Karen Dolley Thwarted A Burglar With Her Medieval Combat Skills, Plus 6 Other Weird Skills That Might Be Useful One Day

I feel finally validated for those stage combat lessons I took in theater camp: last Thursday, Oct. 8, Karen Dolley thwarted a burglar with her medieval combat skills. 43-year-old Dolley, who honed these skills as a teenager, used to fight in the Society for Creative Anachronism, which the Indy Star reports is "a nonprofit for members who re-create arts and skills from Europe prior to the 17th century." So, when Jason Wessel broke into her home in Indianapolis, Indiana, she used 10 punches plus a Japanese sword to put him in his palce. Did I mention that Dolley is also a total badass who plays roller derby under the name "Foul Morguean?" Because she is. Just, you know, in case you're in the Indianapolis area and want to see a real life hero play sports in person.

​"I didn't think I was getting good blows in but my knuckles are bruised today," Dolley told the Indy Star, which dutifully warns people that they shouldn't try fighting off home intruders by themselves because most people aren't actual superheroes like Dolley. "Hitting someone like that, it isn't like the movies. You're expecting it to be louder and see people jerk around, but that's not how it happens in real life."

Inspired by Dolley, I decided to figure out some other skills that seem silly, but honestly might be useful or even life-saving one day. And even if you don't know any of them, I suppose it couldn't hurt to have a ninjato sword by your bed instead.

1. Tying Weird Knots

It's not just about tying your shoes faster — you can use knots to make cool-looking holders for hanging plants or friendship bracelets, but more importantly you can use knots for shelters, boating, climbing, fishing, or even (in a real emergency) giving someone stitches. If you're stranded on a dessert island, you probably want to know a few secure knots.

2. Magic Tricks

If you're ever in a situation where you're being watched and you'd like to do something without them noticing — from checking your phone at work to grabbing a weapon in a kidnapping situation — it helps to know some sleight-of-hand.

3. Improv Comedy

Because sometimes, it helps to know some yes-and tricks so you don't run out of things to talk about during conversations at parties.

4. Picking Locks

Let's be honest — spy fantasies aside, the number one thing you'll use this for is when you're locked out of your own house. Just don't use your powers for the forces of evil, OK?

5. Getting Food in the Wild

Sure, fishing is boring, and mushroom hunting is for, like, rich French people. But if you were dropped in the middle of the desert right now, would you know how to find food in order to survive? Me neither! In the unlikely event that that happens, wouldn't you like to know how to catch rabbits and suck water from cacti?

6. Creating (And Cracking) Codes

I'm not talking about computer codes, but literally teaching yourself how to write complex and difficult-to-crack secret messages (not merely easy-to-crack substitution ciphers). It's a great way to make up computer passwords and share confidential information.

Images: Snake3yes/Flickr; Giphy (6)