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Think fast: if an attacker was charging headfirst in your direction, would you rather be unarmed or holding a weapon? You shouldn't have a hard time answering, because the answer to this question is painfully obvious. With a weapon in your hands, you stand a far greater chance of successfully stopping the attack and escaping unharmed. This is why it's recommended to carry some form of dedicated self-defense weapon whenever possible — be it a gun, a knife, a tactical pen, or even a self-defense cane.
The doctrine of Filipino martial arts known as Kali emphasizes self-defense with weapons, but this system also acknowledges that there are many cases in which carrying a weapon may not be an option. In these non-permissive environments, you'll need to think on your feet and improvise as the aforementioned attacker charges in your direction. This is when finding a weapon of opportunity can save your life.
Doug Marcaida is the founder and expert martial arts instructor at Marcaida Kali. Put simply, he's the kind of guy who knows a thing or two about self-defense, with or without a dedicated weapon. If you're unfamiliar with Doug, we'd recommend reading our exclusive Q&A with him from last March. In the following video, Doug addresses the concept of weapons of opportunity, and shows how even a simple baseball cap can serve as a powerful self-defense tool:
So, you can toss your own baseball cap as a distraction while you throw a punch, or block your attacker's line of sight by pushing the cap in his face. If the attacker is the one wearing a hat, you can pull it over his eyes, or yank his head backwards using the brim. There are many options to consider — the real key is to think about them and practice exploiting them before you find yourself being attacked in real life.
For more on improvised weapons, check out our previous article on the newspaper-based Millwall Brick.