegate

The legendary Colonel Rex Applegate trained allied special forces in close-quarter combat during World War II. 

This time-honored book speaks to the subjects of unarmed combat (offensive and defensive), combat use of weapons, disarming the enemy, handling of prisoners, the handle of mob/crowd disobedience, the use of chemicals in such situations, and how to establish a professional riot control unit." Kill or Get Killed features unbeatable close-quarter combat techniques that will enable you to devastate any punks who would dare to attack you!

Get Tough by William E Fairbairn

Fairbairn was a British soldier, and police officer who was for most of his early career stationed in the former British territory of Shanghai, where he was forced into kill-or-be-killed street fight on a regular basis. His relatively short book encompasses all of the basic, easy to learn and apply gross-motor self defense skills - which still serve as a very practical basis for one's unarmed self-defence arsenal to this day.