Named after its originator Takayuki Kubota, the Kubotan is a short strike stick made of wood or metal designed to impact specific nerve centers, pressure points and soft tissue areas of an assailant to immediately disable them. The Kubotan is -figuratively speaking- the immediate ancestor of the tactical pen. For this reason, the term Kubotan Pen is also used for the latter.

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Takayuki Kubota is an accomplished martial artist. Born and raised in Japan, he became a US citizen in 1974. Kubota is the founder of the International Karate Association (IKA), which has over 100,000 members in 60 countries. It is based in Glendale California and is widely esteemed as one of the premier martial arts associations in the United States. The IKA has produced champions at state, national and international levels over the years.

Here is a short video biography of this venerable master:

The style of fighting developed by Takayuki Kubota, the Gosoku style, emphasizes direct, efficient moves to disable any assailant from any angle. This style is particularly applicable to the use of the Kubotan as a weapon and, by extension, to the use of the Kubotan Pen and other short strike weapons.

The Kubotan was originally designed to incorporate a keychain, making it into an easy to carry utility. The shaft of the weapon is marked with grooves to enhance the grip. Thus it is usually held in a clenched fist for strikes with the end protruding from the bottom of the fist. The efficiency of this weapon is a product of the precise striking techniques employed in using it as well as the specific target areas it is designed for. These are pressure points, soft tissue areas, neck, solar plexus, temple and joints, among others.

A clear picture of the use of the Kubotan is given in this instructional video by Bertoni Defense Systems:

Also see our article on How to Use a Tactical Pen!