You might be under the impression that the Kubaton, since it is usually associated with Martial Arts weapons, has an ancient history. Not so. It was developed in the latter half of the 20th century by Takayuki Kubota, who is a Grand Master 10 Dan, founder of the Gosoku-ryu style of karate. He is also the founder and president of the International Karate Association.
On 2 August 1964, Kubota was invited by Ed Parker, who was an American martial artist, promoter, teacher, and author, to give a demonstration at Parker's First Annual International Karate Tournament in Long Beach, California.
In late 1964, he permanently relocated to America. Kubota taught self-defense at the Los Angeles Police Department Academy for several years. He developed the Kubaton initially for use by the female officers of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Soke Takayuki Kubota
The five and a half inch plastic Kubotan key chain is Kubota's most important invention.
Kubotan is a registered trademark of Kubota, who originally developed it as a tool for police officers to restrain suspects without permanent injury. Its popularity began in the mid-1970s when Kubota first brought the weapon to the attention of the LAPD and began schooling female officers in its application. It is often touted as extremely effective in breaking the will of unruly suspects with painful locks and pressure point strikes. Because of that, the Kubaton is also sometimes dubbed the "Attitude Adjustment Instrument".
The Kubotan keychain (as designed and sold by Kubota) is a hard high-impact plastic rod, usually made from Lexan, about 5.5 inches (14 cm) long and 9/16 0.56 inch (1.5 cm) in diameter. The body is lined with six round grooves for added grip and there is a screw eye with a split ring attached to one end for keys.
There are many other forms and variations of the original design available, ranging from aluminum alloy to spiked, pointed, tapered ones to more offensive looking "ninja" models that have blades, spikes, hidden darts or tear gas. Although they may be marketed as Kubatons, they are not and are actually classified along the lines of generic Self-Defense Keychain Sticks or SDKS.
The umbrella term pocket stick is also used sometimes to classify rod-shaped hand weapons like the Kubaton.
Kubotan is a combination of the words "Kubota" and "baton".