Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, sponsored by Jeff Anderson’s course on Extreme Survival Weapons  In it, Jeff talks about how to improve purpose built weapons that you already have, alternative weapons that are likely to escape confiscation, building your own weapons, and improvised weapons.  With that in mind, I wanted to write about improvised weapons in general and one of my favorites in particular.

Improvised weapons have been used since the beginning of time.

Sticks, stones, sand, and dirt have been used to win fights ever since Cain and Able learned how to fight.

And, as any prison guard knows, just about anything can be used as a weapon by a creative person. Combs, tooth brushes, socks, and virtually any piece of metal.

Most make-shift weapons fit one of several categories. They may be impact weapons, such as a stick or bat, that are used for striking.

Or they may be edged weapons, such as a comb, key, credit card, piece of broken glass, and even eyeglass frames, that are used to poke, jab or scrape an attacker in vulnerable areas such as the eyes, nose, ears, face, throat or hands.

Then there are projectile weapons that can be thrown to either hurt or distract an attacker. And just about anything fits this category.

Having an engineering mindset, I also like looking at things from a physics perspective.  So another way to categorize weapons is by whether they increase the kinetic energy, increase range, focus your strike, or a combination.

It’s a little more complicated when you add in rotation, but it’s accurate enough for this discussion to say that kinetic energy=force=1/2 x mass x velocity squared.

Simplifying it even more, we can substitute “weight” for mass and “speed” for velocity and say that we’re looking for weapons that will add weight, speed, distance, or focus to our strikes.

I brought in the math and equations because it’s important to understand that if you have the option of doubling the weight of your weapon, or doubling the speed of your strike, you want to double the speed of your strike.  If you double the weight of your weapon, you double the force you’re exerting, but if you can double the speed of your attack, you’ll exert four TIMES more force.

Today, I want to introduce one of my favorite improvised weapons—the common chair.

If you are in a restaurant, office, kitchen, living room, or any other place where people sit down, you are going to find chairs.

Now we’re not talking about those overgrown, heavily padded arm chairs. We are talking about straight back wooden or metal chair, or even stools.

Against an attacker armed with a knife or club, as well as one without a weapon, the chair may be an ideal quick, improvised defensive tool.

Held up in a horizontal position, it provides about a 2-3 foot barrier between the person holding the chair and the would-be attacker. The most common chairs and stools have four legs. They can be used as striking points.

Even if the chair doesn’t have traditional legs, it will still add distance and weight to your strike, and will probably help focus your strikes.

The seat of the chair acts as a barrier between the holder and the attacker on the other side.  Oftentimes they’re nothing more than heavy duty cardboard, so it’s more accurate to think of them as “concealment” than “cover” but they’re still useful.

The point is an ordinary chair can be used in a variety of defensive situations that you may encounter.

For example: let’s say you are being confronted by a subject who is acting in a violent manner. Once you’ve made a decision to engage this person, the chair can be used in several ways.

First, keeping the chair on the floor in a normal position, it can be used to create a barrier and keep some distance until you decide on the specific action you want to take.

The subject can’t launch a sneak attack because he has to either go around or over the barrier, or he must remove it altogether.  We’ve discussed this before in relation to increasing the reactionary gap.

Even though they can reach right over it, most people tend to go around the barrier. Therefore, even something as simple as a chair can provide enough of a mental distraction to give you the extra time needed to respond to the threat with the proper tactics and weapon.

If the threat escalates to violence, you can simply pick the chair up by the backrest and point the four legs at the assailant.

This gives you several options.

You can use the legs of the chair to trap the person or to pin him or her against the wall.

If the subject grabs hold of the chair you simply let go of it and move quickly around it to gain control of the suspect before he realizes what is happening. Remember, he expects that you will continue to hold on to the chair and struggle to retain control.

If the attacker has dumped adrenaline, there’s a good chance that they’ll have tunnel vision and by moving around him, he may completely lose sight of you.

Getting the subject to the ground.

If the subject remains combative, the chair can be used as a take-down device.  Personally, I don’t recommend this particular technique because of the fact that it is difficult to pull off with bigger or stronger attackers, but I’m including it as an example of out-of-the-box thinking.

To execute this maneuver, move the chair into a position where the legs are just past the subject and straddling his upper torso.

This must be done quickly to prevent the subject from taking evasive action. So be prepared to thrust the chair forward.

When the chair is in position, twist it in the direction you want to take the subject down.

The chair legs will act as a lever against the subject’s body, and the twisting motion has a good shot of taking him down to the ground. Once on the ground, set the chair on top of the subject, with the legs separating the head from the arms.  This will probably only limit your attacker’s range of motion and you’ll still have to strike them to render them a non-threat.

Now we’re getting into the good stuff…

If the threat requires the use of force, you can use the chair legs as weapons. By turning the chair so that one of the legs is directly in front of you in a 12 o’clock position and the bottom leg in a 6 o’clock position, you can thrust the chair into the subject and you will have two contact points instead of just one.

