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Working the Post with Big Ron
Stick Fighting Notes for Carpenters

Ron and I trained on the crucifix post in the back yard this Sunday. He is the first carpenter I have coached on stick fighting. I knew his flexor tendons would be good. I had hi squeeze my wrist on Thursday and he bent the radial and ulna bones. I could feel them flexing. He’s got second tier grip strength. I’m third tier. The only guys with first tier grip strength are power lifters and life-long wrestlers. As his coach it is my job to assess the effect his experience hammering for hours a day.

I do know from training an electrician and noting that he is 20% more effective when laid off than while working that strength developed in such a narrow pattern of use does not translate into a 100% combat benefit.

I found Ron’s grip to be rigid with three effects:

1. His smash is nasty just from the hand, which led me to work him on using the checking hand aggressively and doing short smashes and back hand check smashes with batons and shorter sticks. Where Oliver’s has a hard smash due to foot-hand synchronization, Ron’s is raw strength, which led me also to focus on navigating laterally with the checking hand. Imagine, fighting two men with a flash light or baton. You hit the near one as you check his right shoulder, then you move to whichever of his sides is away from the other—to avoid gun, knife, clinch issues—and use him as a human shield until it is time to through him onto the other man’s feet.

2. Forearm, while as strong on the flexor side as any highly-conditioned stick-fighter, is not balanced or supple, which is common in men with repetitive manual trade tasks. For this reason, and his natural affinity with the smash, I have him practicing fanning much earlier than usual to round out his forearm development and assist in the lateral navigation and human shield tactics. If you just smash his head in he’s on the floor and not serving as a shield—better to shock him and gain a second or two of shield use before he wilts or needs to be weaponized.

3. Ron is a reluctant slasher due to his extensive hammer use, so slashing will be worked on for flow, not power, until he has developed the muscle memory to seek his power points at the end of each slash. In this regard, I expect him to progress more rabidly with the back hand than forehand slash, which is normal, but shul deb addressed early to develop backhand ability. The irony is that short, muscular men are naturally better with the back hand, but that the back hand serves the tall man better, due to shoulder clearance of the opponent’s guard.

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