It's Just A Stick

by Joe Bertoni

Not long ago, I had a person post a comment on one of my videos. “How stupid to have a page all about a little stick.” When I read this comment, I could not help from laughing at such ignorance. If a person stopped to think for a minute, they would quickly realize it’s not just about a stick, but it’s all about what goes into the use of the stick. It’s about the training behind the scenes. It’s what we get out of the training that leads up to the use of this weapon or any weapon and self–defense training.

The study of the yawara stick has many levels.  The depth of study depends on the imagination of the practitioner.  As with any weapon used by a practitioner, it must be understood that the stick is simply an extension of the body. Therefore, when we train with the yawara stick, we must first train our body. We must learn how to use our body to its full potential. We must learn how to strike with or without the stick. We must learn how to use our body and the movements of the body to deliver the most affective strikes possible.

To use a stick or weapon, we need to train our body and learn conditioning, balance, leverage and proper positioning. Keep in mind within all that training that the body does not use the yawara stick independently; it also uses other types of strikes along with the weapon of choice. So, now we need to learn proper punching, kicking, knee strikes, and elbow strikes too. This list goes on and on. If the yawara stick or any weapon is an extension of our body, then simply stated if we do not learn how to train the body, then the stick is almost useless.

If we dig a little deeper then we quickly realize our body is controlled by the mind. If this is true, we now need to look at training our mind. In this area of training, we start to look at our mental discipline and our ability to focus on the moment. We train our mind to respond to the threats and to stay calm in moments of stress and or fear. Our mind determines our response and therefore we learn how to discipline the mind to respond to various situations and threats. We learn how to use our mind to control our breathing and all the things that go on within the body.

While it is true we can study some basic techniques to learn how to better protect ourselves, we can also learn how to use the yawara stick to supplement our tools. For example, a police officer can use the yawara stick in conjunction with other tools and weapons. Most importantly, we can dive in deeper and study the art behind the stick and start to peel back all the layers to discover the hidden secrets behind the use of the yawara stick as we study the mind and body along with all the other secrets surrounding this art.

For some, it may be just a stick, but for the real practitioner, it’s about the warrior behind the stick.