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A Freestyle Stick Pipedream
A 2009 Report for PickYourFight Promotions
A few years ago, after fighting for Big Al in Chesapeake Virginia, I got another call from him. He said that our fights were a hit and he wanted us down again. He also said that he wanted me to be the stick-fighting match-maker and bring a report for the ISKA officials that were officiating the event. I dutifully complied, and think I overdid it. I also have come to disagree with some of the assessments I made then.
I am still looking for a Dana White for stick-fighting and will attempt to plunder what I have included below for some of the basics.
James, 10/07/2012
Regulating Stick-fighting as a Modern Spectator Sport
A Report by James LaFond, April 4th 2008
Reviewed by Doctor David Lumsden, Orthopedic Surgeon, Sports Physiologist and MMA Coach
The State of the Art
Modern stick-fighting in the United States is influenced primarily by the Filipino martial arts [FMA] of Arnis, Kali and Escrima. FMA competition is sanctioned worldwide by WEKAF [World Escrima Kali Arnis Federation]. WEKAF events are conducted along the lines of a martial arts tournament, are officiated and scored similarly to amateur boxing matches, and, much like fencing, attract a spectator base drawn almost exclusively from FMA practitioners and their families.
The secondary force in modern stick-fighting includes groups such as The Dog Brothers and Modern Agonistics which utilize stick-fighting for experiential social purposes or as a method of reconstructing extinct fighting arts.
To properly regulate stick-fighting as a spectator sport lessons learned from the various current practices must be integrated with an eye toward fighter safety and spectator appeal. Generally speaking WEKAF competition has produced the best fighters while the smaller organizations have produced the most spectator appeal. Due to the fact that stick-fights are briefer affairs than unarmed prize-fights* [and hence can be conducted more often] these various approaches to competition have generated a great body of knowledge concerning the safety parameters of the sport in only two decades.
*Note: While it took the author 27 years to compete in 21 boxing matches [with only 7 wins] the brief duration of stick bouts produces a sharper learning curve which permitted the same older athlete to compete at an exponential rate with greater success.
Freestyle Stick-Fighting
Freestyle stick-fighting is a progressive method by which members of the two communities of fighters discussed above have modified their competition methods to form a safely structured format with spectator appeal. Appealing to spectators while insuring that serious injury does not befall the fighters is the goal of free-style stick fighting as the primary appeal of this sport lies with the spectators. Stick-fighters have always been few, ranging from five to ten adult stick fighters competing in the state of Maryland annually.
Contents
1. Armed Combat as Competition
2. Sticks
3. Head Gear
4. Fencing Masks
5. WEKAF Head Gear
6. Gladiatorial Helmets
7. Hand Gear
8. Groin Protection
9. Elbow & Knee Protection
10. Competition structure and Fighter Distinctions
11. Level 1: FMA Stick
12. Level 2: FMA Stick & Dagger
13. Level 3: Freestyle Stick
14. Level 4: Gladiatorial Stick
15. Level 5: Double Stick
16. Level 6: MMA Stick
17. The Freestyle Tournament Structure
18. Attire
19. Presenting Stick-fighting to the Public
20. Gladiatorial Combat
21. Conclusion
22. Injury Overview
1. Armed Combat as Competition
Most cultures have at least one dueling tradition. In the modern world these traditions have either become extinct [like pistol dueling], evolved into sports [such as epee fencing or kendo] or have been preserved as meditative art forms [as is the case with most weaponry in traditional Asian martial arts such as kenjutsu.]
The conduct of a weapon fight is more dependent on the behavior of the fighters and less reliant on the intervention of the referee than is a boxing match or other unarmed combat. Weapon-fighters learn that the technical and unforgiving nature of weaponry does not reward blind aggression and that safety and success depends primarily on self-control and contact sensitivity. Likewise, referees [often weapon-fighters themselves] have found that they must rely on the fighters for information during some bouts as the speed and subtlety of weapon strokes can make a bout difficult to follow.
