Hello and welcome.
Hello, Maxx, and thank you for your interesting and thought-provoking response!
There is only one thing I must comment on. I have no idea what state you live in but I am sure this pretty much goes for the most part though the whole usa and from my own experiance. If someone attacks you with bare fist and the situation does not call for it. Using a weapon on them can get you in a whole lotta world of trouble. I am pretty sure they would have to be caving in your dome before you use a weapon on them.
What I gather from Ayoob et al is that this depends on a wide number of factors, but that in general one must use force proportional to the level of the threat. Smacking the hypothetical goon in the head with a baseball bat would probably be viewed as excessive force, even if he's 6'8" and 300-plus pounds of steroid-enhanced attitude. On the other hand, taking out a leg might be seen as appropriate. There are many variables which only the jury can sort out, if it even gets that far.
As to my location: I live and work in the Bahamas most of the time, as a resident alien (military contractor, if anyone really want to know. But I'm a paranerd, not a doorkicker.) Stateside, I mostly hang out in Florida, which is my home state. The laws governing self-defense in Florida are among the most sensible in the US, as far as I can tell. The Bahamas are rather more restrictive, but not nearly as insane as, say, the UK currently has a reputation for being.
At any rate, I'd agree completely that the best way to handle violence is not to be there when it starts. By a huge margin, Plan A is avoidance (situational awareness rules). Plan B is de-escalation; plan C is escape, and actually fighting comes in a distant fourth. If the situation degenerates that badly, then sorting out the legalities will be largely my attorney's job (if I live) or my executor's job (if I don't).
The only problem with running is that almost anyone who really wants to catch me has an excellent chance of doing so, thanks to one bum ankle. I point this out just to reinforce the assertion that avoidance is Plan A.
Now, what happens if it's unavoidable ... that's where we get into lots of complexities.
I could be wrong
But its good to get in shape and learn your hands before you learn a weapon. Sometimes you can't get to that weapon or a weapon is not there.
I'm curious as to what the presumed standard for "in shape" might be around here. If it's "ready to roll in the UFC", then it's probably an unattainable goal. Likewise, if achieveing Shodan rank in Kanga-ryu is the standard for having learnt one's hands, then that isn't likely to happen either. But I'm not trying to be SEAL Team 6, just the Swiss National Guard. So to speak.
I've already got a pretty good--albeit rusty--handle on the basics. In the past couple of years, I've also reduced my spare tire from deuce-and-a-half size to moped. That, too, is an ongoing process, and rather more difficult now than it was 20 or 30 years ago.
But the FMA systems offer a whole heaping of Empty handed weapon tech as well as other form of So.East Asain MA's and if all else fails..RUN!
That strikes me as a slight oversimplification of the escalation of force continuum, but I'll take it under advisement.
Seriously, I was under the impression that most of the FMA systems started out with the stick. Am I mistaken on that point?
This is already too long, so I'll shut up now. I've got quite a few serious questions, but those should probably wait until I've at least reviewed the first couple of DVDs and perhaps done a more thorough search of the forum archives.
Again, thank you.