Why Stick Fighting Skill Is Essential

During the middle ages the quarter staff was a popular and very effective weapon. But the stick has been used since prehistoric times, and — like the knife — is a weapon that will always be employed by man in hand-to-hand combat

During the middle ages the quarter staff was a popular and very effective weapon. But the stick has been used since prehistoric times, and — like the knife — is a weapon that will always be employed by man in hand-to-hand combat

OUR weapons curriculum in American Combato (Jen•Do•Tao) includes:

• The handgun, shotgun, and carbine

• The fighting knife

• The American tomahawk (La Gana design)

• The Stick (various types)

• Improvised and “special” weapons (i..e. objects-at-hand, the garrotte, the spring cosh, the Fairsword — i.e. smatchet — and the crossbow)

Training in some of those weapons is restricted, but one weapon that we believe everyone ought to learn is the stick. It is the first weapon taught in our System, and it is versatile, reliable, and — we believe — essential. Thus, every student upon reaching 3rd Class Brown Belt in Jen•Do•Tao is trained in a comprehensive stick fighting method. At Black Belt, 1st Degree we go on to instruct the student in an advanced series of stick fighting movements and tactics

Stick fighting goes back farther than recorded history, no doubt; and it may safely be assumed that prehistoric man used sticks and clubs of various types when engaged in combat or in some instances when fending off wild animal attacks. Like the knife, the stick is an ancient weapon that nonetheless has great contemporary value and importance.

You can always get your hands on a stick!

While W.E. Fairbairn is well known to have advocated the umbrella as a weapon of self-defense (teaching women to use the stick combination that he taught to commandos, but using an umbrella in lieu of a stick), an expert by the name of Barton-Wright taught the use of the umbrella also — employing the same type of actions he taught with the stick.

While W.E. Fairbairn is well known to have advocated the umbrella as a weapon of self-defense (teaching women to use the stick combination that he taught to commandos, but using an umbrella in lieu of a stick), an expert by the name of Barton-Wright taught the use of the umbrella also — employing the same type of actions he taught with the stick.

That fact makes learning stick techniques essential for anyone seriously studying self-defense. Wherever you are there will be some way to get your hands on some kind of stick, or there will be something that can be utilized as a substitute for a stick.

When we speak of fighting skill with a stick we are not referring to the medieval quarterstaff fighting (although some of those skills are still relelvant), and we are not referring to escrima or kali (classical systems that are enjoyable and beneficial, but are not reflective of practical, modern methodology). We are referring to simple, direct, very basic methods of using a walking stick, baton, or short yawara type hand stick. By mastering such methods as we teach in American Combato, you will be able to speedily employ any stick in or at hand effectively against a violent attacker. You will also acquire skills and confidence that will enable you to make optimum use of one of the most practical self-defense weapons: the walking stick. We favor the British or Irish blackthorne walking stick, but any hardwood walking stick will surely do.

The walking stick is unique because of the advantages it offers. Unlike a handgun or a knife, you have the walking stick in your hand. It is natural and normal for you to be holding a walking stick when you are out walking; and providing you do not behave like a fool with it (i.e. by twirling, brandishing, or posing) there is nothing suspicious or illegal about it being always present in your hands.

Should violence come to you suddenly, there is no need to “draw” your defensive weapon. It is already in your hand! And it needs no preparatory actions to ready it for devastating use against an attacker. Once you have acquired skill in stick fighting you can strike and lash out with your stick regardles of how you may be holding it at the moment!

Carrying a stout walking stick sends a clear message to any would be troublemaker, and only the dumbest would willingly tackle a man who appears to be physically fit, and who is carrying a stick. No need to behave in an “intimidating” manner. Troublemakers who are looking for an easy target will be intimidated sufficiently to look elsewhere for a suitable victim when they see you hefting a walking stick.

Acquiring proficiency with a walking stick is easy. Once you learn the basic moves you can get some excellent impact practice by slamming into a tree, dummy, or heavy bag. (Note: If you use a blackthorne, then you’ll want to protect your dummy or heavy bag with layers of thick duct tape). The protruding “knobs” (which offer a delightful advantage when smashing into a mugger!) might damage a dummy or heavy bag.

We have been a strong advocate of the stick as a weapon of self-defense for decades. We have written on this subject before. It is important.

The stick is not by any means the “only” weapon that a combatives student needs to master; but when and if it is the only weapon that he can get his hands on, he’ll surely be glad that he learned how to use it!

Give some serious thought to the matter of mastering stickwork, if you have not considered it before. DVD #10 in our Home Training Course will speedily equip you with simple, deadly, reliably efficienct stick skills for the real world. Or . . . you can enroll with us for lessons!

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