Hundreds of experimental duels with dull machetes conducted with and without supervising fighters and usually before spectators, has resulted in duelists giving up on the notion of scoring fights. These have become pure submission duels in which the individual fighters simply declare themselves “finished” when they have taken a stroke or strokes which would have been disabling with sharps and without gear. Such bouts require that only highly attuned and empathetic fighters compete, and are unsuitable for promotion as a regulated sport.
Stick-fighting [as defined in this study], however, is in many ways more like unarmed prize-fighting than blade dueling. Stick-fighting is to blade-fighting what gloved-boxing was to the bare-knuckle combat of the London Prize Ring; a form of preparation for a more lethal art that is rendered sustainable by safety oriented rules and hence results in more action, and an expanding pool of athletes, which appeals to a broader range of spectators.
Whatever rules, weapons and gear are agreed upon for regulated competition the promoter and governing body must realize that the individual fighter must be given the option to submit without shame and to call time [for the sake of himself or his opponent]. It is difficult for a referee to monitor the behavior of both fighters and to keep track of both sets of gear. It is the fighters who are first aware of gear failure as they can each feel their own set and see their opponent’s set simultaneously.
It must be remembered that stick-fights are conducted with weapons that are lethal in the absence of gear. Therefore gear and the nature and consequence of gear failure shall be central to this report.
2. Sticks
As defined in this study a stick is in fact a rod of rattan. Rattan is a vine which makes an excellent training and competition tool because:
1. It frays rather than splinters.
2. It is flexible which increases impact to muscle and decreases impact to bone.
3. Rattan may be cut to any length and has other variable characteristics.
Stick Characteristics
The lethality of a stick is based on its inherent characteristics:
1. Length, ranging from 24-32 inches, with 26-28 inches preferred by most fighters.
2. Thickness, ranging from ½ to1¼ inches, with ¾ inches being the usual.
3. Density, or the closeness of the fibers indicated by the presence of air pockets visible at either end of the stick. Glazing initially enhances stick density.
Stick Lethality
The capacity of a stick to inflict injury is not simply the sum of the three base characteristics. The impact of a stick is a kind of chain reaction with the leverage [indicated by the length] of a stick enhancing its mass [indicated by the thickness]
and the density of the stick enhancing its capacity to transfer force into the target on contact. Ultimately the force of a stroke is dependant on the ability of the stick-fighter, and combatants with evenly matched sticks will modify their behavior to suit the weapon.
Stick characteristics will be discussed further in this report in relation to the nature of the activities being examined.
Notes on Stick Characteristics
1. Thicker sticks tend to be less dense.
2. Stick length positively effects reach and leverage and negatively effects handling.
Handicapping and Matching Sticks
Sticks should always be evenly matched. If a fighter is thought to be overmatched because of size or experience he might be permitted to choose the pair of sticks to be used. But no fighter should ever be permitted to choose a better stick. Generally bigger fighters prefer thicker sticks, smaller fighters prefer quicker sticks, and less experienced fighters and fighters with hand injuries prefer carved handles.
Taping Sticks
Sticks are taped to maintain density, prevent fraying, and to prevent fraying at the end of the stick where small splinters may develop and dislodge.
Sticks are sometimes taped to indicate a fighter’s team; red versus black.
Sticks should not be taped for grip because most forms of tape will become sticky when the edges turn with use and will permit a fighter to maintain his grip with little or no effort. Stick retention is a key focus of the art, with grip-taping being analogous to over-taping hands in boxing and corking bats in baseball.
Sticks should only be taped with electrical tape, as other forms of tape tend to pick up debris and assist gripping.
Sticks should be taped with three turns at each end of the stick.
A referee may tape a stick that is fraying bellow the tip during a bout or match.
Sticks that have required taping below the tip should be retired after a bout or match.
Sticks to be used with shields should have two turns of tape every two inches from the tip for a total of 4 strips including the tip strip.
