Kubotan Self Defense

Learn how to use Kubotan for self defense

Month: November 2015

Kubotan training

Your ability to use the  Kubotan is only as effective as your kubotan training regime. The pocket stick is simple and extremely effective but it requires considerable training  to build the right skills.

In the simplest form you can strike with the kubotan or use it for fist loading to improve your punching power, but it offers much more than that.

In this post we will be compiling a list of resource to aid you in your kubotan training without or without a partner.  Let’s begin.

Realistic Kubotan training:

When it comes to self defense preparation, it is important to have as realistic training as possible. Having that said the best training will be with a human partner to provide you with the most realistic training conditions. The live partner will be moving, reacting, he will vary his attacks and defenses allowing you to build up the required skills for the real game. In training with a live partner we can’t emphasis enough how important is the safety precautions for both of you.

However, we know that a partner is not always available for such a realistic training. In such case the second best option will be our dear friend BOB (body oponent bag). BOB resembles the human body anatomy which will help in developing the accuracy against different striking targets. BOB will also enable you to practice your flows from one strike to another as quickly as possible.

Also check our simple kubotan training at home plan.

Kubotan training manual:

There are few manuals which are really good and effective. Some of them are already quite old like the official kubotan techniques manual.  The most modern manual we have came across is Kubotan power by Sammy franco. It is probably most modern comprehensive manual on the subject.

The book provides great information on Kubotans in general, how to buy and conceal your weapon. The book also provides good advice on practicing drills. The book also provides a variety of basic techniques. After all we think it’s good book to have for the self defense savvy but when it comes to learning techniques a DVD comes very handy.

Kubotan training DVD:

We think that DVDs comes second when it comes to learning techniques after instructor based classes. The main benefit of having a DVD is the ability to see and repeat any technique as much as needed with different speeds. They are also a great way to expand your knowledge and techniques about the subject.

Mostly there is a companion DVD for every available manual, one is the official kubotan techniques DVD and others that we will talk about in other posts, but again in our estimation Kubotan Self Defense DVD for Sammy franco comes first.  In this DVD, Sammy offers a no non-sense instructions, that we think it’s all that you need to start using this weapon for self defense immediately.

Kubotan training videos:

There are tons of Kubotan training videos on youtube. Most of them are just for demonstration purposes and don’t offer a complete system or instructions as DVDs do. But there are still some videos that are worth watching as they offer very good basic instructions on different techniques.

On this site we have been embedding many videos in most of our posts. We will also be compiling a complete play list in our media library.  Here are some good ones, and as always keep training and STAY SAFE.


Kubotan Keychain types and how to pick yours?

The Kubotan keychain also known as a  kubaton keyring is nothing but the modern version of the yawara stick. Since you will not leave home without your keys, having kubatons as keychains helps to improve the chances of having the weapon at disposable all the time. It also helps in naturally concealing the weapon and making it look more innocuous. Another advantage is that keys can be used in some self defense strikes, like scratching your attackers face while moving them like a nunchaku.

Kubotan self defense keychains can be  made of wood, steel or strong forms of plastic. The most effective and the most durable is the steel though. There are also a variety of forms for the kobotan. It can be standard flat ended, plunt or spike ended. There are also other famous versions like the hollow kubotans, kubotan knives (both are illegal in most cities) and flashlight kubotans  which also come in the form of a key chain or can be attached to one.

Here are the spike, plunt and flat ended respectively.

kubotan3 kubotan2 Kubotan
Spike ended Plunt ended Flat ended


The spiked is the most sold type as most people think it is better or more effective. This is probably not very true as it might limit your ability to deliver some types of techniques. Plus that it actually looks more dangerous and will bring more attention to it when most people will  think of it as a real weapon. This probably might be bad thing from the legal perspective.

So, when choosing your kubotan keychain make sure it’s heavy and sturdy enough. I would also recommend the flat ended over the pointed one’s. Finally there is your personal taste; don’t forget you will be carrying this keyring around so it needs to match your personal style. Above all DO NOT forget to check your state law in this regard.

