THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN STICKFIGHTING ALLIANCE
By Vince Palumbo
An unusual name that undoubtedly create’s images in your mind about a group of crazy people that enjoy hitting each other with sticks, but its not quite the way it seems.
After watching these guys in their stickfighting armor and in action, it's obvious that they really get off on this stuff, because they go at it pretty hard on each other, and without a doubt they really have to be incredibly fit to do so as well!
The South Australian Stickfighting Alliance’s claim to fame on the big International scale, is because of the fact that they spar very hard with each other, and they all try to beat each other up with the 29 inch hard rattan sticks, and this is all in good fun for them.
"Full Contact Eskrima" is the name of their game, and they all play it very hard during the combative sparring that they do with each other!
"A stickfight is an intense adrenal experience, and the all of the habitual learning because of necessity, creates a higher learning process that takes place in this altered state, which is of an entirely different order from the ordinary learning.
The greater the intensity of the full contact stickfight, the greater the need to simultaneously tap into a centered awareness that keeps you from taking the shot that would be too much for your body to handle.
The South Australian Stickfighting Alliance was born in 1991, and it has produced many champion stickfighters over the years since its formulation as South Australia’s first stickfighting enthusiasts getting together down at the park for a whack and a bash with their sticks!
The rounds go for 3x2 minutes, with a 1 minute rest period in between the rounds, and all the fighters try to get in about 15 rounds of action, in order to ensure that they have had the best day of stickfighting, and to ensure that they all have a great day of fun!
The group usually gets together once a month, and they go down to a park where they can all get into their armour and have the best time sparring each other without any feelings of malice towards anyone, and the one rule that everyone keeps in mind, is that there are no big winners or losers, and that there is no ‘bullshit’ ego’s either.
After a few hours of full contact stickfighting, they all sit around and have a nice cold drink together, and of course, compare their bruises from the days fight action with the eskrima sticks.The group was started by Master Vince Palumbo 8th Dan Black Belt in the Cacoy Doce Pares Eskrima, and he is also a South Australian, Australian and World Champion of the full contact stickfighting arena, with over 50 sport stickfighting fights under his belt as a competitor.
The group has produced many champions in the past, people such as- Kevin Seskis, Maris Lukasevics, Mario Pastro, Mark Martini, Chris Rew, Vladimir Mihal, Barry Jamieson, and Michael Harris.
The stickfighting group has produced many female champions as well, with women like- Nadia Blake, Andrea Wheatley, Vicky Simos, Rochelle Martini, Litza Pastro, and their new upcoming champion in Angela Wood.
Stickfighting in the armour can be pretty nasty, and its not uncommon for the stickfighters to receive some injuries while sparring each other, and many of them have received the broken fingers, burst ear drums, dislodged finger nails, fracture of the ribs, wrist or forearm, and large welts or bruises on the legs, arms and shoulders! (Yes, it still hurts!)
The group has grown to about 30 members, and they all really enjoy the day of sparring with the other members of the group, and it gives them a chance to spar against opponents of all shapes and sizes.
The other injury that the stickfighters can receive while sparring, is a nasty dose of concussion, especially after receiving a really good strike anywhere on the helmet that is worn to protect the head.
The Stickfighting members win no trophies, and the only rule is that everyone must remain friends at the end of the day. (And we are all just aiming at trying to improve our skills in sport stickfighting!)
Everyone accepts that they are participating at their own risk, and its their responsibility, and our main goal is that no one spends the night in the hospital, and that everyone finishes up the day with the same IQ that they started the day with.
The right attitude is only part of what it takes to become a full contact stickfighter, and we ask that everyone leaves the ego at home, and any bad attitude or bad mouthing will not be tolerated at all.With every gathering of the group members, it is considered that the whole day of efforts are equivalent to a 1 no-decision stickfight bout, and this is documented into the members fight log!
For most people, it definitely takes a special type of training schedule to be able to survive and thrive in such a full on stickfight experience. We all feel like there is much more than just being sweaty, smelly, or to be considered as just a psychopath with a stick!
The range of skills that is required for our kind of stickfighting, is a so quite broad, and in my own opinion its an excellent testing ground for a student searching to find where they truly belong as a person in the world today, because the experience instills confidence in the player.
Our goal is to continue and to try and develop the real martial art skill that is required throughout the entirety of one's life, not only when one is a young competitive athlete.(One of our top stickfighters, is 50 years of age!)
The core art of our ‘STICKFIGHTING’ system is from the Philippines, and art that we all study it called the CACOY DOCE PARES ESKRIMA, and a lot of the techniques that we incorporate into our fighting skills and knowledge, have been taught to us by the great Grand Master Cacoy Canete of Cebu City in the Philippines.
We keep our sparring strictly to stickfighting, and we disallow any of the grappling techniques to be included during any of the combat on the day! (Let the stick do all the work!)
We are a group of men and women that love to go to the park and have a good bashout with our eskrima sticks, and we are in no way wanting to give off the wrong impression, or that we are trying to copy the awesome Dog Brothers and the type of sparring that they do, this is definitely not our intention at all!
Our kind of full contact stickfighting sparring is designed to give our members a taste of the sport eskrima, and it is an activity that allows our members to get physical in a combat kind of a way, but in doing so, we try to minimize the rate of injuries by ensuring that all of the participants are all using the correct protective equipment when they spar each other!
Master Vince Palumbo and Master Kevin Seskis, have experienced real full contact stickfighting without the protective jacket, and with just a head gear, elbow and knee guards, groin cup and gloves.
But they both said that the injuries they received while sparring in that way, was too demanding on their bodies due to the nasty injuries they received with that particular type of no-armour stickfighting.
We are trying to keep the injury potential rite down, because we know that everyone has to go to work on the Monday!
GOOD FIGHT, GOOD FUN, GOOD DRINKS, AND LOTS OF GOOD LAUGHS ARE HAD BY ALL OF OUR MEMBERS IN THE STICKFIGHTING GROUP!