Tag Archives: weapon disarms

Thank you for the disarming links! If you’ve got time for another question, do you have any general advice about approaching sword disarms? I’m dealing with a possibly unarmed protagonist against thrusty-pokey-sometimes-slashy swords, somewhat like rapiers, but anything you got would probably be loads of help! Thank you in advance, once again : ]

Against a rapier? Yeah, they’re dead.

Off the top of my head, there’s a couple good, safeish, sword disarms out there. Including ones that will work on a rapier. The problem is, all of these assume you also have a sword.

The wrist flick stunt you’ll see in films actually works. You catch the blade in a parry and then start spinning it. It takes about a full rotation before you’ve moved the blade into a position where it’s working against the wielder’s wrist. This was a favorite of Bob Anderson, so you’ve certainly seen it done a couple times in film. It may look like the recipient is just tossing the blade away, but, they actually don’t have a choice in the matter.

(Also, the part where he’d catch the disarmed blade mid air is freaking insane. As someone who can kind of execute the basic disarm in controlled circumstances, the catch blows my mind.)

If your opponent overextends in a strike you can parry their blade down, and then step on it to force it out of their hand. Not subtle, but simple and effective.

Attacking your opponent’s hand is a fantastic way to get rid of their weapon. It’s a little tricky, and with some weapons, it’s not an option. But, if they don’t have functioning fingers, they can’t really use a sword against you. Most swords have a guard designed to protect the user’s hand against this kind of strike, so viability has more to do with the weapons than the combatants.

Now, if your character is unarmed, everything gets a lot harder and more dangerous. Swords are a very good at killing people. If your character doesn’t have the means to defend against them, they’ll do exactly that.

To execute a disarm, you need to be close enough to access the swordsman’s wrist. Which will also put you in range of the sword.

Stepping back for a moment, if you’re ever in a situation where you’re unarmed and someone else has a sword, the last place you ever want to be is in strike range of their sword.

So your character needs to get through their opponent’s guard without getting killed, and get control of their sword arm, again, without getting killed, and then get it out of their grasp, which may be as easy as cracking their wrist across something.

With a rapier, this is even worse, because of how fast the blade moves. While it’s theoretically possible to get within disarm range. The only safe approach I can think of is one where the swordsman doesn’t know the unarmed character is there and can’t see them. For example: from behind.

There are a few ways to tangle a rapier. Using a cloak or longcoat as a whip can tie a blade up for long enough to get a kill, or, in theory, get close enough for a disarm, though actually getting close enough to disarm by hand isn’t going to be much safer.

Using something like a 2×4 or pipe as a defense isn’t going to help against most swords because of the weapon’s agility, and it really won’t help against a rapier.

Now, all of this is assuming you’re dealing with a trained combatant. Someone who hasn’t been trained with a sword, won’t reliably be able to get a guard up that will keep a trained combatant out. But, if your character is wrong, and they actually are trained, trying this will get them killed.


Out of curiosity, do you have a tag for disarming (blades, guns, anything)? I didn’t see one in the list, but I swear I’ve seen it discussed here before. In any case, thank you for your time! Y’all do some great work here.

The cloud won’t include a tag if we’ve used it in less than 5 entries. In theory, that keeps things like specific user names from showing up on the list, as well as the joke one-off tags like #Starke is still not a doctor. (Though, that one has actually climbed onto the list because it’s turned into a frequent disclaimer when people are asking about injuries.) It also keeps some of the random typos in the tags from showing up and getting fixed.

The downside is, it means some of the stuff we don’t talk about often doesn’t show up. The list gets ludicrously long when you lower the threshold below 5, so, it’s sort of a necessary evil.

We have two separate disarm tags. Gun Disarms and Weapon Disarms. There’s a little overlap, but it looks like about 4 posts between them. Gun disarms also seems to have a complete overlap with Gun Disarms Get You Shot, which is because, well, they will.

Hope that helps.


What’s the correct way to use an extendable baton? I’m writing a scene where an inexperienced attacker tries to beat my protagonist up but does it wrong, allowing her to gain the upper hand and disarm him.

I have never actually had my hands one one of these, but, from what I’ve seen, and been told, there isn’t actually a trick to it. You just swing the baton quickly and centrifugal force causes it to expand. The design is, theoretically, foolproof.

I know, I know, “you build a better foolproof, and someone just goes and builds a better fool.”

On some models you can manually deploy it by holding the grip and ball in each hand, and just sliding it open until the cylinders bind. Most of the time that is the “wrong” way to deploy them, but it would leave the user even less vulnerable to screwing up or being disarmed than the centrifugal method.

But, the best option I see is to preemptively deal with the wielder’s arm, preventing them from striking, rather than trying to stick my hand in there and try to interrupt the deployment.

This probably means striking to the arm while the attacker draws back to strike. These batons are designed to deliver a lot of force with very short swings, but untrained combatants have a tendency to draw back before striking (with most weapons this size), which can be exploited.


I’ve often heard that when fighting, you should use your opponents strength against them ( exploit their size, high speed, power…) Is there a way to use someone’s weapon against them?

Yes. When you’re fighting in hand to hand, you actually want to exploit their inertia, momentum, and body physiology not their size, speed, or power. This is how the playing field gets even.

There are weapon disarms, but all weapon disarms by an unarmed fighter versus an armed opponent are really risky. Weapons are designed around the idea of giving someone an advantage in combat, with a gun or even a knife, the slightest error on the part of the unarmed fighter will end their life. All it takes is a slight misjudgement or their opponent being slightly faster and it’s their brains or guts slipping out on the sidewalk.

When I was learning gun disarms, we were cautioned multiple times by our instructors not to use them in a real situation. I heard of someone in our Association later who did get shot and died from his wounds when he tried to use them out in the real world. I learned the techniques as part of my training for my third degree black belt test and the people who were telling me not to use these were fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh degree black belts.

It’s nice to imagine that there are some super secret martial arts techniques that make it easy to fight against someone with a significant advantage. There aren’t. A black belt can die from a gunshot and a black belt can die from being stabbed by an untrained mugger wielding a knife.

It’s best not to try to take someone’s weapon from them. It’s easier to hit them across the back of the head when they’re not looking.