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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little misleading, but good principles.
I kind of have a love-hate relationship with this book. I'll cover the "hate" part first, since I want to end on a positive note.
My main problem is that I'm not sure if the author is presenting himself accuratley. I only bring this up because knowing where he tested his principles ought to tell you the environment it's suited for. I can believe that he "bounced"...
Published on November 8, 2003 by Joseph M Burtner

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading But Not What It Could Have Been.
I probably would have given this book only two stars. It's not really well written and can be confusing at times but it does contain valuable information and the fact that this info might save your life or health is probably worth the extra star. First, the good news. MacYoung has devised a pretty good self defense system, based on some sound, simple principles. First,...
Published on August 16, 2001 by R. dolce


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little misleading, but good principles., November 8, 2003
By 
Joseph M Burtner (Kennesaw, Georgia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Taking It to the Street : Making Your Martial Art Street Effective (Paperback)
I kind of have a love-hate relationship with this book. I'll cover the "hate" part first, since I want to end on a positive note.
My main problem is that I'm not sure if the author is presenting himself accuratley. I only bring this up because knowing where he tested his principles ought to tell you the environment it's suited for. I can believe that he "bounced" at, for instance, a buddy's party. I can believe that he has had punches thrown at him in anger. I can believe that he's "gone at it" with guys in a parking lot. I don't believe, however, that this was anything more than a guy trying to prove how tough he was. I don't believe he ever went toe-to-toe with the Bloods, or a similar gang, as he implies. I just don't believe that he is "street", but he presents himself as such. Now, on to the book. If you have a karate/tae kwon do/kickboxing type of background, this book won't be easy to read. The author is basically presenting modified principles of Wing Chun and kali/silat. Your side-facing, high-kicking stuff is not discused much beyond, "it's a bad idea". In that respect, I think most martial artists will not learn how to make their stuff "street effective". Another problem I have, and part of the reason I take issue with the author, is the fact that most of his game plan starts off, "when the other guy punches you...", which just sounds like suicide to me. Most fights I've seen, and even the early UFC's, show that the guy who hits first, hardest, and the most times usually walks away. You can fix this by reading Geoff Thompson's stuff. Also, the book isn't really edited well (who am I to talk?), but it's just small things, like a missing photo or footnote.
On to the "love" side of things: I like most of the principles presented. The idea of a wedge, taking the centerline, screwing with your opponent's center of gravity, climing over him to escape... The book is worth buying, just because there is so much stuff that the author gets right. I don't care if he learned in in a bar or in his back yard, a lot of the principles are sound. He has great chapters on defending against kicks and making throws work. He also references several other people's works, which can give the reader more food for thought. He also seems to be talking directly to "hard" stylists when he's doing his explainations, which makes them a little easier to understand. And there's a chapter about the psychology of using violence to communicate which may very well be worth the price of the book.
In conclusion, I'd say this book is more oriented towards using a few "tricks" and principles to take out the guy who squares off with you from *several feet away* in a parking lot, and does not deal directly with more realistic threats. But reading it could improve your general game plan that I had to give it four stars. I'd just say not to make this your bible, and check around. Pick out what works for you.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fighting is not a Sport, February 6, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Taking It to the Street : Making Your Martial Art Street Effective (Paperback)
Mr. MacYoung's book offers the reader a no nonsense approach to street combat. He does not waste pages with worthless photographs (although the book does contain some photos) but rather focuses his energy on explaining (a) what can happen in a street conflict (b) principals to keep in mind when confronted by an attacker and (c) the emotional side of street fighting which is rarely discussed in other self-defense manuals. In addition, he provides the reader with an explanation of why these principals work. As a practioner of various styles of martial arts, including the style that Mr. MacYoung is clearly espousing (Wing Chun) I have never met anyone who was able to explain why certain principals contained within this system are crucial for success in the street. Although I practice Wing Chun I also have a background other styles, including wrestling and boxing, so I am not biased towards MacYoungs teachings. He will be the first to admit that all systems (including Wing Chun, Silat, Muay Thai, Boxing, Karate, Juijitsu, Wrestling, etc...)contain techniques and principals that have merit and others which are useless in street combat. Mr. MacYoung also discusses techniques in addition to striking and grappling, such as tearing, gouging, and every other vicious attack under the sun. If you are sick of reading self-defense books, 70% of which contain photographs of the author performing a kata (usually in a sloppy manner) with little or no explanation of the application, then this book is for you.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Animal has done it again!, December 28, 1999
By A Customer
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This review is from: Taking It to the Street : Making Your Martial Art Street Effective (Paperback)