Carved Handles
Some sticks have carvings on one end to assist gripping. Carved handles are acceptable because a fighter must still actively grip the stick. Carved sticks may not be reversed to use the carved end for striking.
Stick Cost & Supply
Sticks cost between $7 and $15. The referee should check and pair up sticks supplied by the promoter and fighters before the event. There should be a stick for each fighter competing and an extra pair. Hence, an eight-fighter tournament would call for five pairs of matching sticks. This is a conservative recommendation and will be more than adequate.
3. Head Gear
Three types of head pieces have been used for stick-fighting:
1. Fencing Masks [designed for foil & epee or saber]
2. WEKAF Head Gear [designed specifically for stick-fighting]
3. Hockey Helmets [modified for stick-fighting and machete dueling]
Each type of head gear can be rated for 9 protective aspects and 5 practical aspects.
The maximum protective score for a headpiece is 27 points. It should be noted that the following types of headpieces not examined for this report have been experimented with and rejected in the early stages: kendo masks; paint-ball masks; Tae Kwon Do head gear with catcher’s mask and goggles; hockey goalie’s mask; football helmet; motorcycle helmet and lacrosse helmet. The lacrosse helmet can be built up into a usable piece but is very labor intensive and costly.
Protective Qualities: Foil Mask, Saber Mask, Head Gear, Helmet
1. Back of Head* 1 1 1 3
2. Side of Head * 1 2 3 2
3. Top of head 1 2 3 3
4. Face* 2 3 2 3
5. Throat* 2 3 1 2
6. Neck [side of neck] 0 0 2 2
7. Spine [back of neck]*0 0 2 2
8. Collarbone 0 0 2 2
9. Stability* 0 0 1 3
Total Protective level: 7, 11, 17, 22
*Lethal aspects.
Protective Levels
It is important to develop a clear understanding of the injury-prevention qualities of the gear used for these activities. The following analysis is based on my experience in over 600 bouts and thousands of sparring sessions. However, the most serious incidents of gear failure are rare. So, despite the large numbers of gear trials there are still some vague zones. [Areas where there are insufficient data for an absolute conclusion will be noted.] Those reading this report must understand the findings below do not represent an absolute understanding. A 0-3 point system will be used to define levels of protection on the following rough scale:
0- No protection offered by design.
1- Reduces injury.
2- Limits injury.
3- Prevents injury.
What we want to see is 3 point scores in stability and the areas that could cause death or neurological injuries, which are indicated on the protective aspects table above as lethal aspects. For those lethal aspects for which a piece of equipment does not rate a 3 there must be a rule in place that will protect the fighter. A rule breach against a 2 aspect should draw a warning, penalty, disqualification sequence. A rule breach against a 1 aspect should draw a penalty, disqualification sequence. A rule breach against a 0 aspect should draw an instant disqualification.
The analytical flaw in this point system is that a stability failure –that is the gear not staying on—immediately cancels all benefits of wearing the gear and often causes obstruction of vision, further endangering a fighter. Looked at in this respect stability should be regarded as a super-factor.
Practical Aspects
1. Availability
2. Expense
3. Maintenance
4. Comfort
5. Stick effect
These aspects will be discussed at the close of each analysis of the head gear being considered for this sport.
4. Fencing Masks
Fencing masks are designed to protect the athlete from contact with light, blunt, flexible metal weapons. The characteristics of this equipment are specific to the forensics of these flexible metal weapons and the strict traditions of European fencing. These masks have been used extensively by the Dog Brothers in friendly yet brutal meets
for the very reason that the design does not offer adequate protection against stick strokes. Although saber masks offer much better protection than standard masks no fencing masks are suitable for regulated competition.
Foil masks only rate a 7.
Saber masks only rate an 11. [the author prefers to fight in these]
Masks are readily available, no more expensive than boxing head gear, are simple to maintain, are more comfortable than other head pieces, and have no effect on the stick. The mask is the perfect stick-fighting mask for danger-seeking stick-lovers.
