Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ouch! A Few Kubotan Options

A couple of Krav Maga classes ago one of our classmates noticed Shira's odd looking keychain. When she asked about it, Shira explained that it was a Kubotan (or is it spelled Kubaton?), a self defense tool. A Kubotan is really nothing more than a short stick that can be used in both clever and obvious ways. Clever in that law enforcement officers can be trained to use it to leverage pressure points and gain "compliance," and obvious in that if you jab someone in the eyeball it's going to just friggin hurt.

The Kubotan was created in the 1970's by Takayuki Kubota and was originally targeted for use by female LAPD officers. The small form factor means that it can be outright carried, yet with proper training, it's supposed to be useful for taking down individuals of nearly any size. See what I mean?

Because a Kubotan is nothing more than a short stick, there are a number of options for packaging them up. Here are some obvious ones:

  • The classic version. It has no sharp points and just looks like a large'ish key fob. For $7.00, how can you go wrong?
  • The stylus version. This version looks more discrete but still does the same job. Notice the pen clip; put this guy in your pocket and nobody will know you're carrying anything unusual. Take it out for the walk through the dark parking lot at night.
  • The pen version. You get both a self defense weapon as well as an actual writing implement. These types of pens are known as a "tactical pens" and there's a quite a number of them out there. You can actually pay pretty big bucks for these guys. I know that the Shrade one I linked to is built quite well.
  • The Sharpie version. Yes, Sharpie makes a metal version of its classic marker. This isn't nearly as strong as the Shrade version, but if you're going to be some place where you want to carry some sort of protection and don't want to be hassled (say, an airport), this is one way to go. Learn more about this approach here.

Of course I need to provide a disclaimer to all this. (1) you should assume I know nothing about this topic. I first heard about Kubotans in college when my friend Jen explained to me what the wooden stick was on her key chain. I vividly remember her talking about being able to jab someone in the throat with it; a painful yet memorable thought. My experience though is pretty much limited to reading about the topic and watching YouTube videos. (2) You absolutely positively need some training to make any self defense tool or technique work. I've been enjoying (and getting crushed in) the Krav Maga classes we've been taking, and I can recommend those. Whatever you do, don't assume you can just figure it out on the fly.

Update: By the way, this is the model of Kubotan Shira had on her keychain: Alpha Innovations Kubotan.

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