I was happy to hear that Neil Martin of Urban Samurai had created a e-Book entitled, “Street Smart” that dealt with common self-defense issues! I have had to chance to review this book and I will give it a review in this post.
First off the title is aptly named, “Street Smart” because Mr. Martin is trying to make the connection that not all self-defense situations have to happen. Often times the decisions one makes in his or her own life can contribute to one’s safety! For instance how important is it to take the short-cut through a bad part of town? Neil injects lots of good common sense into this book.
I will go over some of the many points of this book for your consideration in this post. At the end I will offer my opinion of the usefulness of this work for students of the martial arts.
The beginning of the book explains what self defense is and what it is not. Mr. Martin also points out how the legal definition of self-defense might come into play in many situations. I think the author did a good job of explaining the differences between fighting and self-defense.
The intended audience of this book is all levels of martial artists. While this work does talk about some techniques, it is more of a strategy that one should consider. I do believe that it would be somewhat useful for a non-martial artist too but more so if the reader was a fighter of some kind.
Neil Martin tries to deal with the tricky topic of when to use self-defense. He acknowledges that this is somewhat of a debated topic, made more complex by laws differing in most locals or nations.
One interesting point I saw was “The Law of Attraction” in where Mr. Martin stated, “The law of attraction basically states that we attract into our life what we most emotively think about. So in the context of this book, if you think about violence all the time you will inevitably attract violence into your life.”
This does remind me of the metaphorical expression of, “Live by the sword, die by the sword” that came form the book of Matthew, verse 26:52 that states, “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”
I believe this point should be digested by all because it makes a lot of sense that people will reap what the sow or to put it another way, in the works of Mr. Martin, “If you want to avoid violence, or at least drastically reduce your chances of encountering it, then stop thinking about it.”
The book goes on to speak about the three A’s, Attitude – Awareness, and Action. He sets up the reader for how they should act, what to be aware of, and the range of possible actions.
The rest of the book speaks about how to handle the actual confrontation from running to some common sense fighting strategies. Mr. Martin has a plethora of fighting experiences to draw on and put it to good use in this work.
I especially enjoyed the part of the book where he found himself in a group fight with a couple of other bouncers against 8 guys. “On the whole the experience was a complete eye opener for me. I had never felt such adrenaline- induced fear in my life, a fear that rendered my oft practiced techniques almost useless.”
The point I think Neil Martin was trying to make here is his martial arts training did not quite prepare him for the face off where they could have been playing for keeps! He was questioning his training’s validity in a self-defense situation. The book goes on to speak of mitigating strategies and how one might train more effectively for self-defense situations.
Now for my thoughts, I really liked this frank look at Street Smart self-defense for a lot of reasons. For one it is a no bull look at the martial arts as a method of self-defense. Mr. Martin injected lots of realism into the narrative and made it easier to understand with his own experiences.
While martial arts practitioners have almost as many opinions about self-defense as there are martial artists, I am generally in agreement with the totality of this important work. This book should help martial artists of all walks of life, become more Street Smart!