The Versatile Bandana Part Two

The Hidden Manrikigusari

This is a regular bandana and a dog's heavy choker chain constructed to make a rather nasty version of a fighting bandana. Roll up a heavy choker chain in a bandana and then start sewing using heavy thread. Simple, huh?

This is truly put here for "Educational Purposes Only" because I think this would be an instant arrest in most jurisdictions, especially California where it would be a felony bust under that state's goofy prohibitions against "slungshots" or "manrikigusaris."

Like many things on this site, it is put here for you to consider it. It could be used against you in the street as well. Knowledge is power, remember?

So, don't consider this as me encouraging you to carry one. Just take it for what it is worth, you know it exists and you now know that the harmless bandana in someone's back pocket might not be so harmless. Seeing a glint of steel anywhere in the bandana or the ends of the bandana is a warning sign. Movements to reach around to grasp the exposed tails of it is another danger cue. You will see this movement over and over again with these things. That is the number one way to deploy these things regardless of configuration.

Here is a bandana with velcro closed pockets on each end that will actually hold a real Manrikigusari/Kusarifundo.

This is a close-up of one corner of the bandana. Please excuse the blanket fuzz. As you can see, there is a good amount of reinforcement in the corner and the pocket. When I came up with the idea of the pocketed bandana, a friend of mine, Matt Draper, came up with the idea of velcro-closed pockets. It works out great.

Here is the weight of a Kusarifundo fighting chain inside one pocket.

The next picture below shows the chain across the bandana.

The Kusarifundo in the picture was handmade by Bud Malmstrom back when he had a little company that made such things, I think the name of his company was Scorpion Enterprises. He ran the Bujinkan Dojo in Atlanta. A good friend of mine sent me this years ago, he was a student of Bud Malmstrom's. (Thanks John S.)

Once you secure both weights in the pockets, you wind the whole thing up and you can carry it around your neck or in a pocket, as you see below.

Another way to rig this double-velcro-pocket bandana is to use medium to large size magnets, one in each pocket. This could be a weapon but more than anything, it keeps the bandana around your neck during very high winds. As a weapon, the magnets would have to be quite heavy, it is an awesome way to secure the bandana in place.

The magnets below are rather large and would pack quite a punch, they are covered in plastic and a quarter is placed on one of them so you can see how large and thick they are.

Another Pocketed Bandana

This idea I found online, the simple pattern for it can be found here. The Alpha-Rubicon Website is another excellent online resource. There is a ton of reading to be done at The Alpha-Rubicon Website.

The guy that wrote the article and came up with this particular version of the pocketed bandana goes by the nickname of "RollingHitch." He came up with a pretty good twist and it always feels great to see other people actually putting some thought into this stuff. He also cited Jim Keating's video materials on the bandana.

I found the article on Alpha-Rubicon and sent Ken a link to it.

Ken's lovely Wife whipped up a couple for he and I and they turned out really great! Similar to an idea I spoke with a custom knifemaker about back around 1998 or 1999, it's a really great piece of kit to carry with you. It doesn't have to be a weapon, you can place things in it for that purpose, of course, but you can also put other items in it for storage during regular activities.

To give full credit to "RollingHitch," I had not put the thought into the bandana as a carrying device that he did - and he did a great job! I was concerned with the concealment qualities and other things like that...along with weaponizing it at times. "RollingHitch" came about everything from the other end of the spectrum. Alpha-Rubicon's website will teach you so much, I have not dedicated the time to go through all of the information...

In a lot of bandana pictures in these articles, you are not going to see full-bandana pictures because I figure you know what a common bandana looks like unless you've been living in a cave all of your life. So, I will explain the close-up shots for you. The following red and blue bandana pictures are the "RollingHitch" design with various things you can carry in the pockets with a lot of room to spare.


"Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waiting for a train,

and I's feelin' nearly as faded as my jeans,

Bobby thumbed a diesel down just before it rained,

It rode us all the way to New Orleans...

I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty, red bandanna..."

