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Preview – Expandable Batons

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Photos by Tom Marshall and Patrick Vuong

Comprehensive Fighting Systems Teaches Us That Expandable Batons Aren't Just for Bashing People in the Head Anymore

When most people think about “carrying concealed” or “concealed weapons” it’s typically in the context of carrying a pistol. Folding knives may get lumped under the more generic label of “EDC,” while most other types of weapons fall by the wayside. Don’t get us wrong, we’re all about badass firepower. But there are other options out there and, at the end of the day, it’s our job to give you the best, most diverse information available for you to defend yourself and your loved ones.

Sticks and Stones …
During my year in Iraq, I carried a collapsible ASP baton in the cargo pocket of my ACUs. It made me feel better in meetings or interviews where my rifle was out of reach or impractical — but, in all honesty, it would have done me little good. First off, the cargo pocket is a terrible place to carry anything that might be needed to protect life and limb. Secondly, I had no idea what to do with it. Of course, I didn’t realize that at the time. The baton is a blunt, heavy object. And I’m a man. That formula worked out pretty well for the first million years or so.

Baton2 Baton3

Tom hit bad guy in head. Eat meat from fire.

What more do you need?

Lucky for us, we’ve learned a thing or two since then.

A few months back, I found that old baton rattling around in a dusty Pelican case and started doing some research. That research led to a company called Comprehensive Fighting Systems. The big cheese at CFS is Chad McBroom — an easygoing, no-nonsense guy with more than two decades of experience in a wide variety of martial arts. He has devised an entire curriculum around the collapsible baton (which he refers to as an “expandable baton;” for our purposes, the terms are interchangeable). His program, called ExBatives, was an eye-opener regarding the true potential of carrying a baton. The program teaches everything from striking with the baton closed to pain compliance to joint locks, chokes, and body-leverage takedowns. We were so impressed that we asked him to come out and teach us a thing or three that we could pass on to readers of CONCEALMENT. He was kind enough to oblige, demonstrating a couple of scenarios where the baton’s versatility could just save your bacon.

Scenario 1: Club Attack
This situation is indicative of the aforementioned caveman approach. This could be a guy in a bar with a pool cue or in a parking lot with a tire iron. Fill in your own particulars, but the template is pretty universal: somebody tries to jump you and swings a big heavy thing at your melon.

When the bad dude takes his swing, step inside of the strike and use the butt of your baton to strike him in the jaw. Immediately follow this with a blow to the collarbone that Chad calls a fan strike. This is an outward flick of the wrist. It doesn’t sound like much, but the weighted end of the baton will quickly generate enough force to cause pain and injury — because, well, physics.

The fan strike will put the end of the baton behind the attacker’s head. Use your support hand to grab it, creating a scissor between the baton and your forearm. Pull the attacker’s head downward and into you, causing a compression choke. In addition to being a highly effective choke, it gives you physical control over the attacker.


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