This WILL be more surface area than if you only struck with a single leg, but if we assume that the average fist has a surface area of 5 square inches and the average chair leg has a surface area of 1 square inch, we still gain a considerable amount of focus by using two legs.   A strike to the chest area with the top chair leg will also result in a strike to the lower abdominal or groin area.  If they dodge to the left or right, they still get a leg.

Regardless of where you hit them or how many legs you make contact with, you want to make sure that you put your weight into the strike and attempt to make contact with an imaginary point behind their body so that you get significant penetration to cause injury and stop the threat.  If you’re in a violent force encounter, your goal is not to poke your attacker or simply cause them pain, but to crush one or more parts of their body (inside or out) so that they are no longer able to hurt you.   What you don’t want to do is try to use the chair as a club. Lifting the chair up and swinging at the subject is too slow, and much too difficult to do.   The chair is especially effective if the attacker has a knife.

The construction of the chair makes it difficult for someone to push a knife through it. The cardboard, wooden or metal seat is a solid obstacle and the legs allow you to keep a reasonable distance between you and the attacker.

One common thought is that you can and should use the chair to subdue and hold down your attacker once they’re on the ground.  As I alluded to earlier, this is not a good idea.  It commits you to staying with your attacker, which means you can’t get help or deal with other attackers.  It also only works if you are dealing with a weak attacker who doesn’t know how to shake you off and who chooses to not buck, bite, grab, or kick you.  It’s much more strategically sound to take your attacker to non-functional and restrain them with an improvised restraint like a power cord or a purpose built restraint.

This is a great example of how important it is to not only be able to identify improvised weapons, but also have a plan in mind on how you’ll use them and how they fit into an overall plan that includes multiple attackers, escape, and getting help.

Remember, as you’re identifying improvised weapons, whether they’re chairs, lamps, or anything else in your environment, look for items that will increase the weight, speed, range, or focus of your strike.

To learn more about identifying and using improvised weapons, I want to encourage you to check out Jeff Anderson’s course on Extreme Survival Weapons.  It’s a solid course that I personally recommend.

Have you trained with a chair as a weapon?  What is your favorite improvised weapon?  Any feedback on Jeff’s Extreme Survival Weapons course?  Share your thoughts by commenting below:

Until next week, God bless & stay safe,
David Morris


    73 replies to "Improvised Weapon You Can Find Almost Anywhere"

    • Soylent Green

      I’m too old to carry a chair with me anymore. So, I carry a .45 cal. 1911 pistol instead.

      • David Morris

        :) That’s like Clint Smith saying, I carry a pistol because it’s too darn awkward carrying a policeman around all the time.

    • Jeff

      Just thought I would drop off a quick thought on one of my improvised weapons. Granted, in this day and age it’s not to healthy of one. Several time a month, I find my self having to work late, later then most. Taking that long walk from a building to a far parking lot at 2 or 3 in the morning is not what I can fun. When I leave work, I light up a cigarette for a quick smoke on the way to my car. One night about half way to the car, a man approached me asking for change. He got about 3 feet from me and pulled a knife and demanded all my money. With out thinking I raised my hand and flicked my cigarette right into his face. There was nothing he could do at the time but get hit right in his nose. Sparks flew ever where, he started screaming and jumping around. While he was busy trying to put out the hot embers, I was running the other way. Any way it worked for me.

      • Rita

        Thankj Goodness your Safe. I was thinking when I was reading this is that — Oh Oh, that light at the end of your cigarette is a light that can be seen, for some distance and Anyone that wanted to steal something, from you could easily confront you. At the end of the paragraph I realized why you had that cig.

    • Ruth

      If there are objects near enough to hurl them or put that bit between you and them, that is great! If not, put anything between you and them; a post, a car, a bush etc…to give yourself time to think of a diversion or escape. If you are in the tight of it and time is short use your fist; curl your fingers tight and use the side of your fist as a hammer and swing to the temple area as hard as you can…while using your other hand to punch in the stomach or your knee into groin area. If they have you from behind try for a hand full of hair and twist for all you are worth then run like heck…or to through your arms up to break their grasp while making as much noise as you can….to distract and give you a chance to get away……if on the ground sing your legs into action as something to kick with or move yourself around in a circular motion……if there are guns involved of course then your thought process has to be different….swinging an object to dislodge the gun and make it fall away from the person hopefully for YOU to get it! A pen or pencil up the nose area or throat area is another ‘close quarters; tactic..or even ones fingers made ridged into eyes;…also the palm of your hand rammed up ward on the nose is a good tactic….hey if it is your life or theirs or harm to you use what ever you can to protect yourself!!!! Most women have heavy full hand bags…makes a good weapon also!! I really like the idea of a chair or other like object to put between me and them too however!! It is better to have a couple of moves memorized that you would do if….and be sure you can do them effectively- than to flounder around and mess up getting hurt in the process. If you own a gun; for heaven sake learn to use it right and know that you would in fact use it if you have to!!! That split second you waver may mean your life or someone elses!!! No one wants to ever be in such positions, but with the way the world is now we are likely to sometime have to defend ourselves one way or another!

