fighting sticks...

Kenpo fighting sticks are usually made for the artist working on Long Form Seven, stick set. They are much denser than the sticks we use to practice Storm defenses, and couldn't be safely used on against another student. All the same, at the studio we often do that during a test, just to up the stakes a bit.

I have made sticks from lignum vitae, also called ironwood, which is the densest wood known. It grows in the Southwestern desert as a small tree, is extemely durable, hard, heavy, and has a high natural oil content, so only ever needs burnishing with a cloth. During WWII ironwood was used to make bushings for submarine propellers.

These sticks are made of compressed hardwood veneers, developed as a substitute for rosewood in tool handles. The stick is extremely dense and can withstand shattering impact, having a compression strength of 25, 600psi. They are extremely strong, but very light. Each is 23" long, with a 1" diameter, hand polished with jeweler's rouge to bright shine, the ends slightly beveled to prevent chipping. They are not waxed, and a quick rub with a cotton cloth will restored the luster. These are the best I've seen in any tournament or dojo, and I make each by hand.

The artist's name is burned onto one end, both to identify your sticks, and to act as a grip on the highly polished wood. The wood must be polished on a lathe at high speeds using jeweler's rouge followed by white polish. The sticks are cut to the length of your own personsal cubit, which measure you might recollect from Noah building his ark. A cubit is the span from elbow to finger tip. You are your own pharoh, in kenpo, and you get your own cubit.