As we have all heard time and time again, 80% of street fights end up on the ground. It’s only logical that you be the one taking the fight there, rather than ending up with someone else pounding your face in. Unfortunately, many MMA techniques do not lend themselves to concrete surfaces. A good fighter can adapt, but what about the subpar street warrior? Lucky for you, we may have the solution to keep you alive and well the next time you decide to brawl in your local Costco parking lot.
Written by Mark Mireles and Loren W. Christensen, “Street Stoppers: The Martial Arts Most Devastating Trips, Sweeps, and Throws for Real Fighting” from Turtle Press is nearly 300 pages of ways to take the fight to the ground. Does it truly deliver, or does it simply fall on its face?
Hit the jump for the full book review!
Mark Mireles and Loren W. Christensen are your tour guides in this book all about getting to the ground, and both are accomplished in the competitive world as much as they are in raw combat. Mireles is an LAPD officer and a two-time recipient of the Medal of Valor, while Christensen, also an officer, started his career patrolling Saigon during the Vietnam War. If there is anyone you can trust when it comes to bringing the fight to the floor in a hurry, it would be these two men who no doubt have had a long-term trial by fire with honing their techniques.
The book starts off with a few basic rules of engagement, which set the expectations of what can happen when you need to employ these tactics. The authors also introduce a two-tier system for targeting attacks, which breaks down the techniques into two section to start with. Within these segments, we get more sections specializing in various techniques such as throws, sweeps, trips, and high amplitude throws, and spins. There is also a special section on combination attacks, and most importantly, a chapter on how to properly fall.
Learning how to fall safely is something too many instructional books flat out ignore, so it was refreshing to see an in-depth section on this here. As one of the basic fundamentals anyone in Judo must learn, in the many books I have reviewed for this site, I can not think of many (if any) that actually covered break-falls. In a street fight, you are dealing with a high impact on a very hard and unforgiving surface, so it behooves you to learn what to do when you hit that ground. Additionally, learning how to fall the correct way improves your chances of gaining the upper hand after being tossed, and in a street fight, any advantage you get is a big one.
At over 280 pages, this book is filled with maneuvers to put you in an advantageous position in a street fight as safely as possible. There are plenty of photos for each move, although the written instruction is a bit skimpy. For many of the techniques, you get one sentence to break down each photo, barely scratching the surface of any nuances you might need to be aware of. Then again, I may be spoiled by all of the Victory Belt books I have read, and the instructions are easy to follow and gives you enough info to get the job done, but I would not mind a few additional tips on things like avoiding injury on yourself when throwing someone to the ground. For example, if you try to do an arm drag on the sidewalk, chances are you will blow your knee. Is there any way to avoid that? Not really, and it is more up to the fighter to decide what technique to use ultimately, but some of the moves presented in the book may be a bit impractical for anything harder than park dirt.
The arm drag is an isolated incident though, as there are plenty of other options for throws in the book that are very safe and useful. Reader beware though, as I would recommend practicing whatever you plan to use on mats first and use that time to consider the threat of doing it on anything harder than that. There are plenty of options that keep you on your feet with your assailant looking up at you, and in a street fight, I suppose a blown knee is nothing compared to your life, so keep your mind open to that tidbit.
Overall, I enjoyed the book and the amount of information it squeezed into its 280 pages. DO keep in mind that this book specializes in throws and takedowns, and not finishing off your opponent once they hit the ground. For a book just on throws though, you are certainly getting your moneys worth in a very compact form. I definitely recommend this to any law enforcement officers or anyone who needs to use their skills in raw combat scenarios. One of these throws may very well save your life one day!
You can buy “Street Stoppers: The Martial Arts Most Devastating Trips, Sweeps, and Throws for Real Fighting” on Amazon for under $15 new, so give it a shot (no takedown pun intended).