As a 20 year veteran of the martial arts, I found Marc MacYoung's most recent book very helpful for shifting my focus from relying on specific techniques to teach concepts (in a rather haphazard way) to isolating the important concepts and then letting the techniques create themselves. A truly helpful text that will make you think about your martial art in ways that you may not have considered. Also a plus, Marc does not critisize the martial arts, rather he explains that there is more than one legitimate focus of martial arts, only one of which is self-defense/combat. The problem comes when your teacher tells you that what you are learning is self-defense when in reality it isn't. Empty your cup and read this book if you are interested in effective concepts for self defense that you can start applying to your training right away! I'll be reading this book more than once! THANKS ANIMAL! P.S. readers, all of Marc's books are GREAT! Read them all!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars macyoung scores!, December 14, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Taking It to the Street : Making Your Martial Art Street Effective (Paperback)
As a Police Officer I know the streets are tough. Marc Macyoung is a product of the streets and that's why his books are second to none. Instead of talking about kata, zen, and other mystical non-sense, he goes straight to the point. I highly recommend this book (as well as Macyoung's other books) to any person who might face street punks or mental persons in the line of duty. In fact this book along with a Professional's guide to ending violence quickly should be required reading in every Police Academy in the U.S.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Volume of the MacYoung Series, August 30, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Taking It to the Street : Making Your Martial Art Street Effective (Paperback)
To my mind this is the best of Marc Macyoung's books on surviving life on the wild side of the street - especially for those with a combat sport/art background. Whilst the whole series is the pucker stuff, this one just surpasses the rest for indepth explanation and analysis. A real no-nonsense approach to updating your martial art to the rigours of a new arena. Only one criticism: too much emphasis on wing-chun style concepts, and not enough on martial arts such as boxing and muay thai, that are already modern combat systems, where what doesn't work has already been field-stripped outa there. Only books comparable are Ned Beaumont's stuff, and the excellent range from Geoff Thompson.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading But Not What It Could Have Been., August 16, 2001
By 
R. dolce (evanston, illinois United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Taking It to the Street : Making Your Martial Art Street Effective (Paperback)
I probably would have given this book only two stars. It's not really well written and can be confusing at times but it does contain valuable information and the fact that this info might save your life or health is probably worth the extra star. First, the good news. MacYoung has devised a pretty good self defense system, based on some sound, simple principles. First, and most important, the object of a street fight is not to win but to NOT LOSE. Therefore, your objective is not to beat your attacker senseless but to stop his attack, "climb over the guy" and get away. Second, a wedge shaped defense is inherently stronger that any other configuration and, third, by protecting your centerline and controlling your attacker's you control the altercation. His system seems simple enough to learn reasonably quickly, (though it takes practice) and to apply in different situations (bad footing, bad lighting, no warmups, etc). He also advocates conflict avoidance and negotiation as your first lines of defense. Now, the bad news. First, he's really repetitive. Not only does he drill in basics endlessly (actually a good thing here) but he repeats a lot of what the reader already knows. If you buy a book subtitled "Making Your Martial Arts Street Effective" then you are probably 1) a martial artist and 2) already aware that the school and the street present different situations. MacYoung spends the first two chapters convincing you that unlike a tournament opponent or sparring partner, a street attacker wants to seriously hurt you. However he avoids discussing differences in terrain and footing, open versus closed spaces, lighting, found weapons or other ways of using the environment to your advantage. At the same time he avoids discussing many individual techniques by suggesting that you but another one of his books so as not to repeat himself. Second, he is admittedly not a kicker. Defensively this adds to his system since it keeps both of your feet under you but it takes away some very potent offensive weapons. He belittles the classic tournament side stance in which the lead leg is employed to "uselessly" rack up points, in favor of a more squared up front stance. Apparently, Animal hasn't seen (or experienced) full-contact Japanese kickboxing, (kicks above the knees are allowed) or savate,(leg kicks permitted) to know that lead leg kicks to the leg can be devastating if thrown with bad intentions. Kicks to the large muscle groups in the legs can create spasms in those muscles and I've heard instances of the savate's snappy little fouette (roundhouse kick) breaking bones when thrown in full contact tournaments. He also misses the use of knees (probably the most useful item in the self defense toolbox). The fact is if you take out an attacker's leg you've stopped the attack and MacYoung misses this point entirely. Despite my criticism (and I won't get picky comparing the styles he teaches to the arts I practice) I believe his system is sound, intelligent and workable. Easy to apply, (though considerable practice is needed) and based on good principles (most importantly that the object of a street fight is to get away safely) it contains enough information to gat a thinking martial artist at least on the way to safety on the street.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Principle Based Effectiveness, May 1, 2004
This review is from: Taking It to the Street : Making Your Martial Art Street Effective (Paperback)
The principles in this book will help make just about anyone more effective in their day-to-day self-defense. I recommend it to anyone who asks me how to improve their basic self-defense knowledge.
