For years, I’ve heard an old adage that says if you’re going to carry a baseball bat in your car for protection, be certain to include some balls and a baseball glove; your lawyer will thank you. The implication there is that the inclusion of balls and a glove will potentially show your intention to use the equipment for their intended purpose as opposed to as a weapon. It’s always made me smile a little when I’ve heard or read it, because my thinking is the SITUATION should dictate if you’re justified, not the tableau that you create around an item you potentially intend to use as a weapon.
The use of weapons is a thing as old as humanity itself, from our ancestors’ humble beginnings with a wooden stick or club to the shiny ol’ red button that world leaders press to annihilate countries. I don’t think it’s a “red button,” actually. I think that’s just something that’s portrayed in the movies. But my point is that humanity has always used weapons in some way, shape and form. And a weapon may be an important tool for one’s self-defence, depending on the situation.
A lot of people think that a weapon needs to be something structured and specific. The baseball bat analogy is a great one because, a bat is intended as an implement for sport. Its use as a weapon is incidental. Or at least it should be. I know some people keep a bat SPECIFICALLY as a weapon. The reason I bring this up is because I’ve often heard people say that a weapons-based martial art is basically useless because you’ll rarely be caught walking around with a sword or a staff. The weapons one trains with won’t usually be readily available.
Depending on where you live and what specific laws outline, it can cause a delicate situation if someone breaks into your house and you’ve run them through with a samurai sword. But setting the legalities aside for a moment, a weapon can be pretty much whatever you put your hands on. Using the example of a sword, I think we can agree that unless you lived in Japan prior to 1868, you’re not walking around carrying a samurai sword nor do you have one readily accessible in your home.
But all the cutting and strike training you take while studying the sword will be just as effective if you manage to wrap your hands around a broom or mop handle and scythe it across your opponent. It won’t gash them open like a sword would but in a self-defence situation, striking with a blade or a stick can potentially yield the same life-saving result. And that’s the important part. That’s the benefit of karate. It’s a weapon all its own and certain movements, blocks and strike are easily transferable to a weapon, should you manage to obtain one in a life threatening situation.
Weapons are a catch-22 because if things get out of hand, they can be taken away from you and used by the very opponent you were defending yourself against. Another great beauty of karate. No one can disarm me of it, so even if I’m empty-handed I always have multiple weapons at my disposal. Obviously, we’re talking about a home invasion or a situation where you believe your life is in imminent danger. One shouldn’t be looking towards the use of a weapon, per se. ☯