The Immersion Review - Stick Arts - 01

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STICKS AND CHIVALRY Bryan Cannata

MOST MARTIAL ARTISTS are familiar with the work of the Dog Brothers and their dedication to full contact stick fighting or the various Filipino martial arts and their use of sticks in combat. Another lesser-known form of full-contact stick fighting has and is continuing to evolve across the world, this one with a medieval flavor. In Berkeley, California, on the first of May, 1966 a themed party was thrown, and a medieval tournament held. From that tournament, an entire martial art and culture grew. It is likely that right now, as you read this, on a field in a camp-

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ground or perhaps a public park or even someone’s backyard down the street, two people circle and stare at each other through the ocular openings of heavy iron or stainless steel helmets. Their breath even and controlled. Narrowed eyes measure the slightest movement or shift in weight. A gauntleted hand tightens against the grip of a 36-inch long rattan baton with markings to represent the edge of a sword. Wooden shields adjust fractions of an inch to cover a leg better. A foot shifts and sinews tighten. The tension in the air is palpable.