As an average person, I’m not particularly interested in training for random violence or in being too paranoid about this kind of thing. Still, I think everybody should probably have some very basic self-defense training in the same way that everyone should learn how to swim, how to perform CPR, and how to, say, put out a kitchen fire, and escape from a burning building (er, I need to work on those last three, come to think of it). I don’t really know what that training should consist of but here’s one of the things that Tabby Cat says that would apply to that Ham vs Italian Meat case:

Improvised weapons: It’s true that anybody can miss the signals and get into trouble. Now what? Now be creative and realize that most of the objects around us are really nasty. Any ordinary implement can be an “improvised weapon”. That phrase doesn’t mean home-built guns or prison molded “shank” knives or anything weird. It means picking up some handy ordinary object of daily life and using it to fend off an attacker. A book, a pen, an empty soda can, soda bottle, coconut, belt, chair, credit card, stone, or hat can inflict really nasty damage if applied with just a bit of common-sense and target awareness. But the target awareness doesn’t need to be terribly sophisticated. Just throwing your hat into your assailant’s eyes can buy you all the time you need to get out of there. What you need more than years of “technique” training is just a free and adaptable, creative mind. To learn to free your mind, and learn to see all the possibilities in your environment, I suggest you view the single best training video known to me on this topic: “Improvised Weapons” by Vladimir Vasiliev, a former trainer of the Russian Special Forces. Again, you don’t need to be able to clone Vladimir’s extremely slick “moves” – just his mindset of flexibility and creativity in adapting what is at hand to your needs.

If you were sufficiently paranoid and/or just motivated by a fascination with something quite out there, or perhaps because you really are one of the few secret agents who should be expert in these kinds of things, I suppose you could really turn this kind of thing into its own high art. I tend to think of Jackie Chan’s comedy fighting scenes as well as, in a more serious, paranoid way, various scenes from The Bourne movies. Incidentally, how does Jason Bourne train for that kind of improvisation with handheld weapons? Supposedly Kali/Eskrima gives him that handheld weapons base so that, presumably, the same few techniques apply to the improvised weapons. If you’re good with the sticks, you’re probably good with the frozen ham. From the Wikipedia entry on Eskrima:

Many Filipino systems focus on defending against and/or reacting to angles of attack rather than particular strikes. The theory behind this is that virtually all types of hand-to-hand attacks (barehanded or with a weapon) will hit or reach a combatant via these angles of attack and it is reasoned that it is more efficient to learn to defend against angles of attack rather than particular styles, particular techniques or particular weapons.