Where are your keys?

When you’re out and about, do you keep your keys out, ready to use as a weapon if you’re attacked? Having a “found weapon” (something around you that you can use to bolster your strikes) is a great idea, and keys are one of the best. But lots of people have gotten the idea that they should carry their keys interwoven between their knuckles, and that’s something that I, as a self-defense teacher of almost 30 years, think is a bad idea.

What’s wrong with carrying your keys between your knuckles? If you hit this way, you’ll find that the keys are unstable. They splay out in all different directions rather than going straight into the attacker as you would like. Some of them will fold back into the webbing between your fingers and will probably hurt you more than the attacker.

So what should you do instead? Carry your biggest key (usually a car key or a house key) the way you would carry it to unlock a door. That way you can thrust it directly at an attacker – their eyes or throat are good targets – and they key will be stable.

And if you don’t have a key like that (you’ve got a keycard, or one of those newfangled car entry system, or some such), don’t despair. A keycard (or credit card or driver’s license) makes a great weapon. You can slice with it across an attacker’s face (gross, I know, but these are high-stakes situations). You can thrust it into an attacker’s throat.

Other things you might have with you, such as a pen, a hairbrush, or a comb, also can make good weapons. I’ll bet you feel more confident walking around with one of those in your hand!