I know a lot of “martial arts guys and gals,” and a lot of people who study other self-defense methods.
One thing almost all of them have in common is a duffel bag full of training gear.
(I have piles of training gizmos, dummy knives, and other gear like that, honestly.)
A tool that a LOT of those folks have plenty of is one of the cheapest martial arts and self-defense training items ever:
It's a stick.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, don't worry – I'll explain.
No matter what you think about sticks as training tools, though, I have some “bad news,” and that is that there are…
3 Problems With The CHEAPEST Training Tool Available Everywhere
Training sticks, or escrima, are used throughout the martial arts and self-defense world, both for solo and partner training.
(Now more than ever, solo training tools are super important, right?)
They're usually made of rattan, and that's because rattan frays instead of chipping (which prevents pieces of wood from flying into people's eyes).
Most of the time they're about two feet long, which is about the same size as a machete or other sword-sized blade.
That makes them seem, to a lot of people, PERFECT for learning how to wield a big, sharp weapon.
It makes sense, because most people don't want to risk training with a “live” blade – a sharp machete or sword – so the stick is more safe for learning how to use a weapon.
Plus, sticks are super-inexpensive and available everywhere that there are, well, trees.
(Even though I don't have any idea where you'd find a “rattan tree”).
Everyone who works with a rattan training stick should keep in mind the three problems it has, though:
1. It Isn't Durable
The thing that makes rattan safer for training also makes it weak.
The more you hit rattan sticks together (like in the drills martial arts folks do when they practice “sword fighting” with escrima), the more they fray.
A lot of martial arts schools repair their escrima with duct tape, which means after a while, the school's bag of sticks is more silver tape than it is wood!
(Nothing like listening to a drill where sticks “thud” together instead of “cracking” through the air, right?)
What that means is that, even though escrima are cheap, you'll end up buying a LOT of them over your training sessions, because you'll keep wearing them out.
Over time, that adds up.
2. It Weighs Too Little
Another problem with most training sticks is that they're too light.
The ancient Romans trained their soldiers to use the gladius, or Roman short sword, by giving them an extra heavy blunt training sword to work with.
(They knew that this would help build the soldiers' muscles.)
Escrima are just the opposite, because they're lighter than the weapons they're meant to represent.
Students who train with sticks most of the time will be surprised by how much heavier the “real” blade is, and they'll be slower and clumsier when trying to use live weapons.
3. It Makes You Sloppy
The third problem with stick training is that training sticks are completely round.
That means there is no edge.
In practice, students tend to get sloppy, moving their “weapons” in a way that would have them cutting with the flat or even the spine of the “blade” if they were using a real machete.
(One way to compensate for this is to use the knuckles of your hands as a reference point, but a lot of students forget to do it.)
So, am I saying you shouldn't train with escrima?
No, but I AM saying that training with a more realistic weapon would help you a lot more.
In fact, in my Combat Machete DVD , I show you how to use a real machete SAFELY for training.
I feel so strongly about this that I had a custom designed metal training machete made, too.
It's only available to those people who get them for our training DVD, and we use them in our Combat Machete camps like the session you see here:
The training machete was designed specially to replicate the exact look and feel of our Guardian machete.
(And, I'm excited to say, I'm introducing a new and improved version of our badass Guardian in the New Year!)
There is NOTHING like the feel of metal on metal when you're training.
The offer for the training machete comes up after you pick up the beginner DVD, which is priced to get it into everybody's hands.
In that DVD, I show you the basic principles of “big blade” combat (which anyone can master in just 7 days).
Once you develop them, those skills will ALWAYS be there, ready to defend you with whatever weapon you have in your hands.
Just watch the DVD, pick up one of our custom training machetes, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.