Guam is a strange place. A few years ago, a Congressman was concerned that if more Marines were posted to the island, it might capsize — which says more about the intellects in Congress than it does about the island, we reckon.

This certificate is phony… and it's $140 more than Guam's.

This certificate is phony… and it’s $140 more than Guam’s.

But law professor Eugene Volokh has found a place where the old urban myth about “hands and feet registered as deadly weapons” is actually true: the US Territory of Guam. He quotes the statutes (law profs are always doing that!):

Any person who is an expert in the art of karate or judo, or any similar physical ar[t] in which the hands and feet are used as deadly weapons, is required to register with the Department of Revenue and Taxation.

A karate or judo expert required to register by the provisions of this Chapter shall be a person trained in the arts of karate, judo or other hand-to-hand fighting technique, whereby the hands, feet or other parts of the body are used as weapons, who shall have completed at least one level of training therein and shall have been issued a belt or other symbol showing proficiency in such art.

via ‘These hands and feet are registered as deadly weapons … in Guam!’.

Then, if you whale the whey out of some islander with your kung-fu, hai-ku or what have you, you can be charged with aggravated assault. He didn’t mention a penalty for not registering, although the actual statute says failing to register is a misdemeanor. It’s hard to imagine Guamanian cops going from door to door seeking incriminating black belts.

But it is a reminder that the ultimate weapon is a trained human mind, the weaponized Brain Housing Group that’s the key to employment of all weapons, including the weapons God gave you.

Volokh has some fun with the idea that Guam could make some serious money selling registration certificates to off-island karatekas. It’s not like people aren’t already doing that with utterly meaningless certificates. By all means Read The Whole Thing™.

Hey, we know ching-chang-bang. Does that count?

This entry was posted in Industry, Lord Love a Duck on by Hognose.

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

6 thoughts on “Are your hands and feet “registered as deadly weapons?”


Wonder how these will be confiscated when some event transpires? Not to mention, an almost certifiable quantity of appendages owned by people. My, my…. what a dilemma.


Guam’s not the only jurisdiction where an assault by a martial artist is automatically upgraded to aggravated…

Bill K

I’d dare say that in the competition for the ultimate weapon, a strong competitor to the trained human mind is the untrained human mind, a la Congressman Drunken Sunken. Powerful enough to demoralize the strongest citizen, able to leap over consequences in a single irrational bound, causing chaos and pandemonium that would make Pandora proud… Without effort such a mind can destroy in a moment what takes a generation or more to build, as in, “I wonder what happens if we push this button?”


Hey, I liked Guam for the 8 months stationed there.

Upside: beautiful scenery, clean clear and warm ocean swimming, great fishing, always warm, fairly friendly Guamanians (as long as you weren’t messing with their daughter), geckos, interesting cultural and history things particularly from WWII, and best of all the NCO club was across the street from our barracks.

Downside: moray eels, occasional typhoon, occasional swarms of termites, 400:1 ratio of boys to girls (at the time), forbidden WWII unexploded ordinance areas, stinky humidity soaked sheets and bedding, don’t play football even in grassy areas due to underlying coral, and Guamanians with Betel nut discolored teeth.


I could be misinformed, but I believe the art to which you refer is traditionally known as Ching ching pow (or even pau?).


“It’s hard to imagine Guamanian cops going from door to door seeking incriminating black belts.”

This sounds like it could be a premise for a martial arts flick.

One I would totally watch.