Please take a look at Articles on self-defense/conflict/violence for introductions to the references found in the bibliography page.

Please take a look at my bibliography if you do not see a proper reference to a post.

Please take a look at my Notable Quotes

Hey, Attention on Deck!

Hey, NOTHING here is PERSONAL, get over it - Teach Me and I will Learn!

When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:

I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me

I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me

I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull

I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death

I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed

I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes

I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados

I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers

The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn

Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung


The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated. - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)

“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)

“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne

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Martial Arts, Vertigo and Self-Defense

Caveat: This article is mine and mine alone. I the author of this article assure you, the reader, that any of the opinions expressed here are my own and are a result of the way in which my meandering mind interprets a particular situation and/or concept. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of other martial arts and/or conflict/violence professionals or authors of source materials. It should be quite obvious that the sources I used herein have not approved, endorsed, embraced, friended, liked, tweeted or authorized this article. (Everything I think and write is true, within the limits of my knowledge and understanding. Oh, and just because I wrote it and just because it sounds reasonable and just because it makes sense, does not mean it is true.)

Click for larger view.
Vertigo, a very difficult malady to overcome and to live with if you are a martial artists. Vertigo gets right to the crux of many aspects of successful self-defense because it effects that very important aspect of martial arts and self-defense, “Balance.” We in SDMA use a persons structure  and balance to disrupt their ability to attack. 

When it hits, it leaves a person “Almost helpless.” There is no defined way to train for vertigo, at least nothing documented anywhere until now. I am not going to tell you I have found a way to overcome vertigo when practicing and training let alone when attacked requiring you use your self-defense skills. I am just going to relate to you how a sudden, unexpected and seemingly debilitating attack affected me and my practice of martial arts toward a model necessary for self-defense. 

First, vertigo is a bit like an injury such as a torn rotator cuff. Even with surgery a damaged rotator cuff is going to change the way you do things especially in a physical discipline such as jujitsu, etc. Vertigo is the same, yet different. You will, at least in my case, will have this weakness due to the injury that will tend to crop up especially under stress.

Second, there are things you can do to mitigate it but that depends a lot on what caused it to go sideways in the first place. In my personal case all the exams and tests told them nothing so they had to assume and provide the canned “Don’t do this and don’t do that” type thing, i.e., in my case no stimulants such as coffee, chocolate or other caffeine type foods and beverages. 

Third, although I had experienced a very slight vertigo effect in the past none of them lasted more than two to three-seconds, just enough to get my attention. This particular episode was vastly different with effects that still haunt me even after almost two years.

What kind of effects did I experience, well it began with that slight spin where my environment swirled around my head. A bit like the old game with the baseball bat, forehead, spin and spin then try to stand up and walk thing we guys would do for laughs, but different and more disturbing. 

I felt my world spin around my head and this time it just kept going and going and going while I projective vomited, luckily, into my office trash can (also lucky it was within hand grasp distance by m seat and lucky I had the presence of mind to get past the spinning world to grasp it through touch and whoosh, it all came up - just finished lunch you know).

Then I actually was able, while my world spun out of control, to close my eyes, reach for the phone and all for help, my lovely wife. Only then did I actually move, again tactilely since my balance and perceptions were still spinning out of control, to get myself two feet to the door, closed it, then moved down to the ground so my head could find some feeling of stability that actually helped with the vertigo, a bit. I stayed this way until I got a call that my wife was downstairs, two hours later.

Now, this went on for an additional eight hours at the ER. Then it remained spinning and nausea and puking for another two or three days. It took me about a year to get to a point where I could go all day without stumbling and banging into walls and so on. 

Now, how did I fare to get better along with continuing to train and practice my martial arts?

Well, actually, it was my martial arts practice and training that helped me “Reprogram my Brain” so that I could function normally let alone martially. Once I got some semblance of balance back I then began to practice my basics and kata to find balance. I can tell you that the first time I tired to do kata, especially anything that required I turn my head and/or turn my body toward another direction left me falling all over the place trying to regain balance. What is huge disappointment to feel like I had gone all the way back to the beginning where ever move I made was a fumbling until I gained proficiency. 

Then I would visualize and sometimes close my eyes when doing kata. It was a slow process but in about a year I finally go my kata back, mostly. I say mostly because I did have to modify my kata practice along with drills, etc., so that my head and body moved differently. I also had to build an endurance that is different so that when I became tired, when I tire even today the vertigo makes me stumble and stagger a little, then the vertigo tends to take me out of balance once again. Two years approximately and it still happens. 

When I realized how it changed the way my balance system worked, still reprogramming my brain according to the Doctors, I then came to realize and understand, “How will this effect my ability to defend myself physically if needed?” Oh, boy, did that stimulate the old grey cells.

The first thing I began to give extra credence too in the self-defense world is the importance to knowledge as it would lead to awareness that would lead to the art of avoidance - avoidance being a more needed defense in the effort to make sure vertigo may or may not effect my ability to stop damage, etc.

Now, at this point in my practice I am confident that my lifestyle and my personal vulnerability assessment means that my need to apply physical self-defense goals is very, very low. This is good yet what about anyone within my influences that might have this malady who may be exposed to a lifestyle or work style where violence is a greater threat? 

I don’t have too many examples of training that will actually help overcome vertigo or at least suppress the vertigo to a place where one can act but I do have some idea’s. 

One, vertigo means a life style change and that may include changing how you live along with where you live and how and where you work. If not, then through a diligent and dedicated frequent training program the martial arts disciplines where repetitive practice of kata, etc. will reprogram your brain so that you can function in the martial arts world as well as he self-defense world. 