Let’s touch on the most common ones briefly.

Spiked Kubotan:

spiked kubotan keychainThe spiked kubotan is a very common choice that people pick. In our opinion the spiked keychain is not the best option for real life self defense applications. Spikes limit your ability to perform certain techniques and locks. The second reason is that punching with the spikes is a good way to get yourself into legal trouble and doesn’t actually improve your chances of defending yourself in an attack. Moreover, it looks dangerous and offensive and might not be legally tolerated in different states.

Fury Kubotan weapon:

Fury Kubotan keychainThe fury kubotan (grooved kubaton) is another common choice that we would like to consider. It’s a lightweight, aluminum keychain  that has finger grooves to strengthen the grip over the weapon .  The fury key chain can be used to apply the same kubotan techniques to parts of an attacker’s body, causing non-lethal shock. The included key ring attachment allows you to keep your keys and self defense all together. The fury kubotan is very good choice, however again it’s pointed and this need to be considered from a legal perspective before buying one.

The following options are mostly considered illegal: Kubotan knife keyring, Hollow kubotan

The following are some examples for Kubaton keychains that are considered illegal in most states around the world. So before carrying a kubotan make sure to check that it is allowed to carry it.

kubotan knife keychain hollow kubotan throwing spikes kubotan keychain
Hollow Kubotan knives
Spikes Hollow Kubotans
Spikes Kubotan keychains


In some cases carrying a kubaton might not be an option. It could be legally regulated or it might not just match your personal style to carry it as a key chain. For similar situations there are some available alternatives that could more or less act the same function as the kubaton. Here are a couple of alternatives.

 Tactical/kubotan flashlight:

Tactical flashlights are originally flash lights made for law enforcement personnel to aid them in identifying an attack or for shooting in low light situations. It was originally designed to be weapon mounted. Now tactical flash lights are also available for civilians. The flash light can be used in multiple ways like illuminating a dark surrounding or momentarily disorienting an attacker by shining the strong bright light directly into his eyes and they can also be used as a kubaton since they are always made of solid strong materials.

tactical flashlight

Tactical/Kubotan pen:

Tactical pen is an everyday tool that is available  to anyone and can be taken everywhere. It looks and functions like a normal pen that,when necessary, can used for self defense, just like the kubaton is used. Tactical pens are made of very solid materials and are designed to deliver intense force on pressure points on the human body.

Tactical pens

There are some other not very famous alternatives for the kubotan keychains, but the beautiful thing about the kubotan is that is just a simple rod of metal. Learning how to use it for self defense offers great possibilities of improvised weapons.

Wooden Kubotan keychain

Wooden Kubotan - ZanozaWorkshopA wooden kubotan is a very interesting self defense weapon, they usually come in very elegant and sometimes customized shapes. They are not the most common sold in the market though. They are usually made of hard wood weather it’s machine turned (cheaper) or hand made (more expensive). For example the wood kubotan can be made of walnut wood, boxwood, dogwood as they are all hard enough and are not expected to break down. If you would be interested on having a wooden kubaton you can always make your own or you can look on some online shops which specialize in good quality types of wood kubotan keychains. As one to start with you can have a look at www.cooleysticks.com and ZanozaWorkshop.

Where to buy a Kubotan?

You can buy your kobutan online safely from  Amazon or eBay. There is a wide variety of choices. It’s also possible to buy locally from any self defense shop. Here are some  quick Amazon best Kubotans for sale:

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Further resources:

Extend your knowledge about how to use the kubotan for self defense and learn the basic techniques with few videos that can be applied in a street fight to defend yourself. We also have created a simple 5 step kubotan training plan for you to do at home.

For those who like a DIY style, here are some instructions for a homemade kubotan.

