- Rattan and bamboo are cousins. Wrong. Rattan is actually a breed of palm tree. As it grows, it slithers through the jungle like a vine and is straightened or bent with heat.
- If you want to learn Filipino Martial Arts, get some rattan. Actually, we don’t practice a rattan art, we practice a martial art. In southeast Asia rattan is plentiful, cheap, and lightweight. On the battlefield, nobody ever put down their loaded firearms to charge the enemy with rattan sticks. Rattan is simply a medium used to learn. If rattan did not grow in the southeast Asia, rest assured, grandmasters would have used another wood for practice.
- If you REALLY want to learn FMA, get some rattan sticks with fancy burns. No. Heat takes moisture out of the wood and tends to make rattan more brittle and less flexible. After selling rattan sticks all over the world for almost 15 years, I would never pick a burned stick over a natural stick for longevity. They sure look cool though. “You know, more Filipino.” Lots of people in our community have cherished recipes for heating and coating sticks. Truth is that there is no need to shake, bake, or stir-fry your sticks at all. At about $9.00 for a natural rattan stick, I’m not worried about preserving my sticks to hand down to my grandchildren.
- Wicker and rattan are the same. Rattan is the wood, wicker is the weaving art that is used to make furniture, frames, and many other products.
- Sticks should be exactly matched for double stick drills. This is really a personal preference. As beginners, we tend to want as much symmetry as possible. Later, it will not really matter to you if the sticks you grab are even the same diameter. Rattan sticks are like snowflakes in that no two are exactly alike. Stick vendors do their best to match sticks in diameter, number of nodes, color, and density, but it is not an exact science.
- More nodes on sticks makes better sticks because nodes are harder and more difficult to break. Since I started FMA training in 1986, I have heard this tossed around escrima classes as absolute fact. In person, I have never seen this proven. What I have seen is multi node sticks costing $55-$60 per pair that nobody wants to use with any power, because they cost so darn much. Give me six of the $9.00 sticks with three to four nodes and see how long they last against your comparably priced $60 pair. No contest.
Question: Have you heard some stick lore that you can share? Please post it below in the comments section.