I like the DB approach, as it does trample on a few sacred cows in the FMA community, for example:-

- The effectiveness of the majority of disarms.
- The fact that people can take a significant ammount of punishment to the body, and not be stopped.
- That light sticks are really going to do any damage.

Obviously, it's not 100% realistic. Headgear and gloves make a *lot* of difference to the effectiveness of your shots. That said, the majoriy of folks are actually able to take a good shot with a light stick pretty much anywhere on the body, and maybe one to the head. But a heavy stick (kamagong, bahi, steel pipe) maybe not.

It should be a personal choice thing. Where I train we do a lot of sparring with padded sticks and light gloves and headgear.(These sticks still hurt a fair bit, only slightly less that light rattan, but with power behind them and a well-placed shot to a good area - BAM!) Occasionally we do some live stick., but things tend to slow down a bit. The padded sticks pretty much let us fire off at full power. Sure you get a few welts and bruises, but nothing worse than empty-hand sparring, or even boxing. But the other day I went to a school where they didn't wear headgear for padded stick sparring. I conciously "pulled" my attacks and it really messed up my game. My timing was way out because all the power shots I'd been using at full steam weren't being used, and the opponent was reacting in a completely different way. The pain of being hit makes them move differently, and if you train to be reacting with this, it messes you up when it doesn't happen.

If you don't get a realistic response, you don't know how things will happen in, erm "practical application" outside the school.

If a major goal of your training isn't to be able to apply your art practically, this won't be a concern. If it is, it will most definitely be one.

In the end, it is stick-fighting. 2 guys with sticks, which is not all that likely to happen in real life.

The other thing, of course, is the application of blade-based training...