There are four factors to consider when buying training sticks for Kali:
In Filipino martial arts, including our Pekiti-Tirsia Kali (PTK) system, rattan sticks are used for training. Rattan is similar to bamboo but its stems are solid. This lets them withstand plenty of abuse without transferring kinetic energy to your hands like harder woods might if you continually pound on them. (In the future, we’ll get padded plastic ones for sparring.)
While variations are inevitable and personal preference should be of the utmost importance, generally speaking sticks should have the following dimensions:
- 1-inch diameter
26-inch to 28-inch length
- Unless you’re already familiar with a specific brand, it’s always best to get hands-on with a pair of sticks before putting money down.
PEELED OR UNPEELED
Unpeeled rattan sticks usually last longer. Peeled means their skins have been removed and they’ve been decorated for aesthetics. As always with PTK, we always go for function over form, so unpeeled is suggested. Though, keep in mind, with time and/or intense training, both varieties of sticks will eventually start to wear down. (All the more reason to get the tougher unpeeled versions at the outset.)
WHERE TO BUY
Online: Amazon and eBay can be hit and miss, so I suggest Century Martial Arts. They have a variety of options and the price is decent for a large franchise.
In Person: I usually suggest going to a brick-and-mortar martial arts store if there’s one in your neighborhood (they’re going extinct, unfortunately). Nothing beats being able to hold the stick in your hand before purchasing it.
Specialty Supply Stores: Go to your local cane/wicker supply store. I’ve never been, but I’ve heard good things about Frank’s Cane and Rush Supply in Huntington Beach, California. Its prices seem to be about 40% cheaper than most martial arts stores.