Sunday, January 24, 2010

Other self defense tools: Kubotan as a daily protection‏

Hi Ferfal,

I'm in Australia - a very socialist type of country with strong laws against self-defence. About 10 years ago, all guns in the country were seized and tightly licenced after a mass murder of over 30 people by a maniac. This of course means that only criminals have guns for serious crime, and knives are the chosen offensive weapon (we also have large population segments which have a cultural preference for edged weapons. Hunting weapons and martial arts weapons are tightly controlled and knives and machetes are the weapon of choice for the small number of violent street gangs.

Australia has always had youth gangs fighting each other to prove their testosterone levels, but over the last few years 'road rage' and knife attacks seem on the increase (small but significant). We are a very self satisfied and affluent society so your reality seems like science fiction to almost everyone here, but still I like to be prepared in case civilised behaviour slips.

Such is our 'protection' against bad guys that we are left to wooden clubs and running shoes for our defenses. Even the humble Kubotan is classified as an offensive weapon and if you have one on your key ring it can mean arrest and fines.
( )

I used to carry one before the law changed (enough skills with it for an emergency, but I'd never stand and fight if flight was available). It is an immediately handy and useful flail to attack a knife holding hand and could, in a pinch be used to distract an attacker or if lucky maim him if he tried grappling. ( we're allowed carry a pen knife, but a bad guy is going to have the edged M16 to match your edged airgun).

With the ban on this device, I've taken to using a medium size maglite on my keychain (not ideal for use as a kubotan style weapon but at least I won't be arrested for it). The advantage is that it is always handy for use, especially since entering or exiting house or car seems the most likely point you'll run into attackers.

So can I ask if you're familiar with kubotan, or what other 'in your pocket' defense strategies you suggest where carrying 'weapons' is illegal.


Hi, yes so sad what’s happening in Australia with gunrights.
Back when I was in highschool kids from Australia came to Argentina to play Rugby, stayed in our homes, very nice folks.
I’m familiar with the kubotan, saw a couple ways of using it during a class, but can’t say I put much trust into it. Of course its better than nothing but I have much greater trust in a knife instead.
The kubotan MAY hurt if used properly, while a sharp blade WILL cut when it makes contact.
Worst case scenario, the knife can be used to its full lethal extent.
I would recommend knowing your local laws to their full extent. After some research this is what I use in Spain (has a pocket clip):

Unlike a Kubotan, the Leatherman Wave is a tool, not a weapon. I use it on daily basis for a number of small chores, I use the blade for cutting boxes, making a croissant sandwich while site seeing. Not a weapon and legal to carry here.
The multitool can be used as an impact tool with the handles closed, and with the handles extended but with the pliers folded, it has a greater length, a bit more than most keyring kubotans.
If there’s trouble, I have my Wave. I can use it as a impact tool/pressure point/weighted fist, or if the situation requires it, the blade is there too.
For the car, I bought a small bat in a gas station. Nope, not a weapon, its for checking the car’s tires.
Check your laws, and carry the best blade you can legally carry.
In most cases, go for something more utilitarian and not something that screams “weapon”. If you know what to look for, you can get a very effective defensive tool that won’t be considered a weapon until you absolutely need it to defend your life.
Victorinox also makes some very “politically correct” looking blades with a hole somewhat similar to Spyderco’s that are easy to open. The locking system isn’t very practical but at least you have a blade that can be opened fast single handedly.
Hope that helped some, take care!



Anonymous said...

Anybody know anything about these? Worth the trouble of keeping in a car?

Don Williams said...

Ferfal, I have been reading about Brazilian JiuJitsu (BJJ). Basically, the argument of the Gracies is that a fight will inevitably transition from striking to a clinch -- at which point someone skilled in grappling can throw or take down a boxer and take him out with a choke or joint lock.

Some highly skilled masters of the striking arts agree that this is a high probability -- although some MMA fighters have been good enough at wrestling to prevent the takedown and to win with strikes.

Some masters of pretty effective striking arts now say that grappling skills are essential to learn for self defense.

I myself have wondered about someone using eye gouges in a real fighter -- but the opinion of some people is that the time window for that tactic is so short that it is not a sure defense.

Do you have any opinion on this? Can a striker in a real fight avoid a takedown -- and hence should focus more on his striking skills than on learning groundfighting?

Surprise sucker punches obviously could be of value -- but the law frowns on the person who strikes first even when a preemptive attack is justified. Such is hard to prove, however.

noncompliant said...

Go get yourself an 10 inch black phosphate crescent wrench and tie a lanyard through the eye hole on the end. The handles are not very conducive to weapon retention, but with the lanyard it would be quite effective and very slim and low profile to boot. Bikers like to carry these types of weapons in the US just for that reason...they are not classified as weapons.

crassmike said...

