(Ok, I know it’s been a long time since I last posted. Other tasks and the holiday depleted my available time and mental energy, but I’m feeling a bit motivated so I’m going to try to crank this one out!)
Having already covered guns and knives, I might as well cover sticks. There aren’t likely to be any surprises here as stick are mainly used as impact weapons anyway.
There are basically three ways to hit with a stick: the shaft (think baseball bat), the tip (think fencing foil), and the butt or “punyo” as some are inclined to say (think reverse grip knife stab).
These options can have varying degrees of effectiveness and availability based on how you hold your stick. Different fighting systems that utilize sticks will promote one way of holding the stick over another. They all have their reasons, and there are pros and cons to each. Here are some options.
|Grip all the way at the end. This allows for maximum swinging velocity
and “stabbing” reach. It also avoids certain disarms that rely on the punyo.
The downside? You don’t have a punyo to strike with.
|A slight modification of the one above. This lets out just enough
stick to allow striking with the punyo but not enough to allow
for those same disarms that worry some people.
|Moving the hand up a bit more, this punyo is about the width of your hand.
It allows for striking with the punyo as well as hooking limbs and weapons.
In some cases, it can be used to apply compression locks, and yes it puts
you at a slight risk of being disarmed (it’s still my favorite grip).
|This relatively uncommon grip is not so great for swinging strikes,
but it is excellent for ground fighting. It can be used to hook, choke,
crush and do some strikes.
|Continuing up the stick, you might end up grabbing it so the majority
of the stick is coming out of the “bottom” of your hand. This
slightly modifies how you go about “stabbing” and swinging the
stick, but you can do the 3 ways of striking just the same.
|An alternate grip of the previous grip.
This allows for more control of the tip in
the event that you want to stab someone in the eye.
Two handed grips have a lot of variety. You can hold it like a baseball bat if it is long enough. You could hold it like a rifle (one palm up, one palm down…hands near opposite ends or sliding anywhere in between, symmetrically or asymmetrically). Or you could do a more traditional two-handed grip with both palms down. With these latter two versions of the two-handed grip, you can’t get the swinging velocity of a one-handed grip, but you do gain the shove and two-handed block, which is actually really useful. You can also get a lot more momentum and structure behind the tip strikes.
So, this article was more of a taxonomy than anything else. Sticks have always been impact weapons. So, seeing how to strike with them is not likely to be as much of a creative leap as it might be for pistols and knives. That being said, there are definitely things to consider about how your grip might affect the quality and availability of the different ways a stick can strike someone. Think through the different scenarios and definitely mix it up in sparring to see what works best for you. You might be surprised.