Simple wooden club with lanyard and gripA club, also known as cudgel, baton, mace, nightstick or bludgeon, is essentially a short stick.  You hold clubs and most are small enough to swing with one hand. Although they are not thrown as you would a throwing stick, the club can extend your area of defense beyond your fingertips. It also serves to increase the force of a blow without injuring yourself. The three basic types of clubs are explained below.

Simple Club

Antique wooden police batonA simple club begins with a tree branch and can be constructed just as you would a walking stick (except on a smaller scale).  It must be short enough for you to swing easily, but long enough and strong enough for you to damage whatever you hit.  The diameter of the club should be small enough to fit comfortably in your palm, but it should not be so thin as to allow the club to break easily upon impact.  A straight-grained hardwood, such as oak wood, is best if you can find it.  The club may be carved or whittled on one end to thin the grip while leaving the striking end wider.  Smoothing the surface of the club will also make the club swing faster.  Notches or grooves carved in the handle will make it easier to grip.  You may also hold the finished club over a flame to harden the outer surface of the wood.

You can also utilize improvised simple clubs in the wilderness.  Heavy Maglight flashlights, tool handles, crowbars, baseball bats, and walking sticks may all be utilized as clubs.

Weighted Club

An assorted collection of weighted clubsA weighted club is any simple club with a weight on one end. The weight may be a natural weight, such as a knot on the wood, or something added, such as a stone lashed to the club.

To make a weighted club, first find a stone that has a shape that will allow you to lash it securely to the club. A stone with a slight hourglass shape works well. If you cannot find a suitably shaped stone, then fashion a groove or channel into the stone by “pecking,” repeatedly rapping the club stone with a smaller hard stone.

Next, find a piece of wood that is the right length for you. A straight-grained hardwood is best. The length of the wood should feel comfortable in relation to the weight of the stone. Finally, lash the stone to the handle using a technique shown in the picture below. The technique you use will depend on the type of handle you choose.

Split-Handle Club

A Split-Handle club uses a heavy stone in the end of the club to add weight. To construct a split-handle club:

  1. Wrap lashing about 8 inches below the end of the club.Split-handle club - wrap lashing at end of club
  2. Split the end of the lashing.Split-handle club - split end of lashing
  3. Insert a stone into the split wood.Split-handle club - insert stone
  4. Lash the stone securely above, below, and across the stone.Split-handle club - lash stone securely
  5. Bind the split end tightly to secure the stone to the end of the club.Split-handle club - bind the split end


Forked Branch Club

  1. Find an appropriate branch for the club.  The branch should have a fork at the end suitable for lashing the weighted stone into.Forked Branch Club - find branch with natural fork
  2. Place stone in the fork.
  3. Start at the crotch and lash securely to prevent the fork from splitting along the branch.Forked Branch Club - lash securely
  4. Lash end of branch to secure the stone.


Wrapped Handle Club

A Wrapped Handle club is created by shaving the end of the club thin enough to allow it to be wrapped around the weighted stone.

  1. Find a suitable branch a little over 3-feet long and about 1 inch in diameter.
  2. Shave the end of the branch to about half the diameter of the handle.Wrapped Handle club - shave end of branch
  3. Peck a groove in the stone that the branch will wrap around and into the groove.Wrapped Handle club - peck groove in stone
  4. Wrap the shaved end of the stick around the stone.Wrapped Handle club - wrap shaved end of stick around stone
  5. Finally lash the stone securely to the stick.Wrapped Handle club - lash stone securely


Sling Club

A sling club is another type of weighted club. A weight hangs 8 to 10 centimeters (3 to 4 inches) from the handle by a strong, flexible lashing. This type of club both extends the user’s reach and multiplies the force of the blow.

To create a Sling Club:

  1. Tie lashing to the club leaving about 8 inches free.
  2. Peck a rock to create a groove for tying the cordage to.
  3. Tie a 4-6 pound rock about 3-4 inches from the end of the club.

Sling Club