The fencing mask’s use in regulated competition should be limited to FMA bouts involving only the most skilled and experienced fighters.
5. WEKAF Head Gear
These head pieces are much like boxing head gear with the addition of a Japanese fencing cage [of the type used for the sport of kendo] and a padded vinyl neck curtain. These pieces are completely adequate for FMA stick competition, are marginally adequate for free-style stick, and are unsuitable for gladiatorial stick.
The WEKAF head piece offers the best side-of-head protection and is superior in most protective aspects to the fencing mask. Those flaws that make these pieces marginal or unsuitable for free style and gladiatorial combat are:
1. There is no chin-strap making the gear prone to tilt and rotate on the head.
2. The Velcro closures at the back of the head are only good for about 3 minutes of rough action before creases may develop in the skull padding.
3. Back-of-the-head protection is minimal.
4. The neck guard develops a funnel like hollow above the breast bone of the fighter combining with this feature of the human anatomy to channel thrusts into the throat cavity above the collarbone.
5. The lateral brow bar will bend from repeated diagonal forehands, and will eventually admit a thrusting stick to the eye.
These pieces do rate an 17, making them far superior to fencing masks.
The practical considerations are as follows:
1. Readily available online.
2. More expensive than standard fencing masks.
3. Easy to maintain.
4. Suffocating with marginal visibility.
5. The top bar on the mask portion tends to break light sticks when vertical power strokes are scored to the head.
WEKAF head gear is suitable for sanctioned FMA bouts with single stick [not stick & dagger], long-stick [not covered in this report] and for free-style double-stick. It is the gear that most fighters train with and will show up with.
A Note on Maintenance: Most fighters [as any boxing coach can tell you] are “gear slobs” and will do little to maintain their equipment. WEKAF head pieces are simple to maintain and will therefore usually be present when stick fighters gather. Regulated competitions should always have a gear master present, especially for free-style bouts were relatively complex gear will be present if not required.
6. Gladiatorial Helmets
These helmets are modified hockey helmets with Bauer being the preferred brand.
Hockey helmets have decades of research and development invested in their design, and, more importantly, offer a suitable platform for hanging neck guards and mounting blade guards due to the numerous ventilation ports. The face cage is also easily enclosed with wire, unlike lacrosse and football helmets [which have been experimented with].
Gladiatorial helmets come in three configurations:
1. Stick helmets have the fields of the face cage enclosed with aluminum wire as it does not rust or require painting.
2. Steel helmets require iron wire for the cage and mount chain blade guards or wired crests to prevent the steel machetes from cleaving the plastic helmet shell.
3. Hybrid helmets have a combination of aluminum and steel wire enclosing the cage
and utilize hemp rope for blade guards.
These helmets rate an impressive—though not perfect—23. These are equal to or superior than the WEKAF helmets in most respects. There are, however, still some 2 ratings in lethal areas. Thus, even with these heavy pieces of armor, some restrictions must still be placed on strokes affecting the throat and neck.
Neck guard Notes
The neck guards come in two configurations:
1. The most common guard consists of a series of overlapping flaps of heavy leather with two throat, six neck, and one spinal guard.
2. The less common type consists of one neck/throat guard of overlapping belt leather with a heavy under-guard for the throat and a spinal guard.
Leather offers the best protection for the neck, throat and spine because of its reactive qualities –sticks literally bounce off of leather. The overlapping structure of these neck guards are proof against slashes but are still vulnerable to vertical thrusts. For gladiatorial authenticity ties of hide or leather are used. However, for a regulated sport paracord should be used to secure the neck guards, which can only be accomplished with the Type 1 guard.
