“Stick fighting” is the literal translation of a West European form of combat known as Baitaireacht. This “weapon” based martial art form is said to have originated from the Republic of Ireland. In this martial art form either a cudgel or a knobbed stick is commonly used as a weapon. Furthermore, this style of combat is also known as “Celtic stick fighting” or “Irish stick fighting”. In addition, apart from Ireland Bataireacht is also extremely popular North America and is mainly practiced as a form of self defense.
a. History/origin of the Bataireacht:
According to the cultural history of Ireland, several types of sticks and cudgels have been used by the Irish as a form of self defense for many centuries now. However, the exact origin of this form of Irish martial art form cannot be traced. Although, what is known is that it was during the 18th century that this combat form became extremely popular within Irish street gangs known as “factions”, who used it frequently. Furthermore, it was during the 19th century that the “factions” created large regional federations where this form of martial art was practiced. It was eventually during the 20th century when the factions were repressed by the concerned authorities that “Baitaireacht” as a combat form became to fade away from public life. As of today this style of combat is not extinct but is only practiced privately and not publically.
b. Weapon used in the Baitaireacht:
The weapons mainly used in this combat form include a cudgel or a knobbed stick.
c. Technique involved in the Baitaireacht and training availability:
In terms of technique, the fighter essentially uses methods used in using a sabre and broadsword. In addition, the fighter also uses such a grip in this combat form that enables him/her to make “offensive” as well as “defensive” moves depending on the situation. Furthermore, the grip used also allows the fighter to launch into an extremely rapid punching like strikes. As for training centers/schools, there are none available around the world for this “weapon” based martial art form.