      • Rita

        Unfortunately, men already Know that women use their purses in self-defense. But their maybe a few that don’t.

    • Charlie

      I disagree about light fast bullets being the best. Hunters use 500 grain .50 caliber bullets moving half as fast as a .300 Winchester .180 grain bullets to shoot elephants, rhinos, etc because they know their life will depend on the results. I’d rather shoot a dangerous creature with a 12 gauge shotgun slug than a .223 cal 60 grain bullet or with a .44 caliber 270 grain bullet than a 125 grain 9 mm.

    • joeygee3

      Less common nowadays but highly effective is the car radio or CB antenna. Some are screw in mounted, which provides you with a hand grip. They can be kept in the trunk or under the seat. In the home, they can be inconspicuously keep almost anywhere. At about 3 feet in length and highly flexible, they can be used by women and the elderly, as little force is required to swing them. Although not effective against heavy clothing, the “whip” of an antenna can slash skin quite easily, and is difficult for an attacker to see or block. It can shred a palm or a face quite painfully. Unlike a baseball bat, it can be repeatedly swung forehand and backhand with speed. I once “swished” it around when two teenagers seemed to threaten me, and I said “Do you know how badly I can scar your face?” The mere warning was sufficient.

    • Sam Jones

      I have a suggestion for females…a simple umbrella can be carried anywhere and would not be out of place, even here in Texas in the summer heat, as it provides shade. As a weapon, if it has a steel tip, it would be very useful in fending off an attack. In my opinion, a lady with an umbrella may be considered a less vulnerable “target”.
      I enjoyed the article about using a chair as a weapon, and will consider using one if I am ever attacked. However, after fending off the attacker, I will draw my Glock 22 and ventilate the chair – and the attacker.

    • juan o aguirre jr

      to everyone here if you saw doomsday preppers the gentlemen from az the multi purpose tool called the (CROVEL) exact spelling if you type it looking to purchase this item the crovel it will give you a place to buy it. i have placed my order and will be making two more payments to secure this item and i do believe in using make shift weapons to get to my main weapon till later bye

    • David H

      Working on my laptop (striking with corner, edge, or bottom) I see a variety of items available to use as improvised weapons. Pens and pencils, ruler, back scratcher (jabbing); three-hole punch, lamp, rolled magazine (jab or strike); CDs, DVDs, jewel cases, keys (slashing);remotes, books, candles, knick-knacks (throwing distractions); Kubotan (slashing, striking, jabbing). For those not familiar with the Kubotan, it is a hard wood, metal, or plastic rod about 6″ long and a half inch thick. Some are blunt, some are pointed. All my family have them on their keychains. Some states don’t allow them so check on that. Take the time to be aware of what items around you can be used as weapons.

    • Orville Smith

      If I shoot a perp in my home in upstate NY, how do I avoid arrest for firing a firearm in a residential area?

      • Rob R

        Great topic and discussion and I aprreciate all of the practical experiance from the “hands on” defenders. Sorry for your situation Orville. I live and defend in Texas. We can stand our ground around here. God bless America because some our states need it more than others.

    • Craig L Johnson

      I know they taught us lots of interesting ways to improvise weapons at the Police Academy. Mainly using them as distractions so we can fight back to our shotgun or long rifle. Great article David. Ty for all that you do.Prob my fav improvised weapon is the good ole Mag Light. Its handy for lighting up dark places but can also be used as a great intermediate impact weapon. That aircraft aluminum is hard to dent even on super hard headed folks.

      • Beth in TX

        And the mini-mag makes a fair kubaton.

    • M C V

      When, I was a part time bouncer on Long Island we used wooden stools as tools to break up fights. I the club situation you have some dufus who offends somebody’s girl or steps on another guys foot or what ever. the offended party throws the first punch then the dufus tries to fight back and hit the wrong guy and the shit hits the fan. So as bouncers we take our stools by the seat part and use it like a steering wheel to get through the crowd when we reach the free for all we use the to subdue the participants until we get them to the wall. as a bouncer the wall is your best friend. The person your bouncing can’t get any aid from any of his buddies (corners work even better). but to get back to the stool we shove the bouncee into the wall however many times as it takes to make him realize he’s fighting a loosing battle and ever punch he throws lands on the seat part of the stool which is now being used as a battering ram to shove this guy into the wall.

    • Ned Sprockethead

      This doesn’t do much for distance, but as a force multiplier consider the humble Bic pen. Nice, almost indestructible point and you can even carry one onto an airplane.

