Today I am going to continue on the thread of umbrella self-defence techniques. In the previous blog we considered rapier-related parrying actions. Later blogs will consider offensive actions and counters to your weapon being grabbed. Today I am briefly going to consider what I call “Swagger-stick” techniques. I cover these in more detail in my book, mainly on the section of bumper guards. The blog allows me to reproduce some of W.E Fairbairn’s original artwork on the techniques.
Fig 86 and 87 show how a stick or umbrella can be quickly brought up to the ready position. Simply swing the end up to contact the open palm of your other hand.
Fig 91 shows a swinging strike with the point of the stick, while Fig 92 shows a swinging strike with the butt, which would be the handle of an umbrella. These two figures could just as easily illustrate parrying actions with the stick/umbrella. When used this way the strongest part of the stick is between the hands and that is the section used for parrying.
Fig 93 could be interpreted as a block to a downward strike to the head. Readers of my book will know that I’d prefer the stick to be angled for this so the defence has an element of deflection rather than strength against strength obstruction. Fig 93 is in fact illustrating a strike to the Adam’s Apple region using the section between the hands. While this can be attempted with an umbrella this section is effectively padded by the ribs and canopy so effects will be limited. Be prepared to follow-up on any momentary advantage gained with the point or butt.
For more information on these and other defensive techniques, please see my book.
Function often influences form so I was interested to come across this. Fairbairn’s teachings obviously influenced several officers to create “Assault Sticks” to replace their traditional swagger sticks.
“The description is as follows; The whole stick is 22 1/2" long, handle resembles an F-S knife handle, it is a brass pommel cap on the top 1" long, on the other end it is a brass and 2 1/2" steel pointed end. The stacked leather washers are on a steel core. The leather is in perfect condition and brown in colour. It is a leather lanyard that is 7" long. These are extremely hard to find, British and Canadian Officers carried these. This is a WW2 vintage assault stick”
Part One Fencing Parries with an Umbrella.