We were asked this week by a good friend and “fellow traveller” in the martial arts about the use of paired shillelagh in stickfighting, whether shillelagh were ever used in a manner similar to paired escrima sticks.
Now, “ever” is a long time and no doubt in some valley somewhere, someone’s great grandfather was known and feared for his style with the twin sticks named “toirneach” and “tintreach” (thunder and lightning). But as a matter of general historical record it seems no…
That’s not to say the idea doesn’t have merit. For instance a light weight fencing style stave might well be paired effectively with a short, heavy trench-club style stick.
Good stickfighting combinations might well be made by parrying with the stick and then counterstriking at your opponents grip with the trench club. A big, heavy head might well act as a device for locking and stripping an enemies weapon Filipino style (or just clobbering the bones of the wrist and hand). The hunting stick pictured below actually makes a great example of this and the next time the lads come together for a roustabout we might give it a bit of a try.
Another option might be paired “Escrima-llelagh”, two staves, similar in form to escrima sticks with perhaps a lightly weighted head for a little extra “heat”. Or indeed two “claymore headed” sticks might make fine “hooks” for additional stick stripping and disarming.
So whilst history may not be in the side of this idea…there might well be something to it!