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The Survival Stick
A Combat Question from Mira
“James, I am a woman who lives alone and am interested in an effective and practical hand weapon, such as the fighting stick you described in your article ‘Making My Own Fighting Stick’. There is a man on the west coast that has a studio and makes sticks, who I Googled. He said that a pair of sticks would cost $15 plus shipping and handling. Is there anything else I should know about defending with the stick, and are there any additional material dimensions I should be aware of?”
Thank you, Mira
That price is reasonable, Mira.
As for sticks, keep in mind that they are primarily training tools and legal alternatives to the man-stopping tools we really need to keep the savage world at bay—so upgrade when possible.
Mira, as with any implement used by a woman, there is a perfect length and girth for a blunt extension weapon, relative to her hand size and arm length.
The girth of the weapon should permit you to touch either your ring or middle finger to the muscle at the base of the thumb. The minimal girth would permit you to fully encircle the weapon while the hand is still relaxed and you have not engaged the flexor muscle and tendon on the outside of the forearm to pull the butt of the stick closer to the wrist. The maximum girth would give separation from the closing fingers and thumb side of the palm when relaxed but contact when flexed.
A handy weapon for use indoors should not exceed the length of a cubit, or that from your elbow to the tip of your extended fingers.
A compact weapon for use inside a car or in a clinch or access way, should not exceed the length of the forearm bones from elbow to wrist.
A walking weapon, for use on your feet in the outdoors, should not exceed the length of your arm and hand as measured from the armpit to the inside of the last digit of the longest finger.
Man Note: For a male combat athlete trained with the stick, the weapon length is practical so long as it does not exceed the length of his arm as measured from the outside of the shoulder socket to the tip of the middle finger.
As a woman, we are not too concerned with your legal liability [unless you are dealing with a female or helpless unarmed innocent black youth] and are primarily concerned with you having the most effective weapon legally tenable for the setting. With women home invasions are a huge concern. There should be a weapon within reach from your front porch to your safe room, in every living space and access way of the house. In case you have been burgled in the day light and the intruder has had a chance to pick up a weapon you have left in reach for yourself, you want to make sure that the materials of the weapons that lie deepest in your home are superior to those on the periphery; a stick by the door and a sword next to your bed.
When out and about, a rattan or hardwood walking stick for protection against dogs of the four-legged, two-legged and most of all, three-legged varieties, will suffice.
In your car, it’s the last day on earth, Girl. The police will burn you for having a blade in the car, so go with a compact rod of solid steel or iron, a hardened flashlight, a tire iron, or a short-handled ball peen hammer.
On your front porch keep a potted plant at the base of your door, with a handy white oak stick disguised as a planting stake.
Just inside the door you want a compact steel pipe.
In your kitchen you have an arsenal. Go with the butcher knife.
In the bathroom keep a scuba knife, flashlight, titanium curling iron, a geisha assassin hair pin, or compact stainless steel bar.
In your safe room, or bed room, you want a weapon at the door such as a bowie knife, at the dresser or desk such as a combat infantryman’s knife, and under your pillow an assassin’s dagger. If you are called upon to leave your safe room to aid a family member against an intruder you should be able to emerge with a blade in each hand. When the goon grabs you saw his guts out with the other hand and poke holes in him until he stops squirting.
As a man, my arsenal is heavier in my room. In my bed is a bowie knife, on the night stand a dagger, by the dresser a late medieval arming sword, at my desk a pair of butterfly swords, by my foot locker a Viking sword and a jobolo wood baton, and by the door to my room a hickory walking stick, a razor sharp daito [ninja sword] and a 14 inch meat hook. I want to emerge from my room with a weapon in each hand, as such a scenario would be triggered by an audible break in or an attack on my housemates—and, for that apocalyptic event, I have my bow and arrows.
The weapons in your room should be a mix of edged handy and compact edged for defense against surprise intrusions, at least one full length blade for a possibly sally against an intruder, as well as a full length blunt weapon, like a crow bar, for sallying into the yard to perhaps rescue a dog who is being abducted for pitbull bait, a child being eaten by the neighbor dog, your crazy mother who picked a fight with your Salvadoran landscaper, or your sissy boy toy who is getting mugged by a pack of twelve year old ghetto girls...
Keep all three lengths of weapon in their appropriate zones, with an assortment available in your safe room to cover different contingencies. Above all, Mira, keep in mind that you live in a predatory matrix, and that she without claws or fangs is halfway to becoming a meal.
When they come for you in the public, predatory friendly, spaces patrolled by our masters, who wish us to be defenseless, smash their hands, break their jaws and bash in their heads. When they come for you in your home, rip them open and run them through.
When your back is to the wall, make war on the world—it deserves no less.
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Mark LawrenceJun 25, 2015

Mr. LaFond,

I have studied various styles of karate, kung-fu, etc., for 43 years - and your writings are more relevant than all the Musashi's and Sun Tzu's rolled together. Outside my home, I am always accompanied by my hickory cane, and its mere presence has prevented two potential late-night robberies and various other acts of violence. When their eyes drift down to the cane in my hand, they always go their way, rather than act.

Please keep writing.

Mark Lawrence

Phoenix, AZ
responds: Jun 26, 2015


Thanks. I can take the Chinese philosopher or leave him. But let us honor Musashi. I have read his little book 9 times. What he basically says is that martial arts are for sissies. Check out the article Little Sissy Things on the Ancient Combat page—one of my first posts from 2012, I think.

Thanks for the encouragement. It really matters.
Mark LawrenceJun 26, 2015

Mr. LaFond,

I have also read Musashi - maybe three times - but his advice has to be adapted to modern America; yours doesn't.

The Logic of Steel is, for me, a modern Book of Five Rings/Spheres. Better still, in 2012, you wrote "Managing Violence." At age 61, I'm still teaching high school. I use your advice on controlling myself, to enable me to not kill some of the students.

The kids know how to make teachers feel like Kenneth, rent-a-cop-from-hell. Your advice helps me to get around that.

As I said, please keep writing.

Mark Lawrence
responds: Jun 28, 2015

I'm, so glad The Logic of Steel was helpful for you and that you found the site.

Ironically, many knife enthusiasts dislike the book as it discourages the use of a knife for self-defense in many scenarios. Being an apostate, it's nice to have an approving mind out there on this sticky subject.

Thanks for the encouragement. I will keep writing—beginning the stick-fighting book today.

As far as Mister Kenneth, I have not seen him in 15 years. He would be about 75. His best stories are in When You're Food. My favorite is when he fights two young guys, gets his ass kicked, and then his sons and the cops show up at the same time...

Have fun with those darling school students.

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