Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Inktober 2018 - Day #2: Fundamentals: Grips

Welcome to Inktober 2018 Day 2!

Inktober is an event where artists draw 1 picture for each day in the month of October. This year's focus/theme will be on the staff/spear with my notes. Please forgive my crappy picture of the page.



  1. Palm Up/Down grip - Fight initially at long ranges and can rapidly shift hands to center of staff for close-quarters. Powerful long and short strikes using 'push-pull' action of the hands.
  2. Palms Down grip - For close-quarters and levering. Effective for blocking and pushing.
  3. Baseball bat grip - Facilitates rapid, circular, flourishing attacks, where the staff makes a series of vertical spins to block and strike. Best for 5-6 feet staves. If hands closer together, can deliver powerful strikes like holding a baseball bat.
  4. Single-end grip - Used at long range. Facilitates long- and medium- range fights. Can deliver fast long-range thrusts.
  5. Reverse grip - Good for ascending strikes or levering between legs for takedowns/trips.


  1. Some grips may be better for attacks, blocks or both.
  2. Practice various grips in various situations.


  1. McLemore, Dwight C. "The Fighting Staff". Paladin Press, 2009.
  2. Demura, Fumio. "Bo:  Karate Weapon of Self-Defense". Ohara Publications, 1976.
  3. Varady, Joe. "The Art and Science of Staff Fighting". YMAA Publication Center, 2016.

My drawings for Inktober 2018 (this will be updated daily to add links to each subsequent picture in the series):

Inktober 2017's focus was predominately knifefighting and if you want to check it out, please visit my Projects page.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Inktober 2018 - Day #1: Fundamentals: Staff Lengths

Welcome to Inktober 2018 Day 1!

Inktober is an event where artists draw 1 picture for each day in the month of October. There is an official prompt list for the picture of each day. Last year, I put my own spin to Inktober by focusing each drawing on the martial arts. After the first few pictures, I decided to focus on 1 theme for the whole month. Last year's focus was knifefighting and if you want to check it out, please visit my Projects page.

This year's focus/theme will be on the staff/spear. I am ambitious with this project, will do my best to post 1 picture a day. I also will be jotting down notes to each drawing as after all, I'm trying to learn staff/spear. Additionally, I need to hone my 'gesture drawing' skills as it will be beneficial for notes taking after a martial arts class/seminar. Drawing and notes will be on an 8.5" x 11" paper and I will collect them into a folder.



  1. "...you shall stand upright, holding the staff upright close by your body, with your left hand, reaching with your right hand your staff as high as you can, and then allow to that length a space to set both your hands, when you come to fight, wherein you may conveniently strike, thrust, and ward, & that is the just length to be made according to your stature."
    ~George Silver's Paradoxes of Defense (1599)
  2. George Silver is saying length of staff is determined by one's height.
  3. Waist height and shoulder height - best to use sword techniques
  4. Some Chinese styles consider eyebrow height as ideal
  5. Chinese and Germans used 8'-12' staves.


  1. Shoulder height or shorter, use the staff as a sword.
  2. Eyebrow height (~5') up to 12', use staff techniques.


  1. McLemore, Dwight C. "The Fighting Staff". Paladin Press, 2009.
  2. Lindholm, David. "Fighting with the Quarterstaff". Chivalry Bookshelf, 2006.

My drawings for Inktober 2018 (this will be updated daily to add links to each subsequent picture in the series):

Saturday, August 11, 2018

In Memory of: Bob Orlando (Oct 26, 1944 - Aug 11, 2016)

Bob Orlando passed away 2 yrs ago on this date. Bob Orlando lost his long fight with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Bob Anselmo Orlando
Lakewood, Colorado
Oct 26, 1944 - Aug 11, 2016

As tribute, I'm archiving his "Author of the Month" entry from the now defunct Paladin Press.

