Reader Old Dave sent me the following:
I’ve been musings on some of the aspects of the Big Stick, and have a couple of questions about baseball bats.
First, why would you use a typical wooden bat instead of an aluminum bat…given the pictures attached?
And second, where do you keep your bat so that it is handy in case you need it?
And given the thump value of a bat, how do you practice mamo-a-mano a without serious injury?
Keep up the good work…I enjoy visiting your site.
P.S. I’m a hiking staff (jo) stick guy, about 51 inches long and 1-1/8 inch diameter.
I realize wood bats can break, which is why I prefer a good aluminum bat. It’s just that it’s hard to find aluminum bats that are both long enough and light enough. I find softball bats tend to have the right characteristics.
The problem with some bats, and we must realize this up front, is that they are not designed as weapons. Yes, they make good weapons, but they are not built from the ground up with that purpose in mind. Bats tend to be too heavy and lightness is sometimes achieved by taking mass from the handle and putting it at the striking end, resulting in a weak handle. There are some interesting articles here and here about a rash of bat breaks (and not just splits, but multiple breaks in which the bat just fell to pieces) and how the league investigated and solved it.
I’ve also taken to making my own bats. The key is to keep the weight light, and to narrow down the handle while still keeping it thick.
I keep the bat in my car, and have others throughout my house. When I go for a walk I take a stick with me. Eventually I will design a nice-looking walking stick that I can take into a store, yet will still be solid enough to dish out punishment.
I think the plastic bats are a good deal for training and sparring. (here and here)
Let me add that the longer short staff, the hiking staff, that you mention is an excellent weapon, especially if you live in an open environment (e.g. field, farm, mountains) where you can use the weapon’s length.
Thanks for reading and contributing!