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Using the Kubotan Self-Defense Keychain as a Model for Using Everyday Items for Self-Defense

Jeffrey Miller

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One of the key elements that separates the Ninja's self-protection methods, including the study of weapons like the Kubotan self-defense keychain, from many other approaches to self-defense training is the concept of “strategic thinking. " And one of the ways that this important mindset manifests is through the ability to see through the “form" to what's really going on.

In the case of weapons training, the Ninja aspirant works to see any particular weapon, not as a specific weapon limited to a certain form and function, but as a model for the use of any other weapon or object of similar shape and size. An example of this might be to see a knife, not just as a knife, but as a sword with an extremely short blade. Or to “see" a cane or short-stick-weapon as a sword without an edge. Of course these things are what they are, but his alternate “sight" allows the Ninja warrior to expand his or her knowledge and options, and employ the weapon in ways that confuse and surprise their attacker. It also vastly expands the number of techniques and options at the Ninja's disposal.

In a recent seminar that I taught, focusing on the use of the Kubotan self-defense keychain, students were able to see, first-hand, how this strategy works in the real world. After learning some basic techniques with the actual Kubotan weapon, my students were shown a variety of every day items that could be used as substitutes for the actual, “official" weapon.

Students found that such common, easy to find items like:

1. Rulers. . .

2. Pens. . .

3. Markers. . .

4. Lipstick cases. . .

. . and even parts of other weapons like a. . .

5. Knife pommel. . .

6. Handgun grip, and. . .

7. Weight of a kusari-fundo ‘chain-weapon'

Could all be brought into service in many of the same ways as the little weapon they were learning to use.

It is this concept of seeing the “universality-of-technique and application" that gives the Ninja practitioner seemingly magical abilities, not just when using a weapon like the Kubotan, but in all areas, that makes them stand-apart from the conventional tactics, techniques, and strategies being used by most fighters, martial artists, and self-defense students.

Jeffrey M. Miller is the founder and master instructor of Warrior Concepts International. A senior teacher in the Japanese warrior art of Ninjutsu, he specializes in teaching the ancient ways of self-protection and personal development lessons in a way that is easily understood and put to use by modern Western students and corporate clients. He is the author of the book, KUBOTAN: Self-Defense Keychain and the best selling Safety DVD, Danger Prevention Tactics: Protecting Yourself Like a Pro To learn more about self-defense and other subjects related to the martial arts, self-protection, personal development & self-improvement, you can subscribe to his online newsletter, at


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