Bajan Stick Licking

Posted on BU’s Facebook Page by Simba Wa Taifa

Photo: Bajan Stick-Licking or Stick Science is an African system of weapons fighting that features the use of fire-hardened sticks of varying lengths. "Lickin Stick", as it is usually known, was most likely transferred to Barbados from the Kongo (Congo)/Angola region of Africa during the 16th century by soldiers who had been captured as prisoners of war. These soldiers were then purchased by various European enslavers and shipped as cargo to the Caribbean, where some ended up in Barbados as slaves.</p><p>For much of Barbados' history, this African Fight has been an integral part of the society. It has been a test of manhood, a sport, a means of self-defence and a method of settling disputes. Contrary to some mythology, Stick Lickin' is not a hybrid of African stick fighting and European fencing, but is a Kalenda system and exists in many other parts of the African diaspora, including Trinidad, Grenada, Puerto Rico and the United States.</p><p>Come out to SANKOFA III and see our Stick Licking demonstrations and hear some more about its tradition in Barbados. </p><p>http://www.facebook.com/events/324226684362085/</p><p>We would like to give special recognition to the Commission for Pan African Affairs for its significant contribution to SANKOFA III.

A Bajan pastime

Bajan Stick-Licking or Stick Science is an African system of weapons fighting that features the use of fire-hardened sticks of varying lengths. “Lickin Stick”, as it is usually known, was most likely transferred to Barbados from the Kongo (Congo)/Angola region of Africa during the 16th century by soldiers who had been captured as prisoners of war. These soldiers were then purchased by various European enslavers and shipped as cargo to the Caribbean, where some ended up in Barbados as slaves.

For much of Barbados’ history, this African Fight has been an integral part of the society. It has been a test of manhood, a sport, a means of self-defence and a method of settling disputes. Contrary to some mythology, Stick Lickin’ is not a hybrid of African stick fighting and European fencing, but is a Kalenda system and exists in many other parts of the African diaspora, including Trinidad, Grenada, Puerto Rico and the United States. (Wikipedia)

Come out to SANKOFA III and see our Stick Licking demonstrations and hear some more about its tradition in Barbados. We would like to give special recognition to the Commission for Pan African Affairs for its significant contribution to SANKOFA III.

0 responses to “Bajan Stick Licking

  1. pieceuhderockyeahright

    When I was a young man, I hadda did try my hand at a lot tings including dis stick licking ting

    Dem had men who used to lick stick so bad dat when de rail start to pelt down dem men used to swing dem stick so fast de rain could not touch dem.

    Just after de war WWII I remember challenging a man called Nat Nat Butcher, well let me tell you sumting dat man put so many liks put me man, de only place I ent get hit was pun me tongue cause I had me mout shut while I was grunting

    Fuh weeks afterwards me body was in pain and de shame of the licks only went way cause me family did emigrate to ***

    Sankofa? Man if I was to call it by de name dat dem liks I get instigating me to use dese 63 years later man I wid get ban and join de illustrious banned for life crew like …….

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  2. Colonel Buggy

    Many of the good stick lickers that I knew were fairly tall men, which gave them the advantage over shorter men, in terms of reach. If that was the same Nat Butcher I knew , he was also fairly tall. Was it guava wood that was normally used for the sticks? I knew a watchman,all watchmen were stick lickers,and this particular watchman got a good thrashing from the brothers of a woman he was playing around. He cut himself a stick, a branch from a lemon tree, complete with the sharp prickles. Somehow he was never bothered again.

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  3. @ Piece
    Are you talking about Nat Nat Butcher who used to live in the Station Hill St Michael area? Well, Nat Butcher as he was commonly called, died in the early 1980’s.

    .

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  4. Piece, I met Nat Butcher as a young lad growing up in the: Station Hill/ Bush Hall/ Bank Hall/ Park Road/ Waterford areas.

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  5. Colonel Buggy

    Actually I came across Nat Butcher when he was living in St Joseph for a short while ,but I never knew he was a stick licker, and he never let on,as we had two very great stick lickers in the immediate area who would have been more than willing to take him on.

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  6. A little more that two decades ago I witnessed what I would describe as an even that was extraordinary in nature, but phenomenal to say the least. On a sunny Barbadian evening, as I was attending to basket ball practice. I witnessed two men off in this distance engaged in a stick-licking fight. And what I captured by way of memory that evening in question has stayed with me to this present day.These two men were faced off in active combat feet apart from each other, with sticks which I would approximate three feet in length. One man was up in age, mid- seventies to extrapolate but frail from the far distance. While the next man was in his fifties but not short of his sixties; nonetheless, physically strong and quite agile by the way in which he prepared himself for battle. And as this urban legend unfolded that sunny Caribbean evening before my eyes, my only thoughts were: “I really hope that others are witnessing this authentic piece of iconic Bajan tradition that is taking place”. But I was quite disappointed when no one spoke about the incident the next day. I was obviously the only soul party to this amazing display of stick-licking dexterity by this old fogy. Now, bearing in mind that this stick-licking fight lasted no more than five-minutes, which probably felt like an eternity to the young gentleman. Who took a phenomenal beating that evening under the sunny bajan skies? The young man was out-class, out-skilled, and out-matched by the very skilled old fogy. To make a long story short, the old man dispatched several strikes to the young man’s hands, feet, and head which drew blood and that ended the young man old advanced.

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  7. Colonel Buggy.

    @ John . And you wonder why you appeared to be only one interested. Stick licking is a close up,cut-ass blood sport . Today its much easier to settle an argument with a cutlass, sharp implement, but preferably a gun ,where the holder of , is able to discharged his leaded licks from a safe distance.
    An interesting account, never-the-less.

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  8. ”pieceuhderockyeahright | April 21, 2013 at 8:17 PM |
    When I was a young man, I hadda did try my hand at a lot tings including dis stick licking ting”
    ———
    Gaww deng, and he actually admit it deng….
    ;-)

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