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Staff
Usage and History
The staff is a deceptively simple weapon that enjoyed wide spread popularity throughout Medieval Europe; a popularity that continued well into the Renaissance. With the ability to strike from both ends, a combatant armed with a staff can deliver a rapid combination of blows and thrusts by simply bringing alternating ends to bear. The staff's two handed grip provides for excellent control and its long length enables powerful blows while providing ample protection and tremendous range. Several European fight masters considered the staff to be one of the finest, if not the finest weapon.
There are two distinct staff traditions to be found in the historical manuals. The earliest tradition comes from Germany and is focused on aggressively striking blows with both ends of the staff. The other tradition is found in later manuals, primarily from English sources. These masters teach a more defensive style of staff combat with an emphasis on thrusting from a distance. This emphasis results in less closing and grappling, but limits opportunities to make use of the back end of the staff. In both traditions the main striking target is the head, with secondary importance being placed on strikes to the body, arms and hands. Most staff techniques begin from a crossing of staffs, called a bind. Binding happens when a blow or thrust is deflected or beaten aside.
Components and Construction
The staff is the simplest of all pole weapons, as such, all varieties of spear and pole-arm are derived from the staff. Staffs vary in length from a short staff of 4 feet to a long staff of up to 16 feet. The most common length for a staff however is between 6 and 8 feet long and this was referred to as the perfect length by English masters. The staff is divided into 3 parts: the forward end which is everything from the foremost point to the lead hand, the middle which is the length between the hands and the butt which protrudes backwards from the rear hand. All 3 sections of the staff can be used for attack and defense, subject to range, speed and intent.
Training Tools
Staffs used for training at Sword Academy are of various lengths and types of wood. The style of staff combat being practiced will determine the length - from 5 to 7 feet. Beginners and younger students will use staffs made of light hard wood, while more advanced students use staffs of maple or hickory.

STAFF
HOLDS ( NIGIRI )
BASIC HOLD JUN NIGIRI..... ONE HAND UP ONE HAND DOWN
REVERSE HOLD GYAKU NIGIRI... BOTH HANDS DOWN
DOUBLE HOLD YOSE NIGIRI..... ONE UP AND DOWN BOTH
TOGETHER AT ONE END
PALM HOLD HASAMI NIGIRI.. VERTICAL STAFF HOLD BETWEEN THUMB AND FINGER TOP PALM OUT BOTTOM PALM UP
FEELING AND AWARENESS EXERCISE
FRONT SPIN HORIZONTALLY IN FRONT OF YOU
SIDE TO SIDE SPIN ( HALF CIRCLE )
FORWARD SPIN
BACKWARD SPIN
FULL CIRCLE SPIN
BALANCE AND COORDINATION EXERCISE
SIDE TO SIDE HOLD ( WORK FROM ONE END OF STAFF TO THE OTHER )
FINGER TWIRLING ( OVER HEAD RIGHT/LEFT )
FIGURE EIGHT
STAFF EXERCISE
HOLD STAFF AND BRING IT FOR FRONT TO BACK THEN BACK TO FRONT
HIP SWING (STAFF AT YOUR BACK AND TWIST )
STRIKING ( SOBURI )
USING DOUBLE HOLD BRING STAFF OVER HEAD UP AND DOWN
THRUSTING
USING BASIC HOLD SLIDE STAFF THROUGH FRONT HAND AT TARGET


