The little five to six inch tube or cylinder made of wood, plastic, or metal seems harmless enough. After all, you can't swing it like a club, cut or stab anyone with it, nor can you throw it at anyone with any effectiveness. Despite these apparent limitations, the kubotan is probably the most prolific self-defense weapon in America.
Developed by Shihan Tak Kubota as a more modern and practical yawara stick, the little kubotan most often serves as a keyring yet it retains the striking and joint-locking capabilities of its progenitor, the yawara.
Those who do not practice martial arts have still found the kubotan to be a highly effective self-defense tool which is legal in almost all jurisdictions nation-wide. Used as a fist "equalizer" for punching, the kubotan can literally save your hands from breakage in an encounter. The ends, which protrude from the fist a few centimeters, can be used to give painful blows to soft tissue or hard bony areas and can literally kill an opponent if used with skill on vital areas.
With keys attached, a kubotan can become a swinging, biting, cutting nunchaku delivering blinding blows and painful abrasions to an attacker. Even the least-trained person can use a kubotan effectively to fend off an attacker.
More experienced martial artists, especially those who practice a "trapping" style such as JuJitsu or Aikido, will find that the kubotan also serves as a capable joint trapper and can be used for many hooking, locking, and pain compliance techniques.
Defensively, for anyone using the kubotan, it can easily equalize a larger, stronger opponent. Strikes, grabs, or kicks can be deflected or countered easily with the kubotan. A kicking leg, for example, can be met with a side-fisted punch with the kubotan being the striking point, thereby causing great pain or even disabling the attacker's leg.
While carrying a gun, knife, or even pepper sprays and stun guns is illegal in many areas, the kubotan has yet to be restricted. They are generally available in metal, wood, or plastic and can be purchased for five or six dollars. Training can be had at any self-defense institute and usually the basics can be taught in less than an hour.
The ubiquitous little kubotan has proliferated throughout the United States and is, bar none, the most commonly-carried self-defense weapon available today.
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