The tickle of curiosity. The gasp of discovery. Fingers running across the keyboard.

The tickle of curiosity. The gasp of discovery. Fingers running across the keyboard.

The World of Iniquus - Action Adventure Romance

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Self-protection in Fiction - Carrying a Kubotan - Information for Writers

Kubotan (Photo credit: trapgosh)
DISCLAIMER - This is a non-political site that is geared to help writers write it right. I am presenting information to help develop fictional characters and fictional scenes. In no way am I advocating any position or personal decision.

Your heroine is in danger, and she knows it! She has to protect herself. But how? Sometimes giving your character a new tool to use makes for a more interesting read. So for the next few weeks, I will be introducing self-defense tools beyond the pistol in the purse.

Let me start with some credentials. I am a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I have trained with several hand-to-hand weapons in preparation for my second degree black belt testing.

As far as weapons go, I will offer this piece of advice, with your characters as well as in real life, if the decision is made to have a weapon handy:

1.) Know how to use it.
2.) Be willing to use it.
3.) Practice - often.

For me, as far as everyday-carry (EDC) goes? I always have a KUBOTAN handy.


Is it legal to carry a Kubotan?
Check with your local state, but in my research, I have never found a law against carrying a kubotan. I have carried it into federal buildings, airplanes, courthouses. The only place anyone ever stopped me was an event where the POTUS was speaking. The Secret Security asked me to give them my "weapon." (And it was my pretty pink one! Boo.)

Are they expensive?
10$ Depending.

Are KUBOTANS dangerous weapons?
First, let me say that almost ANYTHING can become a weapon and be used in a dangerous way (okay maybe not elbow macaroni, but you understand what I'm trying to say here.)
*My car keys can gouge out your eyes.
*My high-heel can be planted into your windpipe.
*My coat-belt can choke you out.

So dangerous is as dangerous does. If your character doesn't know how to use a kubotan or is unwilling to inflict pain/damage it is better for your character that she not carry one because it can be turned against her - though that might make a good plot twist.

Where would my character buy a KUBOTAN?
Gun shops
Self-defense shops
Martial arts suppliers

Are there different types of KUBOTANS?

I took this picture on December 17th, 2006. It...

This is a cylinder kuboton. I think of it as a boys' kuboton. I wouldn't carry it. I think it would slip out of the hand too easily. Security guards carry this a lot for pressure point pain infliction.

This is my kuboton. See how pretty it is? Everyone thinks it looks like a Christmas tree ornament. Yeah, think that.

Notice the ridges that fit nicely between my fingers. It helps me grip it tightly. Imagine holding that in a fist for a punch. The solidity helps to protect the hand bones, and the keys will fling out - double impact. For example, while landing a punch to the nose, causing a break that will take the fight out of most assailants, the keys will fling into the temple. A temple strike, for your character, can be fatal to their attacker.

(Attached you also see my LED flashlight - another EDC component that might get your heroine out of a bad situation.)

On my KUBOTAN, notice the sharp point. This, in my opinion, is key. It is for applying pressure, and makes a (hammer) strike that is much more devastating.

There are also kubotans that have a release so that a chord extends between the keys and the kubotan. This makes the kubotan ILLEAGAL in many states because it becomes a modified numchuck. Jail time slows the pace of a book. Just sayin'.

What are the basics of KUBOTAN protection?
*When I fight, my left foot is forward and my right foot behind and
  to the side for stability. (This frees up my dominant leg for kicks
  and allows for pivoting for running away and for back-sliding if
  they are brandishing a weapon - like a knife)
* The kubotan is carried in the dominant hand; the non-dominant
   arm is up to block the attacker's response.
* DO NOT aim at your target. Aim significantly past your target, so
    you get the full range of motion. For further information about 
    how to aim and follow through go to this LINK
* Keep your motions controlled and tight. (No wide/wild swinging
   around) Why? They'll take your weapon; you are left open for a
   strike; it's fatiguing; you lose power in the swing...snap instead.
* Once you start striking, strike until you have cleared a path for
   retreat. DO NOT STOP the defense.  GO means GO - then have
   the character run, or not, you know what happens next in your

After writing this article, I received a question from a writer about the helpfulness of a kubotan in two different scenarios: the blitz v. premeditation. She was also curious as to how effective a kubotan actually is. Here's my answer:

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.


  1. intersting article... i always wonder how far i would go to defend myself... kinda hard to really know, i'm the kind that when i find a spider in my house i scream, with no help around, my daughters are all screaming with me, hubby is at work. i grap a lunch bag and trap the spider in it and throw it out of my house. i never have the heart to send it to spider heaven. :)
    thanks for stopping by my blog, and i 'm looking forward to getting to know you better

    1. I'd say that if you saw one of your cubs in trouble, you're inner mama bear would growl :)
      (And, you can always put a jelly jar over the spider and wait for hubby to come home. It gives them the chance to show off the heroes that they are.)

  2. Thanks, I added you to my Google+ and will be stopping by later :) ~Fiona

  3. Reading this reminds me that I once saw something very similar to the kubotan in the picture on someone's keychain not too long ago. I didn't know what it was at the time, although I did think "that could be used to stab someone."

  4. We have an improved version. The Key. It's shape allows for a better grip and harder strikes

  5. A couple of my heroines need one of these. Thanks for the info on how it could be used. Your blog is so full of helpful information, Fiona.

    1. I'm so glad you find this helpful. Very fun that your heroine's are going to be using a kubotans. What genre are you writing in?

      Wishing you happy plotting :) Let me know if I can be helpful.