READY STANCE
HEISOKU-DACHI FEET TOGETHER STAFF BEHIND ARM RELAXED
MUSUBI-DACHI FEET IN DUCK POSITION STAFF BEHIND ARM

FALLS, ROLLS, JUMPS,
STANCES ( DACHI )
NATURAL STANCE HEIKO-DACHI FEET STRAIGHT STAFF IN FRONT
OF ARM RELAXED
NATURAL STANCE SOTO-HACHIJI- FEET IN DUCK STANCE STAFF IN
DACHI FRONT OF ARM
FORWARD STANCE ZENKUTSU-DACHI BASIC HOLD RIGHT FORWARD BOW
STAFF READY TO DEFEND
REAR DEFENSE GYAKU-ZENKUTSU- BASIC HOLD RIGHT FORWARD BOW
DACHI BODY FACING BACK TOWARDS LEG
TENSION STANCE SANCHIN-DACHI STAND IN SHORT RIGHT NEUTRAL
USING PALM HOLD AT RIGHT SIDE OF BODY KEEP STAFF STRAIGHT
HORSE STANCE KIBA-DACHI HORSE STANCE WITH STAFF AT SIDE USING BASIC HOLD FEET STRAIGHT
CAT STANCE NEKOASHI-DACHI PALM HOLD STAFF IN FRONT OF BODY RIGHT FOOT FORWARD I N CAT STANCE
BACK STANCE KOKUTSU-DACHI PALM HOLD STAFF IN FRONT RIGHT LEG STRAIGHT BACK LEG BENT HOLDING ABOUT 70% OFF YOUR WEIGHT
STRADDLE STANCE SHIKO-DACHI LIKE HORSE BUT WIDER WITH FEET IN DUCK POSITION
CRANE OR ONE LEGGED STANCE SHIRASAGIASHI-DACHI ONE HAND MIDDLE HOLD WEIGHT
ON BACK LEG WITH FRONT LEG
BENT UP TO BACK LEG TOES
BEHIND KNEE OF BACK LEG
FIGHTING POSITION
FORWARD FIGHTING POSITION LEFT FORWARD NATURAL WITH STAFF AT OPPOSITE SIDE
REVERSE HOLD
REAR FIGHTING POSITION REAR STANCE WITH STAFF BACK AS IF TO STRIKE BASIC HOLD
( LEFT FORWARD STANCE WITH A TWIST )
KNEELING POSITION PALM HOLD OUTWARDS WHILE KNEELING
STRIKES
OVERHEAD STRIKE (BASIC HOLD ) UCHI-OTOSHI
UPWARD STRIKE ( BASIC HOLD ) UCHI-AGE DOUBLE HAND
THRUST (REVERSE HOLD) MOROTE-UCHI ( UP/DOWN )
DOUBLE HOLD OVERHEAD STRIKE YOSE-NIGIRI-UCHI
SIDE STRIKE ( BASIC HOLD ) YOKO-UCHI (LOW/HIGH)
REVERSE SIDE STRIKE ( BASIC ) GYAKU-YOKO-UCHI (L/H)
POKING OR THRUSTING
TWO HANDED THRUST (BASIC HOLD ) TSUKI-KOMI
REVERSE THRUST (BASIC HOLD ) GYAKU-ZUKI
SLIDING THRUST (BASIC W/ SLID) NAGASHI-ZUKI
REVERSE DOWNWARD THRUST TSUKI-OTOSHI
BLOCKING
DOUBLE HANDED BLOCK ( UPWARD ) MOROTE-UKE REVERSE
DOUBLE HANDED BLOCK ( DOWNWARD ) MOROTE-UKE REVERSE
DOUBLE HANDED BLOCK ( SIDEWAYS ) MOROTE-UKE PALM HOLD
DOUBLE HANDED BLOCK ( BACKWARDS ) MOROTE-UKE PALM HOLD
INSIDE TO OUTSIDE BLOCK YOKO-UKE BASIC
OUTSIDE TO INSIDE BLOCK YOKO-UKE BASIC
UPPER SIDE BLOCK AGE-UKE REVERSE
UPPER SIDE BLOCK GYAKU-AGE-UKE
VERTICAL BLOCK ( UP AND OUT FRONT ) TATE-UKE CLOSE PALM
FOOT MOVEMENTS BACK, FORWARD, SIDE, ALL 360 DEGREES
COMBINATIONS
DRILLS BLOCK / STRIKE
STRIKE / BLOCK
THRUST / BLOCK
BLOCK / THRUST
REVERSE BLOCK / STRIKE
STRIKE / REVERSE BLOCK
THRUST / REVERSE BLOCK
REVERSE BLOCK / THRUST
DRILLS WITH MOVEMENT
STRIKES, THRUSTS, BLOCKS, ( FORWARD/REVERSE )
FORM WORK
BASIC - 4 POINT
2 - 8 POINT
3 - FULL COMBAT

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