Friday, January 19, 2007

Q & A: Question about kubotan/fistload

BUMPED - back to the top.
As I said previously, while I'm working on categorizing the posts, I am encouraging questions. Here's a good one:


I was reading your blog and found it very interesting. I have a question for you that you may be able to answer.

What do you think of improvised weapons such as kubatons or other fistloads such as knuckledusters. Will hammerfists and reverse hammerfists thrown wielding a kubotan inflict a large enough amount of damage to stop a fight? I’ve used one against wood and I see the impact, but is it something that can end fights – especially against another person (non-stationary target)? I’m especially curious about this when related to defending the single leg takedown or other shoots. When the opponent dives in, one should have one or two good chances to land solid hammerfists.

Will using a “kubotan hammerfist” stop someone attempting a takedown.

Knuckledusters are obviously illegal in many states, but is their stopping power that severe? It sounds like a stupid question, but how realistic is it for a fighter using a knuckleduster to end a fight in one blow?

I think these topics are relevant because carrying knives is usually a big no-no, but a kubotan/palm stick can be improvised out of anything.


My reply:

Excellent question, C, and thanks for the email. There are several factors in answering this:

  1. Adding any weight or weapon load into a fist will make it much more effective. In boxing there are training wraps and fight wraps. Either way, what's done is to compress the fist into a single unit, and reduce the mobility of the wrist. The net effect is to increase the force that you will use without inhibition (because you know your wrist isn't going to get injured), plus the more solid fist connects with a lot more force. Obviously, you're still talking about the soft tissue of a fist and the contact points of the knuckles, which aren't that hard. One of the reasons that boxers actually break their hands in matches is that they hit much harder there than any other time, and when they connect with a skull, it will break the bones in the third and fourth knuckles (hitting incorrectly), or damage soft tissue. Usually there are not wrist injuries if you're properly wrapped up.

  2. Using a Kubotan, knuckle duster (similar to brass knuckles), or adding any other striking utensil to your hand when punching will greatly increase the damage done to an opponent. No question. One of the reasons that brass knuckles/knuckle dusters, rolls of quarters, or socks of coins, or blackjacks are illegal is because they are effective, and possibly deadly. That's why I recommend such improvised weapons as mini mags, or as Dojo Rat commented on the same post, carpenter's pencils - legal, and nearly as effective. Test this by taking a Kubotan and (gently) hitting any part of your body, then try the same technique without it - big difference! The answer is yes, such an improvised weapon could stop a fight.

  3. One problem with relying on weapons is that they're not always there when you need them. I remember speaking with one sergeant, whom I'd invited several times to join my class, and he said that he had all he needed on him - Capstun (OC/mace) and his service weapon. I said that there were two problems with that: 1) he rarely has either weapon in his hand, and 2) even if he does, at close range I could hit him before he'd have a chance to use either. He didn't believe me, and I'm glad he's not working the street any longer, for his own sake! For the same reason, I'd not rely on having any weapons in hand, but always try to have one handy.

  4. As to whether it will stop the fight is another question entirely. No matter how hard a baseball bat has the potential to hit, some batters only bunt, and others hit a ball out of the park. Even a home run hitter will hit many more base hits than homers. The point is, versus a moving, living, breathing, resisting target, you have to use as much power and speed as you can, and strike until the target is no longer a threat. In other words, I don't buy the single-shot kill/knockout whether it's with a rifle/pistol, club, knife, or hands. The best world class boxers or MMA fighters will rack up a hundred or more strikes without getting the perfect KO shot in. Why should we think that we can do it with one. Add some insurance and use combinations, armed or not. See this post on knockout power, and it's place.

  5. Last, how best to defeat a takedown? It depends on your strengths and weaknesses.
    My first suggestion is to be capable of sprawling and driving the attacker down, then you can use downward elbows, a guillotine, or multiple strikes (with or without a weapon), then get away!
    Another option (my preference) is wedging and moving laterally (form the frame with your arms and drive against one side of the attacker's neck, and sidestep away to the same side) similar to the footwork a matador would use. That way you stay on your feet and don't have to worry about going to the ground or grappling - preferable to potentially being knifed or jumped by his buddies.
    A third option is to sprawl and drive the knee into the attackers face (check out
    this GrappleArts article) - risky but devastating. It takes excellent timing, but will end it quick. The risk is that you will get taken down if you mis-time it, and the pavement can be pretty hard, so make sure you know how to fall, and how to get someone into your guard while watching for potential weapons. Not where you want to be!
    My suggestions versus the takedown are because I realize that, while you may be a superior grappler, the knife that you or I consider a no-no may be in the hand you can't see. You could be dead or bleeding out before you know what happened. Best to keep your distance, get a weapon, and get somewhere that you can get help. Nothing's wrong with running around a car and keeping your eyes on him while screaming for help. If he's smart, he'll likely go away rather than deal with the unwanted attention your tactic may bring.

Reminds me, I need to post on how to handle a takedown. Hmmm.

Now, any readers have some better ideas? Anything I missed? Comments welcomed!

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