Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected” as Want to Read:
Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  534 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
Gold Winner 2012 eLit AwardFinalist 2012 USA Best Books AwardHonorable Mention 2012 Eric Hoffer AwardSeven Steps to Legal, Emotional and Physical Preparation

This book stands alone as an introduction to the context of self-defense. There are seven elements that must be addressed to bring self-defense training to something approaching complete. Any training that dismisses an
ebook, 242 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by YMAA Publication Center
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Facing Violence, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Facing Violence

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 31, 2011 Sunflower rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the VERY BEST books on self-defense EVER! Rory tells it as it is...upfront and in your face. You will be surprised as to what you can learn from this book that might save your life.
Sep 22, 2012 Marc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any student of martial arts
The mission of this sobering and thoughtful book is straightforward: to prepare the reader for every aspect of a possible violent encounter. The book contains lots of graphic examples of violent situations (many from the author's long personal experience as a corrections officer) and a great deal of very practical advice. Like any good book on violence, its clear, overriding message is that the best approach to violence is to avoid it; in fact, the "Avoidance" chapter is the longest chapter in t ...more
Susan Peterson
May 18, 2011 Susan Peterson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you teach martial arts or self defense, especially if you teach young men, you must read this book. It covers the dynamics of violence, both violence perpetrated by social predators and violence that stems from social posturing and dominance behavior (the "monkey dance").
As an author, I have a lot of respect for Sgt. Miller's writing abilities. The book is nicely structured and tightly written. The style matches the content perfectly--clear, straightforward, no-nonsense. As a martial artist w
Nathaniel Cooke
Apr 16, 2012 Nathaniel Cooke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly insightful and well written; laud out in a very clear way Facing Violence takes you through the psychology of aggression and proposes some very effective ways of managing.

Author Rory Miller's obvious and extensive experience in this field speaks through the pages of his book and gives the author an in-depth insight into his field whilst ensuring the book is accessible to the every-man - not an easy thing to do when discussing a topic most people will (thankfully) have very little expe
Aug 26, 2011 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After months of being on my "reading bookshelf" I have moved Miller's book back to "to read." I cannot seem to finish this book. The book has it's moments, but the content, in my opinion, is too dry. He addresses nearly everything a person will face and experience in a violent situation. Even so, as he himself says in his book, a book cannot prepare you. Similarly, reading a car manual will not completely equip you to drive a car. The book shares Miller's experiences and illustrates his techniqu ...more
Timothy Nichols
Feb 08, 2014 Timothy Nichols rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a number of other readers have noted, there's a lot of overlap between this book and Miller's first offering, _Meditations on Violence_. Reading both of them won't kill you, but if you're going to read one, read this one. With the benefit of additional time to reflect and additional years of teaching and practice under his belt, Miller returns to the same basic subject matter with a stronger presentation.
This is a very good book overall, but chapter 4 (the chapter on avoidance) is absolute must read material for any man who wants to diffuse or deal with what the author calls the "monkey dance" of male on male predatory violence.
While “Facing Violence” is an interesting book, it seems to me its practical usefulness is limited. It will probably help, to some extent, in “Preparing For the Unexpected.” But the reader shouldn’t get overconfident as a result. It’s like being an armchair general—there is nothing inherently wrong with analyzing things from the comfort of your chair, but it’s not the same thing as, and does not prepare you for, actually being a general. Same here. Moreover, the book is dated by its complete omi ...more
Rory Lynch
May 21, 2017 Rory Lynch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reasonably often, I read a book and think "So-and-so would get a lot out of this book." Sometimes I read a book and think "I really wish I'd read this earlier." Facing Violence falls into a unique category of "I really wish I'd read this earlier", "I'm going to read this again", and "literally everyone should read this book."

Facing Violence covers all of the aspects of being assaulted other than the actual physical violence. The author covers everything from how to recognise developing threats,
A while back, I wrote a short facebook status that said "Finished my first read through of Rory Miller's Facing Violence last night. Will be starting a second read through before reviewing it. Short version: if you teach or train self-defense, read this book."

Upon a second reading, my views have not changed substantively. Facing Violence is an extremely important book, and anyone who has any reason to want to understand how to deal with violence should read it. Martial artists and self-defense i
Kater Cheek
I can't say this book was notably different in quality than MEDITATIONS ON VIOLENCE, which I gave 5 stars, but I didn't like this one as much. This book covers a lot of the same material as MEDITATIONS ON VIOLENCE, except that it has a brief overview of force law. The information wasn't better the second time around.

