Originally published on 24NOV2010 for Examiner.com

K&B, LLC co-owner and instructor Don Alley is a martial arts, personal protection, and emergency preparedness writer. Many of his articles originally appeared in Examiner.com. As these articles are able to be retrieved from old web caches, they will be posted here.

There is an old adage “Fair fights are for idiots”. This is true. If one finds themselves in a self defense situation, every means at turning the odds on one’s favor should be evaluated. To that end, there are several mundane appearing products now on the market that are designed to function as excellent protection tools.

Tactical pens, such as the Smith and Wesson M&P pen, or the Cold Steel Pocket Shark marker have taken root with many people for their utility. They are a functional writing instrument, a commonplace object most people would not even question. Underneath their mundane appearance they feature reinforced hulls for rigidity and caps designed to stay on through the rigors of a fight. A blunted point on one end and a flat cap on another give the wielder some tactical options based on the nature of the threat.

Tactical flashlights have also become prevalent recently, and are an incredibly handy device to have around. Most feature a blinding amount of light output which can be used to temporarily blind an opponent, as well as a more battery friendly setting to provide longer term illumination. Like the tactical pens, they contain features to better withstand the shocks experienced in a fight, such as steel hulls, and LEDs instead of the more fragile incandescent bulbs.

The kubotan is a shaft of metal or wood about 7 inches long and designed as a key chain. With keys attached, it becomes an excellent striking weapon or even a flail-like weapon to help drive off an aggressor. If this item is chosen for daily carry, upgrading the actual key ring may be wise so it can withstand the abuse. Otherwise, you may find yourself without your car keys.

Look for the mundane items around the house or office. A folded pocket knife, rolled magazine, simple dowel rod, some lipstick tubes, or even an artificial dog bone (like Nyla-Bone) can be used as effective martial weapons. If it is reasonably rigid, it may do what you need in a pinch.

All the protection tools used above share similar characteristics as the yawara (a 5-8 inch stick weapon). They are between 5 and 10 inches long, cylindrical, and can be easily used by people with average strength. Training with one of them is equivalent to training in all of them. This means efficiency since one does not have to learn whole new movements or techniques for every item. And with this training, the means to get an “unfair” advantage are everywhere.