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Foreword for the New Edition

Self defence! Who do we need to defend ourselves from, in every sense of the
word, in these peaceful times?
But enough of pondering these philosophical reflections: It is only, in this book,
the means of self defence, in the everyday meaning of the expression such as
when one is attacked in the street, in particular, and other places. Despite the
progress of civilization, the growing, yet still insufficient, number of brave
police, and the valiant detectives who do not want for occasions when they may
need to defend themselves.
Even if one is not required to encounter aggression daily it is good to know that
one is prepared, if needed, to be “let off the leash”, as they so elegantly say on
the outer boulevards, and that one can give back as good as one gets, maybe
even with added interest, when going blow-for-blow, and otherwise maintain
the respect of one’s peers.
Beyond are the numerous districts that house the “Apaches”, with their
deserted streets and lanes that favour night attacks, are reason enough to
prepare for combat, for the very reason that it is best to able to rely only on
oneself. Following the sardonic quip of a comedian, the motto of society is “To
help the drowned!” This is an ironic form of tardy benevolence that we display
with some cynicism on every street corner in Paris.
And, just like the representatives of the police force, friends arrive too late to
the rescue. Then, just like the song says, they are not always around. It is far
better to be armed against an attack and to prepare for this lack of assistance.
And where can one not find the occasion to trade blows? It happens even when
at the courthouse, or at a shareholders’ meeting, the theatre, the cinema, a
café, at public dances, on racecourses, at the railway, on the metro, &c.
In the art of self defence, one must have knowledge of a fair variety of methods,
at least because one must not appear to be too vicious, for example, if one is
simply having an argument with a grumpy neighbour at the theatre, cinema, or
a café, one must not, for fear of seeming too brutal, use those methods which
one would use against criminals who seek to attack you with the “Father