logo   t

The Yawara Stick: A Weapon for Taiho-Jutsu?

by Steven J. Kaplan 

The Yawara Stick is known by a variety of names. It is referred to as the Kappo Stick, the Ju-Jo, the Kubotan, Yubi-Bo, and the Pocket Stick. While I’m certain there are many more names given to the varieties of this weapon by those who enjoy reinventing the wheel, we are referring to a “stick”, usually measuring from 4" to 8" in length, held in the hand, with either a flat or a pointed end. It may be made from wood, metal, hard rubber, or plastic. The history of this weapon is often subject to debate. Our concern, however, is not the history, but the usefulness of the weapon in the Taiho-Jutsu course.

Prior to proceeding, we need to clarify between the Taiho-Jutsu course which is the focus of this article, and the more complete Taiho-Jutsu belt ranking system. The Taiho-Jutsu course is a limited course geared toward the law enforcement officer, in whatever area the individual may be employed in. This differs from the belt ranking system, which by definition, is more comprehensive, and covers more in both armed and unarmed techniques. More will be said on this below.

The chief function of the Yawara Stick is to attack nerve centers and pressure points on the attacker’s body, rendering him/her more susceptible to follow-up takedowns, restraints, and come-alongs. When employed effectively, the Yawara Stick is indeed a formidable asset for those in all areas of law enforcement. Herein lies the foundation in answer to the question posed in the title of this article.


To elaborate, we need to remember some of the most basic principles that went into the formulating of the Taiho-Jutsu course as taught by the USTJF. Techniques taught are those which are easily learned, employed, remembered, do not require extensive and excessive training, and may be applied in a myriad of situations. To effectively use the Yawara Stick, the officer must be in the “in-fighting” range, know the nerve centers and pressure points which will prove effective for the particular angle and movement s/he is in, and have near-perfect taisabaki to both avoid getting hit by the assailant, and to place him/herself in proper countering position with proper balance.

To my knowledge, there are no governmental departments issuing the Yawara Stick as a standard issue weapon to uniformed officers. However, there are departments which allow detectives to carry additional weapons as they see fit, probation and parole officers often do the same, security guards, depending on the company they may be working for, are permitted this latitude, and private investigators may certainly carry them. With this as a given, it would seem that the answer to the question posed in the title of this article is two-fold. On the one hand, given the difficulty in learning the techniques in a quick and effective manner, it would not seem appropriate for the course, whether geared for law enforcement, military (combative measures), or security personnel. However, in the more complete kyu/dan belt ranking system, the weapon’s formidable use would seem most appropriate.

Return to Table of Contents