One of the things I always tell my students is that hand-to-hand self defense options require a high level of physical fitness.
The race may not be won by the swift, nor the fight by the strong, but that is the way to bet.
The best way to think of a hand-to-hand conflict where weapons are not present is that it is an energy exchange. The aggressor is trying to force the victim to submit by dumping kinetic energy in to his target. He does this by punching and kicking the victim. The victim is trying to either resist the attack by throwing their own punches and kicks, or by running away.
The person who is larger and stronger has the decided advantage, not only because their attacks will have more kinetic energy but also because their bodies will have more mass to absorb the blows of their opponent.
Learning a martial art is useful, but only up to a point.
All practical martial arts will provide a framework to make your blows more efficient, as well as encourage vigorous work outs to improve fitness levels. They are operating systems for self defense, as it were, and I encouraged all of my students that were capable to take up the martial arts of their choice. Even so, age or injury and the size of an opponent will nullify even the best of these systems. Physics are physics, and we all have to live within the rules.
And so we come to the subject of this essay: less-lethal weapons.
Batons and defensive sprays such as tear gas or pepper spray are portrayed in moves and on TV as some sort of fight ending wonder weapons. Spray a little irritating liquid in the face of your attacker, or strike them with your baton, and down they go in a quivering heap!
Below is a very short video of part of an actual riot that took place in Portland on June 30, 2018.
(I didn’t edit this video, just using it for illustrative purposes.)
The person with the baton attacked an unarmed opponent, but that person was significantly larger and in better condition. Combine that with a disregard for getting bruised and the outcome was never really in doubt. One could say that the baton armed aggressor chose….poorly.