Two, focus on tactile practices. Remember that in self-defense the likelihood that you are attacked may mean attacked up close and personal with damage, fear, anger, balance and structure disruptions must be overcome. Add in the stresses that may even activate your vertigo you should remember in my earlier description of an attack that I was able to move about and do things to help myself using not my eyes or relying on my bodies balance but how I touched things in moving around, etc.

If you remember I once wrote an article based on information I obtained through my references that tactile is faster and more reliable than say sight or hearing. In this instance, involving balance issues and vertigo, do know that touch will be a means to overcome or at least help you break out of the mind numbing attack and freeze so you can do “something.” 

Three, visualization is another key as well. Visualization in mind only, eyes closed, and tactile used especially when doing two (or more) person drills in reality based self-defense. If you are well past the worst of vertigo but still hooked in like my case you can then participate in stress induced adrenal flood drills, exercises and stress exposure training. If you do, make sure you tell the instructor about your vertigo and that your goal is to train to not only work with reality based stuff but to work with vertigo if it gets triggered. 

Four, in the light of all the above you MUST develop a signal system, even the tap out, so that your partners fully understand that if you tap out, especially at times when they may not understand it is not about what the partner is doing, so they understand that it is the vertigo. Granted, the idea is to train to overcome if it is triggered but don’t let it go on longer then a few seconds to maybe a half a minute as that may “re-injure” your brain taking you all the way back to the beginning again. It is like any other injury, you don’t want a re-injury to result in a disabling one, right?

I now look at vertigo as just another facet of my ability that requires some additional training and that it, like any injury, is not about disability but opportunity to achieve a training that not many others will know unless they are susceptible to that particular malady. 

Yes, you can train to over come disrupted balance when it comes from an attacker/adversary. But in vertigo it is not overcoming an adversary where your balance returns but rather if and when vertigo hits you may not get that balance back yet you have to achieve a goal where your defense happens despite your vertigo, your internal disruption of balance due to stress, etc. 

Look at it the same way you do when you have to overcome and compensate for an injured rotator cuff. It is doable but that possible re-injury is still possible. The idea is to build up enough muscle to compensate for such an injury. In vertigo, it is about overcoming by building new pathways in the brain and this takes a lot more time, a lot more effort and a lot stronger mind-set/mind-state. 

If you have vertigo, good luck - REMEMBER, it is just an obstacle and you will get past it. 

Primary Bibliography of Self-Defense (Some titles have RBC drills included):
MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Meditations of Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" YMAA Publishing. 2008.

Bibliography Articles on Self-Defense/Conflict/Violence

The main page leading to the articles I have chosen as a starting point to attain knowledge of conflict, violence and self-defense is: where you can navigate to the below or you can simply find a title below and click for direct access to the articles. Most of these are actually introductions to the references written by the authors themselves. It is advisable to start here then move on to the more in-depth stuff in their publications. This section will get you a beginning understanding necessary in phase one of learning self-defense. 

I.M.O.P. Principle—Intent, Means, Opportunity and Preclusion
Introduction to Violence: Scale of Force Options
Facing Violence: The Unconscious Stuff-Finding Your Glitches
Violence: What Everyone Needs to Know About Fighting

Secondary Bibliography of Self-Defense (Some titles have RBC drills included):
Ayoob, Massad. “Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self-Defense”Gun Digest Books. Krouse Publications. Wisconsin. 2014.
Goleman, Daniel. "Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition]." Bantam. January 11, 2012.
Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014. 
Miller, Rory and Kane, Lawrence A. "Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision-making under Threat of Violence." YMAA Publisher. New Hampshire. 2012
Miller, Rory. "Force Decisions: A Citizen's Guide." YMAA Publications. NH. 2012.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected." YMAA Publishing. 2011.
Elgin, Suzette Haden, Ph.D. "More on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense." Prentice Hall. New Jersey. 1983.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Last Word on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1995
Morris, Desmond. “Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.” Harry N. Abrams. April 1979.
MacYoung, Marc. “Writing Violence #1: Getting Shot.” NNSD. Amazon Digital. 2014.
MacYoung, Marc. “Writing Violence #2: Getting Stabbed.”  NNSD. Amazon Digital. 2015.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1993.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Written Self-Defense" MJF Books. 1997.
Maffetone, Philip Dr. “The Maffetone Method: The Holistic, Low-stress, No-Pain Way to Exceptional Fitness.” McGraw Hill, New York. 2000
Strong, Sanford. “Strong on Defense_ Survival Rules to Protect you and your Family from Crime.” Pocket Books. New York. 1996.
and more … see blog bibliography.
Jahn, C. R. “FTW Self Defense.” iUniverse. Amazon Digital Services. 2012
Jahn, C. R. “Hardcore Self Defense.” iUniverse. Amazon Digital Services. 2002.

Bibliography of RBC Drills (Some titles have RBC drills included):
MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
MacYoung, Marc (Animal). “Taking It to the Street: Making Your Martial Art Street Effective.” Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1999.
MacYoung, Marc. "A Professional's Guide to Ending Violence Quickly: How Bouncers, Bodyguards, and Other Security Professionals Handle Ugly Situations." Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1996.
Miller, Rory. “Drills: Training for the Sudden Violence.” Amazon Digital Services, inc. Smashwords. 2011.
Quinn, Peyton. “Real Fighting: Adrenaline Stress Conditioning Through Scenario-Based Training.” Paladin Press. Amazon Digital Services, inc. 1996

My Blog Bibliography
Cornered Cat (Scratching Post):
Kodokan Boston:
Mario McKenna (Kowakan):
Wim Demeere’s Blog:

Bibliography on Vertigo:

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