In personal protection circles around the world, one weapon holds a special place at the top of the “effective” list. It is lightweight and centuries old, yet it simply resembles a cut-down dowel. Originally known as a yawara stick, it is a piece of wood approximately 6 inches long and 0.75 inches in diameter. Used on fleshy and sensitive nerve areas, the yawara can be an exceptional self-defense weapon.

In today’s marketplace, the yawara is more commonly known as the kubotan, a name it picked up from Takayuki Kubota who brought the yawara into the modern age. Kubota modified the yawara and developed it as a tool for law enforcement officers in California. The LAPD quickly took to the weapon, placing a particular emphasis on its use by smaller female officers. Nicknamed the “persuader,” the kubotan is a very effective tool for use against unruly subjects.

The modern Kubotan is generally made of high-density plastic and includes a key ring. They are legal in a majority of states but are considered weapons, thus excluding them from carry on aircraft. The most attractive aspect of the kubotan is its benign appearance. For those who do not wish to carry a lethal weapon or even pepper spray, the kubotan provides the perfect alternative. With simple training, the kubotan can be wielded by the smallest person and provide them a way to level the playing field against an attacker.

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