I went to UFC fight night last night with my friend Bobby and his friend Noah. Much fun was had by all, not to mention chicken. There were, surprisingly, a good number of intense, interesting match-ups. Usually, there are one, maybe two, good fights, and the rest are snoozers, but it was a good night.
As always happens, I got enthused about MMA, and wanted to start practicing unarmed fighting. In the cold, hard, light of morning, however, I once again remind myself of the impracticality of that. I don't mean to diminish the skill of the fighters in these events, or to talk down to people who spend time, sweat, and blood learning how, as all such endeavors are for the best, and improve one both physically, and in character. I am forced, however, to admit that I don't really need to learn much in the way of empty hand fighting. I always have something to hand. All I really need to know is how to keep myself safe long enough to get to a better tool.
Shown above are typical items I carry on my person on a daily basis. They don't look like much, but short of a gunfight, they actually cover all of the bases of armed conflict I could possibly find myself in. And, aside from the knife, which I am forbidden to carry in my workplace, these are all things you can carry with you pretty much anywhere you go. My multi-tool has no 'knife-blade' and as such it skates around that prohibition quite handily. In ascending order of threat, I'll tell you about each item, and why I carry it, and how I have put a lot of thought into its selection and use.
1) Lighter. This is a Ronson jet lighter that I bought at the checkstand at Wal-Mart for the princely sum of $5. I don't smoke, but the concept of having a ready means of making fire that even my daughter knows how to use seems like a good idea. Plus, it is something easily explained away if anyone ever asks. In extreme duress, I could use it as a fist load, and quite effectively at that. I chose it for its durability, weight, and the fit in my fist. I am not a great puncher, in the traditional sense, so I can use any help in that regard, plus it increases the effectiveness of my hammer strikes, something I can do well.
2) Gerber Multi-Tool. This has the knifeblade removed, and as such, sidesteps my office's idiotic 'no-knife' rule. Guess the hundreds of box cutters and X-acto knives on everyone's desks don't qualify as knives? In any case, this bad boy is one heck of a fist load, and can also be used as a Kubaton, something I have practiced quite a bit. Again, it makes hammerfists something to fear. And it is pretty useful in its own right. I use the can opener almost every day at work.
3) Kershaw Storm II. This I bought for my wife, but then she gave it back to me in favor of using her smaller Gerbers. It is a heavy knife, very sharp, and thin enough to carry easily clipped to a pants pocket. It is probably the best folding knife I own (or at least shares the title with my old Jess Horn Spyderco). I wish though, that it was not serrated, and had a normal grip material instead of the annoying skateboard tape that chews at my pocket lining. It hurts my hand too, but if I ever needed to really hold on to it, say in a fight, I am sure the grip would be welcome. It's not a perfect knife, just the best I have found for the use, so far.
4) Cane. I have a bum knee, which, off and on, encourages the use of my cane. Not happy with run-of-the-mill drug store canes, I made my own from a curtain rod I picked up on clearance at Wal-Mart. It is light, sturdy, and has a ball head instead of a crook, which I like. Crooks can be used for hooking and tripping, but those are not really parts of my offensive repertoire, so the added impact and improved aesthetic of a ball head are the way I went. The cane is the longest range weapon I routinely carry, and gives about an 8 foot stiking 'bubble'. It is a formidable tool, when used with some inkling of its potential. I use a somewhat modified form of bayonet drill that my Father taught me when I was younger, which consists of a point thrust, butt swing, butt thrust, and point swing. They do not have to be in that order, though it makes a good combo, if the opportunity presents itself. The cane can also be used in the manner of a single stick, or saber, in which I have been extensively trained, but for simplicity sake I stay with the bayonet manner.
There you have it, a few simple choices made with great care and forethought. I don't claim these are the best solution, or even a workable solution for anyone but myself. I simply encourage you to look around yourself, see what items surround you in your daily life, and think of how they can be used to preserve your safety and that of your family in times of peril. Instead of putting a great deal of time and expense into learning to fight at a disadvantage, take a little time and sense and evaluate how to give yourself the advantage. If you get in a fight for your life (which I earnestly hope you do not) it won't be in an empty octagon ring, but in a littered alley, parking garage, or apartment stairwell, and you won't be empty handed. You will have a fistful of something and items strewn accross your environment, and the difference between walking away and being carried away might be how well you use that fact.