"Me and Bobby McGee" - Kris Kristofferson/Janis Joplin


Old School Stuff. A G.I. Whistle, an old metal match safe, a "Jailhouse" brand Harmonica (Harpoon!) and a Zippo Lighter. The larger of the two pockets is on the left, you can see the opening if you look very close. To the right of the Zippo you see a vintage German straight razor disappear into the more narrow pocket.

Obviously, the bandana is folded so I can get everything I want to in the close-up picture, I have it folded in most of these pictures so the mouth of each pocket are directly across from one another. Just remember this is a full-sized bandana. The tip of the whistle is above the Zippo, then the match safe below it and then the harmonica. Everything can disappear just by pushing them in a bit farther.

That is the full-sized straight razor that was in the other pocket.

Here is the red bandana with an Al Mar SERE 2000 (AMKSERE2K) folder on the left above a Sure-Fire E2e Flashlight. Over on the right is a Leatherman Super-Tool, which is a rather large Multitool. I could push it in farther and it would disappear.

In the picture above you see a rather cheesey "West Coast Choppers" butane lighter bordered with fake motorcycle drive chain. To the right of it is an equally cheesey "West Coast Choppers" giveaway bottle opener. To the right of that is the mighty Camillus "Demo" Knife.

To give you an angled shot to show a large Swiss Army "Swiss Champ" starting to disappear in the larger of two pockets along with the cheesey butane ligher. The bottle opener can go into the other pocket as a weight to strike with...or...for whatever other purpose you can dream up.

The Camillus Knife can totally disappear and is a rather hefty weight for striking as well. Due to the construction of these knives, it is unlikely you could break it if it were used as a load for the bandana.

This collage shows an AMK SERE 2K in the pocket and concealed. Second picture going to the right shows the butt end peeking out and then the knife lying on top of the pocket which is the more narrow pocket.

Why would you want to carry stuff in a bandana? I don't think I could say it any better than "RollingHitch" did over on Alpha-Rubicon so I won't try. You either get it or you don't.

The Street Bandana-Blackjack

This is a common bandana that you can purchase anywhere for a couple/few dollars. You fold it as you would to use it for a headband, then fold that in half so the tails of the bandana meet.

You then simply sew up each side of the bandana where the fold is until you have a pocket.

You can load this with a handful or roll of coins, a socket from a set of wrenches (a long spark plug socket is best) and just about anything else that can fit into the pocket that has been formed. You then stuff it in your back pocket and let the tails hang out and it appears to be a simple, folded bandana in your back pocket.

I don't remember where I found this cylindrical piece of brass, I don't know what it was originally used for. I have had it for over twenty years now. This is what I used to carry in mine, way back when.

Another nasty bandana-load is a clock weight like this pine-cone looking weight.

This was the genesis of a project I had with a custom knifemaker at one time. A project I am going to continue with on my own in the not too distant future.

The effectiveness of this sort of thing should be obvious to anyone. It should also be obvious that it would be illegal in places that have banned blackjacks, saps, slungshots, "sandbags" or "sandclubs." The latter two are basically socks with sand in them for weight. Pretty crazy, huh? In California, if you're walking on the beach for a few hundred yards with socks and shoes on, you're halfway to a felony. I'm being sarcastic, of course, but I can't help but think most legislators are intoxicated most of the time. If not on drink or drugs, stinking drunk with power exacerbated by extreme feelings of uselessness and boredom.

Here is the expedient, no-sewing-required, bandana blackjack (below).

The Splitshot Bandana

Well, this is simply a bandana which has a splitshot fishing sinker, or maybe two of them, crimped onto one tail of the bandana. Much more effective than tying a coin, steel ball bearing, or marble into the end which tends to wear the cloth out quickly, causing a hole or tear to form and send the weight flying.

I was originally going to take a picture of a bandana like this, with the splitshot sinker crimped onto the tail. Then I thought to myself, "If they can't figure that out, the picture won't do much good either."

