When Z-Day arrives, it is inevitable that sooner or later you will have to deal with zombies - up close and personal. So now that we've identified the various zombie types and their (few) weaknesses, it's time to see how your martial arts skills and weapons stack up against the zombie threat. The Good News: The average zombie is slow-moving, and has no protective reflexes whatsoever. This makes them an easy target for your preferred techniques. The Bad News: Zombies are insensitive to pain, only severe physical damage will slow or stop them. To make matters worse, most zombie types are infectious, so any bite, or even scratch, could mean a slow death for you. The Really Bad News: Unless you're wielding some kind of magically infused weapon, close-combat with a supernatural zombie is suicide. And unless you're wearing complete protective clothing, close combat with type 2b will rapidly see you torn apart or infected due to the high speed and strength of the Rage Zombie. So let's briefly review your options, starting with hand-to-hand. Punching: Almost useless. Zombies can be dazed for a few seconds by mild head trauma, but unless you're the kind of person who can break coconuts with your fist, you have no hope of a kill. To make things worse, zombies are usually open-mouthed, so unless you're wearing gloves the chance of a bitten hand is very high. Hardcore Z-Day believers may wish to construct a spiked glove (local laws permitting). This will provide both protection and the chance of a swift kill if the zombies get too close. Kicking: Zombies usually have poor balance, so strong kicks could easily put them down, giving you time to escape. Knee breaks will severely inconvenience them, but beware of crawling zombies that bite at your ankles. Given the protection afforded by shoes, head kicks could be effective for knockdowns, exceptionally strong kickers may even be able to break the neck and score a kill. Even flying kicks could have a use here, allowing you to punch through a small knot of zombies and make good your escape. Grappling: There's no doubt that a trained grappler could tie a zombie in knots, and any neck-breaking technique would guarantee a kill. The hard part is doing it all without getting bitten. Maintaining "head control" of your target zombie is highly recommended. Throwing: The outstretched arms of a zombie make them easy to throw, but again, you have to watch out for the bite factor. Hip/shoulder style throws that place your head close to the zombie's are not recommended. Joint manipulation/sweeping throws are probably the preferred option. Skilled throwers should be able to project the target head-first into the ground for a kill, or possibly into the path of other zombies to slow them down. Weaponry: Since many of us live in countries where firearms are hard/impossible to obtain, only traditional or improvised weapons will be considered here. Improvised:The most easily available anti-zombie weapons will be garden tools and sports equipment. The good news is that anything heavy enough to crack a skull can be successfully used against zombies. Baseball/cricket bats, hockey sticks, axes/hatchets, even large hammers can do the job. So it's worth having a look in the garage to see what you have on hand, and make sure it's readily available for when the zombies come knocking. Traditional: Swords and machetes are a preferred Z-Day weapon, offering both decapitation and amputation options. Bladed polearms, maces and axes will also be effective. So if you can legally own something sharp, make sure it's big and nasty enough to cut through limbs and necks. Stick arts will be less effective, but with the right weapon a kill is still possible. Bows and crossbows: countries with restrictive firearms laws tend to be hard on crossbows as well, but if archery is legal where you live you might as well join a club and get in some range time. While a headshot with a bow will be somewhat difficult, it does provide you with a long-range weapon. Arrows can also be retrieved/reused, and bows are quiet compared to firearms - an important consideration because zombies are attracted to sound. As before, I welcome any suggestions/additions to the list. Tell us how your skills will cope against zombie attacks. This is also the place for discussion of protective gear and any (legal) weaponry you own, or plan to acquire/make.