Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rince an Bhata Uisce Bheatha

The Gaelic translation of Rince an Bhata Uisce Bheatha means “Dance of the Whiskey Stick”. Commonly referred to as Irish Stick Fighting, it is a form of martial art that originated in Ireland. This martial art was originally a style of the Doyle Clan and was used to settle disputes between Irishmen in the country back during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The first type of Irish Stick Fighting was believed to have originated at a much earlier date, when weapons had been banned in Ireland. As a result of this ban, an alternate means of self defense and fighting evolved. Using fighting sticks which were also known as shillelaghs, Rince an Bhata Uisce Bheatha was developed as a result of the influence of the Doyle Clan. The Doyle Clan applied boxing movements and techniques to the already existing stick fighting style. As a result, Rince an Bhata Uisce Bheatha came into being.

Irish Stick Fighting Techniques of Rince an Bhata Uisce Bheatha

Irish Stick Fighting uses a walking stick or cane crafted from a hard wood (oak, etc.), called a bata or shillelagh. The stick is used as an extension of the hands. Most techniques involve jabbing, punching and thrusting with the stick. The stick could also be used to block an attack or to disarm an opponent. The stick is used with both hands, and both ends of the stick can be used to attack an opponent. Most attacks are designed for close range fighting. The sticks were of various lengths and varied between short, medium, or long versions. Sometimes the knobs of shillelaghs were hollowed out and weighted with lead. These versions were known as “loaded” sticks.

You can find more information about shillelaghs here:

My Dance of the Whiskey Stick generally includes some of my favorite spirits, Makers Mark.

Thanks Sam.

Staying above the water line!



scoutinlife said...

That was interesting, I trained many years ago in the Martial Arts JKD & trained with Escrima Sticks...

riverwalker said...

To: scoutinlife

That's why they call them "the fightin' Irish".


easilyspooked said...

some friends and i had fun with this a few years back, the moves are very 'riot' oriented. lots of bloody knuckles. i made my stick from a broken apple tree, treated it with animal fat and let it season for a year.

Mayberry said...

Aye laddie! Maker's Mark be some fine whiskey now! That's what I yoosta get, until Jennersen turned me on to Knob Creek. The price is about the same, and quality/ taste is very similar.

"The Captain likes whiskey,
the Mate, he likes rum.
Weigh, hey, blow the man down.
Us sailors like both,
but we can't get none.
Give me some time to blow the man down......."

riverwalker said...

To: easilyspooked

Mine is still in the rough stages. About 48" long, not quite a hiking stick but longer than a cane or walking stick. Need to sand and seal it. Trying to make an heirloom type as a hand-me-down for my grandson. Thanks for the nice comments.

Getting whacked on the hand or knuckles WILL get your attention!


riverwalker said...

To: mayberry

Like "The Captain's Rum" also - usually dark and spicy.

I see you're adding singing to the list of your survival skills. Haven't heard you sing in person yet so I don't know if somebody's gonna want their money back for those singing lessons! HaHa!


Mayberry said...

I sing great if you're drunk enough ;)

riverwalker said...

To: mayberry

Too bad you've never heard me when I'm singing in the shower...

Got ear plugs?


Phadrus said...


I just noticed this post about The Doyle Family Style on Google.. Thanks for spreading the word. I teach the system under the tutelage of Sifu Glen Doyle here in Boston.

Let me know if you are ever on the East Coast, we would love to have you drop by and take in a class!

Rob Masson
Cead Bua Fighting Faction
Boston, MA

riverwalker said...

To: Phadrus

It's been a while since I've been to the East Coast. Was in Wilkes-Barre,PA and Haggerstown,MD a couple of times. I have an Irish heritage and although no formal training with a bhata or shillelagh, I do like to keep the Irish traditions going.



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