Whip that thing in their face, get a stinging shot on them and then back up, get some distance and draw something else (rearward)...or attack further...immediately (forward). Also, you don't need pinpoint accuracy to achieve the desired result. When I say "a stinging shot on their eye," yes, the eye could be damaged but that's not necessarily the point I am trying to get across to you. Anything that lands near the eye and causes some degree of pain, or...just the violent movement in the vicinity of the eye, is going to cause a reaction and it is that reaction you must take advantage of. Although you can get accurate with a loaded bandana, especially by practicing with a hanging tennis ball that swings erratically, the goal is not to surgically remove one of their teeth or damage an eye - it's to get the reaction which allows you to propel your foot into their groin and then follow up with an elbow, etc., then escape.

Pinpoint accuracy is not really the goal and people that focus on that and then condemn the whole line of thought are basically ignorant, belligerent and hardheaded. Any of those three traits can be changed, when you combine all three, forget it. Go talk to a brick wall, it's much more productive.

The first shot is, "Hey! Get out of my face!" The second "sting" that comes could be much more devastating and can be a lot more than a bandana being whipped in their face.

You whip this little nasty thing around a bit and make sure that you wear eye protection. You can take a tooth out of someone's head - or if you hit them in the eye…you get the idea. That means that if you are careless, you will be going to the hospital or the dentist.

Whipping it like a towel to snap someone with, you will see that when you get good with something like this, you can put the weight through a cardboard box and if you practice a lot, you can pick what spot on the box you want to hit. Practice even more and you can dent a soda can…and you might just get good enough to put the weight into the beverage can.

I can.

Accuracy, speed and power are all up to you. As always.

Again, I'm not telling you to go out and make these things but if you do, be careful. Also realize that you're probably going to get arrested if you get caught carrying something like this. Another warning is in order now, if you knock someone's tooth out and you don't know what you're doing in the immediate aftermath, you're going to get your ass kicked. Make good life choices.

Larger Bandanas

The larger bandanas are usually the better choice for all of these ideas. The bandanas you see in convenience stores make OK sweatmops and snotrags and anything can do in a pinch, but you should try to get some larger ones.

Back when James Keating released the "Fighting Bandana" videotapes, he had some for sale that he had made for folks who went to The Riddle of Steel. They were a bit larger than your average bandana.

I don't know if Jim Keating has any more of them or not. If you think I'm pushing his other stuff, you are absolutely right! I don't think there is one person who has any degree of skill that cannot benefit from those two videotapes.

There are many valuable videotapes on the market. I'll tell you something though; these are some of the most valuable for they teach you to use something that is so common and so legal. (Unmodified bandanas.) And it is so very powerful. If you buy this material, heed the warnings that Keating gives you. You can give someone a nasty case of whiplash with a bandana or possibly, something far worse. You can choke them out, crush the trachea or break the neck with a simple piece of cloth.

I know many people will not believe that, but it is very simple. If you get locked up, they take your belt and your shoelaces from you for a reason. You think about that for a moment. If you can kill yourself with it, you can do the same damage to someone else.

Something so simple as a shoestring, if it is not dry rotted, is strong enough to do some horrific damage to the neck area.

The Cloaking Bandana

The bandana, regular or larger sizes, the cloth napkin at a steakhouse where you have morons raising hell across from you and everything might go terminal with every round of Jack Daniel's they toss down. Just another chance of violence… These objects become very good expedients to know how to use.

Look at what is set down in front of you at a half-decent restaurant. You have a half-assed knife, fork, and spoon… A cup of hot coffee, tea or some hot chocolate, a small saucer, your napkin. salt and pepper shakers. If you give any violent convict in any prison what you are given at a regular steakhouse, they would be armed to the teeth.

Well, that is the way it is getting now. More and more you are denied pocketknives and such, so you should learn to fight with everything.

Just like a prisoner, because in some places, you are one.

Where was I?