The practical considerations of the gladiatorial helmet are as follows:
1. Must be custom made by hand, and are only made by Robert Geyer & James LaFond.
2. The material cost is $150 to $250. It takes 12 hours to craft one piece.
3. Maintenance requires knowledge of construction, pliers, a screw-driver and spare ties for the neck-guards.
4. Well ventilated with fair visibility.
5. The face cage tends to shred the ends of sticks, so stick taping is necessary.
Note: Super-heavyweights; that is large-boned men weighing over 250 lbs cannot fit their heads into large size hockey helmets. Men this size have had to wear lacrosse helmets, or seek out rare XL shells. For regulated competition lacrosse helmets would have to have a reinforced back plate of leather. This piece comes with a lot of practicality and expense negatives.
7. Hand Gear
Fighters use a wide variety of gloves for stick fighting. Generally hockey gloves are preferred for sparring and lacrosse and WEKAF gloves are preferred for competition. Some fighters wrap their hands or wear batting gloves underneath, while others prefer just the glove. Fighters have occasionally fought with only batting gloves. Also, some fighters, without a lot of gear experience, have fought bare-handed.
It must be understood that there is no perfect glove. Every design sacrifices either dexterity or protection, and many sacrifice both in a hopeless attempt to compromise.
>Larger gloves are more easily targeted for hits.
>Heavier gloves reduce stick speed.
>Complex safety features reduce manual dexterity.
> Lighter gloves do not protect against power shots.
> All gloves sacrifice either knuckle, finger or finger-tip protection. No design protects all three.
>Wrist protection is uneven and is compromised by hand rotation in all of the heavier designs.
What follows is a recommended hand gearing policy:
1. Fighters must wear some type of hand protection; either gloves, wraps or tape, or a combination thereof, with steel gauntlets being prohibited.
2. When a piece of hand-gear comes off, the fight must be halted long enough to replace the equipment.
Note: Fighters who wish to fight bare-handed are expressing the fear that they will lose their stick, which may have to do with the fact that they have not found a glove that suits their grip. These fighters should be encouraged to wear (at the least) batting gloves and wrist wraps. A promoter should keep on hand a pair of WEKAF gloves and a pair of Easton hockey gloves for use by fighters with unsuitable gear. The Easton’s are the best gloves for competing with an injured hand and should be kept on hand for use by fighters who have a hand injury during a tournament.
8. Groin Protection
Stick-fighting poses a risk to the penis and testicles. The risk of testicular injury is far less than in boxing, kick-boxing, MMA or with the military pugil-stick. The only risk of crushing the testicles against the pelvis is in MMA stick fighting were kicks and punches are allowed. The danger to the penis however, is significant. High velocity stick strokes will cut a fighter through his clothing, often without even damaging the clothing.
Light general-purpose athletic cups are all that is required to protect the penis and testicles in a stick-fight.
Light groin protection should be mandatory.
9. Elbow & Knee Protection
Unprotected stick-fighters have, on rare occasions, sustained serious injuries to the elbows and knees. More importantly, fighters with moderate joint protection (plastic cup over padding) have sustained injuries involving massive bruising and swelling. This indicates that a catastrophic injury to the knee or elbow will occur in time to unprotected fighters. Therefore, knee and elbow protection should be required.
Again, a variety of sports gear has been experimented with. The most appropriate joint protection for stick-fighting is provided by gear intended for skateboarding and in-line skating. This gear is lighter than most types, more stable (slip-on and Velcro combines for maximum, stability) than all other varieties, and offers less collateral protection to the limbs than most other types.
Knee braces, soft knee pads, and plastic capped knee pads are appropriate if a fighter wishes to provide his own gear. However, knee pads provided by a promoter or governing body should only be of the in-line skating type.
Elbow braces, soft elbow pads and capped elbow pads may be permitted. But a sanctioning party should only provide the most appropriate protection, this being the skating gear. Lacrosse and hockey elbow gear should be strictly prohibited.
Note: Plastic cups should be removed from joint gear to be used in MMA stick-fights, to prevent this gear from being utilized as a weapon.
10. Competition Structure and Fighter Distinctions
FMA stick-fighting recognizes three weight classes: light, middle, and heavy.
