Field Guide: Thunderbolt Hello, this is Nathan Roarke from the with another lesson about in self-defense. Today we’re going to talk about an old Japanese weapon that became popular in the middle of the 20th Century. It’s called the kubotan, also known as the “thunderbolt.” Whatever you decide to call it, it is a very effective weapon, and it’s very easy to carry because of its small size. It’s also relatively inconspicuous depending on what type of design you go with, yet it’s still extremely effective at countering all kinds of attacks and assaults. THREE DIFFERENT STYLES:
The first one (far left): is a fairly common aluminum design that is grooved nicely for your fingers to hold onto. It also has a nice tip to use. The second one (middle): is actually an aircraft-grade aluminum writing utensil. Basically it’s a kubotan disguised as a pen. So that’s its camouflage. But don’t be fooled because it’s quite an amazing weapon. It’s got a glass breaker ready to use on one end, and it’s got a little LED flashlight on the other. So it’s a multifaceted tool that is camouflaged as a pen in your shirt or pants pocket. The last one (far right): is a homemade kubotan made out of a hard local wood here called yellow locust. It’s a neat craft project you can do at home with your pocket knife. It’s the least conspicuous of the three because it looks like an arts and crafts project. You can hang it from your keychain or carry it in your pocket. People probably won’t assume that it’s a self-defense weapon. THREE USES: So how is the kubotan used? There are three main ways to use it as a weapon. Number one is… STRIKING:
Use it to strike nerve points, bone structures, the body. Anywhere really because you’re delivering an amazing amount of force to a pinpoint precision spot. Secondly… FIST-FILLER:
A frequent “casualty” in fights that people don’t speak of, are broken fingers, knuckles and various bones in the hand. So, using the kubotan as a fist filler helps fill your hand, so it’s strengthened and ready for impact. Plus, it increases the impact of your hits. Lastly… HOOKING DEVICE:
A great tool for hooking and manipulating an opponent to deflect attacks, or use to position them for a devastating strike. Let’s jump in and take a look at how to use this in a real-life scenario.
BE READY: If your kubotan is in your pocket at the moment somebody attacks you, it’s too late. It’s too hard to get out of your pocket in time to protect yourself. So if you’re feeling a little nervous, make sure you keep your kubotan tucked discreetly under your wrist, or under your arm, as pictured.
1-2-3 Ricochet Counterattack So let me show you a good example of how to effectively use the kubotan in a situation where somebody comes up and grabs your shoulder.
CAUTION: Be careful when you’re training with this because even a tiny strike with a kubotan is effective and it hurts. It’s going to hurt your partner. It’s going to put him on the ground pretty fast. Want to really see the damage you can do? Practice on a tree, a piece of wood, a punching bag.
  • You need to remove his point of contact.
  • With your kubotan, drive it into the top of his hand with a downward strike. The hand is full of tender areas, so you don’t have to be accurate with this strike to be extremely effective.
  • Simultaneously bring up the opposite hand to potentially block an incoming punch.
  • Once he’s released his hand from your shoulder (which will be quick because of the agony he’s in)… there’s a very good chance a hook is coming with the opposite hand.
  • Drive the kubotan to the inside of his foreman.
  • The force of his arm coming towards your head being met with your hand driving towards his arm will create an extremely powerful blow with pinpoint precision to the inside of his forearm.
  • My left hand is going to immediately come over and grab his right wrist, to neutralize the threat.
  • Next, my right hand will come up with a strike straight to his jaw line.
  • If this is a direct hit to the jaw, it could very likely result in a KO… but, anywhere in this area will cause damage that would make almost anybody call it quits
ASSESS THE SITUATION: At this point, you must decide if the threat is effectively neutralized. Are you able to easily get yourself and family to safety from this threat? If not, you may finish it with a knee, or kick. Be aware, it’s important to use logic and not give into the adrenaline. Excessive (unnecessary) force may result in permanent damage or even death. Only use if absolutely necessary.
What If He Throws a Right Punch? What if he doesn’t grab you first? What if he comes in with a big overhand punch? STEP 1. SIDE STEP
  • Step to the side, and counter with a strike to the top of his forearm.
  • That’s going to destroy his arm and cause a lot of pain.
  • Drive the kubotan into the inside of his left arm. Full of tendons and ligaments this will cause extreme agony.
  • This is the third and final strike.
  • Come straight down with as much force as possible into the notch of collarbone.
  • You don’t have to worry about accuracy here. Anywhere in this area of will force your assailant to the ground.
  • Just as the last step, it’s up to you to assess the situation and decide if more force is required.
HOOKING TECHNIQUES: Here are a few hooking techniques to practice. STEP 1. TARGET POINT OF CONTACT
  • Just as the 1-2-3 Ricochet Counterattack sequence, you’re going to strike the back of your assailants hand.
  • Next you’ll lunge forward, driving the kubotan right into the rib cage.
  • This will immediately knock the wind out of your assailant. It will be extremely unpleasant.
  • Lastly you want to use the kubotan as a hook around the back of the assailants neck.
  • Once firmly “hooked” you can whip the assailant to the ground.
  • This is an easy pivot point, allowing a smaller person to very easily control a much larger person. Very effective.
ADVANCED TECHNIQUE: If you’re willing to spend some time getting good with the kubotan. This is a great technique called the mobility throw. Drop the assailant with the neck hook. As he goes down, step back, kick, and run. Very effective for neutralizing the threat.
Closing Thoughts The kubotan can be used in all kinds of ways. This is just a great introduction to this little tool. I suggest everyone get out there and either make one or pick one up, then practice with it because we’re going to be getting into a lot more techniques with this little thing.

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