Kubotan training: How to train at home?

kubotan training, gripsKubotan is a very simple tool and it’s use is almost natural to most of us. If you know how to punch and move your hands then you can use the kubotan. However, using the Kubotan is like every other skill it gets better with regular practice. Remember that in under pressure you will not have much time to think so everything need to come natural to you and here lies the importance of your Kubotan training.

You need to remember that the kubotan is just a force equalizer and it works in certain fight ranges and like everything has its limitations. For that we highly recommend that you take a class or two with an instructor so you easily understand how the tool works and what to expect from it. Real life training develops your skills on distance and timings which are very important aspects in a fight.

After you have had a couple of sessions with an instructor and got the fundamentals its time to nail them down into your muscle memory. Simply you need to practice and train the moves and strikes over and over until you can perform instinctively.

We simply suggest that you practice the following skills on regular basis:

  • Drawing your kubotan as fast as possible. This reqiures that you always carry your kubotan in the same pocket and that you rehearse and train your timing for drawing the kubotan with some sort of a trigger. You will also need to practice drawing it under different conditions like when you are sitting, lying on the ground or moving in different directions.
  • Secondly train your kubotan grips, use it in different grips and if possible in both hands.
  • The third element is to kubotan strikes training, you need to practice different types of strikes usig different grips. It also helps if you practice those strikes on a solid surface so you get the feeling of your kubotan hitting something and how to keep it in your hand so yo don’t easily lose it in a fight.
  • The Fourth element is to practice flows, learn to flow from one strike to another in a natural and logical manner. Every strike toward your oponent’s body will open some targets, learn to expect those and to flow.
  • Lastly it would help immensely if you practice your kubotan strikes on a moving object like a small hanging bag or pad. Keep in mind that in a real fight your attacker will most likely be a quickly moving target . This kind of training will condition your responses and coordinate your body movements.

I am sharing the video below as it provides a simple demonstration for different types of strikes that I expect you to practice at home. The instructor also explains how your body should be moving in order to deliver the strike with maximum force and impact. There are some other Kubotan training aspects, which I will touch upon in future posts, for now just train on using your kubotan.

Check out more training requirements at our kubotan training resources post.


7 Reasons to learn How to use a Kubotan now

flat ended kubotanAre you still thinking if the Kubotan is the right tool for self defense? Do you wonder what makes so many professionals recommend such a small pocket stick for self protection?

Here are 7 reasons that makes the Kubotan the right and the best tool to carry around with you for the job.


  1. The kubotan is lightweight, easy to carry and conceal, they are are highly accessible, very durable. This makes it an ideal tool to bring anywhere without attracting much attention to it.
  2. Kubotan is a keychain and that means you will never forget it home since you have your keys attached to it. What’s better for self defense than a tool which you know you can always rely on being in your pocket.
  3. In spite of its small size, the Kubotan provides the required degree of force between hand defense techniques and the use of deadly force. It can be a very effective weapon to use to bring down an attacker. The great thing about Kubotan techniques is that they can be adjusted to match the situation, from just strengthening your fist, applying pressure to sensitive parts of an attacker’s body and up to completely disabling strikes to sensitive areas in your attacker’s body in critical situations.
  4. Every strike with the Kubotan hits a target. When you strike with the Kubotan, the amount of pressure exerted is forced into a small, very precise surface area, thus increasing the damage dramatically. You simply can not miss using the kubotan, every body part is a good target. As you learn to flow with it, you can easily shower your attacker with a combination of painful strikes in a matter of seconds to encourage him to stop his attack.
  5. Kubotan is easy to learn and can be taken with you everywhere. We are all busy and we don’t need to spend hours learning complex motor skills of different martial arts. With a minimum of training, the Kubotan brings the possibility for any person to defend himself and equalize strength with a bigger attacker.
  6. The Kubotan is mostly legal around the globe to carry around.  With it’s small size and solid material it can be carried around and used creatively for many daily life activities or survival situations.
  7. Lastly Kubotan is a very cheap tool, that doesn’t tear down and its fun to play with and practice.

