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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Improvised Weapons

You're strolling through downtown Madison, WI - with your Ron Paul t-shirt, no less - when suddenly you're confronted by a group of thugs who have a decidedly different outlook on politics and government than you do.  Their clear aim is to physically demonstrate their displeasure in your political position.

Whatcha gonna do?

Now remember, Wisconsin is a "Shall Not Issue" state.  You can't carry a concealed firearm even if you are a model citizen.  Not as widely known, a knife falls under the same restrictions.

They DO allow Open Carry, though (how did THAT slip through the cracks?).

Want to carry pepper spray?  OK, but it can't contain any Mace (only pepper spray), it cannot contain UV dyes (which make identification of the bad guy much easier - WTF?) and cannot be in a disguised container (i.e., an ink pen or lipstick container, which many women prefer).

Stun guns?  No sale!  Considered a Dangerous Weapon, and falls under the handgun/knife restrictions.

Holy crap, I thought California sucked... (it does, just not as loudly, I guess).

Alright, so you know what you can and cannot legally have on your person before you stroll out of your home in search of some sharp cheddar.

So, whatcha gonna do, huh?  You're going to improvise.

When I think of weapons, I think of something that is going to give me an "upgrade" to just punching someone.  If I can get or create distance between me and the attackers, so much the better.  Here are some ideas:

>  A ball point pen, jammed into an arm, leg, face, throat or eye.
>  An electrical cord used to whip or choke.
>  Scalding or caustic liquids.
>  Any kind of aerosol spray.  Paint, bug spray, adhesive - anything.  Go for the face and eyes.  Kids here in California have started carrying Wasp Spray.  Since it's illegal for them to possess pepper spray if they're under 16, they go get a can of Raid.  Shoots a very long distance.  When the can is empty, use the bottom edge as a cleaver of sorts to open up a wound.
>  A belt and buckle.
>  Rocks.  The demonstrators in Egypt used them quite effectively.
>  Flashlights - the bigger, the better.
>  Wood/sticks, sand, bottles - whatever you can get your hands on.  An old episode of one of my favorite TV shows, The Closer, had one of the guys being attacked in a parking lot.  He tore off a windshield wiper, and whooped on the attacker.

The key, of course, it to fight "dirty".  The assumption is that you're being attacked.  Well, all rules go out the window.  Your only job is to disable the attacker(s) and get the hell out of the area.  Fast.

If you're forced to fight up close, go for the soft spots - eyes, gonads, tops of feet, nose, throat, ribs, solar plexus.  Fight to win.

No concern for their well-being if they go down hard.  Make them understand that there are consequences for their actions.  But, as soon as the threat is eliminated, move on.  No gratuitous kicks to the ribs.

As soon as you're safe, call the police, explain what happened and prosecute the hell out of them.

What are the laws in your state or jurisdiction?  Be sure you know them, then arm yourself as much as you are able to afford. - every single time you leave your home.  No exceptions.

Accept The Challenge

When it comes to self-defense, I strongly believe in the saying, "I'd rather be tried by twelve than carried by six."

Take some time to prepare.  Remember, that's what we do.  We anticipate the worst, and hope for the best.

There are a gazillion videos on Youtube on the subject. Spend an hour or so, see what would work for your physical abilities, and work out some scenarios.  Think through what you would do.

Look around you right now, and think about what you could use to defend yourself.  Hmm, that mug of coffee splashed in the face of an attacker, followed up with a crack of the mug over the head would at least give you some time to look for more weapons.

The most important concept, though, is to stay aware of your surroundings.  Trust your gut and your eyes.  Keeping away from areas or circumstances that have the possibility of civil unrest or plain old mugging is your best defense.

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Copyright 2011 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Shy Wolf said...

Along with knowing what can be used as a weapon (ANYthing you can get your paws around!), it would help to know a bit about anatomy as well- knowing which parts of the body are the best and easiest targets to strike with devised weapons.
A club (or protest sign stake) across the eyes would be a lot more serious than across the ribs- but maybe a more difficult target to hit. Or hit them across the topside of the forearm- nerve damage.
Use your sun glasses frame (or RX glasses) to strike across their face/eyes- the forehead will bleed tremendously and aid in blinding them. Or slice and dice under the nose.
That book in your hands has a hard enough edge to cause real damage to the temple area, or a well aimed strike to the zyphoid process, or the eyes, and any body part you can reach.
Body parts to think about are where there are multiple nerve endings- ganglia- that can be struck and slow or stop an attack- such as a book or stick to the outside of the upper arm where the muscle is thinest. We've all had a knuckle punch to that spot, and it hurts like hell. Hard enough- which isn't all that hard- and the arm can be numbed to uselessness. Ditto the hip flexor muscles, or the outside area of the thigh. Under the arm is another reasonable target, properly executed to stop the flow of blood to the hand or defeat the nervous system. The trapezius muscle of the shoulder/neck area... wow, lots to think about.
I don't know if it's still in print, but the "Medical Implications of Karate Strikes" may be a good book to find as a primer on body parts to strike.
Now, about taking off that three inch spike on your foot...

Anonymous said...

No doubt luck, experience, committment and preparation can work in your favor. But in general in hand to hand combat the stronger hands win. And you cannot know if a stranger is luckier, more experienced, more committed and better prepared then you. Your number one defense is avoiding a fight and the best way to do that is to not be there, where ever "there" is. Yes, I realize sometimes the fight comes to you and that we need to be ready at all times. But plan ahead and keep your head.

Chief Instructor said...

Shy, great info, thanks. I went to and found a number of documents on Karate Strikes. Great idea (defense only, boys and girls!).

It looks like the book is still available for purchase. I'll sniff through the stuff first, and if I don't see what I want, I may pry a couple of bucks out of my wallet...

Anon, yep, I preach to all my students in my various classes, "The best way to avoid an disaster is to not be there". Situational awareness is your best defense.

Anonymous said...

Buy a walking cane. Buy a crowbar. Saw the crowbar to the size of the cane. Move rubber tip from cane to crowbar. Apply crowcane as needed.


Come to Washington where it's illegal to shoot to wound, must shot to kill. Population 6 mil. concealed pistol licensed 260,000.