View Full Version : Tactical defensive training for real-life encounters (book)

Seppo Vesala
12-22-2003, 02:31 PM
Publisher: Paladin press, 2003

Author: Ralph Mroz

Size: 8,5” x 5,5”, 175 pages, soft cover

I have read Defensive shooting for real-life encounters by Ralph Mroz before (see review at www.amazon.com), and when I found out that he had written another book, I ordered it right away. Because I was so anxious to get the book, I even paid extra money for air mail delivery, which I do not normally do.

This book is a collection of articles written by Mroz, that have been published is several magazines before. I have mixed feelings toward these kind of books, because of several reasons: The main reason is that the magazine column format places certain limits to itsī length, which means that usually, when converted to book format, the chapters of the book are too superficial. In such books the chapters are on many occasions arranged illogically (for example, aplhaphetically according to the title), making it hard to find all stuff related to certain issue. There often is some repetition in such books, as the writer repetitively handles the issues he thinks are important. In magazine format this is not a problem, but in book form it is annoying. And finally, in a magazine column, the author is forced to use some kind of introduction (”this months column handles…”), and ending that are not only unnecessary, but also irritating when published in book format. (The main advantages of such books are: Each chapter is comfortably short, making the book easily approachable, and the author can easily handle a wide variety of issues in one book). Anyway, in this book Mroz has apparently edited the text (or has written the text completely anew, based on his columns). This is the right way to do it, as in this way most of the pitfalls can be avoided. There is still some repetition, but it is more because Mroz thinks some issues are so vitally important, and they have relevance on several issues.

This book is divided in four sections. The first one handles self defence in bigger picture, the second is on mental stuff, the third handles edged weapons, and the fourth handguns. In the first section, Mroz fixes his attention on self preservation, rather than self defence. He states that you should invest in the safety measures that are most likely to be of need: As you are much more likely to need skills in CPR that gunplay, you should concentrate more enegry on learning first aid than improving your shooting skills. Mroz also points out that it is illogical to train self defence shooting, and at the same time put your life at risk by smoking.

On the second section Mroz handles Coopersīcolor codes, and OODA loop. He also handless awareness training, and points out that there are no books or training films devoted to the subject (there are some books that handle this issue, but they are not primarily awareness training books). There is also a chapter on how to recognize trainers who teach unrealistic techniques, and how they make the techniques seem effective.

The third section is devoted to knives. As I donīt know much about the subject, it was intersting to read. Mroz has a very down to earth approach on the requrements of a tactical knife, and the conclusion is that just about any knife is good for self defence (of course, some knifes are slightly better than others, but there is really not much difference). Mroz also introduces two different schools of thought concidering defence against knife attack.

On the last section Mroz emphasizes the absolute necessity of realistic trainig. He also introduces several common, but dangerous (to the user) habits of gun handling. There is chapter where about dozen shooting instructors tell, on their opinion, which one handgun drill is the most important for practicing for self defence. Mroz ends the book by explaining why you canīt validate a technique for self defence by itsī succes on force on force training. Mroz is a strong proponent of FOF training, but he realizes that it can not be used to demonstrate everything (like fear of dying).

There are trainers who teach the time (and street) proven techniques, rationalizing that if itīs not broken, donīt fix it. Then there are innovators who question the old truths, and remodel the way things will be done in the future. Mroz belongs to the latter group, and therefore even if you donīt agree everything he writes, you will probably learn more by reading one of his books that by reading several books of those instructors who belong to the first group. Mroz is unusual among the gun instructors, because he emphazises how you should concentrate your training efforts on things other than shooting, because your time is limited and you should invest it in issues that you will most likely need.

Although I liked this book, I was somewhat disappointed. It is a very good book, but as I have read Mrozīs earlier book, it seems that there is not that much new things for him to say. The things that were the most interesting were those he had not handled in the earlier book (like knives, and the concept of self preservation, vs. self defence). If you have not read Mrozīs books or watched his films before, reading this book can be a powerful eye opener. And for those already familiar with his works, this book is still a good investment, because of his unconventional thinking.