Friday, February 8, 2008
Review: "Stick Fighting" --By Hatsumi and Chambers
I have always loved the study of the stick as a weapon; they can vary in length and heft, are common enough to be carried in public and are devastatingly effective.
My preference however, is not for the all-popular Fillipino arnis-type systems (for better or worse), but for the more traditional kobudo.
In their book "Stick Fighting", Masaaki Hatsumi and Quintin Chambers outline techniques of the Kukishin Ryu in a very readable and traditional format. Printed in 1971, this book predates Hatsumi's fame as the man who brought the art of the Ninja to the public at large. There are no masked attackers or exotic weapons. This is straightfoward stick-in-your-face stuff, with Hatsumi in the traditional "Hakama" clothing.
The book deals with weapons of different lengths: The "Hanbo"- a walking stick about four feet long, another at appx. 12 inches (which is based on techniques of the Tessen, or folding iron fan), and my favorite, the "Edda Coppo", a pocket stick.
People who train with weapons such as the Aikido Jo staff will enjoy seeing the variations of techniques with the shorter length sticks. The Hanbo is easily transferable to a cane, umbrella or walking stick, and one thing I love about this book is that it's focus is on neutralization, grappling and control techniques rather than striking. This is where it may be of value to security and law enforcement individuals.
The unique aspect they present is the use of the "Eda Cappo", or pocket stick. Rather than some technique like driving a pencil through an attackers skull, this book shows thoughtful nerve strikes, bone crushing and joint manipulation with the pocket stick. Readers that have followed the Dojo Rat Blog may remember that my favorite pocket weapon is one of those big, squarish carpenter pencils. Don't even sharpen them, it just puts holes in your pockets-- but it is a nearly perfect improvised weapon. The length is slightly longer than a man's hand, and it has hard edges that can dig into the opponent's joints using techniques as described in the book.
It's nice to see Hatsumi in a traditional setting, sans- Ninja garb. I highly recommend the book to traditional weapons enthusiasts, especially those familiar with the Aikido Jo staff.