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Yawara Stick for Women Self Defense

Updated on May 28, 2013

Yawara stick for Women self-defense against street violence

Basic concept

The advantage of the Yawara stick is in catching the attacker offguard.

Small, light and easily concealed. The Yawara stick can quickly incapacitate an assailant. Because it strikes at sensitive areas of the body, the force generated by an average woman's punch will suffice.The Yawara stick concentrates the amount of applied force-pressure into a small and precise surface area thereby increasing the damage inflicted.

A general rule to remember is to strike body areas where the bone comes close to the skin surface.

The "equalizer" offers a means of self defense for a woman who may find herself being victimize by a mugging or street assault . Like other weapons, the proper use of the stick is dependent on the amount of training received.

But even without learning the application of locks, bone breaks or throwing techniques, one can still use the Yawara stick. The natural movement of the hands and arms in striking, parrying or pushing away from an assailant is second nature to the instinct of survival

A Yawara strike on the throat area
A Yawara strike on the throat area

Held in a knife grip for an upward strike at head targets like the nose, throat and eyes, or slam obliquely in a Tennis backhand or forehand manner against the temple or crown .

It can be applied in a downward stabbing motion on the collarbones, jab into the stomach, solar plexus, rib cage, spine, inner thighs or groin area.

The yawara stick can also be hook into the mouth or use to punch out the assailant's teeth. An upward thrust as in a palm strike into the hollow cavity below the jawbone or the adam's apple of the larynx can be fatal.

Try to deliver multiple and continuous strikes to the upper torso (a larger and easier target).

With the "Kubotan" you can use the keys attach at the swinging end to flail at the attacker's eyes or in the general direction of the face.

If nothing else this action will at least momentarily confuse the assailant (There is a natural tendency to blink or close the eyes protectively) and allow you the opportunity to get away.

Target chart
Target chart

YAWARA (the martial art)

Yawara Jutsu is a martial art form develop by the Japanese samurai in ancient times. Applied in unarmed self defense and close quarter combat when the use of their sword was impractical or the employment of lethal force was not necessary.

It is believed that Yawara was developed as a method of fighting with a sheathed knife called Tantojutsu. Specifically, tsuki waza or "thrusting techniques."

In Japan they prefer to call their martial art style according to the name of the school they belong to. Yawara is better known as Jujitsu, the forerunner of today's popular sport of Judo. Jiujitsu (Yawara) is the general term for the different forms or style of self defense, e.g. Tai-Jitsu, Tantojutsu

These chrome steel ball tips focus the force of the blow to a much smaller area than the conventional stick, increasing the lethalness as they are more likely to penetrate the soft parts of the skull
These chrome steel ball tips focus the force of the blow to a much smaller area than the conventional stick, increasing the lethalness as they are more likely to penetrate the soft parts of the skull

YAWARA STICK (the weapon)

Essentially a short stick that is palm or held in hand,The Yawara stick, improperly called a "Judo stick" is a tool use in the application of some Jiujitsu (Yawara) techniques.

The Yawara stick is use to attack vulnerable areas of the body. It can cause sharp stinging pain to the body's pressure points.The Yawara stick can also be leverage against an assailant's wrist, fingers and joints to apply locks, break bones or throw the opponent.

It was introduce to U.S. police enforcement agencies in the 1940s. Professor Frank Matsuyama wrote an instruction book "How to use the Yawara stick" detailing the techniques and application.To police officers who had hand to hand combat training, the Yawara stick was easier to handle and was preferred to the night stick. It's easy concealment was also an advantage to plain-clothes cops.

For the average person the Yawara stick offers an alternative between being unarmed or having to carry a lethal weapon like a gun and it's unforeseen ramifications. (Legal and safety issues)

Pocket stick is the generic term for short rod-shaped hand weapons like the yawara stick. Made from wood, plastic, metal or aluminum alloy, many variance develop from the original design. Ranging from tapered pointed kinds to more offensive looking "ninja" types that have hidden blades, spikes or tear gas.

The Kubotan with key ring
The Kubotan with key ring
kubotan "key chain"
kubotan "key chain"

The Kubotan

Made of a hard high-impact plastic rod and lined with six round grooves for better grip. It is 5.5 inches (14 cm) long and 9/16 0.56 inch (1.5 cm) in diameter. There is a screw eye with a split ring attached to one end for keys.

