QUARTERSTAFF- ENGLAND

Practiced mainly using a “staff” is a Western European martial art form known as Quarterstaff. This “weapon” based combat form is said to have originated from a county known as Berkshire located in England. Furthermore, this style of combat is mainly practiced using a “pole weapon”. In addition, this martial art form had become extremely popular in the United Kingdom during the early modern period in the history of this country. Furthermore, there exists evidence of the use of this combat form in the legend of “Robin Hood” as well.

a. History/origin of the Quarterstaff:

According to the cultural history of United Kingdom, the development of this weapon based combat style is said to have occurred around the 15th century. Apparently, it was an expert in swordsmanship named George Silver who explained in details the various techniques involved in using a short staff as a weapon in combat.  In similar vein, he also explained the technique involved in using weapons such as “polearms” and “two handed swords”. Furthermore, many authors such as Joseph Swetnam, Zachary Wlyde, and Donald McBane reaffirmed Silver’s belief that the staff was the ideal hand weapon to be used in combat.  The popularity of the staff gradually grew in this country, and reached its peak in the 18th century when it was regularly used in gladiatorial bouts. It was during the late 19th century that a modified style of the quarterstaff form of combat (that mainly used bamboo or ash staves as weapons) were taught in many fencing schools in the country which included the Aldershot Military Training School.

b. Weapon used in the Quarterstaff:

The weapon used in this form of martial art form is a “staff” that is made from a shaft of hardwood that is about 6 to 9 feet in length, and comprises of a metal tip, ferrule, or spike attached to one end or both ends.

c. Technique involved in the Quarterstaff and training availability:

In terms of technique, the staff is held by a fighter with one hand placed at the butt end and the other at a distance of about 30 to 45 cm above it. Furthermore, the fighter then usually delivers a blow on to the opponent lower body i.e. the legs using this staff. As for training centers/schools, there are not many available around the world for those interested in learning this “weapon” based combat form.

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