    • Dave W.

      I know about how to use objects as weapons.Chairs in the dining room,lamps and endtables in the living room.Frying pans in the kitchen work great.You grab 2 at once.1 to guard and 1 to hit with.But don’t hit flat but with the sides.You could brake a neck with a frying pan.So the next time you are shopping for a frying pan?Skip the cheapies and get the heavy handled pans.They 1 cook food better and 2 they can be used as a weapon in a pinch.
      You don’t know what your attacker is capable of?He could be well trained with a knife.And if you try going toe to toe with him by grabbing a kitchen knife?The outcome will be bad for you.I got good at throwing kitchen knives.I have 4 heavy grade carbon steel boning knives that I can put into the bullseye.Take some pointers if it helps.

    • sam

      Nothing like a good piece of hickory.
      Ever check the contents on a wasp spray can?
      The range capability of the spray?

    • Frank Sladek

      Liked the idea of the legs of a chair at “12 & 6” for double thrusts with one jab.

      One dark night in a parking lot while loading up my stuff in the car trunk after teaching a class at a community college, a guy in a “hoodie” came waking very fast toward me out of the darkness. (In my state I can’t carry on campus…stupid rule.) Made sure the last case, a “hard-sided” briefcase, was prepared to be swung into the trunk (swung hard, the edge hitting a knee, groin,collar-bone or face can really hurt & distract as you then move to safety, or if forced, into further “stop-the-threat” methods) as I judged the distance “smack” him in the head. However, the “tone” in my voice was threatening as he approached:
      “HEY HOW YA DOING?”….He immediately made a circle around me & exited the parking lot as I turned still prepared to slam the briefcase. Still don’t know what his intentions were but
      was glad I had the briefcase!

      • SteveInSD

        I particularly like the last part. Basically not appearing to be a victim. It’s worked for me with humans, lots of dogs, 2 mountain lions, and even a few sharks (diving). Once they’ve chosen you, a predator is expecting you to react like prey. If you had a stick while they were evaluating you, they already think they can take you anyway, so it’s not much of a deterrent. I have found that displaying a non-prey attitude has the biggest effect, short of having a gun, and can change their decision in a hurry. At the very least it makes them doubt, and that will slow them down.

        The mind is the weapon, everything else is a tool.

    • Gerald Scott

      A stick is a great weapon even if it’s not heavy enough to sustain use like a club. (pool cue is perfect example of this) the most effective way to use a stick is the poke method. I once disabled an attacker coming at me with a knife with their arm in an up position to strike a downward blow. I jabbed the attacker in the shoulder area and actually not all that hard but it rendered the arm completely useless even to the point where they couldn’t even hold onto the knife.

    • Owen

      Most of the guys I know who study self defense for years never get attacked. Fun to think about “what would I do if” but really more energy should be spent on, “how can I stay out of a violent situation”. Certain times of day and places as well as how we respond to people increase the likely hood of being attacked and should be managed.
      James 1:19 [ Listening and Doing ] My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, Great defensive advise.

    • Gerald Scott

      I once used a bicycle when attacked by someone with a shovel. I picked the bike up and held it in front of me at first to block the shovel when it was jabbed at me then actually launched the bike at the upper torso of the attacker and while he was trying to shield himself from the bike I became the attacker knocking him to the ground and sitting on his chest pummeling his head and face with fist. It worked rather well. The most important thing in any attack is quick thinking to utilize whatever you have at hand to use to defend yourself or to go on the offensive with.

      • Chris

        As Gerald stated a bicycle can be used as a very effective improvised weapon. As a certified bicycle officer part of our training consists on how to use a mountain bike as both a defensive and offensive tool. Next time that you are out riding your bicycle try some of these skill sets and tips to see just how easy it can be to protect yourself and others if need be. (Please wear a helmet while attempting any of these exercises) 1. If coming to a situation where you may have to protect yourself or someone else and you get off of your bike ALWAYS!! unbuckle your helmet’s chin strap. If you do not an attacker can actually grab you by the helmet and swing you around causing head and neck injuries. 2. Fill up a 2 liter pop bottle half way and place it on the ground. The goal of this exercise is to hit the pop bottle with your rear tire and send it flying. To do this you want to approach the bottle at medium speed. When your front tire is by the bottle, you should put your right foot on the ground leaning right on the bike while depressing the front brake. This will cause the back tire to skid on the pavement or concrete making contact with the bottle. We use this if and aggressor is occupied with another officer. We approach him/her from behind and take out the legs. 3. While talking with someone that could become an aggressor, (Never stay on your bike) dismount the bicycle and always keep the bicycle between you and the aggressor. If he/she becomes violent and tries to attack from this stance you have multiple options. You can kick the middle bar of the bike causing the metal structure to hit the shins, You could pick it up and toss it at him/her, or by depressing the front brake you can pick the rear of the bike up by the seat leaving the front tire on the ground. This causes a pivot point giving you the option to strike the aggressor with the rear tire, while still giving you control of your bike. 4. Learn to dismount the bike while the bike is still moving making it alot easier to step off if the situation arises. To do this depending on which side is your strong side, swing your weak side leg aroung the back of the seat and wrap it around the foot that is on the pedal (making sure to keep your pant legs and shoestrings away from the chain) and apply a little more upper body strength on the handle bar side that your foot is no longer on keeping the bike balanced. Please remember safety first and practice makes perfect.