These were 7 reasons to make the Kubotan the best choice for normal people to learn quickly and smoothly.  It can literally improve your chances of ending an attack as soon it starts without the least possible damage to you or your attacker.

Basic Kubotan techniques for self defense

Kubotan is an effective tool, It’s simple to use, carry and easy to learn quickly.  We highly recommend it for is how fast you can learn and master a variety of basic kubotan  techniques.

Kubotan uses:

The use of the kubotan self defense keychain is only limited by your imagination, but generally the techniques fall down in one of the following major categories.

  • Control and restrain techniques: Not every self defense situation requires force, in some cases all you need to do is to control your attacker and restrain his ability to attack you. Different joint locks and pain compliance techniques fall into this category. These types of techniques are the main use of the kubotan for the police enforcement personel and security gaurds to control different situations without causing injury to the other person.
  • Striking techniques: This is the most famous and basic use of the kubotan keychain. The kubotan basicly acts as a force maximizer in striking techniques and for a skilled user who knows where and how to strike, it becomes a very effective tool to end an attack immediatly.  You don’t necessarily need to strike with the kubabon, in its simplist form kubaton can just be used to greatly strengthen you punches (known as fist loading).

There are multiple resources and ways a person can use to start learning basic and simple kubotan techniques for self defense. Some of these resources are listed in our kubotan training resources page.

In this post we will focus on the most basic techniques that you need to start with.

The kubotan techniques videos below shows some very basic striking  and defense techniques that you can start practicing and using right away.  Once you got the basic understanding keep drilling the following kubotan fighting techniques until you can do them instinctively. This is very essential in self defense situations. Fortunately once you grasp those basic techniques you will never be dependent on your kubotan being with you, any thing that has such shape can be applied in similar fashion.

Let’s start:

Kubotan Grips and striking targets:

This youtube video illustrates the basic grip of the kubotan, the instructor also demonstrates different angles of attacks and pressure points you should target with the kubotan for maximum impact.

Kubotan striking techniques:

The next video also the instructor explains the basic Kubotan strikes  techniques and builds on them by introducing the concept of the checking hand and incorporating other body parts combatives, that you need to integrate in your traning protocol as well.

The instructor shows also how to drill the basic kubotan strikes all by yourself and do your kubotan training at home on a simple door frame. It’s very important to practice these fundamnetals and to learn the natural flow from one strike to another against different targets and pressure points.

Now, it’s you turn to practice some of the techniques illustrated in these videos until.

In our Resources page, you will also find a list of different kubotan techniques DVDs, manuals and videos that can aid your in learing to use the keychain for your self protection.


How to use a Kubotan for self defense?

Kubotan is a very versatile tool for its shape and solidness. It can be used creatively in many daily life tasks and not just as an effective self defense tool. The solid material of the kubaton, makes it also usable in many critical situations for example to break glass or to hammer something.

However the most important use for a Kubotan that concerns us here is in self defense so let’s go through this.

Basic Kubotan Grips:

The kubotan grip will determine the type of applications and defenses you will be usining agains your attacker. It’s important to train different grips because you never know what circumstances you will be in, during an attack.

  • Ice pick grip: This is actually my personal favorite for the versatility of the applications.
  • Hammer grip: The kubotan is held as it you are holding a hammer.
  • Center point grip: This is where you hold the kubotan in the middle of you hand so its both ends can be seen. This is the best grip for fist loading techniques.

In this video, famous self defense instructor Peter Weckauf is showing different grips and applications that can be used with the pocket stick or the kubotan. The video is also showing the verstatility of the tools that can be used in the same way as the kubotan if you don’t have one.


Kubotan Applications:

Kubotans have many applications in self defense, the major ones are as follows:

  1. Compliance and restrain tool: you can use it to restrain and control your attacker, a lot of a fancy techniques are available for this application.
  2. Striking tool: you can jab and stab with the kubotan in different hand grips.
  3. Anchoring or locking tool: also a sort of control for your attacker may be to calm him down or until you can escape or you get some help.
  4. Fist loading tool: just punch with the kubotan in your fist, it will add a lot of power to your punches.

