Guaranteed to make an impression

Feb 27 2014 Published by under Martial Arts

Tools and construction scrap can be encountered as weapons, often used very much like a police nightstick.

(On a related note, in Jersey City commercial establishments there was a saying, “Don’t give them a weapon.” What that meant was that if a bat was kept handy for attitude adjustment of the overly irate, the instrument needed to be out of sight, so as not to fall into the wrong hands. Similarly, the billy club below decided to leave a motorcycle cop insensitive to its feelings, who left it alone in the street for hours every day.)

knightstick

The usual reaction and standard technique for defense is to block a strike to the head with the outer edge of an arm — the ulna bone. This was explained to me as “the arm goes, but you save the head,” which is just what happens. Because damaging the ulna bone in this way is so easy, a break here — no matter what the cause — is called a nightstick fracture. What’s hoped for is that a knockout or fatal blow to the head is prevented and then the attacker receives a disabling punch. If that doesn’t happen, trying to fly with one wing into the headwind of an armed attacker will certainly pose a challenge. For a trained fighter, though, if only by blocking kicks (even without other conditioning), the ulna bone is considerably toughened. Even so, it’s never going to match a heavy steel rod.

nightstick_fracture_rev

rerod

The Isshinryu karate double bone block is much better able to deal with blunt object trauma.

Back when I was managing the Tunnel Bar in Jersey City, a drifter tried to club me on the skull with a quart bottle of wine. Instead of intercepting the swing, I quickly stepped behind the aggressor and gave him a strong shove. That threw him off balance and — combined with his downward arcing arm — sent him flying forward. The bottle hit the concrete and my would-be assailant followed face first into it. This was a sad and sorry situation, but as Kuklinski “The Iceman” remarked in an interview, “It’s better to give than to receive.”

When someone escalates or launches an attack by reaching for a concealed knife or a gun, intent becomes obvious and their hands are down. For a very small window of opportunity, you face a defenseless opponent who can be pummeled in the same way Griffith destroyed Paret. The story will be quite different if you hesitate until the holding hand comes back into the picture.

Common items meant as weapons can be hidden in plain sight and so detection is complicated. A steel rod might be laying anywhere about a job site. A tire iron easily can be under a car seat. The ill-willed won’t necessarily need to dig into a pocket to grab something. And it generally isn’t illegal to possess or carry utilitarian hardware. Everybody should have a tire iron in the trunk of their car. A biker could tote a wrench in a back pocket, ready to make certain that the vibration from a Harley engine hasn’t loosened the wheel nuts to a dangerous degree.

lug_wrench

wrench


At 1:05, an adjustable wrench is used as a weapon in this biker brawl.

hook

This is a hook that was used by longshoremen to move crates. In these days of container ships, I don’t know how often anything like this is seen. I include it because my mother told, working as a nurse in the ’50s, of assisting in an emergency room when a victim of domestic violence was brought in who had been grievously injured by this type of implement.

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Anthony Olszewski
aolsz@bellatlantic.net

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