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Singlestick, also known as cudgels, refers to both a martial art that uses a wooden stick as well as the weapon used in the art. It began as a way of training soldiers in the use of swords such as the sabre. Canne de combat, a French form of stick fighting, is similar to singlestick play, but is more a method of self-defense with a walking stick.
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In 16th century England, hits below the girdle were considered unfair. In the 18th century, all parts of the person became valid targets. By the turn of the 19th century, the target area had been restricted to the upper body (with the exception of the back of the head) and the upper part of the forward leg. These rules are in use today by the Association for Historical Fencing. Historically, the target area has varied, with bouts sometimes only being decided by the drawing of blood from the head of one of the contestants, in the manner of the Mensur.
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