I can sum up the content of this book in one sentence "If you think you're good in a fight, you're a dumbass who is going to get himself killed." Basically, training in a dojo is not
Goran Powell
Sep 06, 2011 Goran Powell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Real-world wisdom for the martial artist

Among the many martial arts books on offer, precious few are written by experts on the real world of violence – a world that’s very different from the dojo environment. Rory Miller is one such author. He established his credentials in blistering form with the outstanding ‘Meditations on Violence’. Now, in ‘Facing Violence’, he delivers more of the same calm, considered advice in a highly readable and engaging way (and with a touch of deadpan humour that ma
Sep 05, 2012 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most instructive, provocative books I've ever read. Recommended without qualification for anyone who wants to know how to get out of a fight.

This is NOT a book packed with martial arts techniques (there are a handful, none dwelt on for more than a few pages). This is not a book about how to win every fight you come across. Rather, this is a book about the few seconds before a fight: how you can recognize that a fight is brewing and, most importantly, how you can avoid it. That alone j
Aug 11, 2015 Aaron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book which categorizes acts of violence and gives real concrete advice on how to predict, avoid, de-escalate, and live with the psychological and legal consequences of violent confrontations. Particularly useful to martial arts practitioners in order to put their useful but limited skill set into the larger social context of violence. In my opinion this book should be included in every martial arts or self defense program. Every father should read it and teach his sons and daughters ab ...more
Jan 13, 2012 Liralen rated it it was amazing
"You have the power in the moment to be anything you want or need to be. Just take the power."

I also liked the idea that it's better to be rude than dead, and the whole slew of information on how to break your own sticking points. I especially loved the extra bit he put in about cultivating the habit of doing unpleasant things quickly and without hesitation. It's something I've tried to cultivate my whole life, to understand that it might have other side effects intrigues me.

This whole book is a
Josh Montez
Mar 02, 2014 Josh Montez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the parts of the book that really changed my perspectives on violence were the parts about legal implications. you better have a damn good reason for defending yourself. most bar fights fall under "mutual combat", so the "he started it" excuse doesn't work, because you didn't exhaust all your opportunities to defuse the situation.

learning about how we freeze and the adrenaline and hormone dump that happens to your body before a seriously violent situation was fascinating to read. once again, i
Alexander Smirnov
Nov 30, 2013 Alexander Smirnov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book to read if you are really in MA...

My favorite quote is:

".... two students practicing at light or no contact and one accidentally hits the other in the face. Even with a light touch, both of their eyes go wide, both take a step back, hands go up and apologies start to spew.
Does this make any sense at all? Two people studying martial (arts dedicated to Mars, the god of war) specifically in a class where one of the seeming goals is to learn how to hit people… and there is an immediate, vi
Elijah Dixon
Mar 17, 2014 Elijah Dixon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Insightful Read

I bought facing violence for the kindle to check out the author's approach while I was waiting for "Meditation s on Violence" to arrive via mail. I'm pleased to report that it was a more than worthwhile purchase. while relatively short , the book is information dense, which leads to the book's only shortcoming : it's brevity. it's almost like it's a detailed overview of a more in-depth work. in any case, it covers all the bases and leaves you a lot to think about.
Mar 05, 2015 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone of us can have ugly things happen to us, this book is an eye-opener as to increase your odds of surviving perhaps more intact or at all in all aspects of survival: financial, physical, and emotional. While its mostly about personal violence against us from other people, this knowledge gained from this book would be helpful in any crisis. Highly recommended to everyone - especially to those that think "Oh, that would never happen to me." Well written, well edited - to the point and honest.
Aug 18, 2015 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read for martial artist or any self defense practitioners. Very insightful.

Rory talks about PREPARING and emphasis made on the AVOIDING the conflicts, handling them and making everything possible to NOT get into the fight. Because even if you're the best fighter in the world it's better to play everything safe, because eventually you will quickly learn that all the knowledge and skills you got in the gym is not really suitable to the drunk fight at the bar or unexpected assaults..

May 15, 2015 João rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must read for anyone studying martial arts and self defence. It has a pragmatic and very realistic tone to it and it sure opened my eyes to a lot of behaviours and, above all, possible consequences of violence.

