Do bookbags make you vunerable?

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by Quick Sand, Jan 8, 2004.

  1. Quick Sand

    Quick Sand Guest

    I was talking with some people in my class recently and they mentioned that when you're carrying a bag with a shoulder strap (e.g. duffle bag, sports bag, purse, etc.), you should never wear it with the strap across your body because if it's grabed from behind you get taken off balance with it, whereas if it's just on one shoulder it will slide off. Has anyone else been cautioned of this?

    Anyway, it got me thinking. I usually wear a bookbag when I go out to carry my stuff in and I wear it with the straps fairly tight because it's better for your back then if it's hanging lower. It holds it closer to your centre of gravity and stuff. But I realized that it's also not easy to get off if someone grabbed it from behind or anything.

    It also interferes with attempts to do a back breakfall because it would be hitting the ground first and you can't really roll with it on either, a technique that can create a little distance between you and an attacker.

    But if you wear it loose or just on one shoulder, and you have any weight in it, then it's really hard on your back.

    Do any of the instructors here deal with this issue in your classes? Have you considered it before? What's your advice? :confused:

    Thanks.
     
  2. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    My advise: With anything somewhat heavy like a bookbag, you need to be able to be able to abandon it in a fight easily. I used to wear mine on only one shoulder, even when it was heavy. You could wear it on 2, but have the straps loose enough to be able to lose the bag in 1 motion.

    btw...bags can make good weapons in fights, but it doesn't do you any good attatched to you back.

    PAUL
     
  3. lvwhitebir

    lvwhitebir Guest

    I would wear it with both shoulders through the straps. You can abandon it easily enough still, but you save your back as you mention. You are far less likely to be attacked than to have health problems so my health comes first.

    In self defense classes for women, I teach to have their purse on the same side shoulder instead of diagonally across the body. They don't suffer the same problems with the back issue (well, not most women :eek: ) but if someone snatches the purse they won't be pulled and dragged.

    WhiteBirch
     
  4. Thesemindz

    Thesemindz Senior Master

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    I think another thing to consider here is that with a heavy backpack on your back, your center of gravity is moved back behind where it would normally be. Because of this, if you lean back or are forced back over your heels, it would be very difficult to avoid falling over backwards. When I was in school, my backpack would regularly weigh ten pounds or more with five or six big heavy text books in it. I have often considered teaching a class where I make the students bring in a backpack filled with books and try fighting with the weight on there back.

    All that being said, WhiteBirch was right when posting that we're all more likely to suffer back pain than muggings. It's probably alot more practical in this case to consider health before self-defense, as long as you know what to do if you ARE attacked.

    -Rob
     
  5. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    I agree with this. You don't want to cause yourself a back problem if thats an issue. Slinging my bag over one shoulder never caused me a problem with my back, but not everyones the same. Wear it how you'll be comfortable, just don't have it so tight that you couldn't easily take the darned thing off if needed.

    btw...this is a struggle that military people, particularly infantry, have to deal with when considering their selection of close quarter combat tactics. Imagine having a 60lb ruck sack on your back! That's hardly the same as 10 lbs. of books. However, their solution, if they get close quarters, is to abort the sack even if it is only temporary so they can do what they need to do to survive. That is why they have quick release straps; in one quick snap the ruck detatches and falls to the dirt.

    I think us civilians can learn from this for self defense. If something you have on your person could prevent you from good self defense, you need to have the ability to quickly abort it. If its a backpack or heavy purse, not that you'd need "quick release straps" for a 10 lb. bag, but you should have it loose enough to where you can abandon it if needed. I like the advise about not having the purse strapped across the body because of this. This even applies to other things outside of bags. A lot of women (my fiancee' works downtown Detroit) who work in a big city and take mass transit, or have to walk through parking garages or for a few blocks to reach their vehicles wear tennishoes for comfort instead of heels; they switch shoes in the office. Good not only for comfort, but for protection; its easier to run in tennis shoes then heels.

    Although it can be fun, I don't think its nessicary to train with a business suit, winter clothes, high heels, or with a backpack on (unless your military or in some situation where you could be attacked with your gear on), but what you are wearing does need to be considered. If what you have on could prevent good defense or a clean getaway, make sure you can get rid of the hinderence if needed.

    :cool:
     
  6. theletch1

    theletch1 Grandmaster

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    60 lbs? He left half his gear back at the barracks!:D Seriously, though, the quick release straps are and excellent idea for the backpacks that civilians carry. I just used one of my kids get their book bag that they carry for school and be a crash test dummy for me. When she had it pulled tight I could grab the pack and yank her around anywhere I wanted to. If she let the straps hang a bit looser (even on both shoulders) and I grabbed and yanked she was able to slip right out of it.
     
  7. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    Awesome! Hear that everyone... the idea has been road tested! So if you wear a backpack, loosen dem straps! :cool:
     
  8. Reprobate

    Reprobate Guest

    D'oh....

    Most backpacks/rucksacks have quick release buckles. And if they haven't it's easy to modify...

    And a backpack can also protect your back against punches...
     
  9. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    Not the school backpacks or "bookbags" here in the U.S., which is what I think the thread starter was concerned about.

