How to Make Escrima Sticks
Escrima and several other weapons-focused Filipino martial arts emphasize the use of mid-length sticks -- usually made of rattan -- for training the traditional striking techniques, footwork, body movement and disarming techniques. If no ready-made escrima sticks are available in your area, you can make your own out of rattan, bamboo or even wooden dowels about 1 inch in diameter.
Length and Shape
The longer your arms, the longer the stick you should use. If you don't have an instructor who can tell you how long a stick you need, tuck the butt of your raw cane or dowel into your armpit and extend your arm. Have a friend mark where the end of your middle finger falls on the stick. Secure the stick in a clamp or vise. Cut it with a saw, sand it smooth, sand down any nodes on a cane if present and bevel the edges.
Preserving the Sticks
There is no need to burn your stick to harden it. Still, inflexible materials like wooden dowels can break surprisingly fast if you train hard with them, and bamboo can split. Wrapping your sticks with duct tape in overlapping spirals from end to end may not be pretty, but it'll help them last through more intensive training sessions.
Lisa Maloney is a travel and outdoors writer based in Anchorage, Alaska. She's written four outdoors and travel guidebooks, including the award-winning "Moon Alaska," and regularly contributes to local and national publications. She also has a background in personal training, with more than 6,000 hours of hands-on experience.