        • Rita

          ” Please remember safety first” YES, I have Always said that to myself, when a fellow ‘cop’ Could have saved my Life but refused. Oh yeah, I Will Always Remember that. I mean what You said! Thanks for nothing. I shake my head in Disbelief!!!

    • Edie Faylor

      Thank you so much – what a great idea to use a chair. Now I am much more aware of what is around me whether it is a lamp, a stool, a broom or anything else that might be used as a weapon.

    • jo

      I’m with Lee Rosson…what does a weaker untrained person, in this instance a youngish female, do? I read the article and I saw in my mind every 007, Angelina Jolie, Spy, International man of mystery movie ever made! I read some sections twice inorder to properly visualize the techniques and I feel quite condifent that I am too small & lacking significant upper body strength or control to manage much more than picking up the chair to move it or vaccum under it – lol. I hope the same adrenaline dump is going to happen to my body when placed in a life threatening situation, as my attacker will have, to give me the power I’ll need if the time comes. This is a very good piece of information, hopefully I wont have to see first hand if I can do it. Realisticall, however, I will share with you that I grew up with 3 large YOUNGER brothers and I was never able to out run them, wrestle them, or get out of their grip after 6th grade…and they WEREN’T trying to kill me!

      • Dave Pappas

        I then suggest carrying several knives cappable of being opened one handed and strategically placed about the body or house hold and taking a good defensife knife work class and not the kind of crap where they hack n slash with big bowie type weapons like swordsman or ninjas but a real life application class where the biggest blade for consideration is like a buck m-110 pocket folder as this is what the average person can legally walk around with daily. how ever other improvised stabbers are ice piks knittting needles or hat pins good slashers are keys or an old school bottle/can opener on a key chain this must be the old church key or triangle pointed style you would use to pop open cans of tomato juice or oil cans for pouring a sharpened piece of plastic like a credit card razor blades sewn in to the bill of a trucker hat and used to slash by holding the hat band and swing at opponents face or hands a busted bottle or beer mug thrust into an enemies face usually changes their mind about picking on frail little ladies. use your imagination look at daily items around your house and think, What would that do to a person if I hit poke slash or otherwise with it

      • Seanoamericano

        Take some private lessons in Wing Tsun. Developed by a
        woman. Its what Bruce Lee was a practicioner of.

    • Ron G

      Thanks for the helpful article. I would not think that a chair could save a life. Thanks for providing this Survival Newsletter.

    • Great Grey

      Hey remember this is about improvised weapons not preferred.

    • Beth

      If the person grabs the chair legs, give them enough resistance and then rush them with all your weight. It could work to cause them to fall and then you can hit then over the head or my favorite thing, run away. Just another thought.

    • William

      RE: Lee Rosson. 70+ is in itself a form of defense. It will make your attacker slack in his approach. Being 64 and due to back injuries and 3 surgeries, I have carried a steel cane for several years. Jabs, pokes, and swinging for left field are quite effective. A little practice and you will be surprised at the blocking methods to divert attacks that are possible. The hooked hand hold end can be used to send an attacker rolling on the ground. I find hooking behind the knee cap or a smash to the knee cap quite effective in slowing down your opponent while you leave the area. Your defense is left up to your own quick thinking, and there are internet sites expounding on kane fighting.

    • Steve

      Sorry. Tried to edit that with no luck.

    • Steve Estrada

      lifting and using the chair to strike with also will cause you to exert much energy and possibly tire you out sooner rather tham later.

    • Leroy

      Great article. I just recently read an article about improvised weapons by Michael Janich. Janich has a video about improvised weapons called, “Forever Armed”. I highly recommend it. It is important to look for and be able to utilize improvised weapons when in a non-permissive environment.

      • davidmobile

        Michael is a friend of mine…great guy :)

    • Nelson

      With my decades of Martial arts experience and real world experience for improvised weaponry I’ve found many great solutions for fixed, flexible, egded, and projectile weapons. Mostly everyone has a few to a pocket full of coins that can be used for distraction to evade an attacker plus the sound of the coins hitting the pavement or concrete make a distinct sound that provokes peoples curiosity. A simple basball cap is on of my favorites since it can be used as a distraction by tossing it like a frisbee at an attacker as well as curling up the fabric and using the bill as a striking tool. The bill can be held and the cap be used for trapping a punch like a Wing Chun Gung Fu fighter would giving you the advantage of confusion over your attacker. Towels, pens, shoes, notebooks anything you can imagine can be your aid when needed. You just have to be creative enough to recognize it! NDCQ! HOOAH!

