The use of Improvised Weapons

In America unarmed Combatives are really only considered for use as a last resort, for example if you have no weapon or less than lethal option available then unarmed Combatives may be used as a transition to gaining a weapon or a less than lethal alternative. Look at law enforcement and Close Protection Operative’s abroad and you will find that the first line of protection is a chemical spray or a baton unless circumstances dictate the threat or use of lethal force in which case a firearm would be drawn. During WW2 unarmed Combatives were designed for those who were foolish enough to be caught with out a weapon. For the civilians in this country where the rules of engagement are very different, in that we are not allowed to carry any weapon by design or anything adapted to be used for the sole purpose as a weapon. With that said in dire circumstances where you feel that you are in danger for your safety it is perfectly acceptable to use anything to hand as an improvised weapon in the event of an emergency.

The key factor here, if this is to be your decided course of action, is that any improvised weapon will only be of any use to you if the item is already available to you for use in your strongest hand accompanied by an alert and switched on state of awareness and the intention to use it. A set of car or door keys can and should be held ready to use in your hand in preparation to enter your car or house as quickly and efficiently as possible accompanied by a good sense of awareness. This is simply habitual street smart Self-Protection. If a woman is returning to her car after a hard day at the office and the environment has now changed in that it is now dark and some what deserted compared to how it was when she parked earlier in the day, then it would make sense that her keys were ready for use in her strongest hand in a manner that would allow them to be to be used for effective slashing and stabbing. That is, if an attacker approached her, her first response would be to use the keys as a weapon. There are many everyday items that could be used as an improvised weapon. The main items we are going to cover here involve the use of keys, a pen and a mobile phone any of which could come in very handy if we found ourselves needing an equaliser. The thing to remember about the items mentioned is that they are not weapons by design nor have they been converted in any way to be used as one but could be should the need arise. A pen, a key and a mobile phone are all legal to carry and make excellent improvised weapons in certain circumstances.

The keys can be used in a variety of ways, they can be placed between the fingers so that you can punch out to facial targets especially the eyes, they can be attached in a bunch to a Kubotan type key ring and used in a slashing manner, but we are going to use a single key in a simple manner in order to keep things easy. This method of using a single key came to me from Combatives expert and Security Specialist Kelly McCann. This method requires a single car key or Yale type door key that is held along the index finger of your strongest hand with no more than half an inch of the end protruding this is then trapped in place with the thumb. From here the weapon can be used in a slashing and stabbing fashion to the soft target areas of the face, throat and groin.

Key sequence:

Hold a single key as shown along the index finger and trap it in place with the thumb leaving about half an inch protruding for slashing and stabbing.

The following sequence makes use of a short sharp slash to a soft target area on the face followed by a drop stepping thrust to a facial target.

Pen & Mobile phone:

The pen and the mobile phone are two items that are carried by the majority of the population both of which could come in very handy as an equaliser. Both items can be used in a pre-emptive manner or to force an escape in the event of you being seized or grabbed in some way. Simply apply force with the point of the pen or tip of your mobile phone’s Arial into the pressure point cavities of the exposed head/neck area. Strikes can be made behind the ear, up under the jawbone or in to the jugular notch to name just a few. The mobile phone can be used in a variety of ways ith and with out an Ariel as can the pen. The method of use will depend on how you grip them. The following pictures will show various methods of employing these items as weapons according to how they’re held. The pointing grip and the hammer grip apply to both the pen and the mobile phone, where as the pinching grip and the across-palm grip (developed by Self-Protection expert Jamie 0’Keefe) apply specifically to the pen.

Mobile phone sequence 1:
In this example an aggressor has encroached on our space, we have a phone in our hand and the threat is imminent. From here we are going to use a little deception by asking the aggressor a question as we open the hands as if talking in exclamation. From here we explode forward with exactly the same motion as for the double slap {Thunder clap} only this time we are adding the top edge of the phone to strike one side of the head whilst simultaneously slapping the other side of the head with the other hand.

Mobile phone sequence 2:
In this sequence we are taking our basic gross motor strikes and applying them to an improvised weapon. In this case we are using a fast downward Hammer-fist strike using the bottom edge of the phone straight down onto the face then continuing the attack using the bottom edge for a series of cycling Hammer-fist strikes as you close and grip hold of your aggressor’s neck, shoulder or clothing as you keep striking with forward pressure {blast right over him} until the threat is eliminated.

Work from a hands high non-aggressive posture as you explode forward with a fast non-telegraphic Hammer-fist strike then continue Cycling with further strikes until he’s out of the game. Another way we can use improvised weapons is by using what is available in our immediate environment here we can see how a chair can be used as a barrier against an attempted edged weapon attack this could be a knife or a broken bottle. The legs of the chair can be thrust at your attacker’s throat and groin by angling the chair accordingly. Using a chair as a barrier between you and an edged weapon by angling the chair or stool and thrusting out at the attacker if he attempts to close on you.

The use of an umbrella:
Here is an exerpt from Fairbairn’s book ‘‘Hands off!’’ from 1942 relating to Self-defence for women. The advice offered in this example is just as applicable today.

The present day umbrella is around 18 to 20 plus inches in length and is an ideal article to be used as an improvised weapon for the purpose of defence and students are advised to study and make themselves thoroughly acquainted with the application of the various blows that can be used with such an item. This sequence drill was developed by Close Combat legend W.E.Fairbairn (pictured below) in 1942 for use with a stick or cane for soldiers and members of the home guard during World War 2. At this time it was depicted in two of Fairbairn’s Close Quarter Combative manuals one called All-in Fighting, a manual published in 1942 for members of the armed forces and another that adapted the same sequence for a common household umbrella as shown in the pictures illustrating it here for his book ‘‘Hands off!’’ Self-defense for women also published in 1942. Here is a classic example of a method of Close Combat originally designed for the Military after having been adapted for civilian use and applied to the common umbrella.

Here the umbrella is held with the point facing toward her left-hand side with the palm of the left hand facing up and the right palm facing down. Using a fast push/pull motion from both hands the point is point sharply across the aggressor’s stomach. From here the point is driven straight up under the chin and then straight down onto the face.

The sequence is continued by bringing the handle end up and across the face finishing up by driving up and under the chin aiming to strike your aggressor’s Adam’s apple with the center of the umbrella.

There are a couple of things to bear in mind here the first is that any object that resembles a stick can be used in the same way. The umbrella is but one example, the same could be applied to a rolled up magazine, a length of pipe or the straight branch of a tree all of which incidentally make a good bludgeon type weapon. The second point to understand is that the drill as it is depicted here is just that, a sequence drill designed in the pattern shown in order to teach the student several skills that flow together in a sequence. This method was trained in this way in order to condense and shorten the learning period so that the several skills can be learned quickly. It is not a fixed pattern that should be performed in this way only. Indeed any move from this sequence will be found effective as a pre-emptive attack but if there is an opportunity to string two of more methods of attack together then it will be made doubly effective.

NOTE: It is illegal in the United Kingdom to carry anything made as a weapon by design or anything that has been adapted in any way for use as a weapon. With that said literally anything available for use as a weapon at the time and in the event of dire emergency can and should be used.