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8 Reviews
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good practical introduction
I really enjoyed this book, partly for nostalgic reasons. The line drawings and illustrations showing the self-defense techniques reminded me of an earlier generation of martial arts books back in the 50s and 60s and before, such as Kyose Nakae's Police Jiu-jutsu, the Ratti brothers Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere, Donald Hepler's Self-Defense, Simplified in Pictures, the...
Published on June 16 2004 by magellan

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Misleading Promotion
This is a book by a good writer who has a remarkable amount of specialized knowledge. His other books- on survival, for instance- display an encyclopedic knowledge of things which will help keep you alive in trying circumstances.
This book is flawed by two problems; one is the misleading hype of the publisher (this is not, as the subtitle suggests, "A...
Published on May 7 2000 by Sandra McDaniel


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good practical introduction, June 16 2004
By 
magellan (Santa Clara, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The SAS Self-Defense Handbook: A Complete Guide to Unarmed Combat Techniques (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book, partly for nostalgic reasons. The line drawings and illustrations showing the self-defense techniques reminded me of an earlier generation of martial arts books back in the 50s and 60s and before, such as Kyose Nakae's Police Jiu-jutsu, the Ratti brothers Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere, Donald Hepler's Self-Defense, Simplified in Pictures, the infamous Ketsugo book ubiquitously advertised in the back of comic books in the 60s, and others.
If you're an experienced martial artist you will probably already be familiar with many of these techniques, but if you're a beginner and looking for a good introduction to the field, this is a good place to start.
Before I get into my own comments, I note the extremely negative review by one writer who says the book was a complete waste of money and the author mistakenly assumes these techniques will work against larger, stronger, hopped up, homicidal, or psychotic opponents. However, as a self-defense instructor for 35 years myself who's trained in a number of styles and methods, there is no system I've encountered that is guaranteed to enable you to prevail under any or all of the above conditions and in all circumstances. I've also read the Perkins book the reviewer says is far better and am quite familiar with Fairbairn's book and methods, and although these are also fine books and I would recommend you get these also, they don't resolve these issues entirely either although they admittedly have their advantages also--the Fairbairn methods are more vicious, but if you just add the groin rips and strikes, eye gouges, strikes to the throat and temple, and clapping the hands over the ears to break the eardrums (a technique which Fairbairn favored) to these techniques--you'll basically have the best of both worlds. But, contrary to what the other reviewer says, you'd better have a serious self-defense situation if you end up injuring or maiming someone for life or killing the attacker using those techniques--especially if there are witnesses.
Of course, there are many legal complexities and sides to this issue that I can't possibly go into here, but if you're a 100-pound girl or old lady and you cripple some 250-pound guy for life who attacked you, well, even if you get prosecuted by the district attorney, the jury is likely to go easy on you, and you may get off. But if you're a young, 200+ pound, athletic-looking guy with a dubious or disreputable past and you cause serious harm or injury, or worse, well, you can expect to do some jail time. For some reason, the law frowns on the excessive use of force and violence in self-defense even if the two parties involved are admitted scumbags. :-)
But getting back to the issue of survivability against adverse odds, the most that can be said is that a good self-defense course will increase your chances of survival and give you options that you didn't have before. The way I explain it to my students is that in a low-risk or low-level threat or attack situation you should be able to defend yourself fairly well; in a medium-level threat or attack situation you'll hopefully be able to fight the attacker to a draw and at least avoid serious injury, whereas before you might be completely helpless; and in a serious life-and-death situation with a determined opponent who may be bigger and stronger and better skilled or equipped, or have other advantages, you'll at least have a fighting chance whereas before it would have meant passive acceptance of death or serious injury. Remember, your goal in a potentially lethal street encounter is not necessarily to win, which might require more risky techniques and methods, but to avoid losing and escape with your life.
