Appreciation Day” it seemed like perfect timing for some “Dog Bone” Self-Defense. Your average dog biscuit or chew toy is a perfect size and shape to be used as a kubotan, yawara, or “Palm stick” in a self-defense
situation (your average cat toy, or even the cat itself, is not worth much of anything).
What made me think of this was a guy I knew that trained in his family style of karate (he was Okinawan). His father used to carry a small wooden dowel (~ 5” x ½”) that he had let the dog play with/chew on. He carried it in his back pocket as a palm stick and if he ever forgot about it or was asked what it was, he just said “Oh, that’s my dog’s chew toy”. Friendly and non-threatening enough to be carried onto planes, into schools, or any other non-permissive environments.
Palm sticks are used in a variety of cultures/martial systems. Whether it’s called a yawara, kubotan, Koppo, Dulo Dulo, or Olisi Palid, they follow general principles in application. They can be used as a “fist load” to increase the mass and/or decrease the compression of the fist which increases the amount of force that can be transferred onto/into the target.
Depending on the length of the palm stick, either end can be used to strike sensitive targets. The stick can also be used to grip or squeeze the opponent’s limbs and is often
useful for joint manipulations/compliance.
A variety of objects can be used as a palm stick (see photos below). Most can be made from objects already available around the house or in the garage. Of course, there’s the true dog biscuit or chew toy. Or a wooden dowel. Or the Cold Steel Koga (although these look like weapons and in my opinion aren’t very discreet. TSA is likely to get their boxers in a bunch if that’s found in your briefcase). Or a “true” Kubotan. Or an ASP canister of pepper spray.
Tactical Pens (or any sturdy pen) work great. Cold Steel’s Sharkie is a weapon hidden in plain sight, but why buy it from Cold Steel? Why not use a dried out (or fresh) Dry Erase marker? The narrow tip on the cap makes a great focal point for strikes. If you’re worried about the cap coming off, just crazy glue it on to make it permanent. Or a Hi-Liter. Or a flashlight (of any size, but as they get larger, for example C or D cell, they’re more of an impact weapon).
I think that with very little effort you can find ½ dozen items that can be used as true or improvised weapons. Once you find some, take the time to hit some focus mitts with them in your hand. Most empty hand techniques translate easily, but some quick familiarization and applied resistance would increase your comfort level. And don’t forget to give Old Yeller a biscuit. Woof!