When is a stick not just a stick? When it’s wielded in combat by one of the famous stick fighting Dog Brothers. The Dog Brothers are a group of highly trained and devoted Martial Artists that were founded in California in the 1980’s and now claim hundreds of members and thousands of devotees around the globe.

The stick as a weapon actually has deep ancestral roots in Martial Arts that trace back many centuries to tribal warfare in the Philippines. Around the world stick fighting takes on different names and techniques. Arnis, Kali, Eskrima are all forms of Stick Fighting, but what the Dog Brothers have done is apply the stick, along with other weapons, to modern, realistic martial arts and self defense applications.

New Mexico has its own chapter of the Dog Brothers and at the center is Michael Johnson, owner of Shockwave Defense. Johnson’s father, Steve Johnson was a long time student of Bruce Lee – yah, that Bruce Lee – so Michael has been brought up in the Martial Arts world and has a wealth of knowledge which he imparts to his students every day at his magnificently equipped academy on South Broadway.

On Saturday, June 30, Shockwave Defense hosted a “Gathering of the Pack” which included two of the original Dog Brothers and several dozen brave souls who would learn the swiftness of the stick first hand. Wearing only a face mask and gloves pair after pair of combatants took to the center of the mats for two minute matches that were at times a frenetic blur of sticks, feet, and arms, separated by slow methodical pacing and circling, a feeling out of opponents just before one strikes. Newbies to the sport are urged to get protective training gear, the brothers suggested checking US Combat Sports to find high quality boxing shoes online. 

After each match there is no victor, just two members of a tribe that endured battle together. Nerves give way to jubilation like a newbie sky jumper must feel when his feet touch ground. The two have reached enlightenment through suffering that binds them with the group. More importantly everyone realizes they have the mettle to survive a violent encounter should they have to.

This day was both a Dog Brothers seminar and a celebration highlighted by live sparring. If you want to know more or are interested in taking classes in self defense or a specific area, such as law Enforcement Academy prep, Military, Security.