People often presume that karate means ‘no weapons’. Therefore, when confronted with a real life situation, most karate-ka will naturally resort to focusing on using their body as a weapon in self-defence.
While it is true, by-and-large karate is indeed an unarmed form of self-defence, it does not mean that a karate-ka should neglect using weapons.
To begin with, a number of the old Okinawa masters (who formed the name ‘empty hand’) actually trained with weapons. And the majority of the weapons practised were regular household items or farming tools. Even a number of kata practised today were also practised with weapons.
Secondly, we need to remember that karate does not teach a set of appropriate responses to a limited number of self-defence scenarios. Rather, it teaches self-defence principles that can work in any situation. Therefore, whether you are unarmed, or have something in your hand, the principles found in karate can be used identically.
If there is anything in your vicinity that could be used as a weapon (eg a chair, a bin lid, a jacket or belt, a handbag, a book, car keys etc) then be sure to grab it.
You don’t need to be trained to use it because the principles of karate can still come out. Weapons after all are no more than an extension of the human body and karate’s objective is to teach us how to use our body effectively.