Review: Durattan – “The most durable rattan stand-in” Reviewer: Bob Hubbard Item Reviewed: 26” length, 1” thickness Where to Buy: http://www.durattan.com/ Cost as Reviewed: $23 US + S/H Durattan is a synthetic rattan substitute. Made from a high tech plastic, the intent of it’s creators is to offer the Filipino martial artist an affordable and durable training tool that can take the abuse that we “stick jocks” inflict on our gear, thereby saving our good rattan sticks for special occasions. I received a pair of these stick replacements and put them through their paces for 2 weeks. Observations: Weight: The weight of each stick was a little heavier than my regular sticks. After doing some informal weight checks (ie balancing them in each hand) against both my own sticks and several different hardwoods, I came to the conclusion that the Durattan stick is a comfortable middleweight. A little heavier than the same size rattan, a little lighter than the same size hard wood. Over all, the weight was comfortable. Balance: Balance was excellent. The symmetry of the product allows for a more consistent balance compared to similar rattan, and again was on par with good hardwoods. Twirling and swinging felt comparable to rattan. If anything, it felt a hair better, due to the symmetry in weight and length of the Durattan unlike real rattan which has sometimes noticeable variations between the 2 sticks being used. Surface: The surface is a fairly smooth semi-gloss. Feel: The feel was quite comfortable. Due to its plastic nature, those with sweaty hands might want to wrap some athletic grip tape around the end they will hold it by. Other than that, it felt quite proper in my hand. Impact Transference: One of the big pluses of rattan is the good impact dampening effect it has on strikes. Where as a hard wood can allow a lot of the force of a strike to travel into the body, rattan absorbs it and softens it. Durattan doesn’t quite have the impact absorption properties of real rattan, but it does absorb better than hardwoods. I’d qualify it as being about in the middle, maybe a little closer to rattan than hardwood. I tested this by doing repeated strikes against a body dummy and numerous striking drills against rattan, hardwood and another Durattan stick. I compared my findings with my partner and we were in agreement on how each felt compared to the others. Overall Product Appearance: Durattan currently only comes in white. The sticks are reasonable smooth (semi gloss), and mostly straight. The pair I received had some minor warping which I didn’t expect in a synthetic. It didn’t affect their balance or functionality. On the pair that I received, there was a minor angle on the end cuts (not perfectly square). I notified the company about this and the distortion. They replied that the off cuts were due to an earlier cutting process and had since been solved. The warping/distortion is due to the nature of the material they are made of. It allows a little flexibility in the material in exchange for more durability and shock absorption qualities. Durability: After 2 weeks of normal class use, as well as some side drills on my own, I’ve noticed no damage to them. During heavy hard use, the sticks tend to distort a little bit. They can easily be straightened by hand with a little eyeballing. Having used real rattan for the last few years, the amount of ‘warp’ experienced by Durattan during use is minimal by comparison. Customer Support: The delivery of my sticks was prompt. Emails about my initial questions and concerns were answered promptly and positively. Conclusion: Durattan offers an affordable and durable rattan substitute for every day training. While some minor distortions occur during hard use, they are easily fixed by the practitioner. While initially skeptical, I’ve come to like the feel of the sticks, and will be using them regularly in my future classes. If you are looking for a well balanced, durable and affordable everyday workhorse stick, I recommend giving Durattan a shot. === Bob Hubbard is an administrator of the popular martial arts portal site MartialTalk.com and president of SilverStar WebDesigns inc., a web site design and hosting company specializing in affordable solutions for martial artists. A student of all the arts, he is currently studying Modern Arnis. Bob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. More of Bob's articles can be found at rustaz.net. Please contact Bob if you would like him to review your martial arts product.