DF: Hardwood sticks

Clark Kent

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Sep 11, 2006
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Hardwood sticks
By Mike Brewer - Mon, 07 Jan 2008 23:06:09 GMT
Originally Posted at: Deluxe Forums


There's something about a raw, natural, unvarnished training stick that appeals to me. Something primitive, maybe. I'm not sure. But when I train with a piece of barely sanded American Hickory with the bark still on it, I feel like I'm training the real roots of fighting. I mean, that's the way a weapon felt when the first humans grabbed it and smashed an opponent in the head.

I know hardwoods have a ton of disadvantages as training sticks in that they can shatter, they eat through rattan, and they're heavy as sin. However, I just recently moved to Virginia, and the hardwoods are plentiful here, unlike my previous home in Colorado. There, the only fare was pine and aspen. Nothing even remotely related to the hardwood families. Anyway, I have been collecting various types of hardwoods so I can play around with them as weapons, handles for tools, and training materials. I've come up with some that I really like, and thought I'd share.

Hickory, as it turns out, is amazingly durable. If you leave the bark on and just sand down the high points, you have a stick that's tough as nails, and almost as heavy as an iron bar. Working out with it is a forearm assault, and since the stuff grows pretty straight, you can make some really nice training sticks out of it. Using it against rattan is a bad idea for the person holding the rattan, as it will wear out a pair of rattan sticks in a short ten minute session. Sparring with them, as you might expect, hurts.

Beech is another hard, dense, heavy wood that grows around here. It's got a little more character to it than most woods in that it almost looks like a vine when it grows. As a sapling, it has a structure like muscle, with bands of wood piping together under the bark like muscles under skin. You can see the striations and twists underneath, and the bark has an almost two-tone pattern to it that feels like sandpaper or ray skin in the grip. It grows wild, though, with the kinds of bends and twists you might expect to see some biblical shepherd or Middle Earth wizard carrying, but when you can find a relatively straight piece, it makes an awesome weapon.

Ash is also nice, but not as hard as either of the previously mentioned woods. It is resilient though, which is why they make major league baseball bats out of the stuff. I haven't found a piece I like yet.

I don't know what inspired the idea of training with more natural-looking sticks. I think it had to do with an old Dog Brother article or video I saw ages ago. I've always had a few sticks like this in the inventory, but treelizard's recent posts about her South America trip inspired me to go out and make a few new ones. Anyone ever train with them against other hardwoods? What's been the experience?


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