Book Review: Facing Violence by Rory Miller

One of the best books I have ever read on human conflict is Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected by Rory Miller.  I read this quite some years ago, actually, though this is the first time I am reviewing it.

Rory Miller, a very experienced ex-corrections officer, offers an excellent overview of human predator types, the common forms of violent interactions, and the many dynamics involved in the body alarm reaction of human beings under stress.

I think this is the single best reference for an introduction to the human predator types among the books that I have read.  Miller details the differences between resource and process predators and explains the different motivating factors for such criminal actors.  The book delves into the common forms of violent confrontations, such as the monkey dance and the social beat down, etc…, and Miller explains the dynamics of each.

Miller talks extensively about de-escalation and how to avoid trouble, as entering into violence is never a good thing if it can be avoided.  He also provides good insight into the mindset of criminal types in an effort to educate the layperson on how they think and operate.

One of the best elements of this book is the extensive treatment of human behavior in the face of sudden violence.  Miller writes about the freeze response and offers strategies for quickly breaking out if it.  A principle that he promotes that has influenced me after reading this book years ago is the idea of having default “counter assault” moves.  An immediate physical retaliation to an ambush is usually better than freezing and trying to decide what to do.

This is one of the best books I have ever read on the topic of human violence and self-defense and I think anyone who is serious about training should read this one.

You can find it on Amazon here.

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