Improvised Weapons? YES!

If you've been following along, my last blog post was about conventional weapons. So the logical follow-up to that is improvised weapons! An improvised weapon is basically any object that was not designed to be a weapon, but that can be used as such. When you are in a physical fight trying to protect yourself, you need to use every advantage that is at your disposal.

We've addressed the fact before that your best weapon is always your brain, and that fact bears repeating. That means using your situational awareness. Know where you are at and where you are going. Pay attention to your surroundings. Trust your instincts; if something feels off, respond. React. And use that brain to improvise!

As you're considering what you could use as a potential weapon, remember that there are typically four basic types: cutting weapons, striking weapons, distractions, and shields. Obviously what you choose will be dependent on your surroundings, what's readily at hand, and what the specific situation is that you're facing. A good self-defense class - which I strongly recommend that you take - will teach you about all the many vulnerable spots on your assailant's body. For the purpose of brevity, what I'm going to tell you here is "Wind, Vision, Limbs". Basically if you can take away your assailant's ability to breathe, his ability to see you, or his ability to chase you (taking out a knee, for example), you're much more likely to get away successfully.

Cutting weapons are going to be objects you can use to injure your attacker by stabbing, slashing, or cutting him. If you're at home and near the kitchen, grabbing a knife is the logical course of action. If you're in your office, you may have a letter opener or a pair of scissors at hand. A broken glass bottle or a shard of a broken mirror are possibilities, although there's likely to be sharp edges that will cut your hand as well. Are you in the garage? Screwdrivers make a great improvised weapon! If you're like me, you have pens everywhere; a good, sturdy pen can be used to gouge, stab, and scrape quite well. If he is reaching out toward you, or has grabbed you, think about stabbing or slashing at his hand(s), followed by going for either his eyes or his throat. Remember if he can't breathe or he can't see you, he can't chase you.

Striking weapons are any hard, heavy object you can hit your assailant with. Lots of us are working hard to hit our daily intake of water, and that means we're carrying a water bottle with us. Look at the water bottle the woman in the picture above is using; now imagine slamming that bottle onto the bridge of your attacker's nose. You're going to hit him, and keep hitting him! You can do the same thing with your cell phone, a book, a flashlight, a rock, a briefcase, an umbrella...the possibilities here are endless. Look around yourself right now. What is close at hand that you could grab up and strike an attacker with?

Distraction is a little bit different. The distraction is less "weapon" and more of an opening to catch the assailant off guard. The distraction itself is unlikely to stop an attack, but it will allow you the chance to run to safety, if that is an option, or to follow up with a strike or blow. Consider a handful of change from your pocket, thrown into the attacker's face. Is it going to hurt or damage him? No. But it will cause him to momentarily recoil or flinch away. This is where you either get the heck out of there, or strike him. Are you drinking a hot coffee? Throw that in his face. How about a fire extinguisher? Spray it in his face, and as an added bonus , you can hit him with it when you're done!

A shield is any bulkier item you can get in front of you to protect you from an attacker hitting or stabbing you. A purse or backpack is among the most obvious of shields. It can help slow down or delay the attacker, and you can also swing your purse or backpack at the attacker as a striking tool as well. If your purse is as heavy as mine, you'll definitely throw him for a loop! The environment around you can be used as a shield too. Moving around to keep a car in between you and your attacker, for example. Or use a chair a shield. Anything that can help to create distance between you and the attacker.

I would love to hear your ideas on what you could use as an improvised weapon! Feel free to share your suggestions!

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