Sucessful use of 3-sectional staff in full-contact sparring

Discussion in 'General Weapons Discussion' started by Tony Dismukes, Jun 20, 2017.

  1. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

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    Unlike most of the Dog Brothers, Thomas Holtmann (Gong Fu Dog) learned his weapons skills from CMA (specifically Seven Star Praying Mantis) rather than FMA.

    This is the first time I've seen someone demonstrate genuine fighting skill (as opposed to performance skill) with the 3SS. Pretty cool.

    He's also a BJJ black belt and his approach to grappling during stick-fighting seems to work well with his approach to the 3SS.
     
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  2. Charlemagne

    Charlemagne Black Belt

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    Good to see someone pressure testing that particular weapon, so kudos to him for doing it! Having said that, there was only one brief moment where it was used to any effect, and in none of the clips shown, did it really seem to have much of an impact on the outcome of the fight. Pretty much all of the fights were decided by abilities on the ground.
     
  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Agreed, though the same can be said of the other weapons that showed up. His ability to control the situation appears to surpass the effect of the weapons in each case.
     
  4. Charlemagne

    Charlemagne Black Belt

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    Agreed, though there are a bunch of Dog Brothers videos demonstrating the use of single and double baston with great effectiveness, so that is well established at this point. Three-sectional-staff? Not so much.
     
  5. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

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    Couple of thoughts ...

    The threat of the 3SS's long-range attack seems to encourage his opponents to charge into close range where he could use his grappling.

    When he did reach grappling range, he frequently used the 3SS as a grappling tool. At one point it looks like he was able to force his opponent to submit with a standing choke using the 3SS.

    I'm certainly not advocating for the 3SS as any sort of ideal weapon. Its historical rarity compared to the world-wide prevalence of swords, spears, clubs, staves, maces, hammers, knives, and polearms is evidence enough that it's not the best tool out there. Still, it's cool to see evidence that it can be an effective weapon in the right hands.
     
  6. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm mostly wondering if his ability to control makes it possible for him to use pretty much any weapon that gives him a bit of defense against the other weapon, and maybe some distance control.
     
  7. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I had trouble following where the 3SS was used in some of those. All those arms and sticks tangled up, I lost track of it, and whether it was just there or was involved in the grappling. I did see that one you're referring to, but in others I though he might be using it during grappling, but couldn't really tell.

    As for evidence of its effectiveness, it was clearly demonstrated in Raiders of the Lost Ark, no?
     
  8. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I agree, it is interesting to see. One point that should not be overlooked is that if these fellows were not wearing protective gear (armor), then the melee might not have reached grappling range. If those long range shots had landed on unprotected body parts the combat might have ended there. It's got some good potential as a grappling tool though, that is apparent.

    I don't know the history of the three-section staff, but it strikes me as something of an improvised weapon that might have been developed by the peasantry, and not something for the battlefield where armor would be more prevalent and where one might not have the room to swing it without hitting comrades.

    Another thought is that these weapons today tend to be made from wax wood, which is good stuff but kind of on the light side. If the staff was made from hickory or walnut or something heavier with more thought to being a useful weapon, then landing those blows could have a more significant effect. Wax wood is legit for some purposes and it's flexibility is useful for staffs and spears, but for something like this I would make it from something heavier if I thought I might actually need to use it to save my life.
     
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  9. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I don't recall seeing it in any Indiana Jones films. Whip, yes. Three section staff, no. Let me know where, if I am simply forgetting.
     
  10. Charlemagne

    Charlemagne Black Belt

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    Some of that being used in grappling was just a stick. Other times, it was just being used as a stick (only one section being used).
     
  11. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    One must always take into account that training tools made out of rattan are not really combative weapons. Rattan is light, forgiving, does not shatter but instead splinters while hard wood really breaks things quickly. Many people here would easily take a rattan shot to anywhere but the head and be fine. The same cannot be said for taking a shot with a common North America wood like hickory or Filipino Kamagong or Japanese White Oak. So while I love to spar with rattan myself one has to understand that any one of those shots with a hardwood is probably breaking bones. Which means in the end there simply would not be as much grappling or someone trying to close and eating a shot. That person more than likely would be broken, knocked out or worse!
     
