Erskine ‘Sammy’ Husbands is passionate about stick-licking which is referred to as stick science. So much so that he has decided to work with his mentor Elvis Gill to produce his soonto-be-released book Introduction To The Johnson Method, Barbados Stick Science which he is seeking to publish on Amazon today.
Husbands noted that he developed a love for stick-licking as it is unique to Barbados and a part of Barbadian culture and history.
“Stick-licking was only passed on through oral history and practical training. As a child stick- licking was almost dormant as someone only saw it in a performative setting around festival times with highlights shown on television. Listening to stories from the older generations about the sticklickers from yesteryear was so exciting to hear and watch. After a while I did not hear or see anything about sticklicking until I met up with my mentor Elvis Gill of Donald and Brown Stick-licking and Martial Arts one of the last sticklickers from his era who came and did a workshop at the Way of Life Tai Chi School,” he said.
The former Garrison Secondary School student said that at first glance persons may believe that stick-licking is two persons licking or knocking sticks, but his mind was opened after meeting Elvis Gill and learning that there was indeed a science behind the indigenous art form.
“My mentor realized that I had a love for the art form and gave me a one-on-one private session to enhance my skills, grooming me to be an instructor in The Johnson Method of Stick Science. After Gill realized my background as a Physical Educator and Tai Chi
Instructor, he showed me his notes and decided to collaborate with me to write The Introduction to the Johnson Method Barbados Stick Science Volume 1 which is the first-ever manual on Barbados Martial Art in the history of Barbados. Because this art is complex, we decided that we would do it in volumes,” he said.
The groundbreaking book which dives into the art of sticklicking was created to showcase Barbadian culture as well as document the history of Stick Science ‘stick-licking’.
“We hope that this book can restart the practice of sticklicking as a sport, recreation, and educational tool, as well as create more interest locally and internationally through history, sport, and tourism. Sticklicking would have been one of the practices during the life of enslaved people especially the Johnson style of stick-licking which was actually created by a slave to combat and beat the
European broadsword which is also referred to as a saber and it only came out in revolts in order to fight for freedom and equality and this and so much more is mentioned in our book as Barbados has more than one stick-licking style. But the Johnson Method is the most practical of our combat systems,” he said.
Husbands also made a call for Government to ensure sticklicking is taught throughout the length and breadth of Barbados.
“Stick-licking is a part of our culture and heritage. There are very few stick-lickers on the island, so it is very important that the Government of Barbados makes stick-licking legal for the preservation of our indigenous martial art. It can be used for recreation, sport, education and self-defence. Stick-licking is practised by a few, and it is very important that we do our best to preserve our indigenous martial arts culture,” he said.
The owner of Way of Life Tai Chi said that since promoting the upcoming launch of the book persons have been eager to have a read of Barbados’ first book that explains the origins of stick-licking.
“This book is a great way to preserve our cultural heritage, history and even branch out a bit more because I found that after we started putting out videos on YouTube and Instagram locals and non-Barbadians have been messaging us. Moreover, when we are shooting the videos, we would encourage other persons to come and give it a try and they enjoy it. Stick-licking is valuable and important and now it is finally documented we are eager to release the book and have eversions as well as hard copies for all,” he said.
Husbands’ book will be released later today on Amazon, and he wished to thank his mentor Elvis Gill for all of his support in collaborating on the book.
(Write Right PR Services)