A UK self-defense memo.
To be effective in self-defense, you cannot just defend, you must attack back.
Remember that because I’m now going to quote UK law!
Accepting there is a lot of concern about street crime. (askthepolice.co.uk)
You must not get a product which is made or adapted to cause a person injury. Possession of such a product in public (and in private in specific circumstances) is against the law.
Equipment / Product.
Carry a damn good high brightness, Cree LED, alloy torch, preferably powered by twin AA batteries as they are readily available. (As above, no problem so far).
Be cautious of its design as ‘tactical flashlights’ are occasionally crowned with castellated lens moldings which serves no more purpose than to act as a weapon.
One specification reading “Tactical self-defense edge”.
(As above, regarding the law, you’ve now got a problem)
Something equivalent to a yawara stick or the latest of ‘must haves’, a tactical pen.
(As above, you will have a problem with the stick but see later about the pen).
So how do these two items help you when it’s dark and you are walking.
The area you are transiting through may be well-lit or not.
So now you have a torch to check the shadows.
There are three different thoughts about using a torch.
By using a torch you are indicating your presence and giving a bad guy time to position themselves to leap out and attack you.
By using a torch you are indicating your presence thus making it obvious that you are street aware, being cautious, and it would be hard to surprise you.
Someone ‘looms out’ at you.
The sudden shining of a torch in their eyes at close range will dazzle or blind them.
After that it’s a sidestep while still keeping them blinded with the torch and attack using whatever to ‘discourage’ the attacker. (Then you may have a problem with the law).
Onto the yawara and/or tactical pen.
Yawara. It’s just a ‘formed’ item, plain stick, rod, or fancy bit of plastic that fits comfortably in your hand sticking out a bit on both ends. (As above, it will be viewed as a weapon.)
Or, you could carry a tactical pen, which is simply a beefed up Biro made out of a light but strong alloy. That has two uses, to write with and to defend yourself.
The problem is a tactical pen can sometimes look too tactical and menacing.
This can cause you grief as the police will probably treat it as a weapon on seeing it.
So the secret is to buy one that doesn’t look too ‘big and butch’ or with some ‘snappy logo’ printed on it.
Sounds easy so far? Only there are a number of things to consider.
For instance how do you hold your torch?
A reverse or hammer grip makes it hard to snatch the torch from your hand, and your thumb on the end of the torch to stop the torch sliding in your hand on impact should you need to use it to defend yourself.
I’m going to leave out the Yawara stick or whatever.
Whatever? Something about a half-inch thick and 6 – 8 inches long.
I’m not a fan and it’s not exactly rocket science how to hold it.
How is that pen held when in self-defense mode?
Like the torch, hammer style, with the thumb covering the top of the pen to stop it sliding up the palm when you are striking, and the ‘pointy bit’ sticking out by your little finger.
Referring back to using the thumb as a stop or support.
Some ‘tactical’ rubbish being sold has things like glass breakers on the end i.e. pointy sharpened tips. Useful (sort of), but if they cut you in a fight and you are drawing blood from your assailant, your blood mixing with his blood could end up with you catching something really bad like HIV or Hepatitis. Yes it’s a minor danger BUT something to consider. The old ‘buy in haste, repent in your leisure’ sort of thing.
So forget clever and multi-use, look for a simple flat ended pen that does just one thing, write letters. Heavier than a normal pen it may be, perhaps a bit longer, always thicker, but that’s because you have difficulties holding a thin plastic Biro isn’t it?
I’m also not a fan of a pen with a detachable top.
Two reasons. It wastes time removing it when fractions of a second count, and you could lose it leaving ‘evidence’ of yourself at the “crime scene”.
This all sounds like it’s illegal to carry a pen, tactical or not.
No, not at all, until you use it to defend yourself.
Then ‘the pen being mightier than the sword’ is EXACTLY how the police will see it. As a WEAPON and not something that you grabbed from your pocket or bag in a hurry to defend yourself! (Such is the stupidity of UK law).
What stops an attack?
