In my women’s self-defense class, I always go over the concept of weapons of opportunity. This is the use of items on your person or in your surroundings as opportunity allows in the context of defending against an attack. Professor Sylvain, founder of Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu, always liked to use the example of using a grocery can with a can of beans in it. A person on their way to their car carrying this item could swing it using the can to strike an assailant. The person isn’t carrying it for that person, they just happened to use it that way because it was a convenient way to defend themselves at that moment.
Most people don’t carry a bag with a can in it on a daily basis, but there are a few items that we carry more regularly that make fantastic weapons of opportunity. Please bear in mind that the use of weapons of opportunity may have different legal considerations in regards to what is allowed in self-defense according to your local laws. It’s a good idea to be familiar with these laws so you can explain your reasoning for using a weapon of opportunity in a particular self-defense situation appropriately.
1. Umbrella. On the west coast, we get a lot of rain, pretty much 10 months of the year feature regular rainfall. As such, most people carry umbrellas with them on their person, in hand or on a wrist strap. Because of their shape, particularly when closed, they make convenient weapons of opportunity. Hand umbrellas can be wielded similarly to a small club, while cane umbrellas can be swung when space allows, or used to strike straight out when held with two hands.
2. Water Bottle. In the summer, many people are accustomed to carrying water bottles to stay hydrated. If you use a steel or hard plastic bottle, they can also be used to strike in a palm grip. They can be used to strike straight out to a target or in a hooking fashion. A solid strike to the face or head could be quite devastating to a would-be assailant.
3. Coffee/Tea Cup. Many people carry coffee/tea cups on their morning commutes. If you use a re-usable one made of steel or hard plastic, they can make great striking weapons similar to the water bottle. But even if you are carrying a cardboard cup, the hot liquid contained within can be used as an additional projectile weapon. Hot coffee thrown in someone’s face would definitely cause a would-be assailant to rethink their actions.
4. Car Key. I used to not like recommending the use of keys as weapons of opportunity because standard keys can be hard to grip, making them hard to use as weapons. The new large, button car keys are different. The button section is big enough for most people to get a good grip on it. Plus, you can do this while keeping your middle finger through the key ring to make it easier to retain if you drop the key itself. Using the button base as the grip point the car key can be conveniently used to strike/poke, scratch or apply pressure (using the index finger for support on the key), and pinch (using the thumb and the key).
Now over to you. What items do you commonly carry that make great weapons of opportunity? Please share your thoughts in the comments.