    • Bill

      David, Someone suggested to me a few years ago that a spray can of bee or hornet spray can work every bit as good as a can of dog spray that posties use. It is cheaper too. I have 3 spread throughout the house in event of attack. Also one in my vehicle. They have a good distant spray and can temporarily put your attacker out of comission. Also a good pair of running shoes can help. I also carry everywhere a small can of dog spray in case I am assaulted. I am getting up there and can’t run fast any more. bill

      • davidmobile

        PLEASE NEVER “plan” on using wasp/hornet spray as a self-defense tool. If you have NOTHING else available, then it does work as an improvised weapon, but planning to use an aerosol neurotoxin to defend yourself in a short-distance confrontation (or worse, in a confined space like a house) is not a good idea.

      • davidmobile

        PLEASE NEVER “plan” on using hornet spray as a self-defense tool. If you have NOTHING else available, then it does work as an improvised weapon, but planning to use an aerosol neurotoxin to defend yourself in a short-distance confrontation (or worse, in a confined space like a house) is not a good idea.

    • Roma

      Love this article. I am sitting in a restaurant as I am reading this analyzing all the chairs.

    • edhogan

      Is it possible to recieve each lesson by mail. I subscribed recently but have not read most of the articles.

    • David

      What about an aluminum baseball bat?

    • Susan

      Very helpful. I’m forwarding this to both my daughter’s karate instructor & my son-in-law, both of whom know how to think like this already, but can always learn more good ideas!

    • Justin Case

      I bought Mr. Anderson’s “Home Defense” and in my humble opinion the best part about it is that it raises awareness about more than a few serious questions that’d you’d better have answers to before it happens. While a home invasion is happenening is too late to plan your response. For me, and I’m on a student budget, this was a great investment in what… life insurance?
      Justin Case

    • Christian Warrior

      Letting go of the chair if he grabs it is a good pointer. It leaves the attacker holding — if only briefly — an encumbrance that makes his own weapon harder to bring to bear. That momentary distraction you need to move in and neutralize the threat.

      Thanks for an evocative article.

    • bob wheeless

      Honestly I’ve never thought of a chair as a defensive/offensive weapon, thanks for the enlightenment. However, at eighty-one with reduced strength, I’d never fend-off a younger attacker using something I usually lean on.
      Having been in construction all my working life my weapon of choice is the common handsaw and I keep one in three different rooms in my home. I suspect that few intruders will confront a person holding a 30″ knife in his hand.
      In final analysis of close quarter confrontations few weapons out-weigh a 20 ga. Snake Charmer loaded with buckshot.

      • jo

        I thought I used humor to deflect weakness…you made me chuckle hardily…guns are the great equalizers and probably will always be the “defense” weapon of choice. Some of these detailed descriptions and technical language comments make me quite inadequate.

      • jo

        I thought I used humor to deflect weakness…you made me chuckle hardily…guns are the great equalizers and probably will always be the “defense” weapon of choice. Some of these detailed descriptions and technical language comments make me feel quite inadequate.

    • allyson layman

      Thanks for this wonderful weapon! I am now training my adult daughters (early 20’s) how to use a diningroom chair as a weapon. They are thrilled to learn new ways of defending themselves. I enjoy all your info you share and find most of it helpful. I am a prior vet and have always been big on self defense and preparedness for any situation.

    • Bob

      Wow, excellent article, never would have thought of this, but it makes so much sense.

      It is quick, accessible, and easy to use. Love it!

      One other item too, is hornet spray over mace or pepper spray, it shoots a stream farther and is not viewed as a “weapon” so have a can of that handy to spray in an attacker’s face.

      • David Morris

        PLEASE NEVER “plan” on using hornet spray as a self-defense tool. If you have NOTHING else available, then it does work as an improvised weapon, but planning to use an aerosol neurotoxin to defend yourself in a short-distance confrontation (or worse, in a confined space like a house) is not a good idea.

    • mike

      My favorite is a 5# chemical fire extinguisher.I’ve seen them in use at truckstops,back when I was a driver.Every truck was mandated to carry them.They are usually mounted to the floor,,just below the seat at the driver’s door.Pull the pin,squeeze the handle,starting low.In an upward motion towards the face.The chemical inside replaces the oxygen in the air.Your attacker at this point will be on their knees,gasping,wondering what the hell just happened.Now you have a 3# weapon to hit them with.They work quite well.I carry them in all my vehicles now.

      • andrew

        Great idea! The CO2 type would be a better choice than the ABC Dry chemical though since the Dry chemcial must be hotter than room temp enough to evolve the carbon dioxide.

