Rattan Stick FAQ
New to the FMA? Here are my answers to the top 4 newcomer frequently asked stick questions:
1. Q: Do you recommend sanding the rattan skins off the sticks? A: No. That would be like taking a turtle out of his protective shell. Our sticks are tough and take some pretty good abuse. Sticks without skins will not last long.
2. Q: Are your rattan sticks finished with gloss? A: We carry the plain and finished varieties. Many FMA practitioners like to leave the skins natural. A finish will prevent you from smelling the burn of the sticks during a hard workout. If you would like to buy finished sticks, see the striped sticks on this site.
3. Q: Are rattan sticks perfectly straight? A: No. Rattan is a vine that is straightened with heat. Rattan nodes can be shaped differently, even cut from the same stalk. Rattan is grown, not milled or turned on a lathe. If you want perfectly straight sticks, I highly recommend the hickory sticks or one of the exotic hardwoods. Looking down the barrel of most rattan will show some normal curvature, but it really doesn't change your training. (In intense training it is hard to see the sticks at all.)
4. Q: I'm new to this type of training, would more expensive sticks be easier for me to start with? A: That is a personal call. My answer is no. Expensive rattan doesn't make you a better martial artist any more than wearing Nike Air Jordan's make you a better basketball player. If you were to observe training in the Philippines, you'd see sticks like these rather than the polyurethane, "happy meal" variety you see in some US studios today. Newcomers tend to gravitate towards appearances while most look for density, hardness, and the ability to withstand heavy training.