Palo Canario
The game of Palo Canario (“Juego del Palo”) is a martial art that is practiced between two players who go into battle using sticks without actually making contact with the body of the adversary. The origin of the game was a method of warfare used by early settlers to ward off invaders and was not intended for leisure


The Canarian stick fighting (Juego del Palo Canario) is a combat with sticks between two players who indicate, (marcan) and defend retained strikes avoiding hurting each other. According to the history books, the sources of this game are the games and combats practiced by the pre-hispanic inhabitants of the Canary Islands (Guanches). Maybe this practice was the best way these natives had to prepare themselves for war. As a matter of fact there are many chronicles from the times of the conquer of the Islands that show the hard and difficult combats that the Spaniards had to fight against the “Guanches”, showing clearly the mastery of the sticks by the Canarian.
The use of the stick was hidden after the conquer of the Islands due to the laws that forbid the carry and use of sticks, because of that, the art was only practice illegally, in rural areas and by members of the some families. These families of the mountains have maintained the use of the stick during centuries. There are still some old masters that remember stories of their grandparents fighting with sticks to defend their lands, , their animals, or simply to show their abilities. Some years ago, it was very common to see fights with sticks between members of different families in the parties of the countryside. There could be a fight anywhere, but one of the favorite places was the parties. Someone challenging any other caused these fights, and sometimes the reason was fighting for a woman. Many people thought that if there wasn’t a fight it was not atrue party.
Palo Canario
Palo Canario

With the beginning of the Spanish Civil War and the dictatorship, this popular art was forbidden again, and forgotten by many. Again, only some families maintained the knowledge of the art. Every family clan developed a personal and particular style of using the stick.
Some were specialized in long distance range, some used it in the short distance, and others used it as a defense against edged weapons. Nowadays there are different styles, Deniz, Verga, Garafiano, Morales, Vidal, Conejero, Quintero, and Acosta style. Each style shows different techniques that can be identified very easily. This diversity of styles and technical richness is part of the greatness of the martial culture of the Canary Islands.

Many of you could think that “stick play” is just a game or a sport and that the name is because the two fighters just indicate (marcan) their strikes. To indicate the strike does not mean going slowly or without strength. A master of “Juego del palo” has great ability and precision and can knockout many fighters specialized in a Bo. This is a gentlemen art in which the players look for physical control to avoid hurting each other.

Source: www.palocanario.com