My copy of Air & Space mag (Aug 2007) has an article about how 9/11 has changed that job description (Coffee, Tea, or a Knuckle Sandwich?) and self-defense is in there. A couple of interesting quotes: "The FAA recommended in Jan. 2002 that any passenger disturbance, ' even those seemingly harmless, should considered suspicious; it could be a diversion for more serious acts'." (The flying Imams issue comes to mind, doesn't it?) The job of flight attendant has become more of a flight crew position whereas it used to be a position concerned with "appeasement". To "protect the flight deck at all costs", the article mentions the tools and techniques being employed by today's attendant. Interesting.