The Stryker singlestick is a rattan stick with a plastic basket for fencers who want to train with singlesticks. Leather baskets, although traditional, can be prohibitively expensive, and don’t always provide enough protection against impacts to the hands. Similarly, ash sticks are traditional, but require much more maintenance than rattan.
This singlestick from Purpleheart Armoury is a good solution. With a 3D printed plastic basket, it is easy to produce and keep in stock without the difficulties that come with working with leather: a good thing both for producers and for customers!
This review: motivation and transparency
Since about 2014, I have bought a few of these singlesticks for my own use, I have bought a few for use in my club (Liverpool HEMA) and at our events, and I have also been given a few as prototypes for testing and feedback. I have been using them regularly for training, events, and private tuition. I would like to share my thoughts about what I think is an excellent training tool.
(Edit: this “motivation” section was added on the 9th of March 2019, as part of an effort to improve the transparency of the various reviews on this website.)
The hilts currently come in three colours: brown, blue and red. The blue and red hilts will clearly be helpful in tournaments, where competitors are usually marked with blue and red armbands. The brown has a classic look to it, emulating the colour of a leather singlestick basket.
The basket is large enough that you can use it while wearing a padded glove, such as the Red Dragon HEMA gloves. Nonetheless, the baskets are not massive or over-sized, so the Stryker hilts are a good size for singlestick practitioners. You can wear a glove underneath, or go without a glove, and it is not a problem. There is sufficient space inside the basket to use different grips (beyond just the simple hammer grip) and to perform performing moulinets.
The baskets are capable of protecting the hands against fairly hefty hits. I have used these singlesticks in sparring and for tournaments over the last two or three years, and there isn’t a single crack or dent in any of the baskets.
The rattan sticks are not traditional for singlesticks, but they are an excellent choice of material for our purposes. They are lighter and have better flexibility than ash; they don’t really splinter when they are dry; they don’t need to be kept in water while in storage; they leave bruises but do not cause significant injury. Although ash is more traditional, rattan is very convenient.
The only downside to these singlesticks is that they are quite expensive to import into Europe from the US. However, I do think they are worth the price, and I have several of them in my cupboard for when I teach singlestick lessons!
Keith Farrell teaches HEMA professionally, often at international events (why not hire me to teach at your event?), and has an interest in coaching instructors to become better teachers. I teach regularly at Liverpool HEMA, and help behind the scenes with running HEMA in Glasgow at the Vanguard Centre.