Being the author of several books on the martial arts and fighting, I am always looking for books of exceptional quality to add to my library. If I have a book in my library, it's definitely worth owning. One such book is Marc “Animal” MacYoung's, ” Knives, Knife Fighting and Related Hassles.”

As you already know, if you have read any of my reviews of Marc's books, one of the great things that I absolutely love about Marc's writing is his no-holds barred direct approach to getting his point across. There is never any sugarcoating or politically correct terminology is his books. He simply tells it like it is, whether you like it or not. Marc's not-so-politically correct way of explaining things is always refreshing in today's society where everyone wants to sugarcoat everything so as not to offend anyone. In some ways, I would compare Marc's method of teaching to the comical rants of George Carlin. You may be offended by what he says, but by golly it's the truth. And yes, sometimes the truth hurts.

Once again, Marc gives you a no-holds barred look at the reality of fighting and surviving on the street. This book deals with the use of knives and the related problems that come from not only using them, but having them used on you. Marc stresses a very important point in this section, that fighting in a combat situation during war time is a whole lot different than fighting some obnoxious drunk at the local bar in front of a dozen or more witnesses.

Marc starts out with a brief overview, which is immediately followed with a “Nuts and Bolts” section in which he discusses the various legalities and types of knives you are likely to face when, and if, you are ever in a confrontation involving knives. Marc also gives you some good advice on how to choose a knife and what to look for in choosing one.

The next chapter, Mental Homework, I found particularly interesting. In this chapter Marc covers such areas as awareness, witnesses, using your brains, and my favorite M.P.S. Now I am not going to do a spoiler here and tell you what M.P.S. stands for, you are just going to have to buy the book in order to find out.

The next chapter discusses the use of avoidance as the best possible method and if that isn't a viable alternative, then the following chapter discusses the use of blocking and parrying the knife. Marc like most good instructors on knife fighting is a strong advocate of avoiding a knife fight first and then running if you can't avoid it. Only as a last resort should you actual engage in a knife fight if at all possible. This chapter also gives you a few good training ideas that you can use to increase your mobility and balance.

Chapters six through nine focus on the use of the knife during a fight from the perspective of you being the one with the knife. Marc covers all the basics in these chapters such as:

1. How to hold a knife and the various grips you can use.

2. Picking a knife that fits you.

3. Various knife fighting stances.

4. Utilizing a “Quickdraw” in order to get your knife into use.

5. Various types of draws for getting your knife out and ready to use.

The next two chapters are gems all by themselves. In the first of the two chapters, Marc talks about the difference between a knife fight and combat. In the former it may be possible to merely wound your opponent and then give them the opportunity to retreat. In the latter, you must be prepared to kill him, or be killed yourself. If you are faced with a combat type situation involving a knife, the final chapter in this book gives you some things to consider before you are ever in that particular situation.

Also in chapter ten Marc includes a section on basic training principles and methods in order to improve your knife fighting and defending skills. Like all of Marc's books, I find this information on the principles behind the techniques very useful, and it is usually a very good indicator of a high quality self-defense and/or martial arts book.