As a small, femme person, I have always been aware of the potential dangers that exist in the world around me. Ask any woman and she’ll tell you the same thing: we all have a list of ways that we stay safe walking through the world. And we are all told to carry something to protect ourselves: pepper spray, knives, keychains, our keys in our fingers. These items are fine, but one of the things I’ve heard over and over from women who take self-defense with me is: what if a man takes it away from me? That’s a valid fear. But I’ve found a weapon that both makes me feel confident in my person and in the weapon itself: a collapsible baton.
There are a few practical reasons to carry a baton: it’s a long-range weapon. Most weapons women are encouraged to carry, such as a self-defense keychain or even holding your keys between your fingers are short-range weapons, meaning that you have to be in close to your opponent to hit or hurt them. In self-defense scenarios, if I’m aware of my surroundings or not caught by surprise, the more distance I can have between my opponent and myself, the better. A baton can definitely help me do that. I can also extend it into the person if they’re too close when I realize what’s happening.
How did I start carrying a baton? If I were honest, I’m not entirely sure. Every once in awhile, an idea pops into my head and I can’t get it out until I listen to it. One day, I just decided to purchase it. When I first pulled it out of the packaging, I was struck by how heavy it was while also being small enough that I can keep it in a coat pocket. I knew it would be made of metal, but it was heavier than I expected. When I first flicked my wrist to expand it, I remember how I felt: powerful. Like this was something I could use and not worry if someone would take it away from me.
There are a few other things that I noticed, both in myself and in the women I’ve let try my baton. They stand straighter, their shoulders go back, and I can see their eyes light up. They often tell me they feel confident or empowered or in control. As soon as they say those things to me, I tell them that more than anything else, that’s what we want. When women feel in control and powerful in their safety, everything else can fall into place.
Now I’m aware that just feeling powerful doesn’t replace knowledge or practicing self-defense. I still believe that women should practice with whatever personal weapon they decide to carry. But to see the confidence that women have when they extend the baton is far, far greater than any other self-defense weapon I’ve seen women carry, including firearms and pepper spray. And if they are confident in handling a baton, I know that they are more likely to practice with it as well.
It’s also important to note that a baton can be considered a deadly weapon, depending on where I hit someone. It is outlawed in certain states or countries. But for me I’ve thought through the pros and cons of the situation. Previously, I carried a knife, a far deadlier weapon, but didn’t feel the same confidence or control as when I carry my baton. The added confidence that comes with having a baton has helped me stay calm and focused when men are screaming at me or threatening my life.
If you’re thinking about a self-defense weapon, we always say the same thing: make sure that it’s something you’re comfortable with, something you can practice with, and something that you can easily grab in a situation when you may need it. For me, that’s an expandable baton.
Interested in checking out a baton for self-defense? We highly suggest these ones.
Valley Self-Defense will be hosting a course on how to use your baton on April 15th, 2023 at 9am. You can sign up here.
Krav Maga near me? There is! If you're looking for a Krav Maga class near you, Valley Self-Defense is a proud member of the International Krav Maga Federation with schools located across the United States. To find a school near you, visit the IKMF USA website.