About Self-Defense Weapons

Written by naomi judd
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About Self-Defense Weapons
Escrima sticks

People have wielded self-defence weapons since they used sticks and stones, which are still sometimes used today. A self-defence weapon is generally something small that a person carries or finds on the spot in case of attack. These weapons are meant to deter and possibly injure the attacker but not cause death. Over time more intricate weaponry were developed, though the options are limitless when it comes to self-defence; some people trained in martial arts need nothing but their bodies to defend with. These are some of the predominant self-defence weapons that have been used around the world, throughout time.


Not only were sticks and stones some of the first natural objects used for defence, but also fire barricades and lit projectiles have been used since prehistoric times. During the early Bronze Age, hand-forged metal weaponry began being produced. Artefacts have been found dated as early as 1800BC. Bronze, iron and eventually steel was used in the making of weapons such as knives. Perhaps some of the countries most known for their self-defence weapons are China, Japan and areas of the Philippines where Escrima sticks and the Filipino Kali, or art of stick fighting, originated.

In Europe the 6- to 9-foot-long wooden quarterstaff and in China the slightly shorter bo staff became well-known tools of self-defence. Swords have been used all over the world; though they are more aggressive weapons, they have been used in self-defence in many instances. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the use of canes for self-defence was commonly seen in France. In the 21st century, modern self-defence tools have emerged that nearly anyone can carry in a bag.

About Self-Defense Weapons
Escrima sticks

Weapons from China

Nun-chucks, though impractical in modern times due to being illegal in many countries, originated in China in the 13th century as a farming tool before being used as a weapon. These linked sticks are also very hard to use if a person is not highly skilled and trained. The 5- to 6-foot wooden bo staff -- also used as a walking stick, double broadswords and flying darts came from China as well as non-standard items such as chopsticks, sashes or pipes. Kung fu fighting fans equipped with razors also came from China. Chinese martial arts such as Kung Fu were developed for self-defence.

About Self-Defense Weapons

Weapons from Japan

Throwing stars originated in Japan as well as many martial arts rooted in the customs of Samurai, some of which are aikido, jujutsu, kenjutsu and Kobudo-jutsu. Ninjas have developed other techniques the art of avoidance or Taisavaki-jutsu. During the 19th century in Japan, it was not uncommon for women to be trained in the art of self-defence. Many of their colourful umbrellas and parasols were equipped with a sharp hidden spike on the tip. With the development of the sword sometime after 987AD, swordsmanship became a revered art in Japan.

Modern Self-Defense Weapons

Weapons developed within the 20th or 21st centuries such as Tasers or nightsticks are commonly used by police officers. Knives such as butterfly or switchblade are also recent inventions in the history of self-defence. Blackjacks or small concealable clubs made of a lead weight wrapped in leather, mace and key chains such as the Kubotan, which is about 5 inches long and used similarly to the yawara stick, are used. The Kubotan key chain can be used to attack pressure points or other vulnerable parts of the body with some training. There are many other small objects which may appear ordinary that can be used in self-defence. The Kel-lite was one of the first flashlights created specifically for use in defence in the 1970s. Maglites are another example.

About Self-Defense Weapons
Butterfly knife

Improvised Self-Defense Weapons

Scarves, belts or other clothing and even rolled newspapers can be used to block or restrain an attacker. Mechanical pencils, cast iron skillets, kitchen knives, spatulas and nearly any other household item can be used in self-defence if necessary. Sticks may remain one of the best and easiest-to-find self-defence weapons. Brooms and branches or anything stick-like that extends one's range of motion works to amplify power and inflict pain.

Expert Insight

Self-defence weapons are illegal in many countries or require a permit, which is why practices such as model mugging are useful in preparation for self-defence. Chris Crudelli in his book "The Way of The Warrior" mentions that this hybrid system of self-defence is especially useful for women. "It was developed after a high-profile rape and beating of a female, black- belt martial artist in 1971" says Crudelli. "It is taught by different organisations, but its underlying philosophy is to emancipate women from the myth of fragility."

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