I could just start this article with a list of stuff lying around in your house and tell you how to use them. However, I want to give you a foundation on which to build. During an attack, you don’t have time to think. Adrenaline, Courage, Fear, Exhilaration, Stress.
These states will all explode within you simultaneously. Time will seem to slow down. If you are not used to these emotional states, you will feel overwhelmed.
It’s like doing your first free-fall parachute jump. It’s called sensory overload. But whatever it’s called, just trust me, you won’t be able to rationally assess the situation, make complicated plans and then execute them.
You need to make all the decisions beforehand and practice them, so that during an attack, you can just execute.
Once you have your groundwork laid out, you can just imprint for 5 minutes every morning. Walk through your house, and think:
- If I’m in the laundry-room, I have no escape route, only option is to fight. There is the broom, the mop, the iron, I have bleach. Ready!
- Move to the scullery. Same mental rundown.
- Next room, and so on…
If you do this and prepare, chances of you surviving an attack increase exponentially.
Defense Decision Tree
The Primary Goal is always to de-escalate the danger, to your loved ones and to yourself. Violence should always be your last resort.
However, in a home invasion scenario, the goal should be to survive.
The next thing I want to share is the battle decision hierarchy tree.
This is a decision tree that determines when you will do what. It must be simple so you can act intuitively:
- Start: If I am home alone, and nobody I love is at risk, I will run and hide. Armed with a weapon in case I get cornered.
- Next: If my loved ones are at home, I will place myself between them and the attackers. My loved ones can now escape. (Make sure everyone knows the decision tree.)
- Next: If the is no escape, we all stay and fight together.
- Next: In all circumstances, I/we will only fight as a last resort.
- Next: Options exhausted – Time to fight, I will strike first and I will strike to inflict maximum damage.
Seize the Initiative
The main defense strategy of the US Army is as following: Seize the initiative!
It is brilliant in its simplicity and can be applied to any situation. It has to do with being in control. If you are acting, the other party is reacting. This means that the encounter is going according to how you want it to go.
Therefore, when fighting is unavoidable, you strike first. Do not let your opponent be the one acting, and you reacting.
Obviously, we value our lives more than our attacker’s. We must stay alive at all costs, and we must seize the initiative.
The best self-defense items in your home right now can be divided into five categories:
- Fluids and Gasses – applied to the face, the nose and eyes being your primary target.
- Heavy Objects – applied to the head to cause disorientation or unconsciousness. Swung or thrown.
- Sharp Objects – applied to heart and lungs, neck , and upper inner thigh
- Striking and Thrusting Objects – applied to head and everywhere else
- Strangling Objects – applied to the neck
Fluids and Gasses
These are likely not going to incapacitate an attacker but should give you a vital few seconds to implement another attack or to get away.
Remember, the guy attacking is also alert and nervous. Any unknown substance hitting his face, eyes, or nose, will be cause for pause.
The more caustic an item is, the more time it will buy you while your attacker is trying to figure out what it was that hit him.
Chlorine and Ammonia based items should be prioritized. Bleach and oven cleaners fall into this category. At night, maybe leave the oven cleaner spray on the counter, near the kitchen entrance. Your attacker will not think anything passing it by, but you can grab and spray him if you are running into or out of the kitchen.
While he is wiping his eyes, you can go for a knife or the window.
Other options include vinegar, insecticides or pesticides and finally just good old deodorant. A spray of Ant Killer or deodorant to the face, will stun anyone for a few precious moments. If leaving bleach or vinegar out, make sure to unscrew the cap but leave it on-top of the container to minimize evaporation or cause unpleasant smells. When using, take both hands and squeeze as hard as you can, spraying as much as possible on the attacker. Act fast, then move on.
The objective is to cause confusion and buy yourself a few seconds.
This must not be too heavy that you can’t move it at speed, but also not so light that it causes no damage. The principle is to create a shock wave through the transference of energy.
Heavy objects include frying pans and pots, clothes irons, golf clubs, tennis rackets, bedside and desk lamps, flower vases, frozen cuts of meat, torches. You can get creative with this and make up some of your own stuff.
For example, that floppy pillowcase lying benignly next to your sleeping cushion. It can easily have a half-brick in it. And, reaching for it may seem nonthreatening, but a good swing can do a lot of damage.
I would further suggest identifying or placing at least two striking objects in every room in your house. A vase or big old ashtray could seem decorative but can be thrown or swung with deadly force.
Make sure you connect. If you miss, the momentum can take you off your feet, so be ready to maybe take a fall but try to recover as quick as possible. Practicing your swing will help you to connect and keep your balance.
You are thinking knife, and I like how you are thinking. But you can also think of Scissors, Nail Files, Clutch Pencils and Pens, Chop Sticks, Garden Shears, Meat Carving Forks, Stanley Carpet Knives (this is a must, just buy one and keep it around), smaller box cutters.
Or other objects that are potentially sharp – think glass, porcelain and some ceramics.
You could have glass of water standing next to your bedside table. My suggestion is to have one with relatively thin sides and a thick base. Make sure that glass is within reach. If you wake up with an attacker next to your bed, it could save your life. Smash the glass into your attacker face. The water inside the glass will reduce the friction and deliver deeper cuts.
Striking and Thrusting Objects
Here I am thinking about brooms, mops, golf clubs, hockey sticks, etc. Objects that can be swung with force to strike an attacker, but also long enough that you can thrust at him. In this case, you want to maintain distance between yourself and your attacker. Here is my tip: It’s a gamble, but with great potential benefits.
Poke your broom stick to your attacker’s face. In doing so, he will attempt to grab the stick. For this to work, you must let him get hold of the stick. Once he has it in his grasp, thrust a few more times to make sure he is holding it firmly.
You know now exactly where your attacker’s hands are. His attention is focused on holding the stick, which he sees as the main threat. At this stage, you let go of the stick, move in close, and punch the throat or jaw. You have one and a half second at best, so choose your course of action carefully. When he lets go of the stick, you need to be ready with your next move. This could be running for your next weapon, or to escape.
Belts, ties, twine, ribbons wire, guitar strings, bow strings, tote bag carry straps.
These are complicated to use but are an option. The objective is twofold. Constrict the airway and cut of blood supply to the brain. The thinner the object, the easier you will achieve this.
Don’t even try with a towel of jacket. Even belts and carry straps could be too thick.
If you have the weight advantage, good. If your attacker does, you could be in for what may seem like a bull-ride. If you can manage to hang on, you will dominate. If you let go and takes a breath and fresh blood gets to the brain, you will have to start over.
Applying this while your attacker is actively defending himself, could be impossible. This is only if circumstances favor you and your attacker is already weakened after that blow to the head.
If you can achieve your objective without resorting to violence, that is the best scenario. However, you only have one life.
You know your value system and what you are prepared to die for. But always think of this as a transaction. Pay the lowest price possible for what you want. This is just basic economics.
If there are more attackers in sight, and you are to be surrounded, act before it’s too late. Grab the one closest and do your thing.
If you commit to a course of action, see it through. You will be amazed at the advantage bestowed by surprise and caprice, and both those favor the one seizing the initiative.
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