Book review: Street E&E; Evading, Escaping, and Other Ways to Save Your Ass When Things Get Ugly by Marc “Animal” Mac Young
Marc “Animal” Mac Young is what you could call a “reformed streetfighter”. He grew up in the wilder parts of Los Angeles and was confronted with violence and death early on in his life. He has made numerous books and videos on these topics. His focus has always been on debunking myth’s about martial arts/self-defense and stress the importance of awareness and avoiding conflict. That’s why I chose this book of his to review first.
In the introduction of Street E&E, there is a basic outline on the reality of street violence and some pointers on situations to avoid. This brings you the proper perspective and in the right mindset that are needed for Street E&E.
The first two chapters of Street E&E show an important flaw in most self-defense training: Evading and escaping street violence is something few people actually consider in a practical way. They have a vague idea of what to do in an extreme situation, but no specific game plan. They have fighting techniques, but no larger frame to use them within. They say they will run away when attacked in a certain way, but fail to recognize the specific stages and techniques that are involved in this.
Marc also shows the 9 angles of attack and how you handle them with both counter attacking and running away in mind. The concept of the 9 angles is dealt with in more detail as in how to avoid getting hit along these angles. There is some sound advice regarding multiple attackers, starting an escape and couples confronted with violence.
Chapters three and four describe the different types of pursuit and how to manage them. Surviving a pursuit is a combination of confusing pursuers, putting obstacles in their way, counterattacks, hiding and using their mistakes against them. Animal goes into detail about how to shake off cars, helicopters and cops. He also explains how to stay ahead of the attackers and what to do when they catch up on you.
Next is a chapter on “Thinnin’ the herd”. In it, Marc explains how you can string out your attackers and do damage to them, while still running away. Topics include throwing trash cans, chairs and sticks. He makes sure to explain just how serious this can all get. Being pursued is far less glamorous than Hollywood would have you believe.
This more offense based chapter is followed by a more defensive one, namely disappearing. This is mainly accomplished by using the way people perceive reality against them. Those who chase you expect to see certain things. When they see something else, they will get suspicious and the odds of them catching you increase. The practical side ranges from not hiding when people expect to see you running, to picking up your feet while hiding in a toilet.
Chapter seven of Street E&E deals with a rather serious topic: Being hunted by the police or professionals. A basic but very profound concept is disappearing completely, not partially. Spending a lot of money and effort on a new ID, relocating and building a new life is a good start. But if you repeat the same mistakes that made the previous groups looking for you, it won’t take long for you to get into trouble once more. There are numerous other mistakes that make finding you an easy thing for the hunters: leaving a paper trail, contacting the wrong people, going to the wrong places and generally leaving hints about where you are lying around.
Following this, Marc explains how to deal with a bunch of amateurs hunting you. If they persist in trying to get you, declaring war on them may be the only option. This means avoiding getting caught by making sure you know the exits to every building you step into or correct seating. In essence, you need to prepare for a prolonged period of guerrilla warfare. By making sure you stay clear of the hunters, you buy yourself time to get organized. Once this stage is passed, you make their life so miserable that they forget all about going after you. Animal sure lives up to his reputation with his creative ways of achieving this goal.
The last chapter of Street E & E expands on what Marc calls “Boomtown”. This isn’t really a specific place, but more a type of environment. It is the wilder side of society where violence is often a part of life. This description is fairly limited, but it helps you in getting a better picture of what Animal is writing about. The need for planning and preparation is, once more, a dominant topic here. As you never know when violence will erupt during your stay in Boomtown, your best bet is to be ready for it at all times. Animal gives loads of advice that ranges from parking your car correctly to driving tips for when another car is following you.
Street E & E ends with some final words and a conclusion.
If you teach self-defense, Street E&E is a must have book. Teaching fighting techniques is one thing. Teaching people to survive street violence is another altogether. Marc provides solid information that is adapted to this goal. The only other place to get it is to go into the military or other special organizations. These kinds of books are in fact all to rare. Writing about fighting techniques has more “flash” value, but they are only a very small portion of what is necessary for surviving violence. Even though this book dates back to 1993, I still highly recommend it. It has lots of information you won’t find anywhere else.