The principles include:
1 - Understanding that the normal rules of polite society are out the window. (i.e. the "no kicking in the jimmy" rule doesn't apply in a real fight);
2 - Understanding the different distances involved in fighting;
3 - Using your opponent's axes and controlling the centerline;
4 - Using the wedge and other blocking techniques;
5 - Stepping into your opponent rather than retreating (when appropriate);
6 - Dealing with kicks;
7 - Proper and effective footwork;
8 - Dirty tricks;
9 - Understanding the realities of street fighting (e.g. "If the guy wasn't sure he could take you, he wouldn't have moved against you in the first place" i.e. he has stacked the deck in his favor and it's your job to unstack it);
10 - many other useful and important things.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough to help people augment their training. It won't replace training, but it can certainly help people understand that, when fit and shan collide, there are other things to consider besides a head-high round kick. Things which may just save your life.
Additionlly, I recommend checking out his website, [...]
As for the negative reviews on this book, it seems to me that many of the people who have knocked this book have done so for one of two reasons:
1 - they don't like Marc's attitude; or,
2 - they don't believe his background.
As for #1, like it or not, fine. To each his or her own. But these reviewers generally complain without ever really engaging the principles contained in the book and their effectiveness.
Concerning #2, the same idea applies. While I happen to very much believe that Marc has been where he says he has and done what he says he has done, the people who make this argument also do not make many fact-based criticisms of the material inside the book.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Macyoung keeps getting better!, November 6, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Taking It to the Street : Making Your Martial Art Street Effective (Paperback)
This book is outstanding! It is the most important work to date by the author, and the technical details are comprehensive. Macyoung defines and discusses the principles which determine the outcome of unarmed combat. Macyoung focuses on the interrelationship between footwork, defense of one's centerline, and offensive exploitation of the opponents centerline in this volume. Macyoung shows you how to penetrate the defenses of your opponent using strategies (and subsequent tactical manifestations) derived from short-range oriented Indonesian martial styles: especially Kuntao and Pentjak-Silat. Macyoung's unique ability to communicate the principles of unarmed combat have made him one of the most important self-defense authors in the world. The level of writing in this book is superior to all previous works. The material is coherent, understandable, and abstract enough to allow any martial artist to integrate the information into his/her practice.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, February 15, 2000
By 
This review is from: Taking It to the Street : Making Your Martial Art Street Effective (Paperback)
Marc MacYoung is one of the most analytical martial arts writers today. Drawing on his own real-life experiences as well as his unique ability to see deep into an issue, this book, as well as others by MacYoung, fills a void for those seeking solid information that will help them in the street. As an author of 12 books on the martial arts, I highly recommend this one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for all martial artists, of any style, March 25, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Taking It to the Street : Making Your Martial Art Street Effective (Paperback)
MacYoung's aim is not to dismantle what you've already been trained in...it is to teach you how to make your skills work in REAL life, out of the comfort zone of a safe dojo. Plenty of pictures show techniques he describes. MacYoung also goes into how and why certain techniques work, in terms of the physics involved which is very helpful. You must have at least SOME background in martial arts because he does not teach you basic techniques, but how to improve them. Coming from a large background of no-rules down-and-dirty streetfighting, MacYoung KNOWS what he's talking about and shares wisdom he has gained with readers. If you've ever wondered if what your instructor is teaching you would work in a real fight, buy this book!
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Taking It to the Street : Making Your Martial Art Street Effective
Taking It to the Street : Making Your Martial Art Street Effective by Marc MacYoung (Paperback - November 1, 1999)
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