As martial artists, we all know the importance of impromptu weapons. But knowing the importance of and being able to really use are two different things. Imagine that you are at a park. At night.
It's dark. You are walking along, when ahead, you see a menacing figure on the path. Yes, this is going to be an attack. A real mugging. (And I won't even ask what you were doing in a park at night.
) You look around. No branches to use as a makeshift club. You look down. There is gravel on the path. A possible weapon? Of course. Have you really thought about how you'd use gravel?
Would you wait until knocked to the ground, and then secretly grab a handful? Then, at the opportune time, would you hurl the rocks in your mugger's face? Wonderful idea -- except, I don't want to get knocked to the ground, first.
How about just bending down and picking up a handful of rocks? No 'surprise weapon,' but at least you'd have rocks to throw. It's not a bad idea, if you have the time. How about 'kicking' the rocks into your attacker?
My first question would be . can you? Are you capable? I have a hard time kicking the rocks "up," unless I sink the toe of my shoe into a pile of gravel. With one layer of rocks on the ground, my gravel just scoots across the terrain. No lift.
I can't seem to kick them anywhere except into my attacker's feet. But let's assume that there is either a small pile of gravel in front of you, (so you can get them airborne), or you are more skilled in getting your rocks to lift when you kick them. An important question
Which direction will you be running, right after you kick the stones? Yes, it is important. Normally, when I 'throw' an object at an attacker, I would want to be running toward him (or her) even before the object makes contact. This way my object distracts my opponent as I defend myself by attacking. In this case, you are kicking instead of throwing, but it's the same idea.
There is only one problem with this scenario: If you had enough gravel on the ground to be able to kick it up at your attacker, then there is enough gravel on the ground to make the surface difficult to run on. You could easily slip and fall. Your other option is to kick the gravel and then run in the opposite direction -- if there isn't any gravel in the direction you'll be running, and if you think you'll be able to get away. (Take the route that has the best surface for running???) Conclusion
Which is the best path to take (pardon the pun) with gravel hurling? Should you fall and pick some up, blatantly grab a handful, or kick the small rocks? Believe it or not, there is no perfect answer. The situation will probably dictate the response. I wanted to make you aware of some of the variables involved in 'gravel' self defense.
Practice gravel counterattacks, from time to time. And no, don't actually hurl rocks at your practice partner. There is realism and then there is realism -- play it safe. And be careful, if you are going to practice 'running' on gravel.
Keith Pascal is a full-time martial-arts author. Sign up for Keith's Free Wrist Locks Course and receive 2 ebooklets on grappling. Also, be sure to take a look at one of Keith's most popular books ... all at: