In a recent posting by Marc MacYoung about "Talisman's," i.e. brandishing a weapon in self-defense, I got to thinking about teaching self-defense with weapons.
What first occurs to me is to ask the student, "Why do you feel the need for a weapon?" There are many reasons why carrying a weapon is necessary. I am not a professional but I suspect it regards, mostly, about working as a professional. I can't think of too many reasons why a civilian would have a need to carry a weapon. I will bow to comments made by professionals.
As a self-defense instructor I would also have to ask, "What type of weapon does one NEED for self-defense?" This too must refer to the professional disciplines because I still can't fathom what weapons are needed by civilians for self-defense.
So, before I continue on that path, I have to ask, "What do people perceive of a person who carries a weapon no matter what the reason especially when that person is NOT a professional, i.e. Police, etc.?" What is the perception when you see or hear of a person who defended themselves with a weapon be it a gun, club or knife, etc.? Do people think that because you carry a weapon you are "looking for trouble?"
In the self-defense world there are many steps you must pass through to expose yourself and encounter violence or conflict where some physical means of self-defense are necessary so why carry a weapon at all? If you are knowledgable about conflict and all that entails, i.e. the before violence, the during violence and the after violence, etc. then why carry a weapon.
One of the major points Mr. MacYoung wanted to make is this, "If you carry a weapon are you absolutely prepared to use it without hesitation?" I am not saying, "brandish it in the hopes that the other person will back off" but if the necessity of the weapon is unavoidable are you prepared wholeheartedly to use that weapon within the confines of legal self-defense all the way up to and including deadly force? Marc MacYoung suggests that it is "stupid" to think that the "threat of violence" will work. He says, it doesn't and he should know as he has lived that life.
Then there is the question, "Is the weapon you carry legal?" There are large lists of weapons deemed illegal in California and I, personally, viewed the list with surprise when I would read a weapon I thought would be legal as illegal.
Let's say you like to carry a pocket knife as a self-defense weapon and you feel it is necessary also as a work tool. Many laborers carry such a knife at work because of the convenience. The devices that are added to a pocket knife are mostly there to make it convenient and easy to operate with one hand. An electrician working to splice wires may find it convenient to reach back, remove the knife (it has a clip to fasten it to the belt), and with one hand flick it into the open position so they can cut while the other hand holds the wires. This seems, on the surface, a good thing for the electrician. They often carry it that way all the time under the belief they might need it for things in general at any time and that convenience is also good.
Lets say that this same electrician decided, unknowingly, to purchase a pocket knife that has the "assist" function, i.e. a function of a spring like device that will power open a knife so that you don't have to flip or flick it with the thumb assist (that thumb assist in most cases is still there on these knives). What would a laymen perceive of that knife if self-defense were involved and the other participant was stabbed and cut seriously and may even be dead? Not so clear cut because I might think, "why did this guy want the assist when the normal thumb device works just fine?" What was the reason for carrying it outside of the work environment? Can he justify that carry?
I can see that there may be many questions and assumptions that could sway a group of every day normal persons into thinking that maybe this electrician had ulterior motives and we haven't discussed the rest of that story, i.e. why did he use it and why did he kill the other person, etc. and so on and yadda yadda yadda.
I guess what I am getting to is this, "Think hard and long as to why you THINK you need to carry a weapon for self-defense." I say THINK because that is something that must come from the human brain. I didn't say "FEEL" because that comes from "emotions" and emotions tend to come from the monkey brain.
Self-defense as you are aware of is something that must be fully comprehended through study, training and practice before you make any decisions as to use and whether carrying a weapon is necessary or even smart. When you decide, think about any emotional content that drives your decision. Think, is this my human brain saying this or is this my monkey brain driving this train? It is hard but in the end, worth the effort.
There is a good deal of self-analysis, social analysis and environmental, situational and legal analysis that must go on before, during and after the search and study of self-defense. As can be readily perceived when you go to the "No Nonsense Self-Defense" website by Marc MacYoung that self-defense and conflict and violence are complicated, convoluted and most difficult and that is without even taking one self-defense class.
Oh, and I haven't even addressed the use of kobudo type weapons for self-defense. I had a novice security guy, he was hired to run security at the hotel and bar where I worked once but had no real experience other than he studied martial arts - another topic, does MA qualify you as a security professional, etc.. He came to work the first evening, stopped by my desk to say hello and I noticed something heavy in his shirt pocket shaped like a star. He has shrunken. I suggested that those were not exactly appropriate to use for security and that he might find it "illegal" in Florida and maybe he should research them legally before carrying them to work. He said his "sensei" said they were great self-defense tools, etc. Hmmmm?