Yes, it’s true! Yawara-jutsu is one of the old Japanese martial arts. One of its facets includes the use of a short, six-inch plain stick to strike ‘death and terror’ into the opponent.
The ‘experts’ will claim that it is used to jab kyusho or Dim Mak points resulting in severe shock to the system. This is only partly true. One hits vulnerable areas, it is true, but these are not necessarily surface ‘vital points’. They overlie deep nerves or organs which, if hit effectively, result in shock and bodily collapse. The same effect (almost) as when a footballer is accidentally kicked in the groin.
The stick can be held as a hammer, smacking down into a surface bone like the wrist. Or it can be ‘flicked’ in a back-hand motion into say the teeth or the eye. Short and sharp somewhat like cracking a whip.
Probably its best use perhaps is holding at the middle, stabbing down like a knife into the neck or other target. Conversely it can stab upwards into the under-jaw. If then it is ripped forwards it could hopefully dislocate the jaw.
A more skilled use is in come-along holds and bone or joint breaks. But this is advanced technical studies requiring much (much!) practice and training in a martial arts club. If you expect to be successful.
There is an American version developed by Frank Matsuyama. This version has metal spikes to hamper someone trying to wrench it away. I quite like it, but while it fits easily into the pocket, it is clearly a martial arts weapon, and as such leaves you wide open to police prosecution if use for self defence. An Internet search will take you directly to it. But the plain stick is ‘safer’ and true to the Japanese yawara-jutsu origins. The Matsuyama stick is metal, heavier and very effective, but advisedly should not be carried where you feel danger lies. Far better go elsewhere and so avoid killing someone and also avoid going to jail which you assuredly will if you use it.
His manual “How To Use The Yawara Stick” can be downloaded, but as it is written specifically for police officers who already have martial arts experience and as a substitute for their truncheon, it is not at all suitable for the novice. But if you are Blue Belt or higher, you will enjoy it.
The stick is said to have arisen from the knife fighting techniques of Tanto-jutsu, a segment of the overall Yawara-jutsu wider school. In wet or sweaty conditions a knife could jam in its sheath, and techniques were – of course – developed to allow the defender to still use it in this inconvenient situation. Furthermore, yawara-jutsu was less dangerous than actually stabbing someone. [Remember that, Young Jimmie, when you’re out with the lads! Don’t carry a knife – a Yawara stick is very effective and keeps you out of a prison life sentence]
There have been several modern refinements on the basic Yawara approach. Notably in Matsuyama’s stick, mentioned above, and Tak Kubota’s little Kubotan ®. The Matsuyama ‘stick’ (lump of metal!) is very good indeed, but too lethal. The Kubotan is all very well, but it’s too small and light for my needs. I don’t see any advantage at all in carrying it. Not when the karatetsu can do all and much more. I have the Kubotan, but it stays in the cabinet.
Both the basic Yawara stick and the Matsuyama and Kubota versions suffer from the same basic fundamental defect: they can be used as stabbing and chopping weapons, but they are not by their very nature suited to direct, thrusting strikes. The hand is physically not intended to jab forwards in a straight, punch-like direction. Not when it is holding a stick in a vertical alignment.
This is where the karatetsu scores supremely. It can deliver all types of Yawara attacks – as well as physiologically correct forward, direct punching mugger-dropping blows.
[This in brackets: while researching the subject I came across this interesting site – http://www.usagi.org/~doi/yawara/yawara.html Nothing to do with me but it might make fun reading. Take a look]
But wait! This article is meant as an introduction to Yawara-jutsu techniques. For interested sportsmen (alright, and women). But all the time giving you an effective self-defence system – while keeping you safely within the benevolent smile of the Law.
There are two things you need:
1 A DOG. Or access to a friend’s dog. Either being walked by you. Or having made prior arrangement with a dog owner that you can at anytime of your choice go along and take Fido (Fido – ughh!) out ‘through the park at night’ for a stroll. Through the park or the woods (or anywhere where you were actually attacked by the mugger or would-be rapist and needed an excuse …)
2 A SIX-INCH LONG STIFF DOG CHEW. Buy two, keep one in a drawer, the other in your handbag when going out alone somewhere.
This is what it’s all about. The dog chew is a MOST effective substitute for an actual wooden, plastic or metal Yawara stick. Hard and solid, it can stab, thrust, jab, pierce eyeballs, tear up an unsuspecting groin (a mugger would NOT be unsuspecting!) But with no legal risk to you. You were not carrying a self defence weapon. You were walking, or going to walk, or coming back from walking a dog (liase with your friend) when you were attacked. When you beat up the unsuspecting yob. (Who is now trying to sue you for damages sustained). He did not see any weapon threat, you tucked it out of sight behind your buttock when you first sensed danger. Then- WHACK!
Be sure to give Fido (Fido – Ughh!) a pat when you’ve recovered from being a hero/ine!