When learning self-defense it’s important to understand the three types of weapons – natural, environmental, and manmade. Keep in mind that just about anything can be used as a weapon. Also, it’s important to note that your entire body is a target, and your entire body is a weapon. Let’s briefly touch upon each category of weapons:
Natural weapons are any part of your body that you can use as a weapon: fist, palm, fingers, elbows, knees, head, shin, foot, etc. Some natural weapons are meant for soft tissue strikes (such as eyes, throat, neck and groin), while others are better for hard tissue (such as any part of the head, kidneys and ribs). For instance, let’s talk about the fingers. They are meant for soft tissue striking, such as poking, whipping, slicing, or hooking someone in the eye, or clawing any part of the skin (preferably on the attackers face), and grabbing/squeezing the groin. Although some natural weapons, such as the fingers, are meant for soft tissue striking only, any weapon that can be used on hard tissue can also be used on soft tissue – such as the fist. You can punch someone in the jaw (hard tissue) or you could punch the groin (soft tissue). Keep in mind, however, that I don’t advise punching someone in the head or jaw, because you can easily injure your hand. It’s best to use this rule – open hand to face (jaw, ear, nose, eyes), punch to the body (ribs, kidneys, solar plexus), and kick the legs (knees, side of leg). Keep in mind you can obviously kick the body or the groin. I don’t advise head kicks – too risky and not that practical.
Environmental weapons are anything in your natural environment you could use as a weapon. This could include a car door, rock, brick, rake, picture frame, telephone, fork, shoe, chair, pool stick, hot coffee (throw it in the attacker’s face), book, belt, pencil, screw driver, tire iron, crow bar, keys, stick, pile of dirt (thrown at the attacker’s eyes), etc. You must also understand environmental awareness, and you must exercise this at every moment. Environmental awareness means knowing what’s in you, on you, and around you at all times. What is IN you means your mood. How are you feeling? If you are upset, angry, depressed, or sick, it will affect they way you respond. What is ON you means what you are wearing. Do you have rings on? Earrings? Flip flops? Cockroach killers? Tight jeans? A neck tie? Knowing what is around you is just that – the people who are present (knowing exactly where all people in your immediate surroundings are), the things that are around you (buildings, vehicles, trees, etc.), the terrain (pavement, grass, ice, etc.), the weather (sunny and hot, rainy, snowy, etc.), the time of day (night, dark – day, light), etc. The more aware you are, the better you will be and the easier it will be to spot a threat before it escalates.
These are the kind of weapons everybody thinks about when somebody says “weapon” such as knives, guns, grenades, missile launchers, etc. They were manmade and their purpose was to be used as a weapon. People could argue that a hammer is manmade so it should be in the manmade category. It’s not in that category, because the intent of a hammer is to pound in a nail. The intent was not for it to be a weapon. That is why a hammer would be an environmental weapon. The most common manmade weapons one could be faced with in a self-defense situation are knives and guns, however. As for guns, primarily pistols are what you would be faced with. The reality is that you need to do anything and everything you can to escape without fighting. If you try to be a hero, you will be dead. It’s that simple. Don’t mess around. I strongly suggest getting some self-defense training from a qualified expert (I don’t mean any martial arts instructor – many of them couldn’t fight if their lives depended on it. I mean a real self-defense expert. Many martial arts instructors don’t have a clue about reality. They can teach you how to win a trophy and that is about it. There are those martial arts instructors out there who actually know how to teach you what’s real, so do your research and if you have any questions e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org).