So should I grab something to use as an improvised weapon or should I just stick with the empty hand techniques that I know?
This is a very old debate in the self defense and martial arts fields and the answer is of course you should grab something to defend yourself with.
If you’ve had weapons training like the Kali Method or CQC we have here at Synergy then by all means grab something, anything, and give it your all but even if you’ve never trained with a weapon in your life the very fact that your hitting with an inanimate object rather than your body is a plus.
Then there’s the reach advantage, if you’re facing off with someone with a knife, distance is your best friend.
Grabbing an improvised weapon can significantly increase your chances of surviving an attack, click on this link to see how a back scratcher helped an 63 year old woman defend herself:
This is a great example of how grabbing any thing you can get your hands on is a really good idea.