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The Security Baton

by Steven J. Kaplan

Back in the late 1960s, having been qualified to teach the basic Taiho-Jutsu course, I secured a part-time position as a uniformed security guard while attending college. Although the style of uniform the guards had to wear was dictated by the employer, there were no guidelines as to equipment which was allowed to be carried. While surveying the selections in a local police supply store, I came upon what was (and to the best of my research still is) called, the security baton. Identical in shape and style to the standard police baton/”billy club”, it measures approximately 12" and is certainly less imposing looking than its 24"-26" relative. Questions which arose in my mind were, how effective is this 12" weapon against knife attacks or attacks with bats or tire irons? What type of techniques would be utilized with a weapon this short?

Before proceeding, some clarification is in order. The security baton is, to my knowledge, not an officially issued weapon by any governmental law enforcement agency. Its use is seen primarily amongst private agencies/security personnel, where officers have the option of selecting their own equipment. The matter of whether these officers choose the smaller security baton over their larger relative is purely subjective. Factors in the selection include the officer’s comfort with the quicker response of a smaller baton, whether the techniques employed are more in the “style” of the user’s total body movement, and whether the less imposing image of the security baton is important to the particular position s/he holds.


As a brief comparison with the larger baton, the wooden security baton , because of its size, allows for quick movements. Held with or without thong, techniques may be employed which can counter the slashes of a knife of nearly any size, and render the attacker temporarily immobile when vital areas are struck. Against larger and harder weapons, e.g., a bat or tire iron, the security baton can withstand the force of a strike, if there is the accompanied taisabaki . Without it, it is foolish to believe any weapon will be effective against heavier, stronger, and longer ones. With taisabaki , not only are the blows being deflected, but the defender is in position to effectively counter. The full force of the oncoming weapon is never absorbed.

The question of an effective system of techniques is crucial to the decision of whether there is in fact real worth to the security baton . While every practitioner will undoubtedly have his/her own preferred method, the system I chose, and still use, incorporates a philosophy of the classic Taiho-Jutsu course, i.e., select easily learned techniques which do not require extensive training and practice to be effective, against a wide variety of attacks, combined with the essential element of taisabaki.

All in all, the little security baton can prove a valuable aid for those in security positions who have the option of choosing their equipment.

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