    You can just loosen the straps so the bag can easily slip off though. :asian:
     
  10. Cthulhu

    Cthulhu Senior Master

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    Because I'm a paranoid S.O.B., and not because I'm a martial artist, I stopped carrying a backpack and only used bags I could carry with handstraps. This way, if necessary, I could simply drop the dang thing.

    Cthulhu
     
  11. hardheadjarhead

    hardheadjarhead Senior Master

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    Wearing the pack CAN have its advantages...

    Anecdote: Instructor I know was riding home on his bike. A punk struck him with a stick as he rode by in an attempted mugging. The pack took the brunt of the strike. He got off the bike and kicked the snot out of the kid...who fled with his friend.

    A self defense lecturer, Debbie Gardner, pointed out that a heavily loaded book bag/backpack will stop a nine millimeter. She and her husband tested it and found several thick texts will stop a round.

    She brought this up a year after Columbine. She advocated also grabbing books and holding them over the back of the head...this might slow a pellet from a shotgun, when you think about it.

    But getting out of the pack when necessary is a must. The quick release strap idea is a good one.


    Regards,


    Steve
     
  12. bob919

    bob919 Guest

    keep it on 1 shoulder a book bag can work well as a diversion ie throwing in their face or if its got heavy books in; even clubbing them with it.

    a bag like that is also great for doge defence just hold it bvetween you and the dog (but make sure you can see the dog)

    they can also be used to block sticks and knife trusts
     
  13. Reprobate

    Reprobate Guest

    To the people who complain that their backpacks don't have emergency/quick release buckles, most of backpack buckles are sewn on and can be replaced by whatever buckle you fancy, so that's no excuse.
     
  14. loki09789

    loki09789 Senior Master

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    Just work out every once in a while with your bag on and see what you have to do to adjust technique, or come up with responses the getting the bag grabbed or what ever. Quick releases and other tools are great, but you have to train with them to make sure you will apply that tool in reality.

    I do and would carry the bag in the best/efficient way to save my body stress because it is more likely to be back pain, in the long run (carry it wrong now, pay for it in your 40's or older) than getting jumped that you will have to deal with.

    As far as the quick releases, I know the old ALICE system had quick releases, but my cold weather infantry pack was a VECTOR system bag with no quick releases - we just trained to compensate/adjust. I don't know if the current carry systems have quick releases or not - either way, just train with it like any other tool.

    In reality, if the attack is that fast and hard, civilian or military, there won't be time to fiddle with the bag - just like there wouldn't be time to get to a weapon, only instinct and training. At the first chance, get the thing off for sure though. If you have time to get the bag off because you see it coming, you should have time to get the he** out of there.

    Paul Martin
     
  15. hardheadjarhead

    hardheadjarhead Senior Master

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    Something I used to argue over and over again when I was in the FMF....

    Packs should be stashed during the assault.

    A book by SLA Marshall, "A Soldier's Load and the Mobility of a Nation" talked about the heavy, heavy loads we give the troops in combat. It has a clearly deleterious effect on combat. It slows them down and exhausts them. Packs, he stated, shouldn't weigh more than fifty pounds.

    In our mech heavy military today the packs need to be left on the vehicles along with spare ammo, etc. The troops should carry a basic combat load and nothing more.

    This will effect close combat in the offensive phase/patrolling phase. If the soldier isn't needlessly weighed down, he'll be able to better deliver that butt stroke. In the defense, it isn't an issue. He won't be wearing the pack.

    Something else to consider for the civilian wearing the pack...ditching it if you need to so that you can get away.


    Regards,


    Steve
     
  16. theletch1

    theletch1 Grandmaster

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    Someone forgot to tell the FMF this.:mad: My MOS meant being in a quad-con on the back of a humvee most of the time or in a chopper or other mobile unit. On those occasions when a pack had to be humped it was standard to dump the pack as soon as the first round came in. Find cover, repel the assault, recover your pack and get back to the patrol or de-de out of the AO.
     
  17. loki09789

    loki09789 Senior Master

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    I think troops have carried just as much weight since the beginning of organized warfare, regardless of the 'best recommended carry weight' it will be more than it should be. The real difference is the lethality and range of effect each troop has with that load out.

    It should have gotten lighter as technology improved, but commanders see it as an opportunity to get more 'stuff' to the battlefield - since we were doing it anyway.

    Paul martin
     
  18. OULobo

    OULobo Senior Master

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    I used to carry a pretty standard book bag (still do to training), but I only wear one shoulder strap. Not only is the bag easily ditchable, it can be swung into people. Besides, my sticks poke out the top of the bag and are easily reached with one over the opposite shoulder grab motion. I actually train often to access my sticks from my bag in case of a pre/post training attack on the way to or from the car. God, my fiance' is right I really am paranoid. :D
     
  19. TonyM.

    TonyM. Guest

    My rucksack in the service varried between 65 and 105 lbs. depending on which MOS I was working under that week. And if you'll pardon the shouting. THAT'S JUST WRONG.
     
  20. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

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    When they (the military) make things half as heavy, you just end up carrying twice as much....:mad:123
     

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