I’m very excited to announce the publication of my newest book, A Cup of Coffee and Other Improvised Weapons of Self Defense, which is available both in print edition as well as in an electronic Kindle edition. Buy one for yourself and buy many of them for your relatives, friends, and those you care about.
Amazon is selling the Kindle edition of my Secrets of Kung Fu Mastery, normally $4.99, for discounted prices, beginning June 1, 2017! From June 1 until June 3, it should be selling for only 99 cents! That’s a wopping 81% discount! From June 3 until June 4, the price will go up to $1.99, which is still a 61% discount! From June 4 until June 6 the price will be raised to $2.99, a 41% discount! Then from June 6 until June 8, the price will be raised to $3.99, which is still a 21% discount! Then, on June 8 it will return to it’s normal price. You don’t want to miss this deal!
Also, beginning tomorrow, May 31, 2017, and lasting until June 4, the Kindle edition of my ever popular Essential Self-Defense Tips, usually $2.99, will be available for FREE through Amazon! You definitely don’t want to miss this deal!
If you’re in a pinch, you may need to be able to turn any ordinary object into a self-defense weapon, at a moment’s notice. This is fairly easy to do with most ordinary objects, even a rolled up magazine can become a small club or palm stick. Such impromptu self-defense scenarios require that you learn habitually to look around you and envision the ordinary objects that surround you into defensive weapons…chairs, coffee mugs, silverware, etc. If you’re interested in palm sticks, an increasingly popular choice in self-defense tools, you should check out my popular book, Palm Stick Self-Defense Guide, which is available both in paperback and in Kindle.
Want to carry a kubotan, but are worried (and with good reason), that an actual kubotan looks too much like a weapon (it is) and might get you in trouble legally, either because they are illegal to carry where you are living (or travelling), or because you might get in trouble after having defended yourself successfully with one? Try a flashlight.
In my last post, I wrote about ordinary pens as kubotan-like defensive weapons, and I recommended the inexpensive but very sturdy Jin Hao pen. A small flashlight can be even more effective as a palm stick defensive weapon than a pen, particularly because of the added thickness. Even in highly restricted areas like New York City, or perhaps even boarding a plane (although I don’t know for sure about how it might pass through airport security or not), a small handheld flashlight is not likely to raise attention. It serves a very good ordinary purpose…seeing in the dark. Flashlights are quite useful. Even in a modern building, sometimes electricity goes out. It’s a very good idea, in general, to have a flashlight near by.
But for self-defense, a flashlight can be an excellent defensive tool, like any other palm stick. My flashlight of choice for this purpose is the Mini-Maglite, like the one pictured at the top of this post. They are the perfect palm stick. I almost always have my Mini-Maglite with me. Although I have never used the Mini-Maglite in a defensive situation, I have used it in emergency situations (hurricane), and in other less-serious situations (storms and such knocking out electricity), many, many times.
One of the beauties of palm sticks is they offer a non-lethal defense option–even as they can be used lethally. The nice thing about pens or flashlights is that they can function as ordinary tools for writing and lighting, and yet, they are ready at hand as deadly, or also non-lethal, defensive weapons, that will be far less likely to get you in trouble in court—–provided the situation truly was in self-defense or in defense of others, and not premeditated assault—than your defensive weapon that was made for attack or defense as its main purpose. Such lights, like my trusty Mini-Maglite, are an extremely low profile way to carry a defensive tool on your person, that will be allowed entry in most places. My store, available on this page, has a number of options for palm sticks—both those intended primarily as palm sticks, as well as pens and flashlights.
Ok, I know what you’re thinking. I’ve heard of tactical pens before, but an inexpensive pen that’s made to just function as a pen??? No way. Well, my response is that it all depends on how sturdy the pen is. In the image above I have featured a very durable but inexpensive pen that’s meant just to be a pen. This four piece set from Jin Hao only costs $12.45!!!! I take a Jin Hao pen with me almost anywhere I go. They are incredibly inexpensive…often under $4 a pen!!! I’ve never been questioned at an airport for carrying my stylish Jin Hao. So, the next time you want to carry a kubotan but you’re afraid it might not be legal, check out the inexpensive Jin Hao instead of the pricier (and potentially problematic—legally speaking…and certainly at airports) tactical pens. For more information on such make-shift palm sticks, check out my book, Palm Stick Self-Defense Guide, which sells for only $2.99 on Kindle, and $10.99 with full color images in paperback.
I’ve written a lot of self-defense, and I’ve written on Aikido, and related martial arts. But the styles with which I’m most familiar (most years training), are styles of Chinese Kung Fu. I’ve even written a highly popular book on the topic, Secrets of Kung Fu Mastery: The Fundamentals, which is available both in electronic format from Kindle, and also in paperback. I’ve also been writing posts on self-defense knives, including my most recent post on what to know about carrying knives for self-defense. In this brief post, I want to combine these themes and discuss the little known Kung Fu weapon, known as the double daggers, or twin daggers, or double ring daggers, or some combination.
