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Improvised weapons, how to recognize and use them

improvised weapons

Training to recognize and use improvised weapons must become your daily game as you go around until it becomes a habit.

I’ve already made a post about proper and improper weapons but I haven’t talked about improvised weapons and how to train and make them visible in the environments you frequent.

So it is important to distinguish the differences between weapons in two macro categories:

  • transport, trasporto which are the things you have about your person both as weapons and as self-defense tools,
  • are an opportunity to find objects in the environment that you can use as a weapon to defend yourself, etc.

On improvised ones it is important to focus on the ability to find them and use them effectively as if they were weapons that have all different percussion skills or cut you and for this it must be understood and understood the correct use.

There are improvised objects that you can find more frequently also based on the environment and this becomes important when you will look for the habit to find them whenever you are somewhere because your scan becomes faster and more effective if you have a grid of items that you always look for but this we talk about later in the post.

improvised weaponsWhat is an improvised weapon?

The environment is full of improvised weapons that can be used but the purpose of this post is to make you understand the difference between teaching to use a weapon or improvising a weapon.

It is a subtle difference but that is important because the purpose of this post is first of all the ability to locate and find these objects in the places you move and after clearly and not with less importance work on its use and the ability to use it!

If you learn to use a chair to fight and we will dedicate a specific post to this you are not really learning to improvise a weapon with an object but you are learning to use a chair as a weapon.

Clearly the chair can be found in an environment and can be used as an improvised weapon but follow me in the speech.

If a chair is not available in the environment, the acquired skill is not applicable.

If you train to improvise, you should be able to use everything in the environment as a weapon of some kind.

It’s a subtle difference but it’s the approach to versatility and improvisation that you need to develop in this case.

So what I’ve told you doesn’t mean you don’t have to learn to use specific objects as weapons, but what is true improvisation is just recognizing other objects as weapons.

The training part of the objects and how to use them is also important but you don’t have to tie yourself/get attached to a specific object because there couldn’t be!


Training with improvised weapons

Even if they are improvised weapons, training is always required.

I tell you this because even if you recognize an umbrella or something that looks like a stick in the environment it is only suddenly automatically acquire the ability to use it effectively and the risk is that when you recognize that an umbrella or a similar object resembles a stick and could be used as such not knowing how to use it you will find yourself “improvising on an improvisation”

The idea of using a makeshift weapon without knowing how to use the specific tool can sometimes put you at a disadvantage because you don’t have to think about how to use the object but you have to use it automatically.

Improvised weapons should be included

The improvised weapon if not included could also be an obstacle for you if you have to think about its use, before defending yourself with this.

It is not trivial at all and in some cases you see for example an umbrella if not used properly may not be effective putting you in trouble.

For this reason it is always essential to train in the basic use of knife and stick and then bring this knowledge into the percussive and sharp improvised weapons.

That training is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of both weapons

Filipino martial arts

Some concepts for practitioners of Eskrima or FMA but in general of Stick Fighting they know that a stick (also applies to the truncheon although heavier) when it is made to vibrate to hit its greater impact capacity is in the final part of its length and the maximum is in the tip unless it is extremely heavy and hard (ironwood, steel pipe, etc.).

In addition, stick fighting or short fencing it is crucial because trying to strike with an umbrella or similar on someone who is charging you like a madman maybe in a tight space is not simple and is probably not its best range of use, but it should be used in a specific way that needs to be trained and developed.

Also hit a fast-moving target exactly in the right spot to do damage in conditions of stress and tension, without having trained this skill with the stick and I say already now that unless a big stroke of luck but probably will not be effective.

Anyone who has practiced stick-versus-knife fencing will soon learn that the difference more than the weapon is made by those who hold the object but soon also become aware of the limits of a stick against a determined attacker and intending to stab you at all costs, even to take beatings and if you are not precise it is not easy to immediately stop the attacker.

So you can imagine what can happen, take tests!

Because they are important to understand the dynamics and vary the strategies.

The last thing you need to do in a real fight is pick up something you don’t have the ability to use!

improvised weapons

The psychology of violence you can’t underestimate

This argument also applies if for some reason you can disarm someone of his weapon and you do not know how to use it but above all you are not psychologically ready to use it.

This at least exotic and fascinating about learning techniques is actually a crucial element in the fight for survival.

Before the weapon, you must have the intention to use the weapon you have chosen!

This is crucial and if, for example, if:

  • you take the gun you have in the house because you heard noises in the house you have to be ready to shoot to strike because you don’t know if as soon as you turn the corner there will be someone armed.
  • If you pull the knife out of your backpack you have to be willing to hit
  • or if you break a bottle you’re ready to stab or crush it in someone’s face,
  • et cetera.

One mistake that is often made is to overestimate people’s real ability to use extreme violence because it needs to be trained.

If you are unable or unwilling to break a bottle and use it to strike violently then it is better (and there are also other legal reasons to do so) to use it without “destroying” it and use it as an impact weapon because the risk is that once broken you will not use it.

I tell you from experience that even tough people have limits they don’t think they have.

The reality of combat is learned through practice

It is useless to make fun of but you have to be realistic with what you are deep down, you have to be aware of what you can expect from yourself.

If you are an even worse trainer because you have to understand that simulations are not the reality and it is important to “read” to train your students to take themselves to the limit of themselves as an action but that maybe that limit does not get to plant a broken bottle in someone’s face.

If there is no proper psychological training what you teach your students could be useless.

