Sticks and stones.

Posted Tue Jun 12, 2007, 10:45 AM by Tracy

Last night’s class was all about sticks.

We each grabbed a couple arnis sticks and circled up. The unarmed person in the middle had to avoid being hit and disarm the attackers.

It wasn’t too bad because the attackers moved at slow-medium speed while the defender was at medium speed.

Then we brought out the padded rubber sticks.

The speed and intensity picked up. Now both attackers and defender went at medium speed. The same rules applied: avoid getting hit and disarm the attackers. A technique or two thrown would not be out of place. New rule: if you get hit in a way that would take you out, you’re out.

Those black padded sticks are just a license to whack each other. And we do so like to whack each other.

I did okay with the arnis sticks and the slower attackers, but just fell apart at the faster speed with the padded sticks. I kept getting whacked on the head, right out of the gate. I was looking down, I wasn’t watching my opponents, I was not cutting the angles tight enough.

Part of my problem was I didn’t feel confident in moving quickly or nimbly on my ankle. About 3/4 of the way through I did something, maybe pull a ligament, in my left big toe. That left me pretty flat footed, weighted into my heels.

But the biggest problem was my own attitude. I was just plain afraid of the sticks. And if you’re afraid, if you think you’re going to get hit, you’ve lost before you’ve begun.

When I began to readjust my thinking process from “Oh crap this is gonna hurt” to “They’re going down” I was a lot more successful, even on a gimpy ankle.


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About Mo Duk Pai

Mo Duk Pai kung fu is a modern American eclectic system of martial arts, combining hard- and soft-style techniques Mo Duk Pai, which translates to “Martial Ethical Way”, was founded by Professor Frederick D. King. For more information, to see photos or inquire about training, visit the Mo Duk Pai web site, which I also maintain. I have been training since 1996 and currently hold the rank of brown-black sash.


Sifu (pr. see-foo [Cantonese] or shur-foo [Mandarin]) is a Chinese term for Teacher. It also carries the connotation of Father (teacher-father), referring to a tradition of teaching martial arts within the family, as well as being a title of respect. In America the title sifu is given to both men and women. In Mo Duk Pai the title is awarded to 2nd degree black belts at their teacher’s discretion.


Qigong (pr. chee-gung) is the practice of Chinese exercises incorporating movement and posture, breathing and visualization. Qigong exercises focus on maintaining health by energizing and balancing one’s qi, or energy.