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The Dynamic Game for Point Control and Quick-Draw

You don't need a wicket to play Stick-It!
(Those are for croquet, which is passé...)

Stick-It! is a game of skill which develops quick evasive footwork, accurate point control, and a lightning fast quick-draw. Here we will present the basic idea of the game, as well as a number of variations for you to try. After you start playing Stick-It!, I am sure you will come up with your own variations.

Equipment needed to play Stick-It!:

Each participant will need a screwdriver, ice-pick or fixed blade knife with a working quick-draw sheath. Even a butter-knife can work for these drills and I implore you to train with safety foremost in your mind . If you are using a live blade you have to be extra careful because you have an edge and not just a point…'nuff said! Be cautious of where your off-side arm is while performing your draw and strike; you do not want to wound yourself in haste!

You will also need a Stick-It! target. This is nothing fancy; a simple cardboard box will do just fine. This could be a pizza box, large mailing box, or just a comparable sized square of cardboard a foot or so on a side that has been taped to stay closed or otherwise keep its shape.

A big square of Styrofoam insulation makes a fine target, and is a very kind medium on your good knives. If you chose to use foam insulation targets, be sure to cover the entire surface with tape to prolong its life span and keep pieces of the foam from getting all over.

PLAY IT SAFE: Wear eye protection and use a DULL training knife or screwdriver
NEVER use a live blade or sharp pick except under expert supervision.

Protection for the eyes is always a good idea, and this is doubly true for any activity where things are going to be intentionally thrown towards your face! Even just a simple pair of shop goggles will suffice. Play it safe, and have fun.

How to play Stick-It!:

The game involves throwing the target at each other and striking it in mid-air with an accurate thrust which allows you to stick and catch the target. Hence the name Stick-It!

The players all stand in a circle, 10' or so from each other and safe from any possible contact. Even though you are at range, remember that the threat of a flying blade from a weak grip is always possible. Stay aware of what everyone else is doing, as well as yourself.

The target is thrown underhand from player to player, and is aimed so that it will hit the person you are throwing it at in the head / chest region if they do not move. This forces the other player to step off line as they do the drill. When the target is thrown at you, not getting hit must be your first priority.

To evade the target, step right or left with the same side foot and then either pivot your body out of the way or take a quarter-circular step with your back foot in the same direction as the first step. This will place you at 90 degrees to the target on either side, and out of the line of attack. You will use the body pivot or the circular step after the initial step off line as needed to evade the target.

Series I: Basic Point-Oriented Method

Starting with your weapon already drawn, practice the following variations with both a forward and a reverse grip, with both your left and right hands. This way you have four variations of each of the basic drills.

Drill #1 - Step right and stab forward grip

Drill #2 - Step left and stab forward grip

Drill #3 - Step right and stab reverse grip

Drill #4 - Step left and stab reverse grip

Series II: Quick-Draw Point-Oriented Method

Practice the same drills, but starting this time with the weapon sheathed. Perform a quick-draw and follow up as appropriate. Again you want to practice drawing with both the left and right hands into both the forward and reverse grips.

When you draw your knife, you want to move in a smooth and controlled manner, staying aware of the grip, edge, and point. Make sure to keep the off hand out of the way of the draw, and out of the line of the blade. Practice your draw and presentation in isolation, then add in the footwork, and finally add the strike at the end. By practicing each phase of the draw and strike action your actions will become smooth and effortless.

If you have any doubts about your skill, go back and practice the Series I drills some more before attempting Series II. Then use an edge-less tool, like a screwdriver, rather than a sharp blade. This will work just fine for the game, and allow you to develop skill while remaining relatively safe.

Other Variations on Stick-It!

Checkerboard Target.
Each side is broken up into 4 quarters, 2 black and 2 white. You must only stab your own color. Can play for points and penalties - score 1 point if you get your color and take a penalty if you get the other player's color. The players must agree beforehand on what the penalty will be. Usually this entails doing some form of exercise, but a cash penalty could be fun, too…

Bulls-Eye Target.
Here the target has a center dot and 3 concentric rings, scoring 6, 3, 2, and 1 respectively. Play to 21 points or whatever score you agree on. Note that for this and the last variation, only thrusts which actually "stick" and catch the target count. Strikes which bounce the target away do not score. (This could become its own penalty)

Longer Blades.
Players may chose to use longer point-oriented weapons, such as short-swords, long-swords, rapiers, and so on. Drills 1 and 2 from Series I will work best with these longer weapons, as well as making the most sense based on their methods of use. You will have to step off line in a big way to employ the longer swords, but that is the challenge. If you can quick draw a long rapier and hit the target in time then my hat is off to you!

Folding Knives.
Being able to play Stick-It! with a folding knife requires great speed and skill in both the drawing and opening phases of the action. Please practice this with a dulled folding practice knife; they are made for exactly this kind of quick-draw training. Be sure to evade with your footwork and cover with your support hand as you draw your knife.

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