The basics of short sticks: 5 basic exercises

Short rods exercises for beginners: the benefits

After quickly describing the didactical stance (read The basics of short sticks: safety and grip) and the 3 most important typologies of strokes (read The basics of short sticks: base strokes and stance), we are going to explain 5 useful starting exercises.

The benefits of the exercises we are going to describe are related to:

  • An initial strengthening – If we do not work with our hands (or we are not already basically conditioned) the first approach with the weight, twists and impacts of the sticks will cause us some small pain (which will pass in a couple of days at most
  • An initial spatial conditioning – The short stick is longer than a knife and for a total beginner, it is not natural to correctly manage its dynamics
  • An initial combat conditioning – In 6 Dragons Kung Fu (as it happens for example in Kali) we learn how to fight from the weapons and vice-versa

The exercises

Before starting, let’s read:

Exercise 1 (to fortify the wrists):

  • Let’s take our 2 short sticks / rods and let’s choose a stance to maintain
  • Let’s properly grip both sticks (as we have already seen)
  • Let’s stretch the left arm in front of us (never at 100% of the elongation) with the stick facing up
  • Let’s position the stick so that it is perfectly perpendicular to the ground
  • Let’s tighten the arm in front of us and move the stick on our central line (the one who splits in 2 identical parts our body)
  • We have to hit the left stick with the one in the right hand (with passing blows)
  • The attacks are the ones we have seen, the first goes from left to right, the second from right to left and so on, cyclically
  • The extended arm must try to maintain the stick perpendicular to the ground
  • We must gradually increase the intensity / speed of blows but always aiming for fluidity
  • We can perform the exercise for 5-10 consecutive minutes (alternating our arms)
  • We must strike away from our fingers and at a specific point (at our choice, but chosen consciously)


  • This exercise can also be performed with a training partner and 2 attacking sticks
  • The same practice can be done with the ascending blows and the target stick facing down

Exercise 2 (for spatial intelligence):

  • Let’s take our 2 sticks (we can also use only one in this case)
  • Let’s find a tree with low, long, intricate and not too thin branches (this is a variation of the poles exercise read Basic tools: the pole)
  • Let’s try to sequentially strike the branches (imagining to face real opponents)
  • We have to use penetrating, passing and bouncing / vibrating blows (of which we have already spoken)
  • Let’s try to gain precision in striking and to do not be blocked between sticks, arms, and branches
  • We do not have to stand still (we must continue to move forward / backward, jump, crouch, etc.)
  • Let’s focus on covering (with timing and space management) the vulnerable areas on our body
  • Let’s perform this exercise for 5-10 consecutive minutes

Exercise 3 (for fluidity):

  • We simply have to execute the Dragon Motion (read Dragon Motion: the swirling movements) with sticks
  • Let’s start with 1 stick and then (after a few months) let’s try with 2
  • Let’s perform the exercise for 5-10 consecutive minutes

Exercise 4 (great to develop much of a warrior’s skills):

  • Let’s do the exercise with the fabric cloth (read Basic tools: the cloth) with the sticks
  • Let’s start with 1 stick and then move on to 2 (again after a few months)
  • We can perform the exercise for 5-30 minutes consecutively

Exercise 5 (great to develop much of a warrior’s skills):

  • Let’s perform the exercise with the hanging speedballs (read Basic tools: the Hanging Speedball) with the sticks
  • Let’s start with 1 stick and 1 speedball, then, after a year let’s gradually move on to 2 sticks and multiple targets
  • We can perform the exercise for 5-30 minutes consecutively

Final notes

A few conclusive thoughts and tips:

  • It should be strongly stressed that doing these exercises well does not mean that we can face a fight with the sticks (or worse with swords)
  • Doing these exercises it means that we have acquired part of the skills we need to be able to effectively learn the combat technique and adapt them to our attitudes / needs

Later we will see other exercises capable of developing power / speed and finally we will see the fighting techniques; in the next article, we will see some practical examples of variation of states (solid, liquid, etc., read also 6DKF’s interactions: from the strong blow to the light touch).

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Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • Can you handle the short sticks effortlessly?

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