Reviewer: Bob Hubbard
Item Reviewed: X-Series - 28” length
Where to Buy: http://www.smakstiks.com
Cost as Reviewed: $49.95 each US + S/H
SMAK-Stiks is a new contender on the padded stick market. They offer
a couple different options for the stick practitioner. I will be reviewing
the X-Series, which they advertise as being designed for heavy duty
training such as take downs, chokes, grappling, disarms and other close
range techniques in addition to normal striking.
The weight was on the light side compared to Rattan, but still felt
solid in my hand. Weight was comfortable, in that the stick had obvious
mass when swinging, but not so much weight that you tired easily.
Balance was good. Twirling and spinning them didn’t show any imbalances
in the product.
The striking surface of the SMAK-Stiks are covered with either a black
or red rip-stop type material. While the last 2 tests aren’t “standard”,
they do serve to show the strength of the material covering the striking
surface. The handle is wrapped in what appears to be standard athletic
grip tape, resulting in a solid grip, and the butt end or punyo, was
covered with an inch deep rubberized pad making it much safer than the
other brands I’ve used.
The sticks felt very comfortable and natural in my hand, on par with
the feel of my normal rattan. One complaint I do have is that the athletic
tape wrap left my hands somewhat sticky.
Being familiar with 2 other companies padded stick products, as well
as having made my own, I compared feel, flex and “hurt”.
SMAK-Stiks are much stiffer than the others I’ve used. Often,
when sparing I’ve encountered the “whippy” effect,
where a block which would have stopped a solid weapon such as a stick,
flexes around the block and strikes the defender. Sparring with SMAK-Stiks
this effect was minimal. When striking a surface, you feel the feedback,
but not in a jarring way. The impact on your body is a stiffer shot
than competing products. Getting hit can sting, so head and hand protection
are recommended. The chance of serious injury is lessoned greatly by
the padding, but safety especially when sparring is encouraged. If I
had to rate a full-impact bare skin strike, I would say it’s much
less than a paintball shot, but a bit stiffer than other commercial
Overall Product Appearance:
Product is about 28” long. Majority of stick is the padded
striking surface, which is covered by a protective rip-stop fabric.
Seams are sewn straight and neat. Handle grip is an angled tape wrap
extending under the rubberized butt cover. The last ¾”
under the rubber appears to be a dense padding. Stick is stiff, but
has some flex to it.
SMAK-Stiks show a good wear resistance. The fabric was very
resistant to showing signs of wear after hard use, and numerous strikes
against a chain link fence. In addition, it showed solid resistance
to cat claws after I spent an evening teasing my cats with them. Numerous
weeks of sparing with them, as well as other “non-standard”
abuse tests and the test sticks show no noticeable signs of wear.
The few Emails I’ve exchanged with SMAK-Stiks were answered
promptly and professionally.
SMAK-Stiks offers a durable product that allows the practitioner to
go full force with minimal protection. Sparring at full tilt and a realistic
reaction are possible due to the combination of it’s padding and
stiffness, which allows the SMAK-Stick to be safe to use while giving
a real enough reaction to blocks and strikes. It is stiff enough to
use for throws and chokes, while allowing a reasonable safety margin,
though any object used for chokes can have a danger factor. Priced at
the higher end of the padded stick market, SMAK-Stiks offers a solid
bang for your buck, and will be a regular part of my training.
Bob Hubbard is an administrator of the popular martial arts portal
and president of SilverStar
WebDesigns inc., a web site design and hosting company specializing
in affordable solutions for martial artists. A student of all the arts,
he is currently studying Modern Arnis. Bob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More of Bob's articles can be found at rustaz.net.
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