Police in Portland, Maine arrested Arien Litalien on Monday after  he allegedly robbed a watch shop in downtown Portland using a brick as a weapon. He is accused of using the brick to smash a glass case and grab a number of expensive watches. An employee apparently chased and tackled Litalien in a parking lot where police later arrested him. There’s no word whether the brick was used to threaten a person, or just used to smash the case.

This story can provide us with a few important lessons on self defense:

  1. Anything can be used as a weapon.
    I had an uncle that fought a home invader by smashing the invader’s nose with a glass ashtray. Almost anything you can hold in your hands, and many things you can’t, can be used as a weapon. Training in improvised weapons will not only help you understand how to use every day items to defend yourself, but help you defend against improvised weapons.
  2. You can’t disarm criminals
    One thing we know about most criminals is that they don’t want to get hurt and they don’t want to get caught. Most violent criminals will arm themselves with something. Criminals who have been incarcerated have most likely learned how to access, or fashion improvised weapons if they can’t get their hands on a “real designated” weapon.
  3. Weapons are tools
    A tool is merely something which helps people do work. Tools focus or convert energy into a more usable form. A gun converts chemical to kinetic energy, a bullet focuses that energy into a small area. A stick, when swung, provides  leverage. A knife edge is a force concentrator. Thinking about how weapons work at a fundamental level gives you an edge.
  4. The mind is the real weapon
    The September 11th attackers real weapons weren’t planes or boxcutters, but their planning and ‘gaming our security’. They knew that airlines had standing orders to comply with hijackers, they knew that they could carry small blades on a plane, they knew how to create fear and chaos. Training your mind is even more important than training your body (but both are important).

In the end, using a brick as a weapon is nothing special. You don’t hear about it every day, because we have more sophisticated weapons. However, a brick is essentially a man-made stone, and humans have been whacking each other with rocks since the beginning of time.

Does your training include extensive use of improvised weapons? Ours does. Do you train to defeat specific attacks from specific weapons, or do you train to defeat any attack from any weapon? We do.

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