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Of staves, quarterstaffs and walking sticks

Discussion in 'Research' started by skip.knox, Oct 15, 2017.

  1. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    OK all you martial arts kids out there, I've looked at a fair number of articles and videos about quarterstaffs. Pretty much all the time, the quarterstaff is taller than the person wielding it. That's fine, but it does make me wonder, how do you carry it? Can something that tall and, presumably, heavy really also be used as a walking stick? You can't even strap the thing to your back like you can an axe or sword.

    In the other direction, is it practical, and is there precedent, to have a "quarterstaff" or stave that is shorter than the person wielding it? In other words, something that indeed could serve as a walking stick. Or as a wizard's staff (think Gandalf in the movies).

    I have a place to employ a stave that gets used as a quarterstaff, but want to know that I'm not going to commit a weapons gaffe.
     
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    I know nothing about martial arts but I spent a great deal of my youth playing Robin Hood and the like in the woods around my home. My QS was about a head taller than me and about 3-4 cm in diameter. The QS was carried in one hand and used like a hiking pole. If you are carrying a backpack and crossing rough ground it can be very useful to keep your balance and check ground conditions. And when you stop at night it becomes an instant tent pole. I never found it heavy or cumbersome. As it is in your hands all the time it is a fast weapon, and no one thinks the guy with the pole is a threat when it comes to "play" fighting. You do have to be careful not to whack someone in the head as it can do real damage.
     
    Russ likes this.
  3. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    I have done some fighting with the QS and it is quite fun and effective when you know what you are doing.

    I think you would be surprised at how light it seems. It is not really that heavy, certainly lighter than just about any spear I have handled or fought with. And keep in mind if you grow up with it, you get used to it.

    It can be carried three ways pretty easily. It can be used as a walking stick as COJ describes. It can be rested on the shoulder when you are walking if you prefer that, or carried in one hand at the side, horizontal to the ground. All seem to work fine.
     
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Good to know. Staves play a key role in my WIP. A staff becomes even more effective when one of your party can control air currents, turning it into a pretty dangerous projectile. It was sort of the non-combat aspects of having a six-foot ( know they ranged longer) long staff to carry around. I'm thinking of letting it become her trademark. Resisting the temptation to have her ride it like a broomstick. This ain't quidditch, boys and girls.
     
  5. Guy

    Guy Inkling

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    There are also methods of fighting with a staff the same height as the user as well as canes and short sticks. Pretty much every culture has some form of stick fighting. There are European methods of fighting with canes as well as Asian styles of staff/stick fighting.
     
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  6. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Thanks to Guy for the stick fighting reference. That was a fascinating rabbit hole! I should have no trouble at all pushing that back a few centuries to enable my hero to make some unexpected (for the modern reader) moves.
     
  7. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    I think you would have to carry the staff by hand, or in some variation of physically holding it.

    It does seem quarterstaff is typically meant to mean a staff of a length generally as tall or taller than a man holding it, but I see no reason one could not have a staff that was shorter than suggested. I would have to suspect that if you make it too short, it might more properly be referred to by a different name, such as a pole or a stick, or a cane, or in some cultures a jo stick.

    My guess is, the thing is probably just a stick or a staff until it gains the attributes of being a quarterstaff, by virtue of its size, and or features, such as metal tips or such. Also, I think a quarterstaff is generally thought of as a staff meant to be a weapon, and not just for utilitarian purposes. If I was writing this, I think I would avoid calling it a quarterstaff, and call it a staff or walking stick, unless it was clearly meant to be full fledged quarterstaff.

    I am not sure there is any real historical difference between staves, after all, if your getting hit by a big stick, does it matter what its called? But wizards staves, in my mind, tend to have some type of adornment on the top, possibly a feature which takes it out of the category of being a quarterstaff. Or in other words, if I was to strike someone with a quarter staff, I would not seem to care which end I struck them with, but with a wizards staff, I might not want to strike with the intricate end (or maybe vice-versa).
     
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  8. Guy

    Guy Inkling

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    You're quite welcome.
     

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