Learn how to use ordinary, common objects for self-defence and use what you find in your environment to defend more effectively.
Krav Maga was developed as military close-quarter combat system that included bayonet fighting, knife fighting, usage of firearms of any kind as an impact weapon, weapon retention etc.
As the system was adapted over time from its use in the military to catering to the needs of civilians, techniques involving the use of different objects found on or around the person – such as keys, pens, umbrellas, bags, chairs etc. – also grew. Later, on the basis of these techniques, a universal methodology was developed of how to use common objects as self-defence weapons.
The concept is very simple and intuitive.
Common objects can be grouped into ‘families’ of weapons.
If someone learns how each ‘family’ of weapon can be used for self-defence, they will be able to take advantage of virtually any object they find, in any self-defence situation.
OBJECTS SIMILAR TO A STICK
These are broken branches, mops, brooms, bottles, canes, baseball bats, billiard cues, golf and hockey sticks, umbrellas, crowbars, hammers, “Mag-Lite” flashlights and any other objects, which allows to strike or thrust opponent from a distance.
Such “weapons” are used mainly to attack or defend from a safe distance before an assailant comes close to you. They can also be used to block attacks.
The main techniques with a stick are swinging strikes in different directions and angles (a similar move also may be used as a basic block/defence) and one- or two-handed thrusts.
The primary targets for these strikes are the head and neck, collar bone, solar-plexus, elbows, knees, kidneys and groin. In the situation where the assailant tries to grab, punch or kick you, you may also defend yourself by “attacking” their hands, wrists and the thumb side of forearms. Thrusts are usually directed to the face, solar plexus, throat or ribs.
OBJECTS SIMILAR TO A KNIFE
This category covers all these objects which may be used to stab or to cut/slash – knives, scissors, screwdrivers, broken bottles and glass splinters, chisels, pens and pencils, razors, forks, etc.
These objects, like the knife, are used in what we define in Krav Maga as medium distance or the distance of about the length of an extended arm. At medium distance, these objects are used to attack your opponents’ vulnerable areas – their hands, wrists, face, and neck – that aren’t protected by clothing.
Three of the most typical techniques with this family of objects similar to knife are the straight stab, ice-pick/downwards stab, upward/underhand stab, and the slash. However, if you have trained in any other knife fighting system, you may use also your favourite techniques with these objects.
Word of warning: Since these techniques may be lethal, Krav Maga students are also taught also in which events/scenarios to use them…
OBJECTS SIMILAR TO A ROCK or STONE
These small but heavy objects like stones and small rocks, mobile phones, full bottles, billiard balls, phones, glass ash-trays, small statues, big books, beer glasses etc.
This category of common objects can be used in two ways for self-defence.
The first is to injure an opponent by throwing the objects at them from a distance. You should aim for your opponent’s face or chest from distance of few steps to avoid missing them and to prevent them from approaching closer.
Another option is to use the same object at closer distance as a kind of “brass-knuckle” to strike opponent’s head or other vulnerable areas including the attacking limb if they try to grab, punch or kick you.
The object should be held in a particular way, to make sure you hold on to it as you strike. This takes some practice. These objects essentially become an extension of your striking hand and the attacks are similar to punching with the palm/fist. Keep in mind, it’s important that your own fingers are not be caught between the object and the target.
SMALL OBJECTS and LIQUIDS
This category includes all objects that may be used to distract the opponent such as: keys, coins, wristwatches, cigarette-lighters or food, which may be thrown to opponent’s face, flashlights that blind the assailant for a few seconds, sand or dirt, which may be thrown or kicked into the attacker’s face by hand. In all cases, the opponent’s eyes are the target.
A similar category is liquids. Different liquids as alcoholic drinks or hot beverages as tea or coffee, and even regular water, which may be splashed on the opponent’s face, hair varnish, repellents, perfumes or deodorant which may be sprayed to assailant eyes etc. The momentary distraction of your opponent should be used as an opportunity to run away or to counter with a strike.
Other categories of objects
Vehicles (cars), electricity, and fire. Krav Maga students are taught the basic use of such objects.
And don’t forget the category of people. We don’t think of them as “objects” per se, but bystanders can assist you and their contribution to your survival may be enormous. Some objects may be attributed to a few categories at the same time. For example, hammer is a combination of a baton and a stone when striking an opponent. An axe is a combination of a stick, stone and knife.
What makes the Krav Maga system unique with its approach to the use of common objects for self-defence is our training methods and their universality. Krav Maga concepts allow us to use virtually any object we have access to as a weapon of attack or defence without giving much thought to the specific techniques that are relevant to the family the object happens to belong to.
To be able to use common objects in a real self-defence situation, you need to practice it.
You should train on a daily basis if you can. Passive training is also training. For example, when sitting in your home, walking along the street, eating in the restaurant or working at your place of work – look around and try to think how and what you may use, for self-defence, which these objects may you access at that moment? Which weapons category does each of them belong to? Which of them would you use first? Why? Little by little you will learn to pay attention to your environment permanently, at each and every moment, so if there will such a need, you will be able to arm yourself within a fraction of second.
In Krav Maga, we learn to use common objects as weapons, as well as a part of the body and an extension of the hand, for defences and attacks, as the situation requires.
When you train at your self-defence school or in your backyard with friends, try to use different objects (first of all, those which you always have with you – keys, bag, jacket, phone etc.) as weapons in a fight against unarmed attacker, and then against an assailant who is armed with a knife or a stick, multiple attackers etc.
Choose the techniques that are most effective especially for you and learn these techniques with different objects until you can apply them instinctively. Do this with care and attention so no harm or damage will come to you, your friends or the property around you.
And, last but not least, a few common principles, which may be applied for any weapon.
- Use strong against weak. When using improvised weapons, you should carefully choose targets. Your chosen weapon should be “stronger” than opponent’s body in this area. For example, if you hold crowbar or metal pipe, you don’t need to pay too much attention to choosing a target, any of your strikes will be devastating – however if you armed yourself with a pen or a key, the list of possible targets automatically narrows to body parts, which aren’t covered by clothing such as the face, neck and hands.
- Strike in 5 main directions. Almost every strike or block with weapon may be applied in five main directions – upward, downward, to the left, to the right straight strike and naturally all variations and angles/diagonals.
- It’s possible to leave or change a weapon. When you armed yourself with an object, you don’t have to keep it for the duration of the fight. It may be that at some point in the fight timeline, it will be more advantageous to drop or throw it away, especially if it hinders or limits your defences.
- Use not only weapons, but also arms and legs. Don’t restrict your attacks to the capabilities of your chosen weapon. Remember that you have also two legs and, may be a free hand and a head. As a simple fighting tactic: you may feign that you are attacking with the weapon but actually attack with an arm or leg, or the opposite. Throw a fake punch or kick, but actually strike with the weapon. Remember you can also block with the weapon and counter with the limb etc.
Use short, quick movements. Strike should be short and because any swing-back or other preparation may telegraph you intentions to your opponent.
We truly hope that you will never need the skills described above. However, if one day you find yourself in a situation where you need to protect yourself or loved ones with a weapon in your hands, it’s far better to be prepared.
As the Romans said: “If you wish to live in peace – be prepared to war.”