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Stick Size?
Selecting Rattan Sticks for Training: Dateline 9/27/21
I would be arriving in Portland on 10/28. So i emailed ahead to a young training partner there that he should get two pairs of rattan sticks with different dimensions. He then texted me back:
"How serendipitous! last night I was looking around on dealer websites for rattan sticks. Only finding thicker than an inch. I only have one set of 28 long by 1 inch thick. But I remember you writing about getting 3/4 inch sticks. where do you buy your sticks from? Do you read minds?"
-J

Yes sir, I read minds, the minds of fighters mostly.
Ideally, a stick-fighting group has two pairs of evenly matched sticks in each category. This is a lot of wood and my stick collection that once fulfilled this has been dispersed.
First set of sticks should be 28 inches long and no thicker than an inch no thinner than three quarters.
When you get into using sticks as blades a thinner set can by good for full speed sparring.
Not only is thickness a factor, but density. Generally when a rattan rod gets thicker it becomes less dense. So some 3/4 inch sticks can hurt more than a 1 1/4-inch stick. I always bought sticks in person from dealers and inspected the density by looking at the cut ends. The more airspaces between the fibers of the vine, the less dense. For open competition we wanted less dense sticks to avoid broken bones.
For self-defense, choose sticks according to density first, handling second, thickness third. For training high density is a negative for you and a positive for the longevity of the stick.
In my experience the 3/4 inch thick and 28-inch long rattan rod is perfect for learning and light sparring and competition—the standard stick.
Sticks thicker than 1.5 inches will give fighters with smaller hands retention problems. This makes 2-inch thick sticks really good for bag and drill work as they work the hand. For handling and retention, the ideal stick permits you to touch your ring finger to the base of the palm beneath the thumb.
The 28 inch stick is optimum for men of most arm lengths for developing forearm strength and suppleness and learning how to use an extension weapon. Taller men may be better served with 30s and shorter with 26s.
The perfect length for handling is a stick that you can place in your armpit and hold it on the inside of your arm by cupping the other end with the middle and index fingers. You want to train with something slightly longer than that, as many weapons you pick up like an axe handle, bat or umbrella will be longer than your arm.
For the normal size man, the maximum one-handed extension weapon length that offers high handling is 34-38 inches. This length requires a finer selection of strokes and works your time and measure to its maximum.
Better handling is provided by the 30-33 inch range that is still longer than most men's arm.
26-29 dials in for most men as something no longer than their arm but with maximum reach advantage within that parameter.
20-24 inches offers better speed and handling. Any weapon shorter than the arm that wields it offers many handling advantages.
Obviously as weapons get shorter and more easily handled, they lose reach and weight which reduces power. Once the weapon is the same length or shorter than your forearm, you want it to be weighted or edged.
14-20 inches is machete length, where swords are their shortest and knives their biggest. I like 1.5 inch thick 16-18-inch batons for training in this range.
10-12 inch sticks of a half inch and no thicker make excellent practice knives for training with the heavier safety gloves used with sticks and for pairing with a stick as a knife.
Overall, sticks with retained segmentation will last longer then those machined so finally that they are perfect rods. Tape the edges of the segmentation so that pieces do not fly into your eyes, and tape the tips as well, lightly, with only 2 turns of tape.
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