Professor LawDog’s School of Survival and Mayhem

Good evening, class. My name is Professor LawDog, and I will be your instructor for this block of training.

Due to the amount of e-mail I have received concerning this subject, today’s class will cover an alternative deployment of the weighted strap.

A weighted strap is, of course, a weight on one end of a flexible strap.

A field-expedient strap can be a rope, a belt, a hose, purse strap, oxygen line, panty hose, electrical cable, sash, scarf, dog-leash, pillow-case, sock, child-leash, phone cable, or any other flexible strip of material that the human mind can spot.

Likewise, the weight is anything heavy that can be attached to one end of the strap. My personal favorite is a padlock with a laminate construction, usually referred to as a MasterLock. Generic versions can be had cheaply from most hardware stores.

Now, a significant portion of e-mail enquiries have taken me to task concerning the use of a weighted strap in a confined area — such as presented by an aeroplane walkway. They have stated — and quite rightly — that swinging a flexible weapon in this environment will probably lead to the weapon connecting with obstacles and/or frozen sheep before tapping the critter, and that this prior connection will probably be detrimental to your desired result.

Well, yes, but the beauty of the weight on a strap is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be swung at arm’s length.

For the purposes of this exercise, we have Abdul the Moderately Rabid standing in front of the door to an airliner cock-pit at the front end of a plane, box-cutter firmly in paw.

Take the dress belt and thread the tongue through the buckle. Place this loop around your dominant wrist.

Firmly tie the padlock to the tongue end of the belt.

At this time, you should have one end of the belt firmly looped around your dominant wrist and — depending on your figure — a padlock tied to the other end of a 16 to 30 inch strap.

Take the padlock into your dominant hand. If you wish, you may tuck the belt loosely in your sleeve, or hide it behind your arm. Make sure that it may flow freely, however.

Now, the most difficult part of the exercise: get up from your seat and advance upon Abdul. Focus your gaze upon the bridge of his nose.

When you get to the distance where you may reach out and almost touch his boxcutter with your off-hand, I want you to haul off and fast-pitch the padlock into his schnozz. Under-hand, over-hand, side-arm, it doesn’t matter. Throw that padlock through his snout.

Now, Abdul is at that location that we refer to as ‘The Hurt Locker’. He can block the hurtling padlock with an arm, but that’s going to really suck; he can block it with his face — which is pretty much what we’re after — or he can duck.

The only thing we’re concerned about is whether Abdul goes down, or if he stays up.

If he stays up, take a firm grip upon the strap at the half-way point (more or less) and vigorously apply the padlock where it will do the most good while he tries to adjust to the change in his world-view.

If he goes down — whether from ducking or due to impact — feel free to break-in your cowboy/engineer/combat boots between applications of the lock.

Repeat last step as necessary.

This concludes today’s lesson.


Chupacabra. They're all over Mexico.

19 thoughts on “Professor LawDog’s School of Survival and Mayhem”

  1. Note that in some jurisdictions this is what is known as a “slung shot”, and may violate local weapons codes, so walking around with it ready-made is a Bad Idea.
    OTOH, if you have a padlock and a bicycle chain in your day pack carry-on luggage, chances are no one’s going to question the fact…

  2. Given the difficulty that I encountered with my knee some years back requiring surgery, a nice hooked hardwood cane has really made the walk in and out of the terminals easier for me. Next flight I’m on, I’ll need to bring one along.

  3. Thank you for the lesson, Sifu.

    Awaiting the next lesson. 🙂

    P.S. When traveling in the land of fruits and nuts, I used to carry a 24 inch piece of rattan under the front seat. Hardly ever needed it. Usually just meeting their eyes and smiling gleefully did the trick. They would just go away.

  4. Never underestimate a good dumdum; it’s effectiveness is why some areas still have laws on the books against monkey’s paws being worn.

  5. You’re cuttin’ in on Donna Shalala’s territory. Expect a firmly worded letter from the little troll.

  6. I guess I’m not clear on how you tie the tongue end to the padlock. I can picture feeding the belt through the buckle and pulling it through so that there is a small loop around your wrist. Do you run the lock through one of the holes? Do you keep a strong piece of wire/string to attach it?

    It’s late. I’m probably being particularly dense tonight in failing to see the obvious. Please enlighten me.

  7. Spent the summer of ’61 as a mailman in Orange, NJ. (Paid for a year of college!) Some routes were in the projects. Take the leather strap used to carry magazines, slip it over a brick, and pull the strap down tight (there was a built in spring-loaded “grip”). If asked, it was to protect against hostile dogs. Yeah, it worked for that, too.
    Oh, recently bought a new hickory cane, but have been warned that the large, chromed steel ball used as a handle might not make it onto the plane we’re on next week. We’ll see. OldeForce

  8. I used to keep a rock hammer in my car when I was taking Geology in college. I picked up a hitchhiker on the side of the freeway once when it was pouring buckets. He started to put his pack in the back seat when he spotted the rock hammer. He wanted out at the first exit.

