THE YAWARA STICK for SELF DEFENSE by George. B. Wallace
– Reviewed by Joseph Sullivan
In the early 1970’s George B.Wallace wrote a series of small , pamphlet-sized manuals on self-defense.They were simple, no frills affairs that covered straight forward, direct methods of personal protection that could be learned by the average person without the need of years of study and practice. They covered the subjects of unarmed combat, knife fighting, stick fighting ( two volumes) and the subject of this review, the Yawara stick. Very little is known about Mr Wallace himself, although it has been suggested that he may have been a student of the late Bruce Tegner.
Call it the Yawara, Kubotan, Koga, Koppo, Olisi Palad , whatever you will , the pocket stick cannot be beat for simplicity, economy, accessability, or ease of learning. It’s also a personal favorite of mine.
The book starts off with some basic, common-sense information about self-defense in general, and then goes on to cover a little history about the Yawara. The next few sections describe typical Yawara construction and dimensions. . Essentially, any short, solid cylindrical object in the 5″ to 6″ length with a diameter of 1/2″ to 1″ will fit the bill. Mr Wallace devotes several pages to improvised Yawara-type weapons such as ( but not limited to) the pen, a ruler, or a small flashlight.
Moving quickly along, he goes onto cover proper grip and targets on the human body that are most vulnerable to the Yawara strikes. One of the things that I like most about this manual is that, unlike most other books and/or tapes on the Yawara stick ,Mr Wallace focuses solely on the striking with the Yawara, and does not even mention using it for joint -locks or pain-compliance techniques. For me personally , one of the beauties of the Yawara is that if you have practised basic hand to hand combatives, and are familiar with hammer blows or edge of hand blows, the Yawara is just an extension or enhancement of these basic, proven strikes.
The manual continues on with specific scenarios in which the Yawara can be used. Defense are covered against boxer type attacks, bull-rushes, kicks, clubs and knives. One of the more noteworthy points he brings up is the integration of using your Yawara stick with your empty hand skills. Such as using your off- hand, or more importantly , using low line kicks to help defeat your attacker. He also covers two areas that are usually never found in any other of the reference material on this subject.
Firstly, he talks briefly about practising your draw. Every other manual I have seen on the use of the Yawar’s always shows the person using it as already having it in their hand. Mr Wallace recommends carrying it in the same ( hopefully accessible) spot on a regular basis so that you won’t fumble for it if you have to get to it in a hurry. Secondly he covers what should be a no brainer for any hand-held weapons use, but I have never seen it mentioned in any other book or tape on the subject of the Yawara or pocket stick use.
Mr Wallace devotes several pages t o improving your grip so that you can deliver strong, effective blows with the Yawara without having to worry about the stick either flying out of your hand, or just sliding through it and there by reducing the effectiveness of the blows. The number one thing he suggest is simply taking your Yawara and striking a wooden board with force so that you can learn to maintain a strong hold, and deliver strong, forceful blows.
Over the years I have read or viewed close to a dozen different books and tapes on the subject of Yawara/Pocket-Sticks, but in my opinion “The Yawara Stick For Self Defense” by George B Wallace is simply the best, most brutally effective manual on the subject that has ever been published. Out of print now for over 30 years, it is VERY hard to find, and despite being only 32 pages long, it usually commands fairly high, but not outlandish price. However if anyone reading this review should ever come across a copy, I would strongly recommend that you try to pick it up. You won’t be disappointed.