Even if they haven’t gone so far as to get formal self-defense training, many people (particularly women) have considered what strategies they’d deploy if they were attacked by a stranger. A popular thought is that one would use an object on your person as a weapon of defense—like keys, for instance.
The technique known as “The Wolverine”—wherein you put your keys between your fingers, ready to jab an assailant—is widely known, but according to self-defense instructors, it’s also not a great approach. The belief that putting your keys between your fingers will make your hand into a deadlier weapon is so common a misconception, in fact, that every self-defense expert we spoke with said that they had at some point dispelled the myth for a student. But as Gabrielle Rubin, founder of self defense course Female Awareness, tells us, even if you’re starting out with less-than-ideal strategies in mind, “I love that you’re thinking of something.” Here’s some more effective ideas to keep you safe—and yes, some of them still involve your keys:
Put Your Keys On Something to Give You Reach
The problem with the keys-in-hand gambit, Rubin points out, is that if you’re at the point where you’re trying to jab at someone with your fist, they’re already closer than you want. She suggested putting your keys on something called a kubaton, which is a kind of keychain based on a small bamboo weapon that can be used to hit your assailant (and also keep track of your keys). It’s both a weapon if they get near you, and a handle you can hang onto while beating them with the weight of the keys themselves.