Discovering and working with improvised weaponsNo matter how well we do at the range, there will be times in our lives when we are faced with the challenge of entering a space that prohibits firearms, knives and even pepper spray. If we find ourselves in immediate danger, even the most extensive martial arts training may fail us. In some cases, improvising a little can turn everyday items into a potentially life-saving tools. In your home, on the block or even the woods, weapons are all around us. All one must do is improvise.
The most simple of improvised weaponry are striking weapons. Dating back to the beginning of human existence, with a club of wood, we have been keeping attackers and even animals at bay with nothing more than improvised weapons. Weapons such as a stick or a chunk of rock. While our hands also suffice as striking weapons, unless properly trained, (and even then) hitting a hard surface such as a head or forearm with your hand could damage or even break it. Then what?
Finding the right weapon to strike with isn’t hard. A piece of pipe or chain with some weight could deal an incredible amount of damage. Zero modification required. The bigger/heavier the weapon is the harder it may be to maneuver. An attacker who knows how to properly counter a weapon may succeed easier if the weapon is cumbersome to you. A smaller, easier to handle weapon may be a better fit for some. An object such as a flashlight or stapler come to mind.
The light weight allows you to strike quickly and possibly even conceal the weapon. Hard, rigid edges maximize the damage inflicted. Keep in mind that one blow to your enemy may not bring the peace you’re looking for. Several strikes may be required to immobilize your attacker. Focus on bringing your weapons hard edges to weak spots. The temple and nose should instantly come to mind. The temple is a very sensitive area and a well-placed shot can instantly render an attacker unconscious. Another sweet spot is the bridge of your opponent’s nose. A well-placed hit on the snoot can blur vision and be incredibly painful.
Puncture/stab/cut (sharps)If blunt force trauma isn’t your thing, and things have escalated quickly, and improvised weapon meant for stabbing / puncturing may be needed to stop your attacker.
These weapons consist of anything sharp and or narrow enough to puncture human flesh. The screwdriver is an excellent choice because of its handle and composition, being an all metal shaft. Quickly breaking a ceramic dinner plate may create the proper size shard of material to puncture effectively. For some, pens also come to mind as excellent improvised weapons.
Please keep in mind a stab wound may not yield the same effects as seen in Hollywood movies. Your attacker may not be hurt to the point where they physically cease from attacking you. It just may not slow them down at all initially. The human body can be quite resilient and you should stab at the right angles. The soft tissue around the neck is a fine choice, especially if your weapon is a pen. There are lots of soft tissue spot, veins and arteries to poke it.
Cutting weapons are not much different. Most can puncture as well as cut, but objects such as broken glass and ceramic plates do a much better job at cutting then let’s say, an old ice pick. Sharp cutting weapons are incredibly lethal. If time permits, wrapping one edge of an improvised cutting tool such as a broken shard of glass or porcelain, is a wise choice. This creates a handle and may also avoid the need for stitches to your hand as well.
You may have pepper spray or CS spray in your personal Arsenal. It’s an excellent defensive weapon and it’s widely used by law enforcement around the world because it’s nearly instantly disorientates, pains, and brings compliance. Alas, several States and local governments do not allow the use of pepper spray or other similar chemical agents when defending oneself. This is quite all right, because there are multiple liquids and sprays that do much more damage. The best options are bathroom/sink and shower cleaners that include bleach and other harsh chemicals. Aiming for the eyes are key. If they close their eyes before the spray, the effects may take longer to work, so try to hit their eyebrows as well. Doing this ensures a greater chance of contact with the eyes as the liquid will ultimately roll and drip off the brow and closer to the attackers eyebrows. By taking away the attackers eyesight your options multiply. Depending on the situation you could safely flee, detain, or inflict more damage easily enough against a blinded attacker.
Our last choice of improvised weapon is a choking object. This can be hard to incorporate without the proper training, and size constraints can also lead to Greater physical struggles. Tools most of us have around us at all times are belts. Another depending on the weather, is a scarf. These are often lightweight and easy to manipulate. While choking from the front can be just as effective, coming in from behind your attacker, or at an angle that makes it harder for your attacker to strike you, may give you an edge. The objective here is to eliminate the blood supply to the brain by wrapping your improvised weapon around the attackers neck. This happens, until your attacker loses all strength and Consciousness. If the attacker is hulking and in great shape, you may be in for a bumpy ride. Dig your heels in, hang on and tighten down the choke until your attacker has found peace.
In the end all that matters is self-preservation. Are you okay? Even if you win the fight your chances of being injured are still high and while having an improvised weapon at your disposal is great, losing control of the weapon and having it used on you is always a possibility. For these reasons it’s always best to avoid the confrontation entirely if possible.
Look around you
Let your imagination run away for a bit and you will probably see multiple objects you can turn into defensive weapons with only a little Improv. This ability, after all, is what brought our species to the top of the food chain and the ability to do so is why we remain here today.