The Kubotan is usually used by security gaurds or police enforcements for trapping, joint locking, blocking and extracting people. There are also tons of martial arts techniques where the Kubotan can be used artfully and elegantly, but when it comes to self protection or defense situation we need to only care about using it as effective and as quickly as possible to end or control the current situation.

Another use of the kubotan is flailing the keys, I am personally not a big fan of this technique and don’t find it useful but still this is one more thing you can do with the kubotan keyring if you see the use for it.

Kubotan major targets:

Kubotan techniques can be applied against any soft tissue, bony areas or nerve pressure points on an attacker’s body. The targets vary based on the situation and how much force or stopping power you need to put into your defense. This depends of course on the nature and criticality of the situation. The common targets on an attacker’s body are as follows:

  • eyes, temple, throat, skull, solar plexus, collar bone, groin, spine, joints in general.

Although there are body targets in which applying the technique against will be most effective, but hitting with the kubotan will be painful to any body part, so it’s not an exact science.

The main principle is to be able to use the Kubotan to punish your attacker as much as needed to stop his attack and nothing more than that, or you will have to answer for that.

So, the basic idea is to master fundamental effective combatives using the Kubotan because those will come naturally to you in a tough situation. After mastering the basic grips and strikes you can then get more advanced kubotan techniques in your arsenal to handle different types of attacks.

Below are some selected videos that elaborate on this concept of using the Kubotan in a very basic but effective way in a street fight.

Your practice need to be simple enough that you can apply it in any situation and it has to always start by practicing Kubotan drawing techniques as fast and smooth as possible. Mastering all the techniques in the world is not going to help you if you can’t draw your weapon at the right time when you need to. So start here.

I included this video because this is how I think the kubotan should be used in most cases. You need to learn how to draw your kubotan and then use it for what it is good for. No need for fancy moves unless you are willing to put in great deal of time mastering techniques that you might not have the time to apply in a real fight.

Joe’s vidoes about yawara stick are always good to watch. This video elaborate on the same concept of using the kubotan instinctively against your attacker’s body. The most fundamental part is to take the attacker’s mind off you as soon as possible and according to how threatinging the sitution is.

Another cool video from raw combat, that elaborates on the same concept of reality based use of the kubotan or pocket stick. Most street attacks are violent and you will have to learn to use your weapon combatively to finish at attack by applying the needed force.


Is a Kubotan effective in a street fight?

The short answer is YES, Kubotan works very effectively for street self defense.

Kubotan is being used frequently by a police officers as the basic non-lethal weapon taught enforcement academies and if such professionals use it for such critical situations that means that it works.

Basic self-defense skills with a Kubotan can be taught in an hour or so. A full course can be completed in a day. But it requires some practice to develop the required the motor skills after taking the course.

In law enforcement jobs, Kubotan is often used to get people out of close-quarters situations. They’re great for extracting people from vehicles or from doorways or other areas where they grab on to a fixed object and hold on to resist arrest.

In grasping a fixed object like a steering wheel or a door frame, the subject exposes their wrist, which is the primary point of attack with the Kubotan in an arrest situation. In a crowded environment like a bar, a Kubotan was much more useful than a traditional impact weapon like a baton or an aerosol spray.

The great thing about the Kubotan is that You can carry it just about everywhere, and they aren’t expensive. Most people don’t know how to use them, so if you lose control of the Kubotan, it’s not likely to be used against you the way a knife, gun, or pepper spray could.

I think it’s an excellent choice as a personal defense weapon. It’s best to get some training from a qualified instructor. If you locate an instructor, ask some questions about where their training came from and what organizations support or endorse it.

Get yourself a Kubotan if it is allowed in your city and carry it in your keychain, find a good instructor to give you the basics of how to use it and just practice that regularly, you never know when you might need to use it.