If the assailant can’t see, stand, breath, is totally disoriented, or suffering from intense pain. Now I’m answering the question some wanted to know, what do you aim at?
Conventional wisdom quotes:-
Strike body areas where the bone comes close to the skin surface.
Which actually gives you dozens of targets, but grouping them does this.
- Can’t see!
Eyes, Bridge of nose, and the Philtrum (Between upper lip and nose).
Striking that causes a massive flood of tears.
- Can’t stand!
Double ear slap majorly upsets a persons balance. (No weapons necessary).
Groin (Cohones), the knee from any angle, instep, ankles, thigh (dead leg), and to a minor degree, the Achilles tendon, and the toes.
- Can’t breath!
Adam’s apple, larynx, base of neck front, floating ribs, heart, and solar plexus.
Torch blinded, loud sound (Rape alarm held by ear), the double ear slap, the temples, back of the head, or the center of the forehead.
- Intense Pain!
Just behind the ear lobe, Philtrum (Between upper lip and nose), side of the neck, bridge of the nose, Clavicle / Collar bone, Elbow, Forearm, Wrist, Back of hand, calf, shin, Between the shoulder blades, Kidneys, Small of the back, Coccyx (Base of spine).
And the eyes gently glaze over as information overload occurs.
Some would point out that a few of these points are life taker blows, and they would be right if the pen tip ruptures a major blood vessel. Except if that person is intent of harming you and you think your life is in danger, you have the right to use whatever force you deem necessary to save yourself, RIGHT UP TO LETHAL FORCE.
Only snag is you will have to justify doing so.
How many blows do you use? That’s simple,
Keep going until either they withdraw, or you can withdraw safely.
Just because someone yells “Ouch” and starts hopping around doesn’t mean they are incapable of resuming the attack. PUT THEM DOWN AND THEN RUN!
Threatened by a knife is a life or death scenario.
It’s also a common occurrence in UK cities.
To avoid attack is always best but if you do engage, the chances are you will be cut.
Remember distance is king in combat.
The closer you are to them, the more harm they can do to you!
If ever there is a case of when to use lethal force, this is one of them so don’t play about.
Take out the eyes and slam that pen vertically, deep into the skin, just behind the collar-bone as deep as you can, or/and attack the neck arteries and veins.
Two thoughts about this based on the statement “Distance is no defense from a gun”.
I say that because if they are close enough to challenge you, a few more yards isn’t going to make a lot of difference.
So you’ll run away screaming hoping they won’t shoot.
Fast runner are we? What 15 MPH in the sprint?
In 2 seconds you are 44 feet away.
A 9 mm fired after you?
44 feet takes about 4 hundreds of a second.
You, now tired, hurt, or dead?
And they haven’t even broken sweat.
The other thought is to close the gap.
I mean REALLY close the gap.
The torch is now a weapon of distraction and blinding.
Only now the tactical pen or whatever is of little use.
If you have a gun, blind them, drop, roll, and engage.
If not, you need to get hands on their weapon.
After that it’s just hand to hand. You win, or lose, end up hurt, or dead.
If someone KNOWS what they are about, you’ll never be allowed to get that close .
Regular readers will know I use walking sticks.
As a defense aid they are good BUT bulky and awkward in confined spaces.
The two described items enhance your ability to defend yourself. If you have to use two sticks. it makes holding a torch is ‘difficult’. So consider wearing a head torch.
The rape / personal attack alarm.
Funny thing is not many men carry them and that’s a mistake.
Any attacker wants you to be compliant and not cause a scene.
Many have run off as an alarm goes off plus someone yelling for help.
Think on that.
CS, Mace, or PAVA sprays.
Illegal in the UK thus hard to obtain.
Seldom instantaneous, occasionally ineffective, and unless in your hand, pin pulled, slow to deploy, short-range, and will affect you too in a confined space.
BUT criminals throwing acid or other corrosive fluids into your eyes is happening more and more in the UK. The first aid is water, lots and lots of cool water.
Treat your eyes first. They can seldom be repaired.