Under: Self-defense
30 Jun 2008


When I was knee high to a grasshopper, I remember my mom telling me that, “sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you!” That was in an attempt to lessen the impact of the mean kids on my block that used to make fun of me (for what I don’t remember). The idea that was, and is, still valid today, is that sticks and stones are readily available weapons! Bruce Lee once said in one of his movies (paraphrasing), anything can be used as a weapon.  The sticks and stones you find on the ground are legal weapons if the intent is to use them for self defense when you need them. Did you catch that nuance?


My mom made a sheath for a club I had whittled when I was about 12 years old. I used to travel through the woods (imagining I was an explorer) with the club strapped to my belt and almost had to defend a couple of damsels in distress. I happened on a bunch of guys surrounding a couple of girls I knew from school. I said hi and the girls who looked really worried, saw me and were elated! One of the girls said I was her brother and I played along. The guys looked at me and my club and soon took off. That was my first experience of my Teddy Roosevelt defense, you know… talk softly and carry a big stick! Here is a 1912 story of a girl fighting off muggers with a night stick and saving her fiance here!


Lets examine legal fighting methods with sticks and stones. We will also look at some good usages and why you might want to use weapons. I have always been fond of stick fighting. Here is a video of some Portuguese stick fighting called Jogo Do Pau.

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Rocks are great weapons! You can find them everywhere and most people are instinctively afraid of being hit with a rock. If you have to walk alone at night you might want to take a few rocks as well as your pepper spray. Why? Rocks can be thrown from 20 feet away fairly accurately. If you cannot throw so good – the bad guy does not know that. If he makes it close to you – fall back to your pepper spray or taser. When I was a kid, we used to play a variation of king of the hill… it was more like trench warfare. A bunch of our neighborhood kids would throw dirt clogs at the other neighborhood kids to win the whole construction site (after the bulldozers guys left for the day). I quickly learned if you threw the dirt clogs with rocks in them – that hurt more and we won! Here is a story about a couple of boys that fought off a dog napping with rocks!


Are rocks legal? That depends on what you tell the cop. If you tell the cop you were threatened by a bad guy and picked up some rocks to throw – the cop will not question you too closely if he or she thinks you were right to defend yourself. One the other hand if you do a biblical stoning at a guy that gave you the wolf-whistle… then you probably went overboard and will be held to a higher degree of scrutiny. You cannot tell a cop that you have a weapon like a club or probably rocks for self-defense. California although very liberal in many ways… went though a Bruce Lee induced era where every teen-aged kid bought some nunchuku’s and hurt themselves or someone else… legislation followed. Most obvious weapons are illegal if you say they are a weapon. You have to have another purpose to legally carry a weapon like a baseball bat. You can say the bat was left over from a little league practice that for your brother’s kid.


Why would you carry a weapon? Well the obvious reason is you never know what to expect. Read this website of wild animal attacks in La here. Isn’t this amazing? Who would have thought that in this day and age that coyotes would be an issue in suburban areas? I think that dog attacks are more of a realistic issue but animal attacks should be handled well. I recently got a comment by Saber who was attacked by a pitt bull dog while he was inspecting houses in Detroit. He was able to stave off the attack with pepper spray!


I used to know these police attack-dog types that would try and tell me that their dogs could tear me to pieces. I would laugh and point out that their dog would be at a disadvantage. I would then say all the dog had going for it was its teeth. Their teeth alone would not be enough to stop me even if they got in a lucky bite. Boy talking about insulting someones manhood! I would hear about the pounds per square inch of a dogs bite and such but in many dog attack stories – you hear about a guy choking out a vicious dog… these are guys that cannot even fight but when they get a hold of the dog (the dog is out weighed 2 to 1), the one dog is no match. (don’t tell any of this to criminals because they are still scared of dogs)…


Here is what I think… any person, man, woman or child is smarter than any dog. A person should arm themselves with whatever weapon they can if attacked by a dog, coyote, bear, bad man or whatever! If you are taking a walk though your neighborhood, consider a fasionable cane or walking stick. I use a five foot staff that I also use in fighting. It is the perfect height as a walking stick, snake stick, and striking staff. I think a reasonable argument can be made for a baseball bat to defend against coyotes and dogs… If I was a cop I would let this slide as long as you don’t take it into the food store (or threaten people with it). I have also reviewed umbrellas and self-defense products like pepper spray.


What are fighting methods? If you are a martial artist, then you already know this… using a weapon is no different. You still have to watch critial distance, try and be first (to strike), and don’t depend on your weapon (meaning use your kicks and strikes if you can too). I looked around for some good self-defense videos with staffs but all I saw was katas and staff fighting (both opponents had staffs). If you are defending yourself against an unarmed person or animal, it is way easier because you can stand out of range and swing bombs. I will probably show some staff techniques on my bag in later posts because it is easy to accommodate for the kick-back of the staff when you strike if you do not have to worry about getting hit back (with a staff).


Ask any kid how to throw a rock and maybe practice in your backyard if need be. I would find a few throwing size rocks and keep them handy when you go out on walks. The rocks with a walking stick, pepper spray along with your native smarts (and maybe self-defense or martial arts training) should be enough to keep you and yours safe! RMEMBER – You are responsible for your own safety!


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One Response to “Sticks and Stones Will Break Your Bones – Still Valid Today!”

  1. RICK Says:

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