Double ring daggers, like those pictured to the left, are a little-known Kung Fu weapon that were ideal for deadly use in life-threatening self-defense situations, or close-quarters combat, where it was essential to have a concealed weapon. The ring at the bottom could be used as a blunt object. These daggers could even be used like kubotans. If you check out my most popular book, Palm Stick Self-Defense Guide, which is available both in electronic format from Kindle, and also in paperback, you’ll discover that many different objects could function like kubotans. The blunt ring end of these knives can function like kubotans for lethal (but not messy) and non-lethal strikes as well as pressure points. Traditionally, the blades were not sharpened (with the exception of the sharp tip)–since these were primarily stabbing knives (like ice picks) and not slashing knives (with some exceptions), and thus they could even be used for chin na grappling techniques, and could be employed like kubotans for joint manipulation and come along techniques.
One benefit of these traditional blades for practice, is that they are non-sharpened, and metal, so you are not likely to cut yourself in solo practice….although I have seen people get cut when stabbed by accident in training sessions…even though unsharpened, the tips are still pretty pointy.
Cold Steel has come out with a variety of self-defense options, which are ideal for law enforcement, military special operators, etc. Less ideal for average citizens, but if your laws permit them to be carried (especially concealed), at this length, and you train regularly with unsharpened ones, then they might be a good option for you.
You can see one of the popular versions of these Cold Steel knives to the left. I highly recommend them. The danger is that these blades are razor sharp, all the way around, so in many of the traditional Kung Fu techniques, you are in serious danger of injuring yourself in very bloodly ways. You must exercise extreme caution. Furthermore, traditional ring daggers are smaller in size, so I’d recommend constructing something yourself to help practice with these, or using a larger practice blade first. Even though it’s not ideal for this (since it’s not the same model), you might want to try Cold Steel’s rubber Black Bear training knife, because of its length, you might be able to modify it and add a ring. Not ideal.
Cold Steel has come out with a number of models of these, but they’re sold individually, so you’ll either want to order two, or just use a single. There’s the Cold Steel Shanghai Shadow Knife with Secure-Ex Sheath for $29.99, which is a steal! This is the model I would get myself. There’s also the Cold Steel Shanghai Warrior Fixed Blade for $29.88. There’s the Cold Steel Shanghai Shadow Knife for $34.28. There’s also the Cold Steel Shanghai Shadow with new guard and S.E. sheath for $43.46. All of these are fine options.
If you enjoyed this, don’t forget to take a look at my two most popular resources, Secrets of Kung Fu Mastery, and Palm Stick Self-Defense Guide! And stay tuned for more martial arts and self-defense posts, as well as knife reviews!
So you want to carry a knife for self-defense? What’s the best one to choose, you ask? First, there are a number of things to consider before deciding to carry a knife for self-defense. First, there are the practical realities of self-defense situations and of using a knife in those situations. Second, there are legal considerations. Finally, there are the finer points (pun intended) of knife selection.
First: The practical realities of of self-defense situations and of using a knife in those situations. No one, especially those interested in selling you knives and making money off of you, wants to tell you the truth that the fact of the matter is, in most true self-defense situations, where you have no way of escape, there’s no time to pull out a knife. If you’re attacked by surprise, or there are multiple people attacking you at the same time, or someone else has already pulled a weapon on you…there usually is not enough time to pull a weapon yourself. I’ve been in many, many, many situations like this, and have always been armed with something (usually multiple somethings) that could be used as a weapon or defensive tool (I almost always have a knife on my person, as well as a kubotan-like instrument, not to mention a pen). I’ve never had sufficient time to pull one of these tools out and use them to defend myself.
That being said, there’s always the danger of the weapon being taken from you and used against you. That should be a major concern; it leads to the death of many police officers every year. You must be aware of this if you plan on carrying any instrument you intend to use to defend yourself.
Beyond that, you must train with whatever instrument you hope to use to defend yourself with.
There are a number of dull rubber training knives out there, like this inexpensive Cold Steel Rubber Training Peace Keeper Knife (only $11.17). If you’re going to carry a knife with the potential of self-defense on your person, you must train (and never with a live, that is sharp, blade!). It’s always best to train with a fake blade that resembles the blade you intend to carry the best.
Finally, for self-defense purposes, know that, depending on the situation, you may fare better unarmed (if you’re well-trained) than armed. For example, if you attack a knife attacker with another knife, what you’ve got on your hands has become a knife fight. Knife fighters don’t live very long. It’s easy to kill someone with a knife–and let’s be clear, a knife or a gun in a physical confrontation is a deadly weapon (that is, don’t pull either if you are not prepared to kill, and if the situation does not require a potential death). That being said, unlike a gun, a knife does not take a life very quickly. It may take a while to bleed to death, during which time, the assailant may strike you with a fatal wound as well, in which case, you will both likely bleed to death. That’s how knife fights usually end; both knife fighters usually crawl away to some corner to bleed to death, or they die on their way to the ER. If they make it to the ER, they have some chance, perhaps. But you’d be much better off using both hands to stop the knife wielding arm and control their blade while striking them in the eyes, throat, ear, knee…repeatedly…until you can get free and run away to safety.
