The Yawara is a Japanese weapon used in a number of martial arts. Essentially one or somtimes two small, thick sticks they can be palmed and used to throw opponents, applied to pressure points or even break bones. Yawara is also a form of martial arts, and the name is used interchangeably with Jujitsu.
It is believed that this style of fighting developed from a sheathed knife fighting technique called tantojutsu.
While the Yawara stick is easily concealed, it remains legal in all jurisdictions. The effective use of this Japanese tool requires some training, but is characterised by simple moves that incapacitate the opponent quickly. Any object can substitute for the basic six in long stick – a dog chew, a dowel or even a small piece of a branch, if sufficiently sturdy. The flexibility of this weapon is obvious. Small, light and non-invasive it allows the carrier a great deal of protection without violating the law.
The Use of the Yawara Today
The use of this Japanese weapon was introduced to police officers in the 1940s. Professor Frank Matsuyama wrote a book describing the use of the yawara stick directed at law enforcement officials who had some level of hand to hand combat training. As the yawara stick is easier to manage than a night stick and more easily concealed by a plain-clothes officer, the stick enjoyed great popularity among street savvy cops.
Yawara jitsu remains a martial art used by only a select few, and is now taught at a small number of jujitsu schools and other kobudo schools around the world.