We would spend all day searching for them. Straight sticks, perfectly straight. Although you could possibly use a curved one at a pinch; samurai swords weren't really in vogue back then. Peel the bark, steal sandpaper from the garage ("My dad has nitroglycerin!" "Does not!" "He Does!")
Disgard the too thick ones. Break the perfect one and sob. Trim the too long ones; justifying all that whining for a penknife. Scorn the 7 year old younger brother who tries to join in with a green whipping sapling shoot that will break instantly. Green leafs and branches bursting with growth and vigour become our training targets.
Long before darth maul was ever described I had a staff my own height; battle daniel and oliver. Twirl it over my head and scrape my sides as I tried to mimic conan.
Jump over nettles. Shout and scream with abandon. Burst into tears as my knuckles get cracked. Ignore caroline and emma watching from emma's parents' garden; girls? who are they? Charge and flinch. Puff up my chest as we pass the territory of the other boys. We have weapons.
Sunset comes. My Mother calls for me. I hide the stick beside my bed. Dream about barbarians and castles and wild beasts...