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Dead or Alive: The Definitive Self-Protection Handbook (Summersdale Martial Arts): The Choice Is Yours - The Definitive Self-protection Handbook Paperback – 29 Feb 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 253 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale Publishers; New Ed edition (29 Feb. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840242795
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840242799
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 1.2 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 111,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Until the age of thirty Geoff Thompson had worked through a plethora of menial jobs, from glass collector to floor sweeper; he even spent a decade working as a nightclub bouncer.

Convinced that there must be more to life than this, Geoff decided to become a martial arts instructor (polled as the number one self defence instructor in the world by Black Belt magazine USA) then followed this by living out his dream of becoming a writer.

He is now the author of thirty-four books published in 15 languages, five multi-award-winning films (one BAFTA nominated, one BAFTA winning), three stage plays and hundreds of published articles.

Geoff's autobiography, Watch My Back, has been adapted into a major motion picture, Clubbed.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Andy on 20 May 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is one of the best in this range that I have read. Having studied martial arts for years, and having experienced that the 'street' and 'real life attacks' are very different to 'dojo' training, i finally got round to reading this. Its a very down to earth approach to staying alert on the street, and being aware of the real monster... adrenaline.I experienced a real attack scenario, where a thug threatened me on a train, and we had a face off, with the potential of violence.I had read the section in this book about 'adrenaline dump', 'signs of violence', the 'aggressor bluffing' and confidence etc...This enabled and warned me on how to get over the shock, and fear, of the initial verbal assault, while my adrenaline dump and brief weakness hit me, I held my ground against this person so THEY ended up backing down. (although Geoff Thompson recomends flight before fight.... sometimes you have to stand your ground....especially when like me you were on a train!!!)So read this book wether you 'know' kung fu - or not!Very helpful.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Spider Monkey HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
`Dead or Alive' is a self defence book written by one of the UK's most well known martial artists. Whilst it has much sound advice and suggests you run away before you attempt to fight in any confrontation, it doesn't shy away from telling you what needs to be done to protect yourself, however ugly or scary it may seem. This looks at attacker and victim mindsets and also interviews various attackers to gauge how they choose victims and when they will walk away. The chapters showing the various techniques are illustrated with clear black and white photography and there are chapters on the law and how alcohol affects conflict. The early chapters look at physiological responses to conflict and how you can best control them to protect yourself. Some of the accounts are quite shocking and even scary to read, but if you want to protect yourself you have to know the truth of confrontation. I think this book would be best if used in conjunction with a self defence course and as such would provide an excellent reference book. Overall the advice is clear and sensible and whilst this is sobering reading, it is also required if you take personal protection seriously.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mister G HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 17 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This is one of my favourite books - I learned so much from it and I still apply it today. I first read it a decade ago.

It is NOT a self-defence book - the emphasis is on avoiding incidents (by recognising the build-up and the modus operandi of many criminals) rather than fighting off assailants. As such it is of use to everyone e.g. women, children and OAPs.

The author also cautions you about getting involved in other people's fights - he mentions an argument between a couple, someone intervening, and then having both the man and woman assaulting the so-to-speak Good Samaritan (I use 'Good Samaritan' figuratively - I am not religious). That is sound advice.

The author talks about Codes of Avoidance - Code White, Code Yellow, Code Orange & Code Red. Code White is at the bottom of the pile - a person who is unaware of his/her environment, its inhabitants and the 'ritual of attack'. Code White is 'the victim state that all attackers look for'. The book educates you how to 'code up' - to move up to Code Yellow (constant awareness of your environment) or above. That in itself can prevent you from being attacked - as I said, the book is primarily about avoiding being a victim, not how to defend yourself once it has all kicked off.

The author interviewed criminals in prison. I was surprised to learn that criminals will select you in a busy area (e.g. a shopping centre) and then follow you, waiting for a moment to attack such as when your guard is down and you are concentrating on something else (e.g. fiddling with your keys & shopping as you try to unlock your car). Hence the need to be in Code Yellow, especially when doing things such as approaching your car.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Printul Noptilor on 3 April 2011
Format: Paperback
This book tells you how to avoid falling victim of a violent crime. Mr. Thompson is a former nightclub bouncer who has been in many physical conflicts. He covers various situations where one might encounter aggressive people, and explains the attacking rituals. (Example: if someone says he doesn't want to fight but keeps getting closer to you, he does want to harm you, he's just trying to make you drop your guard. He who really doesn't want to fight would move away from you.) He explains how the criminals act and think. He has even interviewed a few of them. He also explains how people tend to act irrationally under certain conditions and thus put themselves into danger. He also covers some self-defence, but I wouldn't advise you to expect to be able able to learn that from a book. Anyway, most of the book is about getting out of trouble's way.

Mr. Thompson isn't trying to sugar-coat anything, he's explaining things the way they are. His philosophy is nicely summarised in one story where a woman took a self defence class and then said how she now felt much more confident taking the shortcut through the park on her way home late at night. Mr. Thompson's commentary is: had she been taught properly, she would not take the shortcut through the park.

The author is British, and that's apparently where his experience comes from. Still, I think the book will be useful to you, no matter where you live (and no matter if you're male or female). That is, perhaps, with the exception of one minor detail. I was quite surprised to learn that in some countries you can call the police and ask for help when your car breaks down. Where I live, they would tell you where you can stuff your car.
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