Author of the Month

BOB ORLANDO -- September 1996

Bob Orlando was introduced to the martial arts while on active duty in the U.S. Marines (1961-1964). However, it was not until after he left the service that the flicker of interest kindled overseas became his consuming fire and he began serious study in Chinese kenpo-karate. Shortly thereafter he switched to kung fu, studying under Al Dacascos (who was then teaching in Denver, Colorado) for three years until a back operation made it impossible to continue in that high-kicking style. It was back to Chinese kenpo, where Bob received his first-degree blackbelt from Dr. John P. Cochran. Although Bob has subsequently earned additional rank, he prefers to say that he is a student of the arts and leave it at that. "Rank," he says, "is excess baggage. It becomes a hindrance to learning because everyone expects that you already know everything."
Ever a student of the arts, Bob's quest for knowledge has taken him into aikido, iaido, arnis de mano, and escrima. However, what has impacted him the most are the years spent studying Chinese kuntao and Indonesian pentjak silat under Dutch-Indonesian master Willem de Thouars. After nearly 12 years of training with de Thouars, Bob received his teaching certificate from him in 1994. He now owns and operates his own martial arts school in Denver.
In addition to authoring Indonesian Fighting Fundamentals: The Brutal Arts of the Archipelago, Bob, a graduate of a Jesuit university, has also written numerous articles for both national and local publications and has just completed his second book, Martial Arts America: A Western Approach to Eastern Arts, which he expects to have published sometime next year.

No longer a tournament competitor, Bob still supports tournament and sport karate. As a founding member and past director of the Colorado Karate Association (CKA) -- a nonprofit organization that works to provide competitors with a positive tournament environment -- Bob believes that the arts' sporting element still provides training benefits for the serious practitioner. He currently serves as one of the CKA's top referees. 

Although he is not a "professional" martial artist, Bob, a computer professional for more than 30 years, still considers himself a "full-time" martial artist, because he studies and trains constantly. His school is a small one, and that's just the way he wants it. "Our school is our laboratory. There, we test everything from the practicality of forms training and techniques to the latest craze in self-defense. We have a formal curriculum -- from white to black belt -- but it is not set in stone. For us, the concrete is never quite dry."
Of his own abilities, Bob says, "I have many skills. After nearly three decades in the arts, I ought to. But my skills came not because of any natural talent, but because I worked very hard to get to where I am today. My fortés are my analytical mind and my ability to share what I know with others. I take the complicated and make it simple. I am a teacher."
An experienced seminar presenter, Bob is available for seminars and may be reached by email at borlando@amoco.com.

Index of Paladin Press site archived pages:

Stickgrappler's Note: I am guessing the Paladin site will be shut down at the end of the 2017 year and I'm archiving select Paladin Press pages to my blog to preserve an essential part of martial arts from 1970-2017. Archiving some of the Paladin "Author of the Month".

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Not Martial Trained, But Fighting Fit by Badger Johnson

Not Martial Trained, But Fighting Fit.

Let’s say you wanted to be good at fighting but did not want to study a martial art. What would you do?

As I mentioned earlier, I did a few things as a kid that made me a good fighter and I didn’t realize it.

I marched in a HS band, football games and parades. Those parades were from 3-5 miles long as I recall. The Macy’s parade is 5.5 miles. We marched in a relatively flat location in Tidewater, Va. I played a trombone which is not easy to play loudly and not light to carry for that long. We also dressed in wool uniforms with parade dress shoes and plumed hat. We were also required to ‘high step it’ when marching especially since the trombones were in the front. This gave me good cardio and increased my lung power (intercostals and diaphragm).

Around the age of 15 I built a log cabin about 10’ by 12’ about six big logs high, and dug out the floor to have an underground part. I used a hand axe, not a long axe. It took a couple months of daily chopping, dragging, digging and notching. I didn’t realize how much forearm strength it would give me, it was something I did for fun. Very good for shoulders and forearms and grip.

I delivered papers on a regular bike, I think one-speed with a huge basket on the front. It took about forty minutes to deliver them, but I had to pedal about 1/2 mile to pick them up and then 1/2 mile back. That gave me leg strength and added to my ‘wind’.

I lived near a wooded area so we were always climbing trees. I was the best at the rope climb in gym class.

