DIY Paracord Handled Monkey-Fist Knot Self-Defense Instrument

This guest post by Kristopher B and entry in our non-fiction writing contest.

I made a melee instrument out of 550 paracord and a marble.

I used the following two links: I only used half of this one  – Then I used this one to make the handle.

Pic of DIY Paracord Handled Monkey-Fist Knot Self-Defense Instrument

Finished Product Picture

For measurements, I used a couple inches past 8 ft for the entire project. I broke it up into 6 ft for the handle and roughly two feet for the monkey fist knot.

Make sure prior to starting to sear both ends of the paracord with a lighter in order to make for easier tying and weaving. ALSO, CAUTION BECAUSE MELTED NYLON CAN EASILY BURN THE SKIN… So make sure when searing the ends to not let any melted nylon drip onto a hand or leg.

It took me several attempts to figure out both tying the handle and the monkey fist, but it was well worth it. I now have a very solid, light, non-metal, concealable, instrument for self-defense.

First I tied the handle, as is seen in the video. I measured out the loop for the width of my hand (how big I would personally need a handle to be). So, the first tie to the top of the loop was roughly my handle size with an inch and a half or so for the final tie off. Basically, just follow the video and customize it to your needs.

Second, I tied the monkey fist knot. I only used the step two pictures to complete this, just so you know if the link does not take you directly to step two. In order to keep a secure hold on the marble, dice, or non-metal hard object you choose, make sure that after the form of the knot is complete that you only tighten a little bit at a time in order to get an all around even tightness.

My first test was on a brand new cardboard box left over from a package. With about a half – 3/4 power swing, I put the monkey fist all the way through the cardboard and it was hanging over, not just stuck in the cardboard.

One other nice aspect is that, because I only seared the ends of my roughly 8′ long piece of paracord, and did not cut the left over from the monkey fist, I can untie the whole apparatus and use the paracord for anything required of me in an emergency.

This was my first, cheaper, paracord endeavor. On Amazon, I found 50 ft of ROTHCO 550 Paracord for $5.95 with free shipping. So, if you take 16% of 5.95 one gets about $1.00. So, for $1.00, one can make a very concealable, quickly accessible instrument for self defense. Not to mention, I could imagine a well-placed blow doing some serious damage.

My completed instrument, and it was a bit inaccurate but perfect for what I want, measured at 3.5″ of handle with 6.5″ tail and 15.5″ between the handle and the monkey fist. I used an average small marble and made only three passes on each side of the monkey fist, leaving the monkey fist with a diameter of roughly one inch.

My first thoughts were for having it with you in a coat pocket at a place with metal detectors, like a court house. I thought about this when I visited the federal court house in Cincinnati and had to go through metal detectors. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that people can construe this thinking in a bad way.

Maybe I am naive, I am admittedly new to prepping, but I have yet to meet a prepper who had ill will towards others. So, I figured that if any people could understand my concern for wanting to have something to give one an edge in a conflict that is concealable, it would be the prepping community. So, I hope this helped and best to you and your potential paracord endeavors, and any other prepping plans ahead of you!

This contest will end on February 16 2013  – prizes include:

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About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Kristopher B
    I like!

  2. Nice, it looks like it could have several uses. Good job. Cowboy

  3. I would be more willing to carry a kubotan pen or plastic kubotan. Hide it in plain sight.

    If someone at a security check point caught me with that monkey fist, they’d get awfully suspicious awfully fast.

    I think I’d have to resort to claiming I was on my way to my swingers club to explain that thing. : )

    …and explaining it to my wife would be even more dangerous.

  4. I saw a shorter version on Ebay which was being sold as a key chain lanyard, but it used a steel bearing. Being glass the marble is a better way to go so far as metal detectors are concerned and possessing it as a “key ring” rather than an obvious weapon is desirable as well. I attempted to make something similar but mastering the monkey fist knot takes some practice!

  5. Good directions and very clever.

  6. My oldest grandson is always looking for new para-cord ideas to sell at the gun shows.

  7. I like it, will have to make me one.

  8. This looks like a modern pocket version of the medieval weapon called a morningstar. These are deceptively powerful when used correctly, which is not intuitive because it works on angular momentum. You don’t want to hit your attacker with the ball, you want to hit him with the cord near the ball, preferably swinging the ball in as wide an arc as possible. Like an spinning ice skater pulling in her arms, when the cord hits an obstruction, the ball speeds up tremendously. I would definitely treat it with respect and not play around with it — what you have there could conceivably snap a finger or shatter a vertebrae.

  9. Here is an idea how to hide that thing: String it through a buttonhole, and put the handle into a pocket you sew on the inside of your clothes. Or if you have a purse etc, make it look like part of the decoration on the purse in a similar way. Have the ball just hanging out in plain sight, and possibly use a bright color of cord for a festive touch.

