Words of Wisdom

Written by Greg Ellifritz

Topics: Articles

  • SumoMe

Written by: Greg Ellifritz


I recently finished reading Mark MacYoung’s latest book “In the Name of Self Defense.”  The book was excellent and I plan on writing a review of it soon.  I want to share a quote from the book:


“Until you:

1. Develop the ability to take a hit without having an emotional meltdown

2. Have firsthand experience that you can be struck and it won’t “destroy” you

3. Don’t get all trauma-drama-esque and “triggered” over having been hit in the past

4. Get over your fear of being struck



1. Have no baseline to accurately assess danger

2. Are likely to freak out and emotionally overreact when confronted

3. More likely to get furious and overreact to the insult of being struck rather than the actual danger

4. Will attempt to negotiate and de-escalate from a position of fear

5. Will attempt to deal with the situation from a position of overconfidence

6. Will be reacting to past events instead of what’s happening now.


In my experience, these words are 100% accurate.  When I see people (both armed citizens and police officers)  making bad use of force decisions, it is almost always because they over-reacted, under-reacted, or panicked.  The cause of all these problems is the person’s lack of fighting experience.  Most American men haven’t been punched since grade school, if ever.  They’ve never been attacked or been in a street fight.  They’ve never studied a combat sport where punches are thrown.  They have exactly ZERO experience being hit.


Yet these same people somehow think that they understand the dynamics of fighting and self defense.  They are wrong.  People who haven’t been hit have no clue.  They are just guessing when they evaluate the severity of the situation they find themselves in.  And because of their lack of experience, they make poor decisions when they have to defend themselves.


If you are reading this blog, you are a more dedicated and knowledgeable practitioner of the defensive arts than the average person.  You may be one of the few people who has taken a higher level firearms or tactics class.  You are the type of person who won’t be content with a bare minimum CCW permit class.  If you are reading this article, you want more.


If you truly want to become better at defending yourself, join a boxing gym for a few months.  You don’t have to enjoy it.  You don’t have to study the sport for the rest of your life.  You don’t even have to become a proficient boxer.  You just have to gain some experience being hit.


Understanding the true nature of what it’s like being punched in the face will enhance your abilities to defend yourself better than almost anything else on the planet.  A couple months in a boxing gym will be a life-changing event.


Read the quote again.  Then commit to getting hit.  The benefits will far exceed anything that you can learn by taking another carbine course.





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4 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Aqil says:

    Excellent post! I gotta ask: Is that pic of Joe Mesi? Why did you pick that picture? Haha

  2. Marcus Wynne says:

    Smart post by a smart guy. This is why I always read your blog. Simple and true. I remember starting certain training drills with a full power slap to the face — you gave one and you got one, and if you held back you got another one. Such a simple thing, but these days you’d get sued if you did that to open enrollment students, and many (I think) would not be willing to receive that even if they were able to return it.

    Keep being one of the voices of reason out there, Greg. Your work is seen and appreciated.

    cheers, m

  3. Rod De Leon says:

    Great post, Greg! Sadly, in these days of zero-tolerance for aggressive behavior in schools, many young adults have never even experienced truly harsh language directed at them much less a punch in the face (and, incredibly, I’ve seen people have meltdowns because of harsh/profane language as well).

    Back in the ancient era of disco, I worked my way through college partly as a bouncer in 3.2 clubs. And yes, I’ve been punched in the face, and yes, a bare-knuckled punch feels different than a punch with a 20oz sparring glove, but most of that difference you feel after the fight is over. As a result, I’ve found that the skill of the person throwing the punch makes a bigger difference. However, I think the most helpful thing I learned from this experience is to recognize how confrontations escalate, and the dynamics of a fight once it becomes physical. Hint: Hollywood usually gets it wrong. Yet this is the only experience many people have.

  4. Brandon says:

    Excellent write up. I have been hit a lot of times, the two most recent being by a crackhead and a cow, yeah like the kind you milk. It is life changing. First time it happened, I got pissed and gave up immediately. From that point on, about the past 20 years, I have fought back with all my might. Knowing that the human body can take some blows to the head and body and survive it is important info to know.