The tiny number of fighters involved in competition outside of the FMA community have abandoned the idea of weight classes. In weapon-fighting size does matter, but not any more so than skill, or experience. Fighters should be rated by the match-maker in these three categories. If it is determined that one fighter has an advantage than the disadvantaged fighter should simply be given the choice of sticks or format (FMA, Freestyle, Double-stick, etc.)
Records are available for some fighters but not others. WEKAF fighter do not have bout records yet are generally more skilled than free-style fighters, some of whom keep records.
Currently, in the State of Maryland, the #1 fighter is Aaron Seligson who has finished 2nd in the world on two occasions. The # 2 fighter is Rico Arus, who basically retired a dozen stick-fighters. Behind Rico is a closely matched pack of fighters including Jeff Realo, Leonard Anderson, John Bosch, James LaFond, Damien Kestle and Charles Meisling. Behind this group are a few novices and teens in various stages of development.
11. Level 1. FMA Stick-fighting
This is the only type that should be engaged in by youths and amateurs. FMA stick begins the rules progression in this report, with the other formats based on, yet divergent from, this style of competition.
FMA stick is concerned primarily with the offensive and defensive weapon handling ability demonstrated by the fighters.
FMA bouts are supervised by a referee and scored by three ringside judges according to the 10-point must system.
Amateur, tournament and exhibition bouts are 1 round.
Pro-am bouts are 1 round.
Pro bouts are 2 rounds.
Championship bouts are 3 rounds.
Round length is 2 minutes.
Combat begins with the touching of the sticks.
Fighters may hammer with the butt of the stick and slash with the body of the stick.
Thrusts or stabs are prohibited.
Slashes and butts to the neck, throat, spine, groin, shin or foot are prohibited.
No offensive action may be taken with any part of the fighter’s body or gear.
The empty hand may, however, be used to check the other fighter’s forward progress or to push him back, but not to grapple or pull.
The checking hand may not be used against the face or head, only the body.
The empty hand or arm may be used to take the opponent’s stick, but this disarming maneuver must be instant.
Clinching is not permitted.
A fighter who losses his stick for any reason is docked a point.
A fighter who falls, takes a knee or turns his back is docked a point.
Note on Officiating: Since these bouts are of such short duration, any infringement of the rules should result in a point being deducted.
When a piece of gear fails the referee must call time while the gear is secured. The referee should be encouraged to honor a fighter’s gear call for himself or his opponent.
The following formats assume this as their basic structure with the rules presented henceforth indicating exceptions.
12. Level 2. FMA Stick & Dagger
Gear Note: Should only be permitted with gladiatorial helmets.
The dagger is either a short length of rattan or a plastic Filipino style Sharkee dagger.
Thrusts with the stick are permitted if they are delivered palm up (supinated) or palm down (pronated), but not vertical.
The knife or dagger may be used to strike all those locations (neck, throat, spine, groin, shin, foot) that are prohibited to the stick
A slash of the dagger should count as 3 stick strokes.
A vital stab with the dagger should count as 5 stick strokes.
If a weapon is lost, the referee halts the bout, removes the weapon, and the bout continues.
If a fighter loses both weapons the bout ends with his opponent victorious.
A fighter who turns his back is defeated.
A fighter who falls or takes a knee must continue from that position.
13. Level 3. Freestyle Stick
Gear Note: Only permitted with gladiatorial helmets.
Pronated and supinated stabs are permitted.
Clinching is permitted for a ten count.
A fighter who loses his stick is defeated.
Checking the face cage or helmet with the empty hand is permitted.
14. Level 4. Gladiatorial Stick
Gear Note: Only permitted with gladiatorial helmet.
Pronated and supinated stabs are permitted.
All stick strokes are permitted to the neck and throat but not the spine.
The 16” steel shield may be used to punch (with the face) or cleave (with the edge).
Punches and cleaves to the spine, neck, throat, shin and foot are prohibited.
A fighter who turns, falls or takes a knee must fight from that position.
A fighter who loses his stick must fight on with only the shield.