The only part I have a different view is on the self defence techniques he presents. Though the principles are simple and repeatable, I believe there are more efficient techniques. But then again I never had to go to the other side of the looking mirror
Quinn Levandoski
Apr 07, 2016 Quinn Levandoski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Instead of teaching you how to fight, this book is concerned with teaching you how o recognize danger, how to differentiate between different types of potentially dangerous people, and what to think about when worried about your legal rights when considering resorting to force. His tone can sometimes come across as arrogant or overly matter-of-fact, but I do believe that this is more due to his professional background not being in writing than anything else.
Georgina Allen
Aug 20, 2011 Georgina Allen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A superb and detailed look at the difference between training a martial art and real life violence. It covers legal and psychological aspects, the freaky affects of adrenaline and how the monkey brain works against you in a surprise assault. Sobering but also fascinating mix of anthropology, psychology, physiology, law and fight mechanics mixed in with an amazing depth of experience. Essential reading if you have any interest in self-defense at all.
Kimberly Gallagher
This book is great for everyone. It brings up excellent psychological and physical aspects of self defense, how to use situational awareness to keep you out of dangerous situations in the first place, when and how to de-escalate building situations, when to run, and what to do if you must stand and defend yourself, and the possible legal repercussions of going to far. It deals with mental, emotional, and physical effects of violence, fear, and adrenaline rush. Excellent and very comprehensive!
Sep 30, 2012 Craig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having had a recent brush with an actual "live shooter scenario", I found this book thought-provoking. This book is not about fighting techniques. Rather, it addresses how to address violence from ethical, emotional and psychological perspectives. I found this book helpful in understanding my own experience, and in addressing how I might mentally prepare for such an event in the future. God forbid that I should ever need it. cws
Jan 22, 2013 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My boyfriend recommended this since I have little (really, basically no) self-defense training. There's lots of practical, useful information here, and it reads fast. My one critique: it feels like it's geared more toward male readers, in terms of the situations it addresses. But I can't be too critical, since it has a lot of ground to cover in 200 pages.
Sep 02, 2012 William rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who trains in martial arts must read this book. It breaks violence down into two categories; social and asocial. In a nutshell, social violence is ego based and ranges from exchanges between individuals, groups, "educational beatdowns", and violence to enhance social status/notoriety. Asocial is basically about psychos and how to spot and deal with them as well.
Nov 09, 2013 Doug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Required reading for any living person. Miller takes a sufficiently deep dive into all of the troubling aspects of violence and leaves you feeling awed by its power while at the same time cognizant of the "edges" of the problem. Inspirational for self-defense professionals and other professional paranoids.
Another solid book by Rory Miller. Very informative and incredibly insightful. Should be on a required reading list for anyone who has even a passing interest in martial arts or works in an area that may require the use of force.

I look forward to re-reading this one day. This statement applies to one of his other books; Meditations On Violence.
Henrik Kamstrup-nielsen
I'm still a big fan of Rory's. This a man who knows what he's talking about and it would be wise for anyone to read up on what kind of consequenses definding yourself might have. This books covers it alle from the beginning to the potential legal and psychological aftermath.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Little Black Book of Violence: What Every Young Man Needs to Know about Fighting
  • Principles of Personal Defense
  • Secrets of the Samurai: The Martial Arts of Feudal Japan
  • On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace
  • Warrior Mindset: Mental Toughness Skills for a Nation's Peacekeepers
  • Into the Kill Zone: A Cop's Eye View of Deadly Force
  • Complete Krav Maga: The Ultimate Guide to Over 230 Self-Defense and Combative Techniques
  • Get Tough! How to Win in Hand-to-Hand Fighting, As Taught to the British Commandos, and U.S. Armed Forces
  • Analysis of Shaolin Chin Na
  • Training the Samurai Mind: A Bushido Sourcebook
  • Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere: An Illustrated Introduction
  • In the Gravest Extreme: The Role of the Firearm in Personal Protection
  • The Demon's Sermon on the Martial Arts
  • Sharpening the Warriors Edge: The Psychology & Science of Training
  • Living the Martial Way: A Manual for the Way of Modern Warrior Should Think
  • Karate-Do Kyohan: The Master Text
  • Jiu-Jitsu University
  • American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
Sergeant Rory Miller is a corrections officer, a martial artist, and an instructor in both of those areas.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
More about Rory Miller...

Share This Book

“It is better to avoid than to run, better to run than to de-escalate, better to de-escalate than to fight, better to fight than to die.” 7 likes
“Develop the habit of doing unpleasant things quickly and without hesitation. If you are going to jump in the cold water, jump in the cold water. If you need to get up, get your ass out of bed. Do the dishes that need doing. Finish the hard jobs at work while everyone else is coming up with excuses to get out of them.” 6 likes
More quotes…