So, I would say to build a fighting base, work on the following:

  1. Overdevelop the forearms, calves, shoulders and neck (to absorb strikes?). Forearms and hands give you extra grip-fighting capability. Calves give you the ability to be explosive. Shoulders allow strength in striking and also endurance to hold your hands up in guard. Practice some kind of jumping, even if sandlot basketball.
  2. Work on method to develop your cardio in the five ranges, and include burst, which is explosive ability for a few vital seconds. You can get this sprinting up hills, dragging a weighted sled and pedaling a bike uphill. (You also improve your lung power when playing a brass instrument).
  3. Play games. Frisbee, basketball pickup games, any running games, tag, or volleyball or soccer in school. This gives you ability to change direction and start and stop.
  4. Learn some kind of dancing. Again, that gives you cardio without really noticing it. It gives you rhythm and timing. You also get rhythm by playing a musical instrument. You get exposed to grace notes and subdividing the beat. This is good for broken rhythm.
  5. Use handheld tools. We played stick fighting and chopped trees and dug underground forts and shoveled snow and cut grass.

What about grappling? Well we grappled and wrestled as kids but without a lot of guidance. I did a semester of wrestling in grade school and junior high so I had an idea of what to do. I’d say this is an area where you most need some formal training. It’s reasonable, say around the age of 15-18 to get some BJJ training and to work on takedowns and grip fighting.

So without all of the formal martial arts stuff, bowing and kata and trying to kick high, you’d be a pretty formidable fighter when needed, though you might not win any formal championships, but again, how many people really need that. I was just living the life of a kid and young adult in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

It’s about building layers. Some attribute development through other base training, some focused work with a goal is needed. You might also need to have a role in mind, a temporary person or idea you put out there as a beacon or idol. But later you become your own hero.

© Badger Johnson, August 2018

Please check out Badger Johnson's other essays:

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

I fought at my first Dog Brothers Gathering!

Photo Credit:  http://www.montrealmartialarts.com

This is my AAR (After Action Report) of my first ever Dog Brothers Gathering.

Many people who train the martial arts don't train stickfighting with minimal protection. For those that do train stickfighting, many don't fight at a Dog Brothers Gathering. And I'm guessing there are few people in their 50's with ~2 years of training going to a Gathering and might I add that the Gathering was in a different country to boot! I did all that ... WOW!


July  21, 2018, Saturday
Gelinas Academy of Mixed Martial Arts
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

1 warm up knife fight (90 seconds)

And 5 fights (2 minutes each)  ...  I wanted one more fight but I took too long a break after eating a granola bar and a protein bar in addition to drinking 2 bottles of water. It was the 7th Canadian Dog Brothers Gathering so 7 fights would've been nice. Only 6 total fights though for a total time of 11.5 minutes between 11:00-3:30. My body is still achy all over after 2 days from only 11.5 mins of stickfighting!

1. Knife fight vs Wandering Dog/Shawn Zirger

I thought he got 3 clean kills but after the fight he said he only got one, the other 2 were not deadly. He said I sliced his forearm with a clean hit. We have been online friends for a long time and glad we finally met! The day after the Gathering he taught a block of material that blew my mind. If you have a chance, go train with Wandering Dog!

Wandering Dog:

"Was great to meet and get the day started with you."

2. Single stick with Foxhound/Matt Berry

We agreed to no knee shots and no grappling on the ground. He was recovering from an injury. He tried 2 spinning back kicks which missed ... on his 2nd kick I was able to hit his leg .... not hard but hard enough that IIRC he acknowledged it. He hit me quite a few times. He hits hard. Got me on my left elbow. He switched from his Dominant/right to his Complementary/left and I almost switched also. I fought with my Complementary Hand (Left). My Brother, "Dog" Chris, yelled at me, "It's your first Gathering. You are not left-handed. Switch to your right!" As it was my first Gathering, he felt I shouldn't have handicapped myself further especially against a Full Dog Brother who is a well-rounded martial artist and scary fighter.

But I am proud I stuck to my Complementary Hand ... I was very close to switching to my Dominant Hand though! But I resisted the urge. Towards the end of the fight I was driving him into the cage and got him pinned and was going to try for a "cameltoe" takedown but the bell rang.


"Huge thanks and love to my opponents ...
@stickgrappler (huge respects to this man!!)"

"@stickgrappler you were great! Fighting Full Dog Brothers right off the bat?? I knew I had to play tricks on you right away, I am humbled to be a part of your first Gathering. I will be down to NYC to train with you fine folks before the Open. As far as I am concerned, though, you're a proven StickFighter!!"

