Weaponry consists of a collection of impact weapons and knife skills. The impact weapons cover various size sticks that come under the title of Euro-sticks. These are integrated in a training syllabus, with each having its own range, properties and improvisation value. As a general rule there are four weaponry categories, each containing an integrating link.
CATEGORY 1; is classified as a one section single-handed concealment weapon and consists of lengths of up to one-quarter the exponent’s height. Training covers the truncheon and knife.
CATEGORY 2; is classified as a two-section, single and double-handed weapon that consist of lengths of approximately half the exponent’s height. Training covers the single and double walking canne.
CATEGORY 3; is classified as a three-section, primarily two-handed weapon that consists of lengths of approximately three-quarters the exponent’s height. Training covers the all-terrain walking baton and the chair.
CATEGORY 4; is classified as a four-section weapon that consists of lengths of the exponent’s height and above. Though there are many ancient weapons in this category, they have limited additional improvisation value in today’s society and are not dealt with in this syllabus. This category includes quarterstaff, halberds, and lances and long handled farm implements.
Offensively, the game will depend on the type of weapon being used, its weight, length, counter balancing requirements and is it predominantly held in one or two hands.
The game, whether for sport or combat is played about a defensive box, whose theoretical origins date back to the 16th century. The box is made from the vertical and horizontal lines that intersect the dominant grip. This intersection provides four prime defensive squares.
Each weapon is capable of traversing eight trajectories, which in a moment of time creates eight parries. Or physiologically, four positions in pronation and four in supination. Apart from the eight trajectory parries, there are clockwise and anti-clockwise circular parries. As a standard, all parries are numbered.
Collectively, the various offensive movements are called hits; these include strikes, thrusts and pommels. Deception is constantly being played to gain time or positional advantage. Kicks, close quarter attacks and grappling are part of the game plan.
Even with an improvised or unfamiliar weapon, it provides the means to deal with a situation with confidence and reason. It gives the exponent the tactical awareness and satisfaction that they are capable of holding their own with any adversary.
During the first half of the 20th century small exclusive societies on the art of knife fencing existed from Italy to Spain. In Italy and Sicily there was a preference towards the ultra quick stiletto. In Spain the preference was for the navaja. In Marseilles and along the Riviera, exponents of chausson/savate maintained the long ruthless tradition of knife and street kicking.
Knife fencing is a tactical thinking person’s game of short duration, with many manoeuvres planned several moves ahead of the ‘coup de grace’.
Historically, savate’s truncheon relates to the ‘belaying pins’ on sailing ships. The ‘pins’ were placed in slots about the bulwark to which the sail ropes were fastened. They became a handy seaman’s weapon.
Since that time truncheons have been made from a variety of materials such as wood, metal, cane and composite. They can used to thrust, beat or pommel and if it has a lanyard it can also be used as a flail. Due to the close quarter nature of the weapon its application is aggressively offensive. The truncheon can be used singly or as a pair. They are superb in confined spaces and that makes them very functional in today’s society.
A modern variant of the truncheon is the handled truncheon that has become a favourite with many law enforcement agencies. It consists of a shaft and a right angle handle that once gripped adds extra power to thrusts and with the shaft positioned along the forearm it can act as a shield.
After the French Revolution it became illegal for civilians to carry a sword. The canne replaced the sword as a means of defence, and it became both a companion and fashion accessory.
Common cannes offer their ferruled tip, handle, crook or knob as the threatening point of impact. Speed rather than power is the essence. Posture and footwork play an important role in taking advantage of opportunities. Manoeuvres require technical skill and careful planning. It teaches one to develop subtle, disciplined hits and to take advantage of every opportunity. Intelligence usually favours the victor.
The canne can be used singly or as a pair. Many senior martial artists have taken to the skills as it offers intellectual stimulation and a base for improvisation that expands the area of self-defence possibilities.
Stick fighting systems about the Mediterranean are well known for their skills and variety. Traditionally, knowledge is passed down within families and villages. This knowledge is seen as an important cultural heritage.
The all-terrain baton is an efficient weapon, where placement, distance and intelligence play an important role in creating and taking advantage of opportunities. Each phase of training is systematic and educational.
Like most stick fighting disciplines it offers combative participation, provides recreational enjoyment and establishes a base for improvisation that expands the area of self-defence possibilities. It is certainly a worthy weapon with which to be familiar.
It is capable of clearing a ‘combat perimeter’ and holding ‘heated’ opponents at bay. Or, it can be used defensively or offensively against unarmed or armed opponents. It can effectively defend against batons, knives and bottles, and shielding against thrown objects.