And if you gotta set of keys on you,? stick ‘em in ya hand and make them count!
( another self defence article by Phil SD)
How often have you read of the fight-winning advantages of a handily rolled-up magazine, or a hastily palmed set of keys? The staple of seemingly every op-ed piece on self defence slotted into the final, odd-shaped bit of page just before the magazine deadline, the lethal capabilities of everything from deodorant sprays to cd cases are sold as the solution to all dark-alley confrontations. And, at first sight, it seems an obvious proposition. Let’s face it, who would want to be slashed with a key, have a stiff magazine jammed into their gentleman’s area or deodorant sprayed in their eyes. Try it now: apart from our ‘special interest’ readers, I guarantee you’ll find it unpleasant. But then, you’re most likely sitting down in the comfort of your front room, relaxed and not overly-medicated. Try a different experiment. Imagine what you would endure if you had to get yourself and a loved one out of a burning building. Would you fight your way through dense, choking smoke, crawl over broken glass, smash through a door? Or think back to a time when someone you know has hurt themselves when drunk: the girlfriend who walked around all night on a broken ankle; the brother who gashed his head open, and was more worried about ruining his pulling shirt than the copious amounts of blood pouring down his face. How much effect do you think a piece of broken plastic would have in those contexts? Apply all that alcohol-buttressed pain tolerance, and fear- induced adrenal strength to a single person who’s just decided he really doesn’t want you in ‘his’ boozer, and then consider if that pen gripped in your sweaty palm is going to save you.
Dispensing with the melodrama, we obviously can’t dismiss all weapons – armies seem quite fond of them, for instance – so how do you decide whether it’s worth fumbling for those keys as the footsteps get nearer. To be of value, it’s said that a weapon has to give you greater effect, range, or durability. A knuckleduster is more durable than your fist, a baton will give you more reach, and a decent hammer will give you more effect. When discussing effect, we’re talking about something that will stop a committed attacker. Go back to the examples above. While a pen or key might cause some superficial cuts or puncture wounds, creating a fair amount of blood, the chances of a seriously ‘amped up’ assailant even noticing are slim. Now, there are various actual weapons that fulfill the above criteria – some knives and batons, for instance – but, leaving aside the legal issues, there are still some serious problems to overcome.
For a weapon to be any use at all, it has to be in your hand. So, short of carrying it in hand permanently, you’re going to need to access it. And, given you’d hopefully take evasive action instead if you saw the threat in time, you’re going to have to do this under some stress – both mental and physical. It might seem easy pulling that tactical flashlight out of your pocket in your living room, but try it when you’re being ragged around, or punched in the head. Even if you’ve trained the ‘draw’ regularly and effectively, it’s not an easy proposition when conditions get less perfect. And, once it’s in your hand, have you trained to use it in a nasty, dynamic , fight? Will you end up using less than ideal body mechanics, thus diminishing the power of your blows? Will you forget the use of your other hand? Will you unnecessarily limit the techniques you employ because the item needs your hand to hold it a particular way? The bottom line is, will the increased effect you’re hoping for be sufficient to make up for the time it took to access the weapon? Time you could have otherwise used for hitting him as hard as possible with your empty hand? Given the numerous accounts of people absorbing multiple gunshots without dropping, it could be said that a lot of purpose-built weapons fall short in this respect, so what are the chances your ninja pen will measure up?
Boring though it sounds, learning to use your bare hands effectively is a far better bet than some ill-judged talisman. And yes, that does include windmilling.
And now the law bit:
Living in the UK, I also have to point out that it’s an offence to carry a weapon in public. And that’s not just the obvious pointy sharp heavy stuff. The law defines a weapon is anything that’s made to cause harm, has been adapted to cause harm, or is intended by you to be used to cause harm.