(thanks for the inspiration MI)
It's time to get a new stick. Good.
I know some people who have had the same pair of sticks for a year or more. Nothing wrong with that of course, but I think if you are training right, from time to time you will break your sticks and need new ones. Why?
All FMA derive from the blade, and in training, our baston is a proxy for it in many of the drills. In this case it means that we use the stick as a flowing weapon and are principally concerned with precision. However, for some students this is all they ever do. Sadly, some students have never hit anything full power.
In addition to simulating a blade for training, the stick is a very effective fighting weapon in its own right, and as an impact weapon it may be one of the oldest weapons in human history. Even our standard 28" rattan stick is fearsome. Generally, it will not kill except by accident (a heavy hit to the throat or unlucky hit to the temple, etc.) but delivers excruciating pain accompanied by a large bruising welt - more than enough to dissuade an attacker. The combat sticks made of kamagong (Filipino Ironwood) or resin will easily kill on impact to the head and should be treated with no less caution and respect than a live blade.
At the first Peaceful Warrior Camp in Bali, when we were working 5 count sombrada drills Guro Claes and his students from Kali De Mano introduced the idea of training using "quality strikes", meaning that each hit should have power, focus and intention, and the result was broken sticks after the first few days of training. I discovered that this often happens when your training partner is a 2 meter tall, 120 kg viking... Now, I always bring at least one spare pair ;-)
Power hitting is a very important part of stick training, since we need to learn how to have proper posture and body mechanics (arm extension, wrist/knee flexion, hip/spine rotation) to hit with full force. This training also helps us remember to step off line, since blocking full power strikes is painful if we don't. It helps us to get used to the impact force on our tendons and ligaments when we hit hard or block hard hits - both of which are important in a real fight.
Of course, during partner drills there is always some risk of being hit, which is why at lower levels we generally train this way only with the foam sticks or thin rattan rather than the heavier combat sticks. However, at higher levels, training with combat sticks is a must as well. When needed, MMA gloves (or even Lacrosse gloves - Thanks Kasama Joe) do a good job of protecting the fragile bones of the hands and wrist from impact and allow us to specifically train to target those areas when we attack. It is also very interesting to blend the rattan/foam sticks into our pad work ("stickboxing") which is a very practical method for training corto into medio and vice versa and is useful in training professionals who may use a collapsible baton.
In summary, our kali sticks are a precious treasure as an important tool in our kali journey. However, from time to time they need to be sacrificed so our skills can grow. SWING AWAY! You can (and should) buy another pair when needed.
See you at class.