This is an example of a fair fighting style shillelagh. Fair fighting refers to the practice of groups of young men taking part in group stickfighting encounters, essentially as a kind of team sport. Fair fighting staves tend to be heavier and more robust than most shillelagh as they were intended to survive an extended afternoon’s stickfighting (and therefore a lot of punishment). To our modern eye the fair fighting shillelagh is what most people picture when they think of the classical shillelagh shape.
This shillelagh has a lot going on in the burl f the head with a swirl of bright red heartwood.
In addition we’ve cut a rare “trigger finger divot” under the head for more comfortable carry.
Fair fighting shillelagh may seem a little hefty for walking sticks, so a light wood like Acacia or Hazel is best for a fair fighter that is intended to serve as a walking stick. The advantage of a more hand-filling stick is that it will tend to engage the motor cortexes more, drawing you into your walk – excellent if you’re one who walks in part to leave the day’s cares behind.
This shillelagh has a small head, typical of shillelagh from the late 1800’s or early 1900s, usually denoting a more skilled duellist or stickfighter. This small head means the stave is easily lifted in the ring grip (between thumb and pointer finger) making for a smooth, easy carry, or gripped comfortably in a top-down grip over the head. It is weighted with a little lead shot for balance which should be all-but imperceptible to the user. We’ve plugged over the lead well in the head with a distinctive wood pattern – partly as a conversation piece and partly in accordance with gentlemanly tradition, proving that as a fair minded sportsman you’d never consider sneaking this stave into a duel or a fair fight.
The light weight of this shillelagh will suit martial artists familiar with Western fencing, singlestick or Southeast Asian stickfighting styles. Swift in the hand yet strong enough for defence she’ll allow you to use the full range of your skills in traditional Irish style.
Finished with a bright brass ferrule.