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The Force Continuum
Part 7: Lethal Weapons
Things are really bad if you have to use lethal weapons against your opponent.


 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Introduction
• Part 2: Body Movement
• Part 3: Communication
• Part 4: Control Moves
• Part 5: Less-than-lethal Weapons
• Part 6: Impact Moves
• Part 7: Lethal Weapons
• Part 8: Summary
 Join the Discussion
"The more powerful the weapon, the more effective it is. Both as a deterent, and as an active self-defense weapon."
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• Color Codes for Combat Readiness
• Martial Arts: Aikido
• Martial Arts: Weapons
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Bang Bang

The highest level of the force continuum is the use of lethal weapons. At this point, you are faced with an attackers or a group of attackers whose intent is to give you serious bodily harm or to kill you. They might be armed with lethal weapons themselves.

In most cases, you wouldn't progress up the continuum step-by-step to this point. You'd have leapt up the force continuum in reaction to an assault. If you're in danger of being killed or raped, it's generally justifiable to use your lawfully carried lethal weapon in self-defense. Note of course, that your actions will be reviewed in court--you can't stab someone for trash talking in a bar.

Your lethal weapon should be one that you can carry legally on your person. In many U.S. states, concealed weapons permits allow you to carry firearms for self-defense purposes. Many locales allow the carry of a folding fighting knife, commonly termed a "tactical folder," as long as the blade is under a specific length.

lethalweapons.jpg (25786 bytes)

clockwise, from top right: 12-inch ruler, CRKT Kasper tactical folder, FN .40S&W HiPower, ASP baton, S&W 638.

You could also improvise your weapon from objects around you. Note that in most cases these will still be deemed lethal weapons in court, and so your use of the weapon still must be justified. You could pick up a rock, or a stout stick, or a glass bottle. I've made it a habit to identify anything that can be used as a weapon in my immediate vicinity, wherever I am. In most cases, this is just a fun game to think creatively about my surroundings (...I could throw that bowl of peanuts in his face, then use the lamp as a club...). However, it also forces you to note any weapons that might be used against you. In case some trouble starts, you'll want to know what to look out for.

Techniques learned with traditional weapons lend themselves to improvised weapons as well. Like Eddie Murphy in the movie "Coming to America," you could use your bo or staff techniques with a broom handle. Anything with a sharp point is a stabbing weapon--a pencil, the broken end of a glass bottle, or a knife. Moves you'd perform with a manrikigusari (ninjitsu weighted chain) or steel whip might be applicable to your belt, a phone handset, or an extension cord.

Lethal weapons are all around--either on your person, in your surroundings, or in the grasp of your assailant, ready to be used against you. Knowing that these weapons are at the top of the force continuum places their use in context--they're to be used only in the gravest extreme.

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