Even talking about the borderline theme par excellence of disarmament,beyond succeeding, you’re leading them to have a vision and in a way they might not be able to do.

I’m telling you, you’re really comfortable with the idea of using the weapon to take someone’s life or seriously injuring them if your attacker comes towards you.

Never lie!

The fight does not stop at that moment when you take a weapon to someone, or drop them during the struggle, whether it is a firearm, a knife, a stick, a broken bottle, etc. so do not fall into the training trap that ends after disarmament because this is not how a fight stops when a weapon is taken.

The attacker can run away or jump on you to retrieve the weapon and if you do not have the skills and intention to use a weapon, beyond improvised or not, then it can actually prove an obstacle to your survival because if you do not use it, if it ends up in the hands of your attacker again or otherwise you do not use it, you may not receive the same courtesy.

If you have a weapon or take it you have to be trained to use it not only technically but psychologically.


Categorize improvised weapons so you can train them

The most effective way I’ve seen you train in using improvised weapons or teach them to use them is to crime a basic list of common objects and then have a variety of potential items to use, and going to analyze usage capabilities, ability to do harm, versatility, the pros and cons of each of these improvised weapons. Etc.

Training in this way offers a more personalized approach to improvised weapons, e.g. not all hands have the same size or their grip strength is equal, etc. so there are objects that for someone it is more complicated to use.

Technical training

For each object you have to make a technical formation but as I also said psychological because if you already know that you would never use a certain object to defend yourself by attacking you violently better not to lie and understand why.

Also important work is to test to hit at full power to the tires, sack or shields with objects used as weapons because it is easy to understand that not all objects are suitable for the type of person, and that many objects can on impact slip away.

The most common items are often used with hammer blows to increase impact power as an extension of the hammer punch but being an object and not a weapon that has an ergonomic structure to have an optimal grip during use you may find that some items are not easy to hold in your hand when hitting at full power and require a readjustment.

Improvised weapons, how to recognize and use them Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport

Where I am now and what I can use

Once you understand the different uses and strengths of the various common objects you can find around or in some environments, you need to learn to recognize them in their everyday environments where they are usually located and visualize them using your view as you walk, while you are sitting, etc.

If you’re in a bar, for example, look at what’s at your fingertips:

  • if there are chairs that can be used as shields to protect you,
  • or stools that have an easier grip and ergonomics to manage,
  • tables that can be an environmental advantage when used as a barrier,
  • cups of hot coffee that can be launched,
  • glass bottles that can be used to hit or break to cut,
  • knives used by the bartender to cut bread,
  • et cetera.

These are your improvised weapons, the opportunities for things around me.

improvised weapons

In addition to this, you can also have other items with you that may have a self-defense function.

  • If you also have coins with you that can be thrown,
  • keys that can be thrown or used to hit at the tip or with you can cut –
  • a mobile phone that, if held,increases the power of a hammer punch, etc. although with the new smartphones is not the same thing, it depends a lot on the type of mobile phone.
  • a pen
  • the belt, the hat, the shoes, the bag,
  • theumbrella,

But what legal tools in your spending you have with you to defend as:

This process of visually displaying a situation and the ability to procure one of the improvised weapons to defend yourself that is in the environment or that you have on you is as fundamental as learning how to use these different tools.

Repeating this exercise daily, when you’re in the different places you’re in, your eyes will soon get used to naturally finding the objects you can use to defend or attack.

The moment you enter any room this process will be automatic without needing to do a research consciously, but it will be a more instinctive and more unconscious approach, until it becomes automatic.


The same exercise in various environments

Now I’ve done the example in this bar post, but you have to do the same thing for example:

  • for your usual home journey,
  • your neighborhood,
  • While you’re at the beach,
  • in a store,
  • or in the gym,
  • or in a shopping mall,
  • et cetera.

Ps. The same type of analysis you can also do about the environment and how to use it to your advantage but on this we will do a specific post.

Improvised weapons, how to recognize and use them Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport


Being able to improvise a weapon from the objects around you is a fundamental skill and is a concept that we value a lot and take you to the next level.

This is always important but it is even more important in countries where the legal system does not allow you to have weapons of any kind but only some tools that do not have the same defensive capacity as a firearm or cutting gun, etc.

Each state has its own order, and most states don’t allow gun to carry, cut, or otherwise.

This is why it is necessary to have an approach oriented to improvisation and use of objects with a purpose of use in combat.

Improvisation and adaptation (as well as training) is one of the things that has ensured our survival and is a very “primordial” way of fighting man than having as animals claws or sharp teeth, thick skins, you are equipped with tools to protect yourself and amplify the ability to hurt or kill.

In the past of man but also in the present for example taking sticks to be used to strike and defend against animals, stones to throw or use to hit hard, etc. is a common behavior.

The same thing still applies today even if in contexts, with different forms and motivations.

You can’t lose this innate ability, but you don’t need to recover and rediscover this ability to an even higher level than in the past, thanks to the presence of more items than in the past.

Today in many countries the contact with violence in our daily lives is fortunately very rare but if you are here to read and you are a practitioner of self-defense systems are also these arguments and attributes to develop as skills.

Stay Tuned!

Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport


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Written by Andrea

Instructor and enthusiast of Self Defence and Fight Sport.

# Boxing / Muay Thai / Brazilian Jiu Jitsu / Grappling / CSW / MMA / Method & Training.
# Self Defence / FMA / Dirty Boxing / Silat / Jeet Kune Do & Kali / Fencing Knife / Stick Fighting / Weapons / Firearms / Strategy.

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