The reinvention of a centuries-old weapon—the yawara—was the focus of the “Tactical Alley” column in March 2014’s Tactical Knives. Phil Elmore discussed the origins of the simple stick-like weapon and its modern reincarnation through martial-arts expert Donald Koz. According to Elmore, “Today, any number of instructors recommend the yawara, pocket stick or Kubotan-style keychain as a striking tool for self-defense. Some also teach a variety of controlling, locking and manipulation methods that employ the stick as leverage or for pain compliance.” Elmore goes on to describe how hammer-fist blows in combination with the yawara exponentially increase the user’s hand-to-hand stopping power.

Elmore then learned about Donald Koz’s “Ronin” tool, a modern reinterpretation in the yawara style that includes a length of cord that serves multiple defensive purposes. “When the cord is pulled away from the body of the Ronin, it is retained at one end within the body of the device. The wielder can then use the cord for greater leverage in applying blocking, trapping and entangling methods with the Ronin.”

For the full column, check out the March 2014 issue of Tactical Knives, available on newsstands and digitally November 19, 2013. To subscribe, go to

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