Sticks or Stick like weapons have been around probably longer than anything else. Where once it was simply a matter of grabbing a branch or twig to keep an attacking animal at distance humans have now developed entire systems dedicated to stick fighting. The thing is, in most cases of self-defense it is unlikely you will actually be in a stick fight rather you will be unarmed and you are faced with an attack with a stick, cane, umbrella, baseball bat or another item that can be wielded like a stick and be considered a blunt force trauma weapon.
The main concern with a stick like a weapon is the impact area. If you get it in the abdomen it will certainly hurt and may do internal damage but will not necessarily stop you from defending your self. If you get hit in the head and if the stick has enough mass it can mean lights out for you. Block a stick with your forearm and you may find your self with a broken Ulna.
On the other hand, if you can get a hold of a stick, or stick-like weapon you may find your self with a great generally non-lethal option to defend your self. How lethal a stick weapon is will depend largely on its mass and what it is made of. Hit someone in the head with a rattan eskrima stick in the head and you will probably daze them. But take a metal crowbar with a hook on it and you could kill them. There is also a very big difference between dense and less dense materials. A truncheon made of ebony, for example, is going to hurt and do much more damage than one made of bamboo, though they would both be terrible to be hit with. The lethality of it would also depend on the intent of who is wielding it and how they wield it.
Either way for self-defense in most cases stick or stick-like objects are a far better choice in the 21st, mostly for legal reasons than a knife or a gun. Of course, if Knives or guns are legal where you live for self-defense then you better be ready to kill with them or else why even bother.
To Deal with Sticks you must understand a few things.
Committed vs Non-Committed as well as blender mode.
Although less important for sticks understanding Attack Types. can be very important is it may tell you how competent the attacker is with the stick.
Difficulty Levels of the Attack Pattern:
- Committed is the easiest to deal with – Basic Techniques will work well, Running is the best option.
- Non-Committed is more difficult – Basic techniques, combined with faster reaction time and good footwork will be needed. Running is the best option.
- Blender Moder – Though far less problematic than a knife, blender mode with a stick usually means the individual is fairly proficient with it and will be harder to deal with. Remember, protect your head above all else.
Stick Like Weapons:
This is mentioned many times so what does it mean. It means anything that can be wielded like a Stick with one or two hands that does not have a blade on it. Items include but are not limited too:
- Rattan Sticks
- Short light tree branches
- Rolled up News Paper or Magazine
How each of these can be swung or handled will depend on its mass, Shape, and Size with some being easier to wield than others.
Unlike Guns or Knives, if you take away the advantage of a stick being medium to long-range and get in close how you choose to disarm it is a little more circumstantial. You can disarm it while the opponent is still standing or you can take them down in a controlled fashion and then take the stick. Really it’s up to your discretion, skill, and the situation.
How to deal with Stick Attacks:
Even though a stick is not as lethal as a gun or knife, it still can be. No matter what happens protect your head and other major hard parts of your body. Remember, soft on hard on soft. If you are going to take an impact or hit it is better on a softer part of your body, but remember, no one said it wouldn’t hurt. This is because if the stick is hard enough and hits with enough force on a hard part of your body it can easily break the bones in that area. If you get hit in the head, however, it can immediately incapacitate you rendering you unable to defend your self. Remember, when dealing with sticks considers the following.
- Run – This is always the best option if you are able to. You may not be able to though or you may need to protect others
- Use a Stick – If you are able to use a stick or stick-like weapon to counter. Though they may not always be available
- Use Weapons of opportunity – Use whatever you can around you to give you an advantage. Use sticks, bags, bricks, jackets, obstacles, and anything you can think of to increase your chances to survive.
- Use a Gun – We do not recommend this unless it is life and death. The reason in many places where it is legal to carry a firearm for self-defense this may be considered excessive force and may still mean jail time yourself so be careful and consider the following:
- Is it legal where you are to have a gun on you for Self Defense
- Do you have a Legal gun on you?
- Do you have the required skills to operate the gun under duress
- Use hand to hand Combatives – When all else fails, use your body as a weapon. This should always be the last resort when dealing with armed opponents.
Hand to Hand Combative Strategies
- Distance & Timing– Maintaining your Distance is key as the opponent with a stick can get you at a greater range, with greater impact than you can. You may have to jump back, sideways rapidly or bob and weave at speeds you didn’t think you were capable of. Thats why its better to just stay out of range until you are ready to strike. The timing is equally important especially if the opponent is hyper-aggressive and quick in nature. Mess this up and you are going to get hit. If you do though, close the distance rapidly without hesitation.
- Explode In – when you are ready to move you need to move fast, you need to move explosively and you need to move without hesitation all while protecting your head and face. A common method is the Universal shield. At UTKM we only advise this move when you are close and that is chambering the attack or if you are not sure what the weapon is exactly but it must be close or medium range only. Any other time or as we recommend in general the standard Krav Maga Dive defense. It keeps you aligned while allowing you the optimal position to explode forward all while protecting your head and neck.
- Control the weapon arm – once you are in, control one or both of the weapon arms. Now that you have taken away the advantage of the Stick Weapon, assert your dominance with Retzef while Causing Pain, Off Balancing and Disrupting them.
- Standing Disarm – Either rapidly or after they are mildly subdued but still standing you may disarm the weapon using any reasonable method you know. If this fails you will need to apply more compliance techniques and move on. If you were able to take the stick you can now use it to defend your self.
- Takedown and Control – If you are unable to disengage due to the attacker, the environment or your Job then you must take them down. This must be done in a manner in which you maintain control of the weapon arm and take them to the ground while you are still on your feet and have put them into a control position.
- Controlled Disarm – Now they may be disarmed. Unlike a Knife you can focus more on controlling the assailant though controlling the weapon are will still be important. This is because it will be harder for them to do significant damage if they are not in a dominant position but do not forget they still have a weapon. The faster you can get it out of their hands the better. Do not forget you must still be aware of possible additional attackers and may need to rapidly disengage which is another reason to get the weapon. Once you disarm it, put the weapon somewhere on your persons that is safe. While throwing it away is an option, it may allow others to pick it up.
How to Use a Stick Offensively
If you are looking for a comprehensive guide on how to use a stick then this is not it. The UTKM Krav Maga approach is simple. For more in-depth stick fighting practice one of the many variations of the Philipino martial arts like Kali, Eskrima, Arnis.
For us it is simple. Target the head or hard surfaces like the clavicle, elbows and arms, ribs, or Knees. Our attack Pattens are simple, think an Astrix with six striking angles both forehand and back with a Jab or thrust. Just like any other style a flick of the wrist mixed with good footwork turns this into a formidable weapon indeed. It should be reminded once again though that while a stick-like weapon is preferred for general self-defense especially in the west due to their less-lethal nature they can of course still be lethal if you know how to use them and have the will to make them so.