A Personal Safety Weapon To Consider
The Self-Defense Keychain
By Randy LaHaie
I use a generic term, "Self-Defense Keychain," to describe this
device but you may have heard of it by more popular, commercial
names such as "Kubaton" or "Persuader Keychain." Because,
"Kubaton" is the most popular, I'll use that term
interchangeably with the one I use.
The Kubaton is a light-weight metal, plastic or wooden dowel.
It's about five inches long and one half inch in diameter. The
shaft of this weapon is usually knurled or grooved so that it
doesn't slip in your hand. On one end of the Kubaton is a ring
or two holding a cluster of ten to fifteen keys.
Recently, manufacturers have attempted to enhance the Kubaton
with sharpened ends, telescoping tubes, spikes, enclosed
canisters of pepper spray and even hidden knife blades. I
won't get into these additional "bells and whistles" and will
limit my recommendation to the basic model consisting of a
shaft, key rings and keys.
The self-defense keychain is discrete, unassuming, and
convenient to carry. If used properly, it can dramatically
increase the odds of surviving and escaping from a serious,
life-threatening assault. I discuss the keychain during
my self-defense seminars because it stands up nicely to the
seven evaluation questions.
I prefer to discuss and provide information about the keychain
but hesitate to make blatant recommendations about it, or any
other device or weapon. I believe that the decision about
whether to carry a personal safety device, and which one you
carry, is YOUR decision. I prefer that you evaluate and analyze
the "pros and cons" for yourself. This article is to assist you
in that process process.
SEVEN EVALUATION QUESTIONS
If you missed the last issue of the Protective Strategies
Self-Defense Newsletter (December 2000) I'll review the seven
Personal Safety Device Evaluation Questions:
- Is it legal?
- Will I carry it all the time?
- Will it be immediately available when I need it?
- Do I have legitimate confidence in my ability to use it?
- Is it as effective as it has been held out to be?
- Could it be taken away and used on me?
- Am I physically, mentally and emotionally prepared to use it?
1. IS IT LEGAL?
In most jurisdictions that I am aware of, the Kubaton is legal.
It can be purchased over the counter in security, martial arts
and sporting goods stores. I found several online merchants
selling them for $5 to $25 dollars. Because they have a utility
function (to hold your keys) they can be legally carried.
Note: In Canada, the Kubaton is neither a restricted nor a prohibited
weapon. It is therefore legal to carry providing it is not used
for illegal purposes. They are also available across the U.S.
However, if you are considering carrying a Kubaton, you might
want to make your own enquiries to confirm if they are legal in
2. WILL I CARRY IT ALL THE TIME?
This is the beauty of the self-defense keychain. What is the
most common thing that you carry in your hand when coming or
going from your vehicle, home or workplace? Your keys! Because
you carry your day-to-day keys on the self-defense keychain, it
is likely that you will have it in your hand more than any other
object. This increases the odds that, if you are attacked, it
will be in your hand and ready to go. This is a huge benefit
when considering a personal safety device or weapon.
3. WILL IT BE IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE WHEN I NEED IT?
Again, the self-defense keychain is likely to be ready to go
when you need it most. It's not enough to have a Personal
Safety Device in your possession. It won't do you much good in
your purse, pocket or vehicle. If you keep your keys on the
keychain, it is a simple matter of establishing a habit of
carrying it in your hand whenever you leave your home.
4.DO I HAVE CONFIDENCE IN MY ABILITY TO USE IT?
There are a number of "SILLY" techniques associated with the
Kubaton. They include fancy wristlocks, takedowns, releases
from holds and other elaborate techniques that just won't stand
up in the stress and chaos of a real-world confrontation. Even
if they did work (which they don't) they would require extensive
practice and training to become competent.
Secondly, in a stressful encounter, only simple, large-muscle
actions can be performed effectively. For that reason, a
practical self-defense system must be simple and have as few
techniques as possible. The system that I teach, for example,
consists of three basic striking methods that are natural and
consistent with what one would conceivably do during a
Because the Kubaton is a hard object, it concentrates and
intensifies the striking energy that is transferred into the
assailant. Even with minimal training, a keychain strike is far
more likely to incapacitate a violent assailant than an
5. IS IT AS EFFECTIVE AS IT HAS BEEN HELD OUT TO BE?
When used properly, the self-defense keychain is a devastating
weapon with potential to seriously injure and incapacitate a
violent attacker. For that reason, it should only be used
in situations where you reasonably believe the attack is serious
and life threatening. You must also believe that you don't have
less forceful alternatives available to protect yourself.
DISCLAIMER - Because of the potential consequences of using a
personal safety weapon, I need to be clear that I provide this
information for educational purposes only. How you use the
information is up to you. Refer to my disclaimer statement at:
6.COULD IT BE TAKEN AWAY AND USED ON ME?
The honest answer to this question is, "yes." ANY personal
safety weapon: a knife, pepper spray or a shoe for that matter,
can potentially be taken away and used on you in the same
fashion you intended to use it on your assailant.
However, the general consensus amongst my seminar candidates
is that the benefits of having one outweigh the possibility of
losing it. A benefit of the self-defense keychain is that the
assailant may not recognize it as a weapon and, if he did gain
access to it, wouldn't think to use it as one.
It is important to consider the potential of being disarmed when
carrying a personal safety weapon. Acknowledge the possibility
of dropping or losing it and do everything you can to prevent it
from falling into the hands of your attacker.
7. AM I PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY PREPARED TO USE IT?
This is a question only you can answer. Don't just buy a self-
defense keychain, attach it to your keys and carry it around
expecting that you will magically resort to it if you are ever
attacked. A basic, self-defense response system should be
learned and practiced when adopting this device.
Developing competence does not require thousands of repetitions
and hours of training. However, you should spend some time
learning how to prepare and grip the weapon as well as how and
where to strike an assailant for maximum effectiveness.
Ideally, you should seek out instruction from a competent self-
defense keychain instructor. However, if the system is simple
enough (as mine is) I believe you can teach yourself the basic
skills you need from a manual.
The keychain basics are simple and not hard to learn. Using the
keychain will intensify the destructiveness of your response to
a violent attack and increase the potential of escaping death or
serious injury. Learn the basic concepts (mental preparation).
Practice the basic strikes (physical preparation). The only
thing left is to develop the emotional resolve to do whatever
it takes to protect yourself and survive!
Whether you decide to explore the issue of the self-defense
keychain further; whether you decide to buy and carry one, is
entirely up to you. I can provide you only with information to
assist you with that decision making process but ultimately you
must take full responsibility for your personal safety and draw
your own conclusions about what is and isn't right for you. If
you've read this far, I'm sure you'll make a wise choice.
Take care, train smart and stay safe,
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Copyright © 2011 by Randy LaHiae, Protective Strategies. All rights Reserved.
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Randy LaHaie has been studying and teaching reality-based self-defense methods
for over 35 years. As a life-long martial artist, retired police officer and personal safety consultant,
Randy has trained thousands of law enforcement officers, high risk professionals and private citizens.For
more extensive and current self-defense advice and resources be sure to visit his blog "The Toughen Up
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