Hmm nope but I consider a Maglite 3D type of flashlight, with a LED instead of a light bulb to be a good tool for the job. And it doesn't look that "tactile"...

ex.strategy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

This is pathetic. Why don't they outlaw stupid movies about killing, starting with those idiotic movies with Mel Gibson. These idiots with guns who shoot people for no reason get their inspiration from movies every day. It is not even a surprise that some nut starts shooting at unarmed people he never met after watching thousands of hours of fake violence on television. I also knew Aussie guys in my sports days - a good bunch, along with the South Africans. Easy to get along with and not into bullshit.

Off Grid Survival said...

If you know how to use them right, Kubotans are great for self defense. There are a few companies that make some that double as pens or flash lights that may help get around laws against them.

Anonymous said...

Don, I am gonna try to answer because I spent a lot of years in boxing gyms. This reminds me of the caliber argument that goes on without end and is not very productive in my opinion. What I mean is that I will take a member of the Army Marksmanship unit with a .22 over anyone else with anything else. Whatever caliber and pistol you carry, it will not help if the competitive shooter with the .22 shoots you in the face before you can get your gun unholstered.

The bottom line is that a guy with heavy judo training will destroy someone who punches in front of a mirror a few minutes a day, just as a Golden Gloves boxer break something in your face before you get your hands up if you go to judo class three times a month. I think what you are asking about is the scenario where an Olympic boxer meets a judo Olympian. You know, that to me is like asking if a crocodile will kill a shark of the other way around. The chances of two highly trained fighters meeting each other are very small. It's just important to be good at the style of fighting that you enjoy and that you practice. For what it is worth, I would say that boxing skills take longer to develop than wrestling skills, so for the most part, it is better for people to go with wrestling type of training, since it is more efficient with time. Also with boxing, you can hurt your hands even while you win the fight, like Mike Tyson broke his hand when he knocked out Mitch Green in a streetfight and had to postpone his fight with Frank Bruno.

Worg said...

You know, I carry a palmstick. I would NOT want to get hit by somebody with a palmstick.

But when the other guy has a knife or larger stick, or there are more than one person, that palmstick starts looking pretty poor. I had a disturbing situation with two potential attackers and all I had in my hand was a palmstick. I'm not doing that again.

Anonymous said...

My son owned a personal fitness studio, boxed, and now studies Brazilian jiu jitsu with Gracies'-trained folks. His experience is that you'd better knock him out with that first punch or he'll destroy you on the ground, where it DOES end up.

Have you ever seen a street brawl? I have, several, and they all end up on the ground when someone tries to grab someone else in a head lock and throw him there. I studied tae kwan do and a form of kung fu. When they sent mutiple attackers at one of our black belts in sparring and jumped on him, he was done.

If I didn't wear glasses, I would have started with jiu jitsu.


Don Williams said...

Re Anon at 6:06 Pm "Don, I am gonna try to answer because I spent a lot of years in boxing gyms"
Thanks for the info, Anon. I asked the question because I like to know the merits and shortcomings of various techniques --so I don't get surprised. To know why something is done as well as how.

Techniques that work well in regulated sporting competition may not work so well in unregulated street fights.

Conversely, some self defense systems place importance on knife hand strikes to the throat or carotid artery. But being totally dependent upon such strikes can hurt you -- boxers learn to protect their throat by holding their chin down and the side of the neck can be quickly protected by shrugging the shoulders.

Similarly, punches to body may lose their effectiveness if your enemy is wearing concealed body armer. And the Gracie system itself won renown because it showed how unprepared boxers were for grappling techniques.

I agree with you that there is no free lunch,

Anonymous said...

The problem with street fighting and self defense is 99% of the time attacked your attacked by multiple opponents, at least 2. And 99% of the time they have weapons. Still want to take it to the ground?

No sport fighting has 1 guy facing two opponents, for good reason. (they would get their ass kicked)

Boxing, muay thai elbows and headbutts, plus some Keysi shoulder strikes and strategy, is far as I would take it. If you go to the ground the other guy will just kick you in the head. Stunning your opponent and running away should be your goal not making them 'submit' to you on the floor.

Anonymous said...

And while we are at it some Aikido to AVOID getting grappled and taken to the ground would be nice too.

Anonymous said...

Where did you get the bag that the multitool is on?

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing the Mad Max series and I always laughed how after the meltdown the banditos were caucasian bikers. Considering Java has 125 million people crammed into a area the size of Fla. and that the Aussies and Kiwis have all been disarmed, it would be quite easy for the Indons and others to "migrate" down under to that lovely tropical paradise. That north coast would be more impossible than the Rio Grande to police. What prevented the Japs from coming that far was the fact that they were too spread out too thin. If the Americans hadn't thrown all they did at the South Pacifac, eventually the rich lands of Australia and New Zealand would have been Imperial Japanese lands with Aussies and Kiwis the wretched subjects of the most evil emperor in the last 2 centuries. I imagined some snotty Kiwi backpacker trollups I spoke with in Cuzco and how nice they would have been in one of the emperor's brothels. That is why I chuckle when those folks in their nuclear free zone question the dropping of the Abombs!!