A totally disarmed fighter is not defeated unless he submits.
Scrambling for lost weapons is permitted.
Clinching and grappling is permitted.
Fights may be won by submission.
The weapons may be utilized for leverage in submissions.
15. Level 5. Double-stick
Gear note: WEKAF helmets are appropriate
Turned, fallen or kneeling fighters must fight from their position.
Lost weapons are removed and the bout continues.
A fighter who loses both sticks loses the bout.
16. Level 6. MMA Stick
Gear note: Only permitted with gladiatorial helmets.
Plastic caps must be removed from elbows and knees.
All strokes with body and gear are permitted except to the groin and spine.
The helmet may not be used as a weapon.
All stick strokes are permitted except for vertical thrusts and slashes to the spine, shin and foot; and butts to the neck, throat and spine.
Weapons may be used to aid submissions.
Lost weapons are discarded by the referee and the bout continues.
17. The Freestyle Tournament Structure
Matches are round-robin with every fighter fighting every other fighter once. Hence a 10-fighter tournament would consist of 9 rounds of 5 bouts each.
The bouts are 1 round.
Matchmaking is done by seeding.
There are no byes.
In rounds with an odd number of fighters the # 1 seed is matched twice and retains his best score.
Fighters may forfeit individual bouts and continue to the next round.
In case of a bye the #1 seed may opt to forfeit to one fighter and retain the score he earns against his other match for that round; effectively picking his match.
Tournament points are earned according to a 10-point split after each bout, with the fighters splitting the points according to the following method:
Bout Result Points Awarded
Win by DQ, forfeit 10
Win by disarm 9
Win by stoppage 8
Win by unanimous decision 7
Win by majority decision 6
Draw 5
Loss by majority decision 4
Loss by unanimous decision 3
Loss by stoppage 2
Loss by disarm 1
Loss by DQ, forfeit 0
18. Attire
Footwear should be optional.
Since clothing can be padded it should be minimal.
Shirts should either be snug-fitting or sleeveless and tucked in.
Shorts or sweats should be worn.
Shorts with pockets should have the pockets emptied, as keys can damage fighters and sticks, pockets can be torn and change spilled, and wallets and other items can pad blows.
19. Presenting Stick-Fighting to the Public
The fan base for stick-fighting comes primarily from those who enjoy MMA and extreme sports. It should be noted that every group of spectators to attend a freestyle stick fighting event has gone away asking for more.
20. Gladiatorial Combat
Freestyle combat with steel weapons is unsuitable for regulation as a sanctioned sport and should remain a submission art presented as an exhibition. The author has attached such a guideline to this report.
21. Conclusion
Contact weapon-fighting has, at various times in history, been among the most popular sports. Properly officiated and promoted there is no reason why it cannot emerge as a fringe sport in modern times. The primary obstacle is the scarcity of fighters. This may be addressed by recruiting retired fighters from other combat sports, as weapon-fighting is more suited to older fighter than is unarmed fighting.
22. Injury Overview
Injuries and associated facts listed from most to least frequent. Tracked but not quantified from 2000-2007.
1. Massive bruising, usually to thighs, hips, flanks and arms.
2. Superficial lacerations, mostly to arms and ribs, rarely to thighs, and to the skull in cases of gear failure.
3. Fractured radial bone, occurring to empty hand, usually left.
4. Swollen knuckles, stick hand.
5. Broken index finger, stick hand.
6. Broken thumb, stick hand.
7. Broken small finger, empty hand and stick hand.
8. Temporary loss of mobility and massive bruising to shoulder of stick hand, primarily in small fighters.
9. Fractured ribs, from thrusts in freestyle bouts, and knees in MMA bouts.
10. Temporary loss of mobility and massive bruising to elbow and knee from strokes penetrating joint gear.
11. Trauma to testicle from stabs and blocked slashes, and from knees, and kicks in MMA bouts.
12. Trauma to penis from slashes.
13. Neck sprain from head cranks in MMA bouts.
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