It was developed as a police tool to restrain law offenders without causing permanent injury. It can be held in plain view and people would think that it's just your key chain.

The "kubotan" was popular in the mid-1970s when it's innovator Takayuki "tak" Kubota, a black belt martial arts instructor began schooling female officers of the LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) in it's practical application.

It is classified as a self-defense key chain stick or SDKS. But in some law enforcement agency it was dubbed "The Persuader" because of it's effectiveness in quickly changing the attitude of unruly suspects.

The Kubotan

Fierce looking temple guardian
Fierce looking temple guardian

Historical background

There are statues found in China, India, Korea,Japan and other Southeast Asian countries known as temple guardians. Symbolically meant to guard against unbelievers and ignorance, These fierce looking sculptures are depicted armed with weapons. Dated as far back as the 9th century, some are shown with a "thunderbolt" held in their palm.

Called a dorje in Tibetan, varja in Sanskrit and Shukonjo in Japanese. These are made out of stone, iron, wood, bones and for ceremonial purposes silver, bronze or copper. They appear to be the forerunners of the present day Yawara stick.

The Dorje
The Dorje

Koppo stick

The koppo stick is a dowel with a two finger loop. The middle and ring fingers are inserted into the loop to prevent slippage.
The koppo stick is a dowel with a two finger loop. The middle and ring fingers are inserted into the loop to prevent slippage.
Applying or concentrating force into a small and precise surface area  increases the damage inflicted.
Applying or concentrating force into a small and precise surface area increases the damage inflicted.

The yawara stick

Legal use of Yawara stick for women self defense

Be aware that in some jurisdiction, the Yawara stick is considered an offensive weapon.The owner can be legally held accountable for the use of excessive force. It is also a prohibited item in air travel. In close quarter encounter it can be lethal when deliberately use for that end.

However, there are many small and ordinary everyday items that could be substituted for the Yawara stick for women self defense against street violence (e.g. hair brushes, combs, pen and pencils, bicycle locks, dowel, small flashlight) my daughter on one occasion used a cell phone*


Submit a Comment
  • SilentReed profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Philippines

    Kungfooey ~ Thank you for catching that spelling error. I have made the necessary alteration. Couldn't imagine how I miss that :)Have a nice day.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    it's kubotan, not kubota. i know cause i just bought one and it says kubotan on it.

  • SilentReed profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Philippines

    Christopher Price ~ There will always be bullies and predators. I have met my fair share of them. I was once like the skinny guy for a body building course who had sand kick in his face :) The most important thing I learn is not to be at the beach when the bully was prowling. Just kidding:) The highest form of martial arts is winning without fighting; if I see a drunk coming my way, I just cross over to the other side of the street and let the whizzing cars take care of him if he decides to follow.:))

  • Christopher Price profile image

    Christopher Price 

    8 years ago from Vermont, USA

    I've been way too lax recently. This is another fine hub of yours I had missed until now. I hope more men and women get to read this and take note. There are far too many bullies and predators looking for victims, and everyone should know how to defend themselves.

    FYI, the only practical defensive device allowed on planes these days (other a metal writing pen) is a cane. Now that I am considered a "senior" I am tempted to carry one as an equalizer for those days my body is reluctant to ignore its mileage!

    There are courses and training videos available to assist in learning effective techniques in using a cane for self defense. Perhaps this could be a topic for you for a future hub.

    Meanwhile, thanks for this informative and well done article.


  • SilentReed profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Philippines

    BkCreative ~ Thanks for the additional input about the statistics on the violence against women in street crimes. It seems that some laws passed protect more the perpetrators than the victims. When arming oneself for protection becomes a crime,then there is something seriously wrong in the mindset of lawmakers.

  • BkCreative profile image


    8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

    This is so interesting - I have learned so much. And certainly women here in the US have to stop being so naïve as the think they will never be assaulted - we are attacked, raped and murdered at an epidemic rate. In fact the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) claims at least 50% of women are subjected to some type of violence on a regular basis. Here in NYC, older women are brutally attacked so often that there had to be a 'granny law' making such attacks a felony. It just makes sense to change our mindset and know we have every right to stick up for ourselves. Literally!

    Thanks so much for a device(s) that I would like to learn more about using and having. Rated up!


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