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Toronto, Grips Self-Protection Services, c1983.
Distributed by Macmillan.
95pp, paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-7715-9758-4.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Woodger.

Volume 11 Number 5.
1983 September.

Defendo is aimed at an audience concerned about the growing violence in North America and its threat to the individual. While it does not advocate physical force as the first line of defense, it does recommend that victims of an attacker know certain techniques that will enable them to defend themselves in a crisis.

Specifically Defendo advocates two techniques, the application of pain to certain pressure points on the body and the use of the attacker's strength and momentum to the defender's advantage. The author claims that any person, handicapped or pregnant, senior citizen or ailing, can prepare mentally for a sudden attack and develop conditioned reflexes to deal with the situation.

Perhaps so. The photographs in the book show an elderly man blocking a much younger, fit attacker, a woman stopping a knife attack and taking charge of the situation, an elderly man escaping from a forearm strangle from the rear. The text features numerous sensible precautions to enable people to avoid or deal with threats to their safety.

However, weak, frightened victims would have to spend many hours practicing all these self-defense techniques before they could be of any use. Readers might be tempted to feel safer than they really are on the grounds that they have some general ideas of how to look after themselves. Indeed, the text itself warns against over-confidence and concludes that the techniques are of use only if they are so familiar as to be conditioned reflexes. Not recommended for school libraries.

Elizabeth Woodger, Msgr. Doyle J. H. S., Cambridge, ON.
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