I’d like to take a brief look at the psychology of weaponry. Here we need to see from two perspectives. The first is that of the aggressor, and the second is that of the defender. Here’s a few short notes I wrote that you might find useful in your own studies.

From the perspective of an aggressor, when s/he is holding a weapon, that person has generated a barrier behind which s/he feels safe. In the mind of the aggressor, the weapon s/he is holding becomes the tool through which his/her aggressive intent is channelled. It is well known that the simple act of holding a match box in your hand can help you hit harder. In much the same way, holding a weapon instils an aggressor with an intense and exaggerated sense of power; as a result, that person will tend to hit harder and with more aggression in his/her actions. For the person being attacked, this can be an overwhelming, paralysing and fear inducing moment. However, horrific as it is, the person being attacked must realise that s/he has a number of advantages over the aggressor. Firstly, the aggressor, if untrained, will be fixated on using the weapon. This means that the person defending themselves is only defending against one weapon, rather than the arsenal of natural weapons available to the aggressor (such as his feet, fists, knees, etc).

From the defender’s perspective, if you have a weapon and find yourself having to defend yourself, remember that the weapon becomes a barrier between you and your aggressor the moment it is held in front of you. Its funny how, when placed in a high stress situation, human beings start acting like dogs. If a dog is about to attack, it will go for whatever is put in front of it. Put your shoe in front of you, the dog will bite it before attacking you. The same applies to a human aggressor when the adrenaline is pumping and the body is operating under the command of the emotional centres of the brain rather than the usual rational centres of the frontal lobes.  So if you happen to have a cup of coffee in your hand, it becomes your barrier and also a means of predicting the initial movements of your aggressor.

In terms of defending against someone with a weapon, as the person defending, you must not see the weapon as a barrier, and, instead see it as an extension of the aggressor’s body. This is a vital step in training your mind to overcome the fear of seeing a weapon in your aggressor’s hands.

If you happen to be the one in possession of a weapon, it is absolutely essential that you use the weapon as an extension of your body (as was mentioned earlier). This means that you don’t see the weapon as your only means of defence, and in this way you still have the use of the rest of your natural weapons (hands, feet, etc). Sometimes it’s better to throw down your weapon or even to give it to your aggressor in order to carry on the fight, and overcome your adversary, whether that’s in the form of a physical aggressor, or some other life situation.