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Special Agent Tactics: Improvised Weapons For Self Defense

I was recently helping a friend with a women’s self-defense seminar where I recalled an old story, I remembered from a CNN report where a very self-aware 17-year-old girl from California turned a scary situation into a valuable lesson for these ladies.Apparently, she had been exposed to a safety lesson, self-defense course, or knowledgeable parents who prepared her.

When an unfortunate attack occurred, she was aware and ready, not a defenseless and vulnerable target. When her attackers approached, she fought back with a baton she carried, and it ended up keeping her safe and probably saving her life!

So, that is what has prompted me to write this article. In my Fight Fast DVDs, I demonstrated and spoke about some improvised weapons you can use to defend yourself. Hopefully, that video, if you have seen it, makes you think about the improvised weapons you can find in your immediate environment that can be used as an improvised weapon.

Sure, you could carry a weapon for self-defense. I recommend that if you can do so legally, you should. But perhaps you live in an area that doesn’t allow weapons. Or maybe you don’t like guns, or can’t afford one. But the truth is that you can always be armed. It doesn’t matter if you have a gun, pepper spray or taser, or not. You, as a human being, are always armed. Insects and serpents have their venom, wolves have their teeth, lions and tigers have their teeth and claws, but what do we as humans have? Our imagination. And I’m here to tell you that the human imagination is the most powerful weapon of all.

Throughout history, begging with the cave man’s club, to the medieval sword, to a modern firearm, all the items our we have ever used to defend ourselves have originated in our imagination. Someone had to think to use a large stick to beat back predators and other attacking cave dwellers, right? And then someone eventually had to consider to make a “club” out of metal and give it a sharp cutting edge. We, as a species, have always invented weapons using our imagination. By that same process, we can turn everyday objects into weapons when we have to.

Definition of an Improvised Weapon

Let me begin by defining an improvised weapon. It is anything that can be used as a weapon, but its real purpose is for something else.

I want you to make a mental list of all the types of items that are at your daily disposal in your car, purse, pockets, backpack, briefcase, desk, garage, kitchen, bedroom, office, etc. Plan now so that if you are ever attacked, it will come as second nature to you to use something as a weapon, especially when you don’t have a real weapon on you. It seems that criminals can quickly think and use items as weapons on you or your property, so don’t give them a chance to think or act; you be the one who acts so that they have to react (retreat)!

When you are inside your car, what is the first thing you would grab if a road rage warrior smashed in your window and attacked you? I have my baton from my law enforcement days and a knife in the side compartment of my driver door that I can easily reach. You may have a can of pepper spray on your visor, but those are not improvised weapons. You could use the hard corner of your PDA (personal digital assistant) or cell phone, an ice pick, your tire thumper, or a heavy-duty flashlight for improvised weapons. If you are caught by surprise when walking to or from your car, you could use your car keys or a pen. I would also recommend a kubotan attached to your key ring.

If you’re a woman, you probably have in your purse a cell phone, jewelry, safety pins, tweezers, pens, and a fingernail file. If you are a guy and carry a briefcase, you might have a PDA, a hardback book, nail clipper, specialty tool, pens, a belt, or an electrical adapter with prongs that could nicely punch in eyeballs. If you want to figure out what can be used as a weapon, think like the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) and imagine the many uses for items that have been banned on airlines.

Inside your garage, shed, and home, you probably have tools, books, sports equipment, hot liquids, caustic liquids, glass mugs and pitchers, umbrellas, and kitchen utensils. These items all have a second use as improvised weapons.

Outside, you may have immediate access to branches, rocks, broken glass, or debris – anything that could interfere with the attack long enough for you to startle the assailant and make your escape to safety. As a matter of fact, in your own yard, it would be wise to hide any exposed items that could be used against you or just be aware of their placement.

Example Scenarios:

Let’s look at some scenarios where you might have to improvise a weapon and consider what you can do.

Let’s say a man is holding a knife corner you. You don’t have a gun or any other traditional weapon. You can give up and hope he only takes your wallet and not your life, or you can improvise a weapon for self-defense. What do you have on you?

Do you have on a belt? If so, take it off and swing it. I have done this several times in the past. The nice heavy belt buckle can do quite a bit of damage if you hit the attacker with it. And since a belt is significantly longer than a knife blade, the mugger might not be able to get in close enough to stab you without risking at least one good whack to the head (be careful, I would rush you when you take a swing, preventing you from taking a second one. I will take one good hit to finish you.) And ladies you can substitute a purse for the belt.

What else do you have, after all, swinging a belt is good at a range of about two feet, but what if your attacker is willing to suffer a hit to get in close enough? The belt won’t do you much good then. You need another improvised weapon at the ready for a closer striking distance. Do you have a bottle of water or coke? A full plastic bottle like that can double as an excellent small club. And a good blow to the head with one possibly can stun your attacker long enough for you to launch another attack or get away.

You can use a pen or pencil to mimic his knife (this was demonstrated well in one of the Jason Bourne movies) using it for quick stabs.

Speaking of Jason Bourne, you can use a rolled magazine or newspaper as he also demonstrated in one of the movies.

You can definitely use your keys as a weapon to hit your attacker in his face as a distraction to buy you time for a quick punch to the nose. Throwing a handful of change into his face also works well for this.

As you can see, the possibilities for what you can use as an improvised weapon are only limited by your own imagination. These were a couple of examples that I came up with, what can you come up with? Take a few minutes and just think about it. Think about the items that you carry with you on any given day and how you could use them if you were attacked so you won’t have to think about it should an attack occur.

I always have a real or improvised weapon on hand or close by; not that I’m paranoid (ok maybe a little,) I just like to be prepared. Where ever you happen to find yourself look around and locate the potential improvised weapons around you; be aware and don’t be caught empty-handed!

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