3. Double sticks vs Candidate Chili Pepper Dog/Badger Jones

I may have hit his hands a few times. I blocked with my head way too many times though LOL. He hit me with 1 rib shot and 2x on my forearms. He said I telegraphed. We didn't get a chance to chat about our fight. We have been online friends for a long time and glad we finally met. I have been training the Cavewoman series and it didn't manifest in this fight despite me using it in our training group sparring. Much to work on.

C-Chili Pepper Dog:

"- Jack Lee, double stick, despite your self-deprecation, you showed good technique and power and took on a lot of heavy hitters for your first Gathering. (also, nice to finally meet you after some 20-odd vears of online discussion)"

4. Double sticks vs Sage Dog/Roger Whissel

62 yrs old, hip replacement last year and also Ascended to Full Dog Brother last year. We agreed to no grappling and no knee shots. HE HITS HARD EVEN THOUGH HE'S 62!!! Got hit in my head with his Caveman (diagonal slash down) from his Dominant/right hand. The first ever head shot where my head felt the hit! All other head shots I ever got I can hear I got hit but the mask took the hit and my head didn't feel those ... he hit me in my left elbow where I had bursitis a few years ago. Swollen now. Hit me on the ribs with nasty looking stick hickey that hurt a little but is nothing. At one point, he dropped one stick and I let him pick it up. We have been online friends for a long time and glad we finally met.

Sage Dog:

"You were awesome my friend. Thanks for the fight."

5. Single stick vs Kevin Fillman

His 2nd Gathering ...  nephew of Sage Dog. Forgot to say no knee shots to him prior to the fight ... he went 2x for my knee and I avoided except for the first where he hit me on my thigh. Stick hickey from thigh disappeared already. Lost my stick ... don't recall if he hit my hand, hit my stick hard or I just dropped. IIRC he said he hit my stick hard and I dropped it then. I clinched and pinned him vs cage as he repeatedly hit my head ... I tried to control his stick arm to no avail. After the fight he said he never fought a lefty before and that after his right dominant hand Caveman strike it was easy for a lefty to hit his forearm which I did (I was able to use "follow the force"). I told him that my Dominant hand is my right and I fought with my Complementary hand and he was surprised!

After this fight on Saturday, Wandering Dog offered some words of advice which sounded cryptic at first. After Sunday's seminar in which he taught a block of material from his current martial arts research that he was reluctant to share initially, his advice from the previous day was crystal clear!

Kevin Fillman:

"Thank you for the kind moves and also the fight. You made me have to adapt to your style. Thank you for the lesson"

6. Single stick vs Candidate Painted Dog/Liam Burke

It was late in the day, fewer and fewer Fighters were lining up. He was sitting down in the spectators section and was tired. On an earlier Facebook post of a mutual friend, he encouraged me to show up and that he would be honored to fight me. I asked him if he still had a fight left in him and despite being tired, he wanted to go with a technical fight with machete. Told him I'm a stick guy and I offered to fight a technical single stick fight. He said with sticks he didn't think it can be technical. He thought about it for a little and said ok ... we were the penultimate fight. Forgot to say no knee shots before we started and he kept going after my knee! I didn't think to hit his head as he went for my knee :( After the fight he said I was the only one he fought today to adapt mid-fight. I think his first drift shot grazed my thigh... then he went for more drift shots and I cross-stepped or 'elastico' back on those shots  and avoided his knee shots. I really don't remember now how I was able to avoid his drift shots. All his previous fights of the day he landed his drift shots at the knee. At first I didn't know he was a Candidate Dog Brother and during dinner I looked up the Fighters List and found out... if I knew I may not have requested the fight ... LOL at me!

C-Painted Dog:

"Glad I didn't hit you in the knee. Drift shots to the leg have been a huge part of my game these days.

You're being modest and you did damn well. It was an honour to fight you and I hope to continue sharing growth with you."

Due to my Family/financial situation with Princess Stickgrappler #1 in 2nd year of college, Princess SG #2 a junior in high school and SG Jr a high school freshman, I may not get to go to another Gathering to test myself until SG Jr is out of college in 7 yrs. I would be 60 then and may not fight at a Gathering at that age despite this Gathering having seen Tuhon Phil Gelinas aka Sled Dog, 65, a 63 yr old gentleman recovering from his stroke and fighting at his first Gathering and 62 yr old Sage Dog fighting.

Nothing broken ... swollen elbow only. Nothing lost. Everything gained!





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Stickgrappler's Sojourn of Septillion Steps