Well, 2020 has certainly been a nasty year so far. I have managed to do a few local hikes and day outings which you can find on my YOUTUBE channel but the COVID 19 has certainly inhibited travel or adventuring outside of my home county. We have had a bit of re-opening in the past week, so maybe things will get better. Wife and I are already talking about possible outings for next year.
Over these past 7 months or so I've run into some mean people and seen some near fistfights over persons failing to wear the facemask in public places. Add to that we are in the midst of a very tense and contentious election season and the potential for a self-defense situation becomes a potentiality. Of course, situational awareness and avoidance should always be our first defense, but one should know how to defend if necessary.
I like to think of personal safety preparation/response in these terms, "DO NO HARM [avoidance/don't provoke a confrontation], DO KNOW HARM [[know First Aid/Stop the Bleed], DO KNOW HOW TO HARM [Defend - Speed, Surprise - Violence of Action]."
I did a hike a few days ago and harvested a branch that had been pruned by Park staff. Pondering on it, I thought to make a field-expedient "Kubaton". What is a Kubaton you ask? Well, essentially, it is a little self defense tool used for impact strikes and pressure point applications. It takes it's name from the inventor, Sensei Takayuki Kubota, who developed it in the 1970's for the Los Angeles Police Department's use. The "Kubotan" as it was called, was constructed of a tough polycarbonate plastic, but is also made in aircraft-grade aluminum as well, and is lawful to possess in California.
The history of the Kubotan is far older than the 1970's however. The Japanese Samurai carried a similar device called a Yawara during the feudal era, and were masterful at applying joint locks and control holds with it.. Filipino combatants have long carried a version called a Dulo-Dulo, sometimes fashioned from attractive Buffalo Horn.
But we are talking about survival skills here so, In a pinch, the ability to craft a simple, functional pocket stick can be fashioned from a piece of branch, preferably a hardwood, might be a useful skill. Lacking a knife, one could be manufactured with a sharp-edged rock and a coarse stone to sand the roughed out shape into a smooth finish. Thus, a means of delivering a focused and painful strike that would be more difficult to deliver with the bare hand.
In this video, I display a "Bushcraft Kubaton" made from a harvested branch while on a leisurely hike. This is a fun way to spend an afternoon. Challenge your bushcrafting friends or survival students to craft a pocket stick, then partner up to practice strikes and pressure point applications. There are many books and video's available for instruction if you cannot find a skilled instructor.
[Bushcraft Woods Devil]