A STICK fighting tournament will see the country’s best competitors thrash it out in Bendigo today.
The competition will be the first ever national meet held in Australia.
Bendigo stick fighting instructor Glen Eden said about 40 competitors from Victoria and interstate would fight in a range of styles.
He said it was a great chance to bring the best competitors in the country together and showcase the sport.
Entrants in the tournament range from five-years-old to 73-years-old.
“It’s really growing as a sport,” Mr Eden said.
“We’re still relatively unknown in Australia, but then we’ve also got some of the best fighters in the world.”
The sport originates from the Phillipines and is practiced as a highly disciplined form of martial arts.
Mr Eden said today’s meet at the Tom Flood Sports Centre would give people the chance to see some elite stick fighters.
“It’s an absolutely exciting event,” he said.
“We’re over the moon to have it in Bendigo.”
Mr Eden is the reigning world champion stick fighter in the light heavyweight division after winning a gold medal in the Phillipines last year.
He said he practises stick moves for about two and half hours each day and does more intensive training in the lead-up to events.
“If it’s done to world standards it takes massive commitment and discipline.”
He said it was also accessible for amateurs getting involved in the sport.
“What kid doesn’t grow up wanting to play with sticks?”
“It’s a great sport to get involved in. I would say stick fighting is safer than football or soccer, because when you accept there’s an element of risk you go in to prepare for it.”
The tournament is free for all spectators, with fights scheduled from 10am to 6pm.