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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 31 May 2011
Rory Miller's book, Meditations on Violence, is one of my favourite self-defence books of all time and this one is even better. If the first book was an introduction to violence this is the senior's class. The subtitle to the book is Preparing for the Unexpected and while it does cover a small amount of ground from Miller's previous book it doesn't labour it and instead uses it as a starting point for further exploration.

The topics covered include: the legal and ethical issues, the dynamics of violence, avoiding violence, the counter-ambush, the freeze, what to do when you do need to fight and dealing with the aftermath. All the sections are fantastic with Miller not just drawing on his considerable experience but also the work of others like psychologists, anthropologists and criminologists. Yet, despite this extra depth the book remains very readable.

One of the chapters that stands out for me is the first one about the law and ethics. In here there is a superb section on criminal and civil courts. I know a fair bit about criminal and civil court due to my health and safety training so it's refreshing to see it discussed in more detail. Another section I really like is about freezing in a dangerous situation. This section spans some 16 pages and goes into detail about what happens within us when we freeze, why it happens and what we can do to recognise it and do to break it.

Overall I really think that this book is superb and I really like the extra depth that you don't usually find in these types of books. If I had one criticism it is that I have been spoilt with this extra depth and now I want more but that's what the further reading section is for. That said, I really am struggling to think of another book that brings together so much self-defence knowledge within its covers. It really is essential reading even if you think you've read everything on self-defence, I guarantee this book will surprise you.
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on 8 September 2011
Among the many martial arts books on offer, precious few are written by experts on the real world of violence - a world that's very different from the dojo environment. Rory Miller is one such author. He established his credentials in blistering form with the outstanding `Meditations on Violence'. Now, in `Facing Violence', he delivers more of the same calm, considered advice in a highly readable and engaging way (and with a touch of deadpan humour that makes his writing all the more readable). If you rate self-protection authors such as Marc MacYoung, Kane & Wilder and Geoff Thompson, Rory Miller is a new voice with a valuable perspective to add, and he sits very naturally in this company.

Having said this, I opened my copy of `Facing Violence' with some trepidation, not because I expected little from it, but rather the opposite. I'd found Rory Miller's first book `Meditations on Violence' so good that I had doubts whether he could reproduce such a feat without retreading old ground (as so many books seem to do). I'm happy to say my fears were groundless. `Facing Violence' covers plenty of important new ground. In particular it gives detailed and sound advice on preparing yourself for violent encounters, not just physically but emotionally and ethically, with considerable thought given to the tricky question for the martial artist: when to fight and when to walk away.

Read this book, add Rory Miller's knowledge to your own, and keep it on your bookshelf next to your other important reality-based martial arts guides.
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on 22 September 2011
This book is just brilliant!! I started off with reading 'mediations on violence' which I recommended you buy along with this book, as both are really informative and provide strong building blocks into how to survive real world violence and not the nonsense you see around us in the everyday world from the media, this book doesn't go into detail on martial arts technique as it is quite flawed which the book covers in much detail. Its all about keeping it simple and easy, many martial arts books won't account for when you freeze in a violent encounter or early signs of detecting when something bad is about to happen, but most importantly it covers the law side, which I feel is not covered enough as before I read this book I didn't know the laws in my area, many people know there right from wrong which is all in well but knowing that could still land you in prison. So what good is having flawless technique when you freeze when it comes down to a real fight that is nothing like how you trained, this book offers the best advice for such a situation. I have found myself noticing more of the world around me unconsciously, I just feel more aware of my surroundings, I feel that Rory Miller's books have really opened up the world to me for the better!

All I can say really is buy these books, once you got them don't read them once, not even twice but 3 times at the least, every read you will find yourself picking out information you missed on the first and second read. They are not only informative but are well written and quite easy to digest, I quite simply believe they will change your life for the better and Rory Miller is quite an inspiring man especially for a young person like myself.

Be smart and get this book :)
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on 22 January 2013
Reading this book gives you a chill down the spine, as it requires you to look into a world you may only be dimly aware of- the world of extreme violence. Rory Miller appears to have a deep understanding of this world and imparts his knowledge of it clearly . His style is terse and straightforward. You are left with the uneasy feeling that you would be ill prepared for a sudden confrontation with the phenomena he describes so well.
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on 9 June 2015
An excellent read, but occasionally disturbing. The author has been dealing with violence in a number of roles and brings a wealth of experience. It is not really a book of techniques, although there are a few, but mostly about situation and psychology both of threat and victim, before and after violence. Definitely a U.S. orientated view - hopefully few of us will ever see the situations described. As a martial artist it makes clear to me the benefits and weaknesses, if not dangers, of my training. I'd certainly recommend it as a serious read to anyone who deals with violent situations, or thinks they could....
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on 30 November 2015
As a Karate instructor of some 45 years I found this book to be very usefull with practical info. As a guy who has worked all kinds of Security and especially as a full time nite club door man I found this book to be very realistic and straight forward, giving common sense advice. I could relate to it because, like many guys and ladies working in the industry, we've seen it and can verify what Rory Miller is saying.
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on 15 July 2013
As an avid Martial artist, I love studying various forms of fighting systems created by various cultures throughout the world. I am fairly confident that my physical instruction from my various teachers will help protect me, but I always had a questions when it came to thinking about using my knowledge.

Can I? Will I hesitate? How would my mental being be apart of a physical confrontation?

All these are answered in this book and it can change your view of the world, but in a good way.
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on 27 June 2011
I ordered this book plus the Kindle book on drills Drills: Training For Sudden Violence (A Chiron Manual) based on how good the authors first book was.

Once again this is an excellent read, but less 'raw' and much more structured. Sgt. Millar provides detailed consideration of the common types of violent encounter, how each type begins and escalates, how it can be avoided, diffused or resolved and afterwards how to cope with the legal and psychological consequences.

Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the difference between martial arts training and self defence.
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on 30 September 2011
it is a refined quintessence of the author's previous books (doesn't mean you shouldn't read them!), a concise guide to predicting, avoiding or properly handling violence, and also dealing with health hazards and legal repercussions later
besides, the author is an amazingly good writer, it is certainly a relief after reading crumpled memory dumps of many other self-defence writers
the book is not restricted to martial artists, because only a small part of it is about actual fighting
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on 16 April 2015
Great read and a good supplement to my Krav Maga training. Some of the techniques decribed are difficult to understand without fuller graphics or images (which were not provided) but apart from that it was a very interesting perpective.
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