Sports entertainment promotion Stickfighting World (SFW) will hold
SFW 1: Genesis, its first mixed weapons martial art (MWMA) competition, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on Saturday, June 21, 2014.
About five to seven fights are schedules for its debut card, which will feature 10 to 14 stickfighters from varying disciplines and weight classes.
“Many traditional martial arts include weapons training, but we have noticed that there was no mixing of these different weapons arts,” said Stickfighting World CEO Chris Naftel who co-founded the promotion in 2011. “We have seen the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) succeed with MMA (mixed martial arts) and we thought the same could be done by creating MWMA.”
In MWMA, fighters can combine punches, kicks, and elbow and knee strikes with weapon strikes to defeat their opponent. A variety of weapon combinations is allowed, for instance, a fighter using an arnis stick can choose to fight against an opponent wielding a bo (staff).
According to Naftel, skills acquired from any martial art could prove valuable in a fight. He said practitioners of weapon arts such as arnis (a.k.a. eskrima or kali), Dog Brothers Style Stickfighting, haidong gumdo, hapkido, Irish stick fighting, jodo, silat, kuntao, kendo, kenjutsu, kobudo, Polish knight fighting, or Nguni stick fighting will find their skills transferable to MWMA.
“We suggest that our athletes should have some martial arts weapons experience, especially with full-contact sparring,” Naftel said.
Athletes are required to wear a helmet, jock cup, and a pair of gloves and can opt to wear additional protection to cover the shoulders and collarbone, elbows and forearm, spine and kidneys, mouth, shin, knee, chest, or foot.
Fighters can win by knockout, technical knockout, decision, or disqualification.
According to Naftel, Stickfighting World is the only sanctioning body for bouts as MWMA is classified as “sports entertainment,” which falls outside the regulation of Ontario’s sporting committee.
He said Stickfighting World is notprize fighting, thus, competitors will be paid equally regardless of the result of their match.
Bouts will be held in a hexagonal container made of Plexiglas called “The Tank,” instead of a regular boxing ring or mixed martial arts cage. Naftel said it provides the protection for both athletes and spectators by preventing objects such as pieces of a broken stick from entering or exiting it.
Apart from protection, the glass-like quality of “The Tank” mean that the audience can see the action better than when they look into an MMA cage or a boxing ring. “The fighters can use them to jump or push off, which results in exciting moves and unpredictable action,” said Naftel.
There are no immediate plans to stage a Stickfighting World event in the Philippines, but Naftel said they have had some fighters from the country who applied. “With FMA being the most prominent type of fighting involving sticks [Philippines] would be a logical place to hold events in the future.”