Beyond these concerns, there are the many legal issues. Most states in the U.S., at least (and some countries are even more restrictive) have laws governing the carrying of knives they consider to be weapons. Sometimes specific cities (like NYC) have their own laws which may even be more restrictive than their respective states. You need to be aware of the laws where you are, or you risk imprisonment. And you know what happens in prison.
Such laws concern what type of knives you can and cannot carry (involving their size, their manner of opening, etc.), how you carry the knives (completely hidden, completely open, partially hidden but visible), etc.
You need to know and obey the laws where you are. Obviously it’s better to survive an attack on the streets and end up in prison (with risk of being raped, being stabbed to death, losing job, transmitting AIDS, wrecking family life, etc., in prison), but there are usually other options. One major danger of carrying a knife for the express purpose of self-defense, is that you’re more likely to use it. Why is this a danger? Because, you may use it (especially if you train with it, which you must do) when there’s no need. You might kill someone (and let’s be clear, that’s what’s likely to happen if you defend yourself with a knife) when you could have talked your way out of it, you could have avoided the situation, you could have run away, you could have gotten police intervention, or you could have defended yourself with much less force. Think very carefully, before you put yourself in this situation. It may very well have life-changing consequences.
But if you do carry a knife, what should it be? Very tricky. In general, as the online experts will tell you, correctly, the larger fixed blade (full tang) options, are superior to anything else.
Of course, unless you’re living in a wilderness, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to legally carry such blades. And of course, there are better straight-bladed knives out there, but this gives you some sense of what we’re talking about. Again, you’re not likely to be able to pull one of these in a self-defense situation, and if you are able, you probably can run away.
The Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Knives are also excellent, like the one pictured at the top of this post. They are a bit more limited, but they’re darn effective, and most can be purchased for less than $50. But these are only really cutting and ripping knives.
In general, again, the online experts are right, folders are not as fast or as effective (or as strong) as the full tang straight blades. That being said, the Fox Dart Knife might be an exception. If you get this, although pricey, be sure to get it with the trainer (for $274.95…..retails at $348.90).
Many others can be helpful. If you want a knife you can hold with a gun (especially important for law enforcement and military personnel), you might want to try one of the SOCP Knives, like the $97.75 model below.
Or, you might prefer the more robust Australian version, the Hardcore Hardware Australia Special Operations Tool Tactical Personal Protection Knife, pictured below, coming in at a whopping $219.00, but worth the price.
Personally, I don’t carry any such blades on my person anymore. I prefer more regular duty knives, smaller folders (which tend to be legal most of the places I travel…except when I’m in NYC, or travelling through an airport…no blades at all there, and so I don’t bring any blades there). But I’ve never used a blade in a self-defense situation, whereas I do use an EDC blade (which could be used for self-defense) everyday for a host of cutting tasks. Depending on the day I carry a variety of knives. Sometimes I carry my trusted Para-Military 2, $117.25 version featured below.
Or, I might pack the less-conspicuous, and less expensive, Tenacious model, $41.33 edition pictured below.
Or else, quite frequently (perhaps in addition to one of these blades), the really useful and incredibly inexpensive ($9.04) Gerber EAB Pocket Knife, really more of a box-cutter, pictured below.
This is not a defensive knife, but it certainly can slash and make a fairly serious gash in the forehead (temporarily blinding an opponent), or neck. But of course, I use it almost everyday, and not for defensive purposes. Unlike the Spyderco models above (which open fairly quickly one-handed), the Gerber box cutter above does not open quickly, and is difficult to open safely with one hand.
But let’s be clear. In a self-defense situation where you have a blade at your disposal, you don’t need a fancy knife, or even a very sharp knife (unless you are slashing). A dull knife with a tip (even with a box cutter) can cut and make someone bleed in the right places. Even a dull screwdriver can do that. I have seen more than one person hit in the face while training with a blunt wooden staff, and let me tell you they bled profusely: hands, feet, face, and head, bleed a lot, even when no serious damage is done to those body parts. In a self-defense confrontation, you don’t need to kill your assailant (30 minutes or an hour after the event…as can be the case with a knife wound). You need to get away safely. A blade, or a stick, or a car key, or your own body, can do this. Check out my Essential Self-Defense Tips ($0.99 on Kindle or $3.99 in paperback) for more advice on self-defense.
So, in general I don’t think your average untrained person should select a knife as a main self-defense weapon. That being said, for someone who is interested in using a blade, who has some skills and training, I will be posting more on this topic, since it seems to be such a popular topic with so many deadly misconceptions.