Irish stick fighting

In historic times, the martial sprit of Ireland was manifested in stick fighting. Also known as Shillelagh or Bataireacht Sail-Eille was an Irish medieval combat involving spears, pikes, quarter staffs and wattles in varying lengths.

These forms of Irish stick fighting have evolved over thousands of years from first Celtic spear up to the current weapon.

Irish stick fighting used either a single long stick of walking-stick length called the ‘bata’ or a pair, with a shorter stick carried in the off hand.

Rather than being a remnant of ancient culture, the stick fighting done between roughly 1750 to 1880 was recreational fighting between rival factions.

Origin for this fighting may have included the disbanding of Irish regiments that followed the Treaty of Limerick in 1691.

The precise size and shape of shillelagh can be hard to agree upon, but most of those who have an interest in Irish culture will readily acknowledge that knobbed stick made of oak or blackthorn, are the distinguishing characteristics of a shillelagh. They are dense and heavy and less likely to crack during combat.

The longer stick was held in the middle, similarly to the ‘coulesse’ techniques of baton in savate so that the lower half lay along and protected the forearm.
Irish stick fighting
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