Escrima is a Filipino martial art that is sometimes also known as arnis or kali. While escrima does incorporate open-hand techniques, it is largely based around methods of fighting with two wooden sticks of equal length. Escrima practitioners train to make their fighting sticks extensions of themselves when they fight. Therefore using different kinds of sticks can change the nature of your technique.
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Often referred to as "ironwood sticks," kamagong sticks are made from extremely hard wood that is polished to be as smooth and heavy as marble. These are not the sort of sticks to use for everyday training, as they are much nicer and more expensive than the average escrima stick. If you are serious about your training, consider treating yourself to a pair of kamagong sticks to use for special occasions such as a testing or demonstration. Dedicated escrima practitioners like kamagong sticks because they can shatter sticks made from other less dense woods.
Hickory sticks are ideal for use in escrima for two reasons. They are made from a dense hard wood that makes them very effective for dealing damaging blows. The wood also has enough elasticity to absorb hard blows in an exchange. It is this ability to absorb pressure from blows that makes hickory a favourite choice for axe and sledgehammer handles too.
Bahi sticks are the favourite stick of many escrima purists because they are made from the wood taken from the centre of a type of palm tree indigenous to the Philippines. Bahi sticks are also dense and durable, which makes them a versatile and effective stick for use in the practice of escrima.
Rattan sticks are lighter than most other escrima sticks and preferred by many dedicated practitioners. The wood is less dense and highly shock absorbent. They are also unlikely to inflict as much damage in a strike as heavier, denser wood sticks. Because of this, rattan sticks are ideal for training or sparring purposes.
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