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  12. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Years ago when I was training a lot of capoeira, we also did maculele which is a stick and machete dance that likely had martial origins. It involves a lot of clashing the sticks or machetes together with the other players. One day I brought a pair of sticks that I had cut down from a hickory axe handle, while everyone else was using lighter dowels or just sticks. Very quickly I was destroying everybody's sticks, they were breaking and splintering, which is not the point of maculele.

    But my point is, yeah that stuff can be very destructive. You don't want to get hit by it. Fight is over.
     
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  13. Jin Gang

    Jin Gang Green Belt

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    I don't know, accidentally whacking yourself in the head with a wax wood 3SS makes it feel pretty f-ing hard. They can be rather heavy, and despite the flexibility the mass does make a difference. I imagine a full-swing, full extension whack in the head with one would be pretty debiliatating. Of course, harder/heavier woods would be even worse.

    I agree that this isn't a battlefield weapon - one legend is that it was an improvised weapon which originated with someone's broken weapon on the battlefield, perhaps a normal long-handled flail or a spear or staff, who then thought "hey, that could be a pretty cool weapon if I did it right".

    I also think sparring like this doesn't really display or reveal how effective these weapons could be. It is impossible to truly practice at full force with weapons, for obvious reasons. So what this shows us is whether or not someone could get in a hit with their weapon before the opponent closes with them. What the effects of that hit might be, we can only guess. But the sparring match then moves on to what happens if your hit was off target or you missed, and now have to get into close fighting. I also note that in these videos, nobody makes any attempts to stay at range and get in more hits with their weapons before they jump into grappling.

    So the best thing you can do is make sure you also drill with the weapon and practice hitting targets with it at full force with different techniques, so if you ever did have to use it, your first hit might be effective and avoid the close-fighting altogether. Practice fighting can never tell you that, because you don't want to risk incapacitating your friends and partners.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  14. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

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    Maybe. The Dog Brothers don't use much in the way of protective gear - fencing mask, hockey gloves, sometimes knee pads. You can still get injured or knocked out with a good shot.

    True, but it's worth noting that the Dog Brothers tend to use thicker, heavier rattan sticks than most FMA practitioners.
     
  15. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Agreed on all points, and getting whacked with a thick piece of wax wood is no picnic for sure. That can be destructive as well, i never meant to imply otherwise. But something like hickory would be more so, and probably last longer too. Wax wood begins to deteriorate and splinter when it is beat up a lot. But other woods like hickory are heavier too, so you've gotta train with it to build the strength for it, or you will be slow.
     
  16. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Sure, and I appreciate their approach. But for practical purposes, there are limits on this. This has the potential to be outright deadly, so precautions need to be taken.
     
  17. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

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    These matches at the Dog Brothers gatherings are full contact,

    The very first DB instructional video was concerned just with power hitting. To demonstrate the need for this, they showed footage of matches with one of their members who was a former pro football player. His approach was to charge in behind a roof block, tackle his opponent to the ground, and start smashing his downed opponent with his stick. The narrator explained that unless you can hit hard enough to discourage an opponent like this from charging in, you need to take a break from practicing fancy combinations and just go back to drilling a basic number 1 shot with power.
     
  18. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    As a result of Gong-fu Dog bringing in the 3 section staff I have seen several others try it out in Gatherings. Uniformly they pretty muched sucked. :D It shows the difficulty of the weapon and how much skill he brings to the table.
     
  19. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    The precautions are your skill on defense and that after hitting you has hard as he can you opponent isn't going to follow up with repeated head shots. Yes rattan is used (usually) and yes there are all kinds of agreements in place depending on the weapons. And there is plenty of control depending on the weapon. The DBs do push the safety envelope, that is part of the lesson.
     
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  20. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    Even the hockey gloves tend to go away, among the more experienced fighters in the tribe there is an active encouragement toward lighter gloves. Several of the better guys just use leather gloves or batting gloves or something similar. And several of those better guys are are using what are essentially antique fencing masks that provide almost zero protection from impact.
     
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