Self-Defense for Cowards - A Guide to Non-Combative Action for the Rational, Resourceful Man

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Author: Alice McGrath
Pub: 1961, 1973 by Thor Publishing Co.
Pages: 64
Ranking:Three Star Rating
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I have no idea how a book like this one ended up in my collection... no really! :)

... and pay no attention to it's well-thumbed appearance... I must have purchased it used...

This humorous short book is just the thing for those of you who don't wish to spend thousands of hours in painful torment at your local Judo club, and yet wish to protect yourself. One of the more interesting ways to avoid confrontations is to hand your potential assailant your prepared 'business' card, identifying yourself as a priest in mufti, a rabbi (reformed), or a Salvation Army General (Ret.).

Three examples of cards you can carry are given here:


Bearer of this card may be a carrier of the plague. If you have touched any part of his body, take immediate precautions. Time is of the essence. Immerse the tainted parts in warm water for at least four hours. See your doctor for futher instructions.


I accept your challenge. Please phone me at (777) 456-6543, extension 7654 between 9 AM and 5 PM, or call (888)999-8863 between 6 PM and 10 PM, or leave a message with my service at (999) 123-4567 and we can arrange an appropriate time and suitable location.


Whereas the bearer is represented by a lawyer who will sue anyone for any cause, and whereas aforsaid lawyer has an impressive record of damages awarded to his clients, therefore, unless you are equally well represented, you might wish to reconsider this and settle (out of court) for a discussion of the matter in dispute.



As a man who avoids fisticuffs with an almost religious zeal, (that say I am a devout coward), let me recommend this book to non-violents everywhere. Here at last is a training . manual for the man who did not grow up on the east side; who did not make, or cared to make, the school boxing team; who did not let Charles Atlas build him a new body. In short, it is a collection of ingenious "outs" for the quiet man.

Miss McGrath, with the help of Mr. Jenkyns' hilarious drawings, has compiled a number of devilish plots, designed to baffle the bully and unhinge the hot head.

Would that I had known of the "screaming action" that time in Cleveland. The embarrassment I could have saved myself... the abrasions.

I would like to point out, in my defense of course, that Freberg the satirist is absolutely fearless. Typewriter and microphone in hand I advance alone and unafraid into the valley of giants. Ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa! Just don't expect me, at a party, to ask "Hercules unchained" there with a double Scotch, if he would "care to repeat that outside." Why the very thought of cocking my left arm out in front of me, while snorting and pawing my nose with my right, leaves me limp. Like the action described herein. Maybe I should have used that one in Cleveland.



Recent sociological statistical investigation has shown that the degree of success in fights which take place in bars (or other public places where people congregate for pleasure and comforting social intercourse) varies inversely to the intelligence and emotional maturity of the combatants involved. This is a frightening discovery, and one which demands a practical solution. The national economy and other patriotic considerations make solutions imperative. This is a time of rising inter-personal tension and conflict. Valued intellectual personnel must be free to sit down to a quiet drink in any bar! We may no longer depend upon chance. Nor can we depend on ordinary social courtesies. Too often you, and now we address ourselves directly to you sir, will find yourself in this awkward situation.

You are in a bar (neighborhood or Astor, it matters not) working on the second one. The first has relieved you of the peculiar inclination to twitch which is strangely present since your recent promotion. Sitting next to you is a stranger. You have not uttered a word, given him a thought or a look. Yet there he is, inviting you outside. Who? Me'? Yes! You! He, it seems, is on his sixth. Somewhere in his befuddled teeny brain is the notion that you have looked at him, or said something, or bear a resemblance to someone who once did or said something. But no matter. He wants to punch you in the nose - outside.

In your mind's eye you see a quick picture of how this will work out. You are rolling around on the ground with this clown, clothes ($150) torn and dirty (What will they think on the 5:32?), a sore eye or fat lip, comments of the children ( Your wife hasn't been in the mood the last few days to incline her to sympathy or even belief)... and so you decline. You decline politely. Sorry old man, you must be mist... Pow (or Zonk)! Another man gone down to bulge the statistical infomation referred to earlier.

As you lie there you might have a moment of regret that you didn't retaliate in his terms. You were fairly (well almost fairly) good in the high school boxing team (Face it, you were lousy). So you are brought to realize that only cunning will do it. And cunning you will be!

Before going on to the text of this book, note carefully that the subtitle defines and limits its use. Only the rational, resourceful, and, we might have added, the mature man need apply himself to the study of this method. Out of the many situations, and the many possible solutions, we have chosen a few typical instances. It is, therefore, a guide. It is intended that your study of these instances shall awaken your mind to the rich possibilities of action in this field. For the achievement of greatest versatility approach each "action" as a suggested solution. After you have mastered the idea of the individual action (Practice before a mirror will suffice if you do not have a partner who will do the work with you), try a few variations. If the action is shown with the right hand or foot, try it with the left. Where the action is mainly verbal, try a variety of phrasings and inflections. But, most important of all, invent additional actions to suit your personality and particular needs.


Back Cover

ALlCE, McGRATH is collecting biographical material for the dust jacket of a novel which she does not intend to write. Her occupations include: factory worker, painter's model, doctor's receptionist, fund-raiser, organizer, re-weaver, active civil libertarian, mother, production manager for one film, publisher's sales representative, editor, writer, publisher, teacher of self-defense. She is an Older New Woman.

CHRIS JENKYNS has had international acclaim for his work in animated film, book illustration and commercial art. In 1956 he won his first New York Art Director's Medal and since then has received more than 150 major awards, including honors from Cannes, Edinburgh and the Venice Film Festival. Among the children's books which he has illustrated are ANDY SAYS BONJOUR, selected by the New York Times as one of the ten best illustrated books for children, HOW TO LOSE YOUR LUNCH MONEY, which he also produced in animation, and EDDIE'S ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE BIRTHDAY. Currently, Chris Jenkyns has book illustration projects in production and is working in the story department of the Walt Disney Studio.



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