Arnis Sticks Concept and Applications Part 1
Eskrima is known for its use of sticks in training aside from long and short bladed weapons. In fact, Eskrima is also called as Stick Fighting Arts because of intensive use of sticks as in offensive and defensive moves and drills. Eskrima sticks does provide a more safer means of training and some how removes the dangers of fatal injuries if bladed weapons are used. Please note that the term Arnis, Kali, Eskrima are interchangeable and denotes the same Filipino Martial Arts.
The Arnis sticks, as simple and crude a training tool or weapon as it is, needs examination and studying as far as its parts, types, and uses are concerned. This is to rightly maximize its use both as a training and defensive tool.
Types of Arnis Sticks
There are many types of Kali sticks that are available out there, some of which are traditional sticks like Rattan, Labsika and Kamagong sticks, some are alternatives such as Bahi, Tumalin and Giho sticks, some are customized sticks like Competition Sticks and Padded Sticks. I will discuss the more common ones:
1. Rattan Sticks – is the most commonly used Eskrima stick. It is hardened by fire and is usually designed with a spiral burn. Rattan sticks are very flexible and can bend, in fact, it is also used to create native furnitures due to its flexilibity and tenacity. Rattan sticks can also come in skinned and unskinned variations but my personal preference is the unskinned one. Because of the skin, the wear and tear is slower, the weight is a little heavier giving a more compact feel, and lessens splinters.
And because rattan sticks can be fashioned by burning with fire, the are also different kinds of designs that can be burned in the stick. Some famous designs are spiral, ring, leopard spots, tiger stripes, scorpion, etc…
2. Labsika Sticks – are thinner, lighter and sturdier version of the Kali stick. Labsika are thinner in circumference as compared to their rattan sticks counterpart and because of this it is also lighter to hold. Labsika is also sturdier and does not break as easily as rattan sticks due to the generous distribution of its nodes which is about 6-8 nodes in one Labsika stick
3. Kamagong and Bahi Sticks – are heavier and thicker variation of the Arnis stick. Kamagong or Iron wood is a very strong and dense wood. Kamagong sticks are hard to break, reason for calling it as Iron wood, and heavier in weight. Bahi is another kind of heavy stick and is commonly used in hammer handles.
4. Competition and Padded sticks – are Eskrima sticks that are used in competitions. Competition sticks are actually skinned rattan sticks that are measured and weighted for use in competitions, while padded sticks are thin rattan or labsika sticks that are wrapped with foam to cushion the impact of the strike.