Quite some time ago I was sent a care package by way of Dirk Okumoto and his Cold Steel Modification/Alteration page on Facebook. One of the things that has always amazed me is the ingenuity of the human mind when it comes to self-defense. You see this reflected in the sorts of weapons that people manufacture when they are denied access to more conventional tools. The first environment that comes to mind is prisons, where inmates display all manner of inventiveness coming up with new ways to manufacture stabbing tools. Another example, though, is the Ukrainian revolution: A photographer named Tom Jamieson took shots of various deadly weapons crafted or improvised by anti-government protesters in 2014.
An aspect of human ingenuity that also fascinates me is the ways that a given tool or piece of hardware can be modified to better serve its purpose — or to serve another purpose altogether. One individual who seems to share this philosophy is Dirk Okumoto. His work revolves around crafting various self-defense weapons, including modifying many off-the-shelf Cold Steel products. Seen here are various iterations of his “Dirkel Sticks,” which start life as Cold Steel FGX Battle Rings. Dirk cuts them up, grinds them down, an flattens them out with a sander, producing less-lethal kerambit, yawara, and kubotan-style impact tools.
The applications should be obvious. The ring-tipped Dirkel Stick is a yawara with an integrated finger ring. The “arrowhead” tips of the Battle Rings can double as impact devices too, only with a sharper bite. To these Dirk affixes paracord lanyards.
The Dirkel Sticks are handy and hit hard. They’re also a bit easier to carry and conceal than the original FGX Battle Ring, which is the point. What I love is that this is both an expression of Dirk’s love for Cold Steel’s products — and his support for the company — while also increasing the utility of the tools concerned.
Dirk even sent me a paracord manriki-gusari, a weighted chain that takes considerable practice to master. This one is a simple paracord weave with heavy carbiner weights — useful for utility and as a weapon.
I love this concept, and I love the workmanship that goes into it. Dirk’s modifications don’t step on any licensing toes and even provide more incentive for customers to buy Cold Steel products. At the same time, these mods help make the products that much more useful for their intended purpose: protecting the owner.