    • Robert (Bud) Pittman

      I enjoy reading your instructions. You are providing a valuable service. Most people never think of
      being in a situation where they are being attacked or their loved ones are being attacked. So when it does happen to some people, they are clueless and helpless victims. Your coaching educates and motivates those types to know how to defend themselves.

      For people like me who think as you do, your writings are an excellent review.

      Thank you for your service to the community.


    • tim

      good topic, with a piece of 1/2″-3/4″ pvc pipe a few nails and some kleenex or other soft paper or cloth a blowgun can be made, these are great for small game or rodents and are pretty accurate once you’ve tried it a few times.
      another is a rubber band and palmetto fronds cut into arrow shapes with a small notch cut behind the point. these are great for taking birds without making a sound.
      sometimes out of sight and out of mind works best.

      • David Morris

        I’m not so sure about the nail/kleenex option, but I do love blowguns. I’ve got a Cold Steel “hunting” blowgun and it’s a blast to shoot, but with familiarity comes the understanding of the severe limitations of such a lightweight/slow projectile. They just don’t have the kinetic energy necessary to do much damage to anything bigger than a small bird, squirrel, or rabbit without a phoenominally powerful set of lungs. Add poison, and you’ve completely changed the game, but without poison I wouldn’t think of using mine as a weapon.

    • Lee Rosson

      What do you suggest for us over 75 yrs of age?

      • Gerald Scott

        a stick or a broom using the handle end is a very effective weapon when used to poke your assailant. They are not actually heavy enough to be used as a club and are to easy to defend against when used in that manner. But by poking you’re putting all the force into a small 1 to 1-3/4 inch area thus maximizing the damage result. So this works well even if you are not that strong. But pick your points where you want to strike face, throat, solar plexis is a good one, in the shoulder area just below collar bone will render an arm useless plus cause alot of pain. The groin of course but don’t miss with that one But a well placed strike in the front hip area could render a leg nearly useless which will make your attacker unstable and optimize your chances to make a get away or open up your ability to poke the attacker in more damaging area like the eye or throat. One thing you do not want to do is turn to run if your attacker is able to regain his composure and give chase in a short time span.

        • Dave Pappas

          A golf putter or an Iron depending your height can serve seniors in two ways as a cane/walking stick and as a bludgeon capable of knocking holes in as opponents skull. the average senior can generate well over 100mph of impact speed at the end of such a weapon due to length and leverage with very little effort.

    • Bob Morton

      While I am completely in agreement with all the advantages stated above in using a chair, I admit that chairs have significan’t mass (weight), so that overcoming the inertia of the chair eats up energy that I would prefer applied to the antisocial type in question. While chairs are often available, light weight, manuverable chairs may not be near at hand. Given a choice, I prefer a broom or mop; i.e., something with a handle on it. Striking your opponent with it is not particularly helpful, but nasty jabs toward the abdomen or face provide very satisfying injuries. I don’t have the illusion of a barrier between myself and my opponent, but I can move my broom handle with frightening speed, and I can’t receive respect, I’ll settle for fear. Granted, all the cleaning equipment may be out of reach in some closet somewhere, but full size umbrellas will discourage a knife-weilding punk after a couple of playful jabs toward his eyes. Although not easy to remember in moments of stress, the only real weapon is the human mind. All else is only accessories.


    • V

      I love a simple stick. Like a broom stick. I’ve studied a few striking arts, judo and some kung fu. I’m currently studying aikido, and in every system the most versatile weapon is the stick. I especially like the 4ft long Japanese jo. Possibly the greatest swordsman ever to live – Miyamoto Musashi – was summarily defeated by a guy wielding a stick. I doubt anyone is going to face a sword-wielding samurai any time soon, but the lesson is that a light-weight weapon with greater reach and a small striking surface is an odds-evening game changer. It gives you reach, it focuses strikes, it hides strikes, it can be used to intercept strikes and to leverage grappling attempts, and, if you know how, it can be used to clear a perimeter around you if you have multiple attackers. And it’s everywhere. I love the simple stick.

      • Steve

        Hi V,
        I’ve studied martial arts for a long time, including some Filipino art (heavy stick use, of course). I’m also a big fan of Musashi. I know in his later fighting days he would often face opponents armed with only a stick, but I’m unaware of his ever being defeated by anyone with a stick.

        The one caveat I’d say regarding sticks is something my Filipino teacher used to emphasize. He would say that sticks don’t impart some ‘magical power’, whereby you hit someone and they fall over, get knocked out, suffer broken bones, etc. It depends on the stick itself as well as application. A solid, hexagonal oak stick certainly can do a world of hurt on someone, whereas a broomstick could be ineffective if it’s not strong enough to take the abuse.

        Otherwise, I totally agree, in the hands of someone who knows how to use them, sticks can be fantastic.