The self-defense techniques shown are simple but effective, and can be learned by most people with a minimum of training. Effective training for self-defense need not be technically difficult or long and arduous in terms of the training, but it does mean that techniques must be kept simple and complex and flashy techniques must be avoided. The self-defense techniques from many disciplines, including karate, boxing, judo, jiu-jutsu, wrestling, and even tai chi. There's also some good info on nerve centers and pressure points.
But perhaps the most valuable parts of the book are the chapters not on the physical techniques themselves, but on the mental and psychological and other aspects of self-defense. There are separate chapters on What is Self-Defense?, Positive Thinking, and Spotting Trouble. These chapters discuss many other useful and valuable topics, such as self-defense and the law, preventive measures, practicing assertiveness, streetcraft and being streetwise, avoiding many types of risky urban environments and dangers, calming down a confrontation, the eyes and character, the will to win, gangs and drunks, travelling on public transportation, distraction techniques, the effect of alcohol, the elements of surprise, and many others.
I note the author was also the chief SAS instructor for several years in survival tactics. All in all a very well written, thoughtful, practical and well-illustrated book on self-defense and close-quarters combat as taught to the feared and respected SAS commandos.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Misleading Promotion, May 7 2000
This review is from: The SAS Self-Defense Handbook: A Complete Guide to Unarmed Combat Techniques (Paperback)
This is a book by a good writer who has a remarkable amount of specialized knowledge. His other books- on survival, for instance- display an encyclopedic knowledge of things which will help keep you alive in trying circumstances.
This book is flawed by two problems; one is the misleading hype of the publisher (this is not, as the subtitle suggests, "A complete guide to unarmed fighting techniques"); it is also flawed by the difficulty the author had in deciding what to teach and what to withhold because it was too dangerous to teach a civilian population.
If the book had been subtitled "a basic guide to self-defense", it would have lived up to it's title. And if the author had been able to decide what level of damage was "okay" for what level of threat, it would have been a better book. While he withholds the "dangerous" techniques, he suggests fingers to eyes as a solution to "unwelcome attentions" when a man puts an around her shoulder in a bar.
If that's not dangerous, I misunderstand the effect of fingers thrust into the eyes with the hips rotated for more power.
The publisher should go to Mr. Wiseman as ask him to write a different book, which actually teaches the syllabus with which he is familiar. Since Applegate has published, and reprints of the hand-to-hand combat manuals of the army and marines are easily available, Mr. Wiseman should not feel inhibited about sharing his vast knowledge because the techniques are too dangerous or violent.
In general, this book is a good basic self-defense book if the reader has the sense to realize that the eye-gouges should be restricted to situations of extreme provocation.
If a reader wants to review the spectrum of military self-defense, the reader will be better served with the reprints of the Applegate or Fairbairn books, or reprints of Army Field Manual 21-150, or the Marine hand-to-hand book.
I hope Mr. Wiseman writes another book which fully sets out his knowledge and extraordinary practical experience. I would happily buy it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The SAS know what they are doing, Oct. 20 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The SAS Self-Defense Handbook: A Complete Guide to Unarmed Combat Techniques (Paperback)
The SAS are tough, and want to be alive after they complete
a mission. So, they should be great at writing a book
on self defense. In this case, it was mostly true. I thought
the book was excellent, but take it (the book) with a grain
of salt. If you truly want to learn self defense, join
the marines, or go to a dojo. Sparring with instructions from
a book won't prepare you for the real life situation of
panic, fear, and chaos.
The reason why I give this book high marks is for that reason:
Lofty wants you to focus more on avoiding the situation than
fighting in it. The first half of the book is devoted to avoidance. This is a book everyone should read... if you want to
learn more about fighting, get a 2nd book after this one.
This is the start of learning self-defense, not the end all solution.
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1.0 out of 5 stars THIS BOOK ISN'T 240 PAGES LONG!, Sept. 4 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The SAS Self-Defense Handbook: A Complete Guide to Unarmed Combat Techniques (Paperback)
Talk about blatant false advertisement. This book is 156 pages long!
