I know that many people train with the stick and I will tell why Kung Fu does train the stick. (At least me). The first reason is that as a military style you are expected to be in the fight a long time. Why would the army come out for a little fight? The battles were expected to last for at least an hour and that was just for small scale. Your weapon WOULD break and you had to be able to continue. The luxury of throwing away your weapon in disgust didn't exist. In large scale combat, the guy without the weapon (or the ability to take a weapon away from someone else) died. Tragic, yes, but what are you going to do about it?
Because of the above I haven't learned any technique that requires a type of stick. The technique must work for any size stick no matter the weight, length, diameter, or integrity of the weapon. A stick is classified as "not one of the other weapons" or "a weapon damaged so that it can't fulfill its original purpose". It is generally not considered one of the traditional 18 because ,aside from its value during emergency situations, It doesn't train anything that knife wouldn't train better (any knife). As far as my research goes (it may have gaps) the societies/styles that have stick as a basic weapon usually didn't have the technology and/or the resources to make large steel weapons. Indonesia, for example, was a series of islands and before you got an actuall steel knife (or even a sword) you had to be an awesome fighter. You would have had the responsibilities of village elder, knight, and possibly doctor as well.
I do train stick. I have trained in stick because the first instructor to gain my respect taught arnis/escrime, kali, espada y daga, and any other stick/knife info he could get his hands on. I began using the Kung Fu definition of stick a few years ago when I was doing staff and I began to break them. I recieved a new respect for the different hights of the Karate staffs because if you have a seven foot staff it will break off at 6 feet and then 3 feet (cane sized) at which point it becomes a stick and will get smaller.
Just so you know: Rattan will shear off leaving a nice flat nasty looking end - Bamboo will split into multiple fibers and become similar to a cutting whip (scourge?) - Waxwood breaks with some of it hanging by fibers and will resemble a type of flail or sweeper - oak and pine tend to splinter which will leave sharp points similiar to spear points. Also I found out that Staffs are expensive no matter where you shop and I would suggest you invest in Iron. Most cities have a supply shop that sells steel to companies that have special requirements. A hardened steel rod is guarenteed not to chip, bend, scratch, or break. If I do any of those I will be happy to tell everyone.
What stick will train, in the practical world, is that anything can be a weapon and it helps give you something to do when your weapon breaks. It will build hand speed but knives will do the same with better control and any type of hammer/axe will give you a better strength/speed combo. Stick training gives real benefits in minimizing those "Oh Shit!" moments in a fight which as some of you may know, really helps out.
While stick has no mystique for energy training, it is valuable knowledge to have. I would suggest waiting for your first broken weapon before training in it, just for realism. Otherwise your teacher will have his own opinion and you won't have to worry about it.
Email me with any questions.
The stick isn't one of the 18 classes even though everyone has it. It was taught as something to do if your weapon broke. This would make it a level of other weapons. Any weapon that can break should include stick training in its program.