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Thread: Cold Steel Escrima Sticks

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Macungie, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    531

    Thumbs up Cold Steel Escrima Sticks

    Hey, just thought I'd say a few words about these, in case anybody was interested in them. I got a good deal on a pair of them from e-bay (much lower than the suggested retail price, which is a little steep for what's essentially a fake stick, in my opinion), and since I consider the stick to be an all-around useful training tool, I got them. The first thing I noticed about them was that they're very long, compared to sticks I've used in the past. Cold Steel's catalog lists them as 32", whereas I've tended to stay with sticks in the ~28" range. I don't mind the extra range, but if you're picky about length, a few minutes of quality time with a saw will fix it. The second thing I noticed upon picking one up was that they're considerably heavier than rattan. You'd think it wouldn't have to be said, but I guess I was expecting the maneuverability of their sjamboks, which are tapered and balanced differently. Not to mention Cold Steel's website claims, "Our brand new Cold Steel Escrima Stick resembles a traditional rattan stick in length, weight, and cross section..." Still, it's about what you'd expect from a good, dense hardwood, so it isn't unwieldy. Proper padding (hands especially) and facial protection, however, are called for due to the heavy hitting potential of the plastic.

    The profile is shaped to resemble bamboo. This is purely aesthetic, and has no bearing on performance that I can perceive. It doesn't show on the pictures I've seen of it, but the plastic is made to look as though it has the grain of wood or bamboo. I suppose this moderately helps grip. I grip it on the "node," if you will, and I find that I have no problem holding on to it. I'll probably put some grip tape on it anyway, as I do with rattan sticks. If you've used the sjamboks, you've probably noticed the tips have kind of sharp edges as a byproduct of the extrusion process; the same is true of the sticks, so I took a minute to round the edges a little bit with my pocket knife.

    Now then, physical properties aside, these are marketed as training tools, so, of course, a word about performance is in order. I haven't had a chance to use them extensively yet, but I have used them enough to conclude that they're pretty good tools. The plastic, from what I've noticed so far, seems to absorb impact a little bit better than hardwood, so it's a little less jarring on the hands (although further and harder sparring will test this more). You can definitely feel it when you get whacked with one, and after a good session you feel as though you've had a nice workout. Snapping hits such as are possible with rattan are not as feasible with these sticks because they are heavier and longer. For speed, I imagine cutting 3-4" off would improve it considerably. I don't know if this would negatively affect the integrity of the plastic, but if you have a long drill bit you could also try drilling into the striking end (not the end you hold it by) to lighten it slightly, bringing the POB a bit closer to your hand, something you can't really do with rattan or hardwood.

    All in all, if you make heavy use of sticks in your training, you might do well to pick one of these up, since, if my Cold Steel sjamboks and training knives are any indication, they're weatherproof and virtually indestructible through even aggressive wear-and-tear. Since they are so long, you can customize them to pretty much any length you want. I think what I'll ultimately do is use these for training, drills, and moderate sparring, and use rattan for heavy sparring sessions - and when you switch from the plastic to the rattan, you'll love how fast the latter feels in your hand. I wouldn't mind fitting a basket to one for single-stick, actually. Still, the price tag might put you off, so look for good deals on E-bay or something.
    Praemonitus, praemunitus.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Macungie, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    531

    Exclamation Update

    Well, I've been using these for a couple weeks now. While my other comments remain true, I did address in my previous post the fact that I hadn't used them enough to really evaluate performance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Gifford View Post
    I haven't had a chance to use them extensively yet, but I have used them enough to conclude that they're pretty good tools. The plastic, from what I've noticed so far, seems to absorb impact a little bit better than hardwood, so it's a little less jarring on the hands (although further and harder sparring will test this more).
    My wrist has started to hurt a little bit over the last two or three days, and I suspect (but I'm withholding judgment for now) it's from the sticks. I said the plastic seems to absorb the impact; well, it does, in light contact, but the heavier the contact, the more the material seems to flex, and then whip back, sending much of that force to your wrist. Not sure how I feel about that. I've heard through the grapevine of that sort of thing happening to some people using certain carbon shinai, but I've never used one so I have no idea how those handle. Still, the flexing means that a hard hit seems to hurt slightly less than a stiffer material (like wood) but still more than rattan. *Shrugs* Can't go wrong with traditional, I suppose! I'm pretty much going to say rattan is still the way to go for performance, but I still like having these things around.

    Ah well, happy training!
    Praemonitus, praemunitus.

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