      • Left Coasdt Chuck

        As a long time chanbara fan, I am moved to issue a correction. Miyamoto Musashi defeated Sasaki Kojiro at Ganryu Island using a wooden staff carved from a boat oar. Sasaki was killed by a blow to the head. Miyamoto was an infamous swordsman who had killed many men in sword duels to the death. A blow on the head by him with a bokken would certainly result in a severely fractured skull with bone fragments being driven into brain causing subdural hemorrhage. A head strike with the sword is a major technique in Japanese sword fighting.

        One hundred years ago women wore hats in public. My grandmother always fastened her hat with rather long, large hat pins. The hat pins served two purposes. One, they held her hat on. Two, they served as quite effective stilettos if required. Japanese samurai women used a similar instrument. If you watch closely in chanbara movies, you will see many of the women wore what looked like chopsticks in their hair. Those were steel and they were weapons. One of those thrust into your face and in particular into your eye would really ruin your day. You can still buy steel chopsticks in Japanese restaurant supply stores or hardware stores. This technique isn’t available to me — little hair, but certainly is available to women, especially if they wear their hair in a bun.

        When they were in a setting where the wearing of swords was forbidden, samurai carried a tetsusen which was a folding steel fan. In addition to fanning oneself during the hot, humid summers, it was also designed as a striking and defensive weapon when folded. Even when open it could be used to deflect blows.

        William E. Fairbairn was a world famous hand to hand combat expert and also quite skilled at stick fighting. Attending some sort of convention in, I believe, Portland, while out for a stroll one evening he was set upon by two erstwhile strong arm bandits. He thrashed them so badly with his walking stick that they are reported to have started screaming for the police. I believe at the time he was in his 80s and walking along with the aid of a stick looked like an easy target for a couple of slimeball thugs. Mark up one for the good guys.

    • C.L.S.

      Great article, sharing with all I care about, hope they share it as well and hope you get some additional fans. Thank You.

    • Roger

      Thank you for providing a great Blog and service to the community.

    • buck baker

      my dad was a sheriff. i grew up with tons of guns and knives dad kept when taken from prisnors. Became a suviorlist many yrs. ago. this is the best article i have read about any defence in a while. thanks. buck

    • KJQ

      Great article, David. Although my sons and I take martial arts training (Tae Kwon Do), it’s very focused on unarmed self-defense (i.e. blocks, kicks, punches, break-holds). I see a need for us to learn more ‘street fighting’ techniques, especially for in buildings where space is usually pretty confined. Since firearms, pepper spray, batons, knives, tasers etc. are not legal to carry Canada, we need to prepare in other ways.

      • Rita

        I heard that knives under 3″ could be carried in Canada, IF they are only used for survival emergencies. I googled a couple of years ago to see what knive was legal to carry. Couldn’t Find Any Info. I’d rather carrry one and survive in an emergency obviously, especially if it helped Someone else, then not carry one. My case is if the ‘law’ knew i was carrying, then I could tell them -> WHERE IS the info. I need then – I Couldn’t find Anything to Guide me. So My Priority is to Save myself and hopefully others by carrying something like that.

    • Robert

      Good article.

      I thought about utilizing folding chairs as a defensive weapon at our church. If somebody had a knife, you could use the legs to keep the distance between you and the attacker and if the knife were to come towards your torso or upper body the surface of the seat could be used as a shield to protect your vital organs. I know a Chinese martial art system called Hung Gar and that system incorporates many types of improvised weapons, one of them being a wooden bench.

      I think that if one were to use a straight back chair or folding chair as a weapon, they should practice handling the chair as a weapon and explore the capabilities as you have done. A chair could be unwieldy and awkward to handle without practice.

      I personally prefer using an umbrella or cane. You can use the point of the umbrella or cane to poke at your assailant, use the length of the improvised weapon to block or strike and use the hook of the umbrella or cane to apply trapping or tripping techniques.

      A cane or umbrella is portable, lightweight, inconspicuous and can be carried with you most all of the time. By the way, their are several martial arts styles that utilize the cane or umbrella, like Hung Gar, Choy Lay Fut, and Tai Chi.

      • Left Coast Chuck

        While not legal in the socialist republiks of Kalifornya, Mass, Noryk and Connetkut, sword canes and sword umbrellas are legal in many of the states where common sense prevails. Sword canes used to be the weapon of choice for gentlemen when they were out and about after dark. They didn’t look particularly weapon-like, but usually carried a 20″ or so blade which would provide quite a deterrent to all but the most deliriously intoxicated belligerent or the firearm equipped felon. Don’t count on the mere exhibiting of a weapon to impress someone who has been indulging in perception altering substances. I can’t tell you how many cops have been told that the person they are trying to apprehend is going to remove the cop’s firearm and insert it into some convenient body orifice. I would guess it numbers in the tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands wouldn’t surprise me. Almost every patrol cop has been told that more than several times in the course of his or her career.

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