Saturday, September 9, 2017

A Tale of Two Sticks

 Just Plain Old Sticks

I originally saw Gushi Shinyu Of Ueichi Ryu doing kata Mee no Jiffa in a magazine in 2008. It captured my mind, as the movements were so much like what I did in karate without anything in my hands.


I was aware of a variety of Okinawan ways of defense with a variety of items which could be held in the hands, from knuckle dusters, fishing net floats and hairpins.

I have seen their use in Okinawan kobudo referred to with different names. Tichu, Tikko and Jiffa. They may mean different things, of perhaps just different spellings of the same concept, a small hand held stick that may have had its origins in Okinawan Hairpins.
 Tekko Teko, Tikko, Ticchu

My friend Mario McKenna put it this way.
Tikko is a versatile weapon that really needs no independent kata of it's own like Maezato no Tikko that we use in Ryukyu Kobudo. So, using another form like Sesan will undoubtedly work.

The way I learned it from Minowa sensei, you're essentially delivering a vertical fist strike with the Tikko acting as a force multiplier. The only caveat is that the strike is vertical and doesn't use the two primary knuckles for impacting. Because you're using the Tikko, the fist impacts flat onto the target (a big "no no" in Karatedo) . The other point is that the thumb rests on top of the handle of the Tikko to stabilize it.

But having no access to such items I began thinking and developed my own answer. I came up with two sticks to be held in my hands, and with some hemp wound around them for purchase.
One of my students made a set of sticks for our group to use. Ones with two holed drilled in them, and then twine through the holed, the idea was to use them looped over the middle finger. However in practice that was too complicated and it was easier to just hold them with that twine for better purchase.
I did studies with my Senior students using those sticks, we all felt they offered greater striking power. Then in time those studies were set aside for newer studies. The sticks moved to the bottom of my bag.
I was not attempting to re-create anything, rather develop an effective answer for myself. There were things which were much enhanced, and at the same time there were things which were more awkward at first use.
The most obvious use would be striking the side of the head or into the neck.

Or into the arm and even the ribs or groin.


But fate has a role in their use, and in time I became disabled, weaker, more unsteady on my feet. I had to work to find out how to do what I already knew. The only range that was sure for me was up close and personal, but at the same time being slower that made my choices more difficult.


I could no longer strike with much power, and increased practice no longer yielded increases results.


Then I remembered those sticks. An old memory and they were hanging out in the bottom of my equipment bag.


So I observed various ways they were used in different kata.

I tried those techniques out.


I had a variety of motions from many martial studies to use too.


Slowly I worked out a training plan.

The use of those sticks meant I could strike with more power than my former karate technique allowed. For one thing, the sticks did not feel pain.


I could use them in a wide variety of ways.


1. I could use them with my Yang Tai Chi,

or with my Yang Tai Chi Sword form.

2. I could perform all of my kata with those sticks.

3. I could perform my basic tjimande drills with the sticks

for greater effectiveness.

4. I could imitate movements from various kata such as tekko and jiffa.

5. It made my Bando Short Stick available for me to use.

6. I could even craft short kata using a variety of strikes.


There was no limit to the ways I could use them.


They can be simply held in a pocket.

When held in your hands are mostly unnoticed.

If necessary a quick flip of your hands allows you to discard them,

and they are so low cost their loss is negligible.


After all We Must Speak Softly

(and my disabilities make speech a real issue)

And Carry a Short Stick.














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