  9. People give me hell about wearing a hefty buckle on a leather belt, but it has saved my rear more than once when, in a drinking establishment, the natives got restless and decided to involve me in their drunken head-bashing. Back up against the wall and allow the buckle to dangle from from a couple feet of stout leather. Never failed to encourage them to move on to an easier target while I made my way to the nearest exit.

  10. Great idea, Law Dog! The idea that we members of the militia should have improvised but effective weapons for close-in combat with hijackers is a no-brainer for me. Its what to use (i.e. just what we’re allowed to bring on board) that presents the challenge.

    I’m also not too clear on exactly how to affix the lock to the tongue end of the belt – I assume that it is by tying it on…a double knot wouldn’t be required, as leather is probably very resistant to unknotting.

    Another idea is a roll of nickels. Rip the envelope a bit, then tape it up with a few layers of scotch tape or clear packaging tape. The object of the tear(s) is to have an excuse to tape the roll, which prevents the thing from falling apart. The roll helps you to hit with a lot of force when it is held firmly in your hand; alternatively, you could put the roll in a heavy athletic sock (in which case you wouldn’t need the tape), and then swing the sock at Mr. Boxcutter. Of course, if you have several such rolls it would be better, as you can give them to fellow passengers…at $2/pop, its dirt cheap.

  11. Ideally you should be able to just thread the belt through the lock allowing it to come to rest against the buckle. This allows the buckle to help achieve the desired effect.

    I also used to carry a tire thumper in my car in case I ran into a big rig that needed help checking for low pressure.

  12. Hmm this is one of those times that having a bycicle chain/studded leather punk on your flight could be handy….take bracelet (about 1/2 pound of metal) and loop through 2 shoe laces. Apply as needed To cure hijacker symptoms.

  13. LawDog’s instructions on how to use the flexible weapon are invaluable. Like most people, I too assumed the way to use them was to swing them. It took the experience of real fighters to straighten me out. In fact, the straight throw described by LawDog is the preferred striking technique of the sophisticated Japanese Manriki Gusari martial art. The “Manriki Gusari” is simply a light chain a little less than a meter long with a weight on each end. Though swinging could be used to strike people, it was mostly used to tangle a sword or arm. The main attack technique is to throw one end straight at your opponent. An exercise to develop control is to hold the weapon carefully gathered in one hand, throw one end out to the full length while holding onto the other, and pulling the weapon back so that the whole length of chain is gathered back in your hand. The idea of all this control is not only to successfully hit your opponent but to avoid hitting your self or your allies or protectees.

    Now while I’m not suggesting this level of skill as being necessary, it might not hurt to practice ahead of time. Assemble your weighted strap and practice throwing it at a target. A heavy bag would be ideal. Also practice recovering very quickly. It would be useful to be able to get the weight back in your dominant hand as soon as possible. If possible, you want to be able to do this not just quickly but without looking and without having to help with your other hand. All this is in case critter is still a target, or one of his packmates is coming to help.

    By the way. The Manriki Gusari and the art of using it was developed by a Samurai-era Tokyo POLICEMAN. Presumably his spirit is looking down in grim approval and appreciation at LawDog right now.


  14. Thank you Professor!

    My preferred belts are made out of woven leather and would be perfect for this application because it is possible to attach the lock to the tongue end by actually threading the hook of the lock through the belt and locking it, thus alleviating any worries about the lock prematurely detatching itself from the belt.

    My only question is whether the good Professor prefers the standard-size Master locks or the slightly larger-than-standard Master locks.

    I’ll be practicing with this handy conflict resolution tool prior to my next air travel.

  15. To attach the lock to the tongue of the belt use some small zip ties. Lopp the belt tongue through the lock run the zip tie through two holes to lock it on. That allows you to us the belt buckle technique to tie it to your wrist. I still think that tieing to the wrist is not that necessary.

    Also, as others have suggested a long athletic sock with the lock in it is an effective tool without as much reach, but some real force behind it. It does not allow the throw technique, but does allow a good swing without the 30-40 inches you get on a belt.

  16. One reason why I carry a very large collection of keys on a very thick stainless steel carabiners. It weighs a good 3 lbs, has a lot of spiky bits sticking out, and I can clip it to the buckle of my belt very easily. It also has most of the most commonly reused keys on it too.

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