Friday, August 6, 2010

Improvised Weapons - A Discussion

Last night we had an excellent discussion on improvised weapons for use in self-defense. To prepare for the session, each person was asked to bring two ordinary items to the dojo. The group consisted of black belt students over the age of fourteen. Here is a sample of the items:

Teenager (male) - fishing rod, drum sticks
Young Adult (male) - large metal bolt removal tool used on trucks
Young Adult (female) - hard cover book
Adult (male) - umbrella, masonry hammer, magazine
Adult (male) - batteries, garden hoe, belt, metal ruler
Adult (female) - hip pack - contents include brush, phone, keys
Me -claw hammer, a stapler and clackers.

Each person presented their items and why they chose them. I chose a claw hammer because it could be used similar to a tunfa or kama. I brought the stapler because it is an item on my desk at work and home. And the clackers...why not?

Aside: The clackers were a toy from my youth in the 1970's. They rightfully belong to my brother. My parents took them from my brother and hid them in the closet behind a shoe box. My sister and I knew exactly where they were. We would find them, play with them and once our arms were bruised from being hit with the acrylic marble we would return them to their hiding place. A few years ago, my Dad put them in a box to be sold at a yard sale. I quickly reclaimed the clackers. Now I have to hide them from my daughter! Clackers were discontinued because they were a safety hazard and could be destructive. Only in the 70's....

One of the class instructors led the discussion and reference the book "Surviving Armed Assaults: A Martial Artists Guide to Weapons, Street Violence, and Countervailing Force" by Lawrence A Kane. The book includes chapters on Awareness, Avoidance, Scenarios, De-escalation, Conflict, Rules and the Aftermath. I will definitely be buying a copy of this book!

We examined our items and discussed potential uses and ways to defend. We found some items awkward to hold while others had surprising possibilities.

Low Tech Combat has some interesting articles on improvised weapons - Improvised Weapons and Grips and Holds. You should also check out Journeyman's post on The Cane

Just a quick disclaimer - This is a personal web log and this post is not intended as advice or instruction.


Rick Matz said...

I choose a Briar Axe, which approximates a horse cutter nicely:

For my second weapon, how about a grapefruit?

Journeyman said...

I bet you had a blast in the class. It's amazing some of the possibilities you can come up with using everyday items as weapons.

I think using what's available in everyday life is an invaluable training method.

I must admit, I had a chuckle reading about the clackers. Been a while since I've seen a pair of them!

Michele said...

Thank you for your comments!

Rick: My husband bought a Briar Axe from Lowes this summer. I did not recognise the name. It was about the same size as a Eiku. He was working with the kata and adapting it for a bladed weapon. The Briar Axe is sitting in the dojo office.

Journeyman: I think everyone enjoyed the class. One person left saying we needed to schedule a Part II. The clackers have potential. :)

Frank said...

Fantastic! This is exactly what the Okinawans did, which is why we have the Bo, the Tonfa, the Kama, and the Sai. Ordinary farm implements adapted to combat weaponry.

Keys are always a good one, and something that most people carry with them everyday.

Gardening and construction tools are also good, because like the Okinawans, they naturally lend themselves as weapons.

The clackers... Hahaha... I'll bet those could be used to administer one heck of a beat-down! LOL!

Of course, if we're talking about dangerous toys from the 70's, how about lawn darts? LOL!

My wife used her umbrella once, to fend off a would-be attacker, on her way home from the train station in Tokyo, one night. She used it to beat seven shades of Hell out of guy, both swinging it like a baseball bat, and using the metal tip to thrust, like a Kendo shinai.

When she got home, she was so mad because she'd bent her umbrella. She couldn't understand why I was laughing.

Michele said...

Hi Frank: Thanks for sharing the story about your wife and her umbrella. Way to go!

My cousins had a set of 1970's lawn darts. I loved going to their house for a picnic and playing lawn darts. As a kid, I don't think I ever thought about how dangerous they were.