Campfire Tales From Hell: Musings on Martial Arts, Survival, Bouncing, and General Thug Stuff

For the last eleven years, a group of people have been gathering at Marc MacYoung's place in Castle Rock, CO to kill the lawn, share martial art and self-defense lessons, drink, eat, share stories and have a lot of fun.  A number of these people have been Paladin Press and YMAA authors.  Obviously, Marc “Animal” MacYoung, but others include Peyton Quinn, Bob Orlando, Wim Demeere, myself (Alain Burrese in case you have forgotten), Rory Miller, Kris Wilder, and others.  The belts, uniforms, and egos were left behind, and classes were filled with people learning and sharing on a variety of self-defense and martial art topics.

Recently, a number of us got together and put some lessons in an anthology.  The book is a collection of a lot of different lessons from members of the Animal List (The annual Animal List BBQ at Marc's came from this list)  I'm glad to be a part of this project, and below is the review I submitted to Amazon.  It really is a great collection of tales and lessons.

I'm one of the authors that contributed to Campfire Tales From Hell: Musings on Martial Arts, Survival, Bouncing, and General Thug Stuff, and I'm honored to be along side all of the individuals that contributed to this collection of stories, tales, wisdom, advice, and practical experience from people who have been there and done that. This book isn't full of techniques that will turn you into a killer commando, or some super elite martial artist. Rather, Campfire Tales From Hell is a book full of personal experiences, many of which are not nice or good, and what you can learn from them to survive and make it through your own personal horrors, no matter how large or small they may be.

The book is hard to explain, because there is just so much in it. It comes from the history of a group of people, all with wide experienced backgrounds, getting together and telling stories over BBQ and alcohol, after a hard day of training. (And the training was taught by these same people, sharing the skills they've spent years developing.) As a participant of many of these gatherings, I've heard some of these stories first hand, heck I was there with one of Marc MacYoung's tales, and I am glad they have been captured in print for others to learn from. There are things about talking to cops, law enforcement thoughts on fighting, the differences between stage fighting and real fighting, how to read your opponent, some history on European martial arts, PTSD, trauma, winning and losing, teaching, training and conditioning, how there are no secrets, breaking, various war stories and what was learned, advice for bouncers, how to stay out of trouble as a psych ward patient, martial art cults, how to leave abusive relationships, being nice when working security, gambling with your life, learning the old to understand the new, how there is no magic, and a new fiction story/interview by Barry Eisler.

As I said, this is an eclectic group of stories by an even more eclectic group of individuals that come together once a year to destroy Marc MacYoung's lawn. It is not only an engaging and interesting read, but one that teaches a lot of valuable lessons for those that pay attention to them. Remember, these lessons were learned with much sweat, tears, and blood. Read the book, enjoy the book, but most importantly, learn from the book.

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