An Interview with Marc MacYoung by Marty Hayes

Marc MacYoung is an author, lecturer and martial artist and is considered to be one of the pioneers of reality-based self defense. This is not theoretical for MacYoung who spent his youth in situational poverty and lived with crime and violence on the streets of Los Angeles, where he was first shot when he was fourteen. He later worked as the warden of a correctional institute, bodyguard, bouncer and security professional. Initially known best for his street-violence survival books, he has also published a considerable body of work on personal safety and self defense in both books and videos.

Your ability to recognize and describe what is going on around you is imperative if you are to successfully explain to the criminal justice system why you used force to avoid being killed or crippled.


Discussion and demonstration includes mistakes, misunderstandings and incorrect assumptions commonly made when dealing with the criminal mentality. MacYoung identifies and explains threat displays of various types, meanings  and danger levels, including the risks from ostentiably unarmed attackers and disparity of force issues.

Better understanding is aided by MacYoung's elucidation of the Five Stages of Violent Crime, discussed in this excerpt–

  • How to identify and describe stages between being chosen for victimization and completion of the crime.
  • How close are they really?
  • Reading posture, hand position, eyes and inconsistencies between verbal and non verbal messages.

Recognizing and being able to identify and explain pre-assault indicators is used to define how defensive display of a firearm is allowed as self defense in response to a threat and thus is not an assault or the crime of brandishing.

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