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well if you cant get a gun for what ever reason  there are two things you should do  for defense then at least against  the neighbor types you speak of there is http://www.tbotech.com/pepperfoam.htm it is my choice in pepper spray  once it hits  you cant wipe it off it just re foams like  shaving cream, second  is there are places that teach Krav Maga, you need to  find one that  has you fight the other students, no other way to  train for  real fight  than being hit and be hit back. Always try to find the best student to spar with…. less likely you will get hurt they have better control and you learn more  for  fighting better opponent. Make sure you fight bigger faster stronger people male and female . losses now  mean nothing other than you learn in real life one chance make sure you have it right.


I dont suggest going to asian martial arts for weapon training/fighting for the unschooled too many look good but useless  teachers teaching sport not combat. If you want to know what works in real life  only learn the  banned  things from  tournaments, they are ones that  maim cripple and injure. i dont play for sport, but to win.


the thorny plant thing sort of works if you are going with that motif and want to  do the food thing black berry briar or raspberry are nasty thorns as well but have food value,


with shooting, range time is golden but many forget shooting at a  non moving paper target is not at all what will happen. Find another venue to  practice  combat type shooting ranges wont allow it  in most cases.