The Bourne Self-Defense

bourne-self-defense-ultimatum-posterBy Kellene Bishop

I have to admit it. I love the Jason Bourne movies. There’s one scene in one of Bourne movies in which Jason Bourne rolls up a magazine and uses it to beat the crud out of someone. There’s another in which he uses a simple pen to cause pain and agony. Implausible you say? It only happens in the movies? Nope. The magazine/newspaper and pen are viable weapons of self-defense even if you’re not a highly trained operative.

My 50 Caliber Round Pen. Photo by Women of Caliber

My 50 Caliber Round Pen. Photo by Women of Caliber

Bourne Self-Defense Method #1: The Pen. Ideally you want a to have a pen on hand that is sturdy and that won’t hurt your own hand in the event you need to use it as a weapon of self-defense. I lucked out with my standard pen. I was at a sporting goods show and lo and behold, someone was selling pens made out of 50 caliber rounds. It was heavy, sturdy, and I could comfortably hold it in a self-defense grip. A proper self-defense grip is one in which you can grip the pen with your palm spreading over the pen and your thumb placed at the dull end of the pen. This gives you appropriate thrusting and jabbing leverage. This is also the proper way to hold a knife if you need to use that as a weapon of self-defense. (See below) You do not want to hold a pen (or a knife, fork, or other like weapon the same way you would hold it if you were handing it to someone. You want a firm grip on it with the ability to stab and jab with it if necessary. One might laugh to see me shop for pens nowadays.  I don’t put them in my hand in a writing position.  I initially put them in a “Bourne self-defense” position first.  How it writes is secondary to me. (I have to admit that I hope after reading this that you’ll never select a pen the same way again. :))

The proper Bourne self-defense pen stance. Photo c/o Women of Caliber

The proper Bourne self-defense pen stance. Photo c/o Women of Caliber

Bourne Self-Defense Method #2: Magazine/newspaper. The key to being able to use a magazine or a newspaper as an effective self-defense weapon is to roll it exactly as you see Jason Bourne do in the movie. Roll it nice and tight. Doing so enables it to become a good tool for jabbing. You’ll want to jab at the jugular, eye, vital vein in the arm or thigh. No, you won’t get very far using a magazine or newspaper as a “bat” to pummel someone with. By rolling it tightly you’re enabling it to withstand the pressure that you will impose using it as a jabbing and stabbing tool against soft and vulnerable tissues.

Bourne Self-Defense with a Magazine

Bourne Self-Defense with a Magazine

Grant it, both of these self-defense tactics presume that you’re not carrying a firearm on you. Obviously, a firearm will provide you with the most effective self-defense of distance and speed. But a firearm may not always be available, such as when you’re in a “gun free zone.” I’m not really sure why Jason Bourne didn’t have a gun on him at the time he needed to use a magazine. But it made for a great part in the movie.

I recommend that you practice turning the pen into a self-defense position periodically. I also recommend that you practice rolling up a magazine quickly. And may you never view a writing utensil or fashion magazine the same way again.

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.

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14 Responses

  1. In the defensive knife class, the instructor stated the best pen for self-defense is a standard 10 cent Bic.
    In several of the pens we tested he was right, as we drove them deeper into the stabbing board than any of the others. He said when he flies he always carries 3.
    He did show us to hold the pen so that the index finger was against the butt of the pen, as we clamped our thumb over that finger.
    Great idea to show ways of self-defense, that don’t require a firearm, as you may not have one with you, or they may be to close to aquire & use the firearm.

  2. “…the instructor stated the best pen for self-defense is a standard 10 cent Bic.”

    I can certainly believe it, the barrel is much thicker and sturdier than most – which are thin shells. Heck, circa 1963, a classmate demonstrated it by chipping away a piece of cinder block, and then writing with it. And I remember early adverts using an adapted rifle to fire one through a two-by-four.

  3. Bourne had a firearm, but he lost it in the skirmish, thus forcing him to use a weapon of convenience.

  4. Wow, that’s some pen! 🙂

    I love the Bourne movies. The fight scenes are well choreographed and believable. I recall another scene where he used a telephone book against the bad guy.

  5. Well Matt Damon is anti gun…But of course now we have the anti Bic movemeent and the anti newspaper movements to deal with…;)

    • Matt Damon is only anti-gun when it suits him…kind of like someone who’s atheist until they run into real trouble… 🙂 Thanks for the laugh, maddmedic.

  6. Just about anything, as you point out, can be used as a weapon if applied as one.

    Good post.

  7. I actually watched someone get taken down with a rolled magazine about thirty years ago. The holder of the magazine jabbed his opponent in the throat, then followed with hard jabs to the solar plexus and then the groin. Took the fight out of the other guy.

  8. I prefer to chamber what looks just like your “pen” into a Barret M107 (or M82A1) along with 9 just like it.

    Then, I can just wait for the hostilities to magically cease on their own.

  9. Women often overlook items of convenience that can be used as weapons per your example. Another is car keys. Held properly they can be pretty dangerous. My ex fiancee’s purse must have weighed 15# and would knock most men out.

  10. This is a great article and you’re absolutely correct about the use of the pen as a weapon. Equally as well as shown in the movie can’t be newspaper rolled up. Even a CD-ROM row can in half makes a great self-defense tool. I think what Jason Bourne proved out in a movie that anything can be used as a weapon if you understand the principles behind the weapon. Even if the attacker had a gun in newspaper might be an appropriate bludgeoning device the damage that arm or possibly remove the weapon as well. I agree with you is a little dicey however. I liked your article so much that I posted over on my site as well with credits back to you.

  11. Yeah, sometimes movies really do teach people several important things like self-defense.

    And bad guys in movies are real too, so it is better if we learn self-defense. And buying our loved ones self-defense materials like pepper guns and stun guns is a necessity nowadays.

    I do not want to think that the violence I usually saw in movies could happen to my family but it is a reality and I do not want to have regrets later in life.

    It is scary so I bought my wife and my daughter self-defense materials, and I pray to God that we would always be safe and sound.

  12. […] The Bourne Self-Defense « Women of Caliber […]

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