The napkin, the tablecloth if you have to! Your…bandana. That's where we were…

Well, do you have any idea what sort of nasty surprises you can hide behind a bandana? Reach up, pretend to blow your nose into it, cough a few times into it. Restaurant, public bus stop, wherever, "the viral ruse" makes the bandana something totally innocent and out in the open. Learn to draw your O.C. Pepper Spray, folding knife or whatever into it quickly, with little movement and no sign of the item you are placing into it. The bandana as a Magician's production.

The late, great Colonel Rex Applegate suggested mirror work for handgun use, using a dart gun with rubber tip for practice. I believe FBI Agent Delf "Jelly" Bryce did mirror work for handgun draws... Perfecting his draw…

People that would claim these simple methods are "silly" are just missing a whole repertoire of real world, practical skills.

James Keating, again, advised it for knife concealment in the "Legacy of Steel" videotapes. How to conceal the drawn knife behind forearm, upper arm or your back and hip.

If someone should approach and they say something like:

"Hey Man, you got any money?"

And you act like you sneeze into the bandana and you are sick, reply, "No, friend, I don't have any spare change or anything…I spent my last five dollars on Sudafed…"

He says something like, "Well, I think you do…whattya say MAN?"

The moment he reaches to pocket or waistband, around his back, the moment he threatens violence or comes at you in a hostile manner, you have something to launch with. What you were sneezing, coughing and hacking into, you whip that bandana into his eyes and fog him with the O.C. that it concealed. And you do this very slick because you've been practicing, right?

Kick him in the leg to take him down to size and give him another - to give him the Charlie Horse from Hell (or break that knee, you get the idea…), so he cannot chase you and get out of there as fast as you can.

Understand getting snapped in the face with a bandana is, in the grand scheme of things, NOTHING. You have to back that up, in that instant of distraction and minor discomfort, with a front kick to the groin or whatever else is available to you. No exceptions.

You will notice that I have not really discussed using the improvised bandana blackjack - it should be self-evident, if someone pulls a weapon on you or you have a situation where you have multiple attackers, using a bandana that is folded and sewn in such a manner is incredibly strong. That strength and the types of weights discussed is going to knock people out and possibly cause some severe injuries. Combined with some type of ruse like we are talking about, it would be really effective for self-defense. Unfortunately, this is denied most of us.

In this mode, think of the bandana as a mini-Cloak, as in, "Cloak & Dagger." You can't put a Rapier behind a bandana, but a small folder or LaGriffe will be just fine.

I'm just giving you ideas. Nothing is written in stone, you are limited only by your own imagination and the amount of practice you put into it. You will see me say this so many times on this website, it's just a natural fact. You should also be aware that acting skills are a must for anyone interested in Self-defense. You might have to act sick or weak, stronger than you really are, meaner than you really are…whatever. Anything to give you an edge, leave your ego behind.

Another thing you should carefully consider is the true nature of Self-defense and the real threats versus the "threats" being put forth now that have some merit, but in general, are incredibly bizarre. Some people will inevitably say that all of this stuff is useless because you won't be able to use it against INSERT CURRENT MARTIAL CRAZE HERE. If that's what you think, that's cool. Of course, when people say that, that's one hell of an indictment on INSERT CURRENT MARTIAL CRAZE HERE because that would mean that those people are running around committing all sorts of crimes - robberies, rapes, simple assaults and carjacking.

How do I use this thing?

Indeed, how on Earth can a relatively small piece of cloth be so powerful and effective?

Besides what I have already told you, it is very hard to describe the physical movements involved. You can check out my two Flexible Weapons Articles that have info in them about garrottes, belts and other things.

If you cannot practice with a PARTNER "snagging" punches until you get it down (as well as the other movements), I don't know if I could advise you to even start. You really need a living partner to perfect some of this stuff, simply having something to beat on will only take you so far with this sort of thing…

Buy the videotapes I suggested, get a training partner and go EASY with them, please…

Hey, Jim Keating has the Bandana Tapes converted over to DVD now, seize the opportunity! Also, The Legacy of Steel - Part One and Part Two has excellent bandana material.

©Don Rearic 1999-2007

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