    You could also rig the cord in the middle to be bunched up more – maybe tie thread around it that can be easily ripped away when you want to use it as a wep.

    The addition of some silk flower petals to the ball would make it a nice accessory for hair but it would still be just as deadly. (I can just see someone getting whomped with a flowery monkey ball)

  10. Just a friendly reminder pack members: Check your state’s laws before you carry one of these (concealed or not). In Kalifornia for example, it would be classified as a sap or a bludgeon. They are a felony in the land of fruits and nuts.

    • Sirius,

      What isn’t illegal is Californication? I’ve always carried a weapon of some sort no matter the law, as the saying goes I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

      • M.D.:

        Years (and a marrage) ago, we were going from MA to VA via NYC. As I was loading the car, I put something under the driver’s seat. The followed the following conversation:
        My wife (now ex): What’s that?
        Me: A gun rug.
        EX: What’s in it?
        Me: A gun.
        Ex: Is it loaded?
        Me: Yes. The only thing dumber than carrying an unlicensed weapon into NYC is carrying an UNLOADED gun in NYC. The only way they are going to know I have it is if I need it; therefore, yes, it is loaded (it was a 1911 so it was also in Condition 1).

    • Hmm, has anyone covered using everyday items as weapons, e.g. keys, CDs, pens, magazines?

  11. I recently had to catch a flight from Nashville to Dallas. I have had a monkey fist on my key chain for years but thought that it would be a good idea to leave it home. I do carry a Gerber “Shard” on my key chain which, although it isn’t a knife, it could be used as a self defense tool. It went through the security check point at both airports without a problem.

  12. M. D.,

    Heh, not much isn’t illegal, and I’m sure the state would find a way to charge you for the extra smog you breathe if they could.

    Notice though I just suggested people check their local laws. I did not suggest people not carry something. We’re supposed to all be thinking, rational adults. If we are going to be judged by twelve, it’s in our best interest to know full well what we’re being judged for. Wouldn’t you agree?

  13. SurvivorDan says:

    Not sure about the effectiveness of this…but better than nothing I reckon. Looks like it would hurt a bit. How about making the tali longer, with a loop that fastens to the monkey fist?
    Now it’s not some diabolical device you tried to conceal but some damn hippy belt!
    I would absolutely wear it as a belt.
    It could also be a strap on a woman’s purse.
    I carry a carved wooden kubaton onto planes, openly.
    It is a decorative keychain fob.
    Hide it in plain sight folks.

  14. SurvivorDan says:

    oops …making the ‘tail’ longer,…

    I painted tiny hippy/Hawaiian flowers on my wooden kubaton.
    It’s cute.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      And adorable…… me, ladies.

      Yeah….into my ‘cough’ medicine again.

    • aww! I have a bo staff I need to refinish, found it in the trash, maybe I’ll paint flowers on it. I keep looking for a Hello Kitty decal to put on my rifle, too.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        Just found two pairs of staffs in their cases standing in a corner of the garage behind some boxes. Warped and ruined. Don’t know how to go about straightening them.

  15. SurvivorDan says:

    ” just hanging out in plain sight, and possibly use a bright color of cord for a festive touch.”

    Just saw your advice Penny Pincher. I hadn’t needed to comment.
    I love how you think.

  16. SurvivorDan says:

    I’ve said it before but for the new folks:
    I always fly with a good cane, 2 steel pens, a wooden kubaton and an impact bezeled Surefire. Never a hassle from TSA.

  17. Thanks everyone!

    Mike: I have been wondering how those pens function. I’ve seen them online, but have yet to look into their use. Any recommendations on learning about them?

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Kris. Many martial arts instructors can train you in the use of a kubaton. I’m sure there are many U-tube videos as well. Very simple to learn. Just practice. Attached to a key chain they make great flails to the eyes, etc. For applying pressure points they focus your energy (pure physics) down to a small hard area for application. I keep one tucked in the front of my jeans with the keys attached. Easy and fast to get to. And tucked in it doesn’t present as a threat.

  18. SurvivorDan says:

    Kris: The tactical defense pens function as kubatons.
    With the advantage that you can stab with them (if unavoidable).
    I keep two tactical pens on me at all times. Two ordinary solidly constructed steel pens will work as well.

    • Thanks Dan!

      So, are wood and plastic pens as feasible as steel? Going for the whole getting past the metal detectors idea. I know that these were mentioned earlier, but I am just curious as to the pros and cons of not going with a steel apparatus.

  19. Grumpy Vermonter says:

    Oh geez, do I ever have a lot to learn about self defense. I have no earthly idea even after reading all the comments so far how you’d use this thing! I read the post and turned to hubby and said “What is this? Am I supposed to go up to someone threatening me and bap him with my little marble and he’ll say “ouch, please stop!” ? I know I’m missing something important here. Help?

  20. Just finished one, wove it into a hat band. Used two balls and a loop on the handle hide in plain sight.

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