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Real World Self-Defense: A Guide to Staying Alive in Dangerous Times Paperback – September 1, 1999

20 customer reviews

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About the Author

Jerry VanCook has trained thousands of police officers, military personnel and civilians in both armed and unarmed defense over the past 30 years. He spent 14 years in law enforcement with various agencies.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Paladin Press; 1st edition (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581600445
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581600445
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,525,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

ABOUT JERRY VANCOOK, AUTHOR

Writer and training expert Jerry VanCook is a 40+-year martial artist and has studied Aikido, Thai Boxing, Kung Fu, Kali, and Spanish Knife Fighting. He holds a black belt instructor rank in Okinawan Karate and a 7th Degree Black Belt in Bei-Koku Aibujutsu. He is a Certified Bowie Knife Instructor, a Blademaster in Knife Defense, and an NRA certified firearms instructor.

VanCook is best known in law enforcement circles for his extended deployments as an undercover officer for the Garfield County Oklahoma Sheriff's Department, the Multi-County Intelligence Unit, and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The lessons learned from these assignments became the basis of his book Going Undercover, which has been regarded as the definitive work on the subject. VanCook has also been featured on the Law Enforcement Training Network, and The Learning Channel's World's Most Dangerous Undercover Stings for his expertise in this area. Undercover experience also provided him with a "real world" forum in which to test the martial arts techniques he had learned, and to separate pragmatic Close Quarters Combat from tactics more suited to art. This resulted in his second non-fiction book, Real World Self-Defense (Paladin Press).

Jerry's broad background also includes graduation from the Peruvian Air Force Jungle Operations and Survival School. He is the past writer of the "Street Smarts" self-defense column for Tactical Knives Magazine, has contributed to many other combat-related publications, and has written over 70 action-adventure novels in the Mack Bolan/Executioner, Super Bolan, and Stony Man Farm series under the name Don Pendleton.

VanCook also has the unique distinction of being involved in a firefight with a career criminal that was carried live on Oklahoma television. He is currently an adjunct instructor and teaches novel writing at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By T. Nichols on April 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
VanCook has written the best introduction to the field of self-defense since Franco's general work on the subject some time back -- and he's gone Franco one better for the ordinary Joe who wants to be able to defend himself, but doesn't necessarily want to be an athlete. My personal bookshelves have 4 feet of books devoted to this subject area, and I've read many more than I own. I can say without reservation that VanCook's work is the best general introduction to the field that I have read. Beyond that, it is a provocative and unconventional treatment of self-defense that has much to offer even to an expert. Real World Self-Defense covers mental preparation, legal issues, weapons from firearms down to OC spray, unarmed combat and training considerations. Further, his conclusions in all these areas take into account the findings of recent research on the body's capabilities under the severe stress of having to fight for survival -- a whole area of research that the self-defense field in general has failed to take into account. If you only buy one book on self-defense -- why anyone would buy only one book on anything, I don't know, but anyway, if that's you -- buy this book.
-T.R. Nichols
Class 1 Instructor, American Combatives
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By matthew temkin on June 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
I spent 20 years as a NYC court officer and I found the authors description of what to expect from the criminal justice system to be (unfortunately) deadly accurate. The rest of the volume is superb! Good, solid, pratical and, no doubt, hard won knowledge.This one rates right up there with the works of Rex Applegate and W.E. Fairbairn. Get this book!!!.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Brad Parker on February 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Jerry VanCook has more than 30 years of experience instructing civilians, cops and military personnel in defensive tactics.  He has also spent 14 years in law enforcement as an undercover officer, which he claims gave him a better perspective on the self-defense needs of civilians vs. cops since he was usually in the same situation most civilians find themselves -- alone with no backup and restrictions on the type of weapons they can carry.  His system for self-defense is very much like mine and includes firearms, knife, impact weapons and unarmed techniques.  He also shares the secret of the "unbendable arm" trick.  Too bad, because I have been using -- and exposing -- that trick for a few years myself as a teaching tool.   I like this book very much and can recommend it highly for all levels of self-defense students and martial artists.
Brad Parker, Defend University
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Huntress Reviews on July 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Interested in staying alive in dangerous times? Then this is the book to help you do it! Whether you're a beginner or advanced, this book has something for everyone. Many books "Claim" to be the ultimate defense book, but you don't see very many on here being reviewed. That's because most of them are overly complicated, lacking real world approaches or scenarios, or the info is just plain wrong... Not so with this book. Jerry covers each section and chapter in DETAIL, and then backs up that advise with more techniques throughout the book. He's obviously a believer in "stay aware and keep it simple"! (My kinda guy!)
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Newt Livesay on December 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
Jerry VanCook can talk the talk because he has walked the walk. Once you open the Preface of the book "Going Under Cover" you are drawn into a twisted web of psychological puzzles that VanCook puts together for you. Not only is "Going Under Cover" entertaining it is a tactical master piece of stealth. I would recommend this book as S.O.P. to any active duty Police Officer or anyone who is concerned about their personal safety. I couldn't put it down until I read the last line in the book that said, "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Alain B. Burrese TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
Real World Self-Defense: A Guide to Staying Alive in Dangerous Times by Jerry VanCook is a very good addtion to any self-defense library. In it you will find practical advice regarding some of the violence that permeates today's society.

In Part 1, VanCook explores concepts such as the warrior mindset and attitude, psychological and physiological changes during combat, and the legalities and politics in self-defense. I especially like that VanCook talks about how different situations demand different levels of response. VanCook is far from politically correct, and he tells it like he sees it. I agree with many of his views, and regardless if you do or don't, you should read this book and listen to his perspectives. They may just save your life.

Part 2 of the book contains chapters on Martial Arts, Firearms, Knives, Canes, Umbrellas, and Other Impact Weapons, Nonlethal Weapons and the Overall Defense Package and finally Unarmed Combat. VanCook provides some excellent advice in these chapters as well. However, I do disagree with his choice of cane instruction. I believe there are much better cane resources out there than he recommends, mine included. But since mine were not release yet when this book was written, I can't hold anything against him for that. In fact, the cane instructional set that VanCook was a part of with Ray Ellingston and Kelly Wordon is much better than the resource he recommends as well.

Part 3 ends with chapters on Training and the Psychological Motivation to Train, Martial Art Schools and Self-Defense Courses, and then his Conclusion. Again, VanCook offers some great insights into these topics.

Overall, I found this to be an entertaining and practical book related to self-defense.
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