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2.0 out of 5 stars A complete and utter waste of money, Aug. 17 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The SAS Self-Defense Handbook: A Complete Guide to Unarmed Combat Techniques (Paperback)
This is easily the most inferior book regarding self-protection I have read. It basicaly incorporates watered-down military Close Combat and incorporates it with mediocre awarness strategies. Wiseman's biggest mistake, as another reviwer noted, is his belief that non-lethal combat and compliance techniques are going to work with a criminal who may be bigger, stronger, high on drugs, psychotic, (or all of the above) is pure lunacy. He repeatedly makes statements regarding how important it is not to get too violent as to not get sued, when such matters such as lawsuits become trivial when one realizes that his life may very well be in danger. Also, I'm not a lawyer or a cop, but I've really never heard of rapists and muggers who magically find their escaped victims later on and launch civil suits against them.
If you are interested in learning real-life self-defense, then I suggest "Attack Proof" by John Perkins, a former NYPD cop who's seen and experienced first hand how fights occur and how to prevent crimes such as rape, muggings (usually it would be best to give the mugger(s) whatever he/they wants as quickly and politely as possible), carjackings etc. If you are looking for a book that is purely military hand-to-hand combat, I would suggest "Get Tough" by W.E. Fairbairn, "CLOSE COMBAT" by USMC, and "Commando Fighting Techniques" by Jim Wilson and Paul Evans. Whatever you choose, don't make the same mistake I did and purchase this truly horrible book. The only reason I did not give this book 1 star was because the book does contain bits and pieces of useful information--all of which can be found in the books I just listed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars MAGNIFICENT & EXCELLENT!!, Aug. 17 2001
By 
Luke Jean-Louis (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The SAS Self-Defense Handbook: A Complete Guide to Unarmed Combat Techniques (Paperback)
At first, I thought this was going to be another stupid military fighting book, but I was thoroughly surprised. John "Lofty" Wiseman is absolutely superb in everything he writes. The fighting techniques he teaches are very simple to do. I am confident that those tactics can be used to combat any danger that one may encounter on the street.
This is the only military hand-to-hand fighting book I have read that had fighting tips that were meant for actual use and not academic study! If you only get one book on unarmed military combat, then this book WOULD have to be it!
Mr. Wiseman breaks all the fighting techniques down in great detail, so it's so easy to learn. Which is really GREAT!!
He also goes into vast detail about the mental preparation you need to face attackers down and beat them. Like how to stay calm, rid yourself of fear and anger, etc. This is the only military fighting manual that I have ever read that talks a lot about awareness and the mental discipline one MUST have in order to survive a violent altercation. Okay,okay,okay!! The point I am trying to get at is this: If you are a person who wants to protect yourself, then you have to
BUY THIS BOOK NOW!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A superb introduction to unarmed combat techniques., Aug. 3 2000
This review is from: The SAS Self-Defense Handbook: A Complete Guide to Unarmed Combat Techniques (Paperback)
John Lofty Wiseman's SAS Self-Defense Handbook covers basic unarmed combat techniques, using text, black and white photos and illustrations to reveal the basics. A truly excellent pick.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Primer for Self Defense, June 8 2000
By 
David (California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The SAS Self-Defense Handbook: A Complete Guide to Unarmed Combat Techniques (Paperback)
This is the perfect book to prime yourself for self defense. Understand that one does not need a thousand techniques to protect oneself. In fact to be and feel safe one only needs to be aware and cautious of their surroundings, and have the mastery of a few techniques. In this book the author presents a simple effective way to defend oneself from just about every situation they can get in. Defiantly a good read and a nice addition to my library.
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The SAS Self-Defense Handbook: A Complete Guide to Unarmed Combat Techniques
The SAS Self-Defense Handbook: A Complete Guide to Unarmed Combat Techniques by John "Lofty" Wiseman (Paperback - April 1 2000)
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