Conversation on Staff Applications

JowGaWolf

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This is a staff that I was originally posting for @geezer but thought some others may be interested.

@gpseymour
@Kung Fu Wang
@Flying Crane

The video below is me demonstrating the the first technique in the Jow Ga double head staff. It's performed in application just like it's performed in the form. I was going to show some other techniques but didn't feel like dealing with the drama and the comments, so I'll see how this one goes. Before I post the other stuff. The move is very simple, but there's a lot going on that allows it to work. I think that "trying to fix it" will break the application. Feel free to try it with your family or friends just be safe with it. Don't feel like you have to go 100% with this



So here's what's going on in no particular order.
1. staff is held low because you want your opponent to grab downward. Don't rest the staff against your body, you need a few inches to pull the staff back while you are lifting.
2. Your reach is longer when your arm is parallel to the ground (reaching directly out from) If you hold the staff high then the person will have a better chance to grab the staff.
3. Holding the staff low is a bait. Standing with the legs close is also a bait. Not for just this technique but for another in the form. Chinese Martial Arts will often encourage the enemy to go for the wrong thing. In this technique I want my opponent to go for the staff. I want him to think that's a win.
4. As the opponent reaches for the staff, I will pull the staff back which puts the staff beyond my opponent's reach. I want to pull it back and up at the same time. I don't want the motion to have a curve to it. I don't want to pull it staight back, then up, then out. I want stop and go motions in my motion because it cuts the power flow off and takes longer. I want to use that pull back to help power my forward push, so it has to curve.

I don't want to just lift up like the lady has done in the video below. My elbows should not be out as shown but the lady below. The arms should be more in a push up position behind the staff (see the picture of my son). By the way I didn't tell my son how to pose or how to it should look. I just explained the application and how he wants to pull the staff out of my reach. The rest work itself out because of how body mechanics work. The biggest thing that helps is to know why you are doing the what you are doing. I can't say that the woman isn't doing a valid technique as I cannot think of anything that would make me want to raise my staff the way that she's raising it.

This technique still works if the stick is a little higher but, the strike will not land because I'm not reaching as far in. The drop in the stance is important because I want to hit upward on the face. I often picture striking under the nose and pushing upward at a slight angle and into the skull.

5. The slight bend in the knees also helps to put you lower just in case the person wants to shoot for your legs after missing the grab, You will be low enough to smash them in the face.

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Here you can see where the strike is going to hit me. . If the strike falls short then step into a cross stance and strike the head. Which is the second technique in the form. Does that second move have to be a cross stance? I don't know. I haven't tried this scenario yet. Well that's all I know about this specific technique. I can't think of any applications for this one yet. I've seen some other applications but I don't feel comfortable with those. Like one was to smash the person in the chest. I guess you could do that but I rather aim a little higher to catch them in the neck or the face.

My son was being really careful not to hit me as that staff meets the face really fast. I'm afraid that me moving faster will cause me to extend too much and will cause him to react faster as well in order to avoid the grab. If that happens then I'm getting smashed in my face.
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Flying Crane

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It’s a simple, straightforward technique with a lot of obvious applications, really any time something is coming in at you. Attack the enemy or attack his weapon. This kind of thing is the bread and butter stuff that works. Simple, powerful, decisive.
 
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JowGaWolf

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This one I discovered / learned on my own. But that's not the important thing. The important thing is how I got to this point. During my training when I was an instructor we were always taught that we use this movement for when someone grab the staff. When I tried it, it never felt right, it felt like I was trying to make something work vs just doing the movement and letting it work on it's own. I also had a strong desire to just lay that staff across someone's face. (this is the second important thing).

My recommendations to learning or figuring out weapon techniques is to trust any feeling that you get when doing it. If you are doing a technique and you feel like you want attack high or attack or hit someone with the end of the weapon, then follow those feelings and see where it takes you. Those feelings may lead you to a practical answer faster than trying to be logical about it.

"use the force Luke" lol.
But seriously, trust those feelings. There's always a possibility that an application for a technique was handed down incorrect. Before computers and video, it was only books and memory. Those methods only work well if you have a good record keeper, if at one point a good record keeper wasn't around then there would be a risk that something would be lost.

My second recommendation is to video tape yourself as you try these applications.. Sometimes the reason we have difficulty is because we are viewing it from a first person point of view. You guys are very knowledgeable in your systems and you could probably see a lot more if you could step outside of your body and watch yourself go through these techniques. While stepping outside of our body to watch yourself train is in possible, you still can accomplish the same thing with a video.

Video allows you to play and pause yourself and to watch yourself from both the teacher's view and the student view at the same time. This is something that many of our teachers did not have and their teacher did not have.
 
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JowGaWolf

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It’s a simple, straightforward technique with a lot of obvious applications, really any time something is coming in at you. Attack the enemy or attack his weapon. This kind of thing is the bread and butter stuff that works. Simple, powerful, decisive.
I think it's amazing that having the person to reach down at an angle to grab the stick puts their face in the right place for the strike. Nothing to figure out in terms of "what if their face isn't in the right place?" if they are reaching down at and angle then it will be their.
 

geezer

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The video below is me demonstrating the the first technique in the Jow Ga double head staff. It's performed in application just like it's performed in the form.
Thanks for the clear and detailed, explanation. And the great videos! What you show makes sense. We also practice a straight thrust with center of the staff, but not from the foot-together stance.

Now to be clear, I do understand the concept of baiting ...but I prefer to "bait" from positions that allow me more options. The strategic problem is that however you bait someone, you really don't know how they will react. So you don't want to commit to a single anticipated response to your baiting.

Interestingly, the first movement after the "bow" or "salute" in our center-grip staff form is a response against a similar confrontation, with someone of uncertain intentions approaching you and then trying to grab ahold of your staff.

In our form, the response to this scenario is direct and aggressive. In application practice, we explore several options (as overt aggression may not be appropriate). In both cases we remain in ...natural, stable, and (IMO) adaptable stances.

I'm going to meet with a couple of guys a little later. I'll throw a couple of staffs in the car and maybe we can grab a little impromptu phone video. Then if someone can show me how to post it... Well, no promises, but it would be a good way to continue this discussion. :)
 
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JowGaWolf

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but I prefer to "bait" from positions that allow me more options. The strategic problem is that however you bait someone, you really don't know how they will react. So you don't want to commit to a single anticipated response to your baiting.
This is the reality of fighting in general so the best chance is to lure the person into what you want them to do. If the stance is too defensive then they won't grab for the staff, they may go for an weapon of their own, they may go for a sword or a bow, or more people. But in general if people think they can take a weapon from you. Then that's what they are going to try to do.

The neutral stance would be the one I would take while talking things out. Replace these wooden weapons with a staff you'll have a more solid looking line as the staff would cover the gaps. You would also have a wider push back ability provided that the protestors didn't overload one side more than the other. If the staffs overlap the gap then it will be 2 officers pushing against the incoming crowd instead of one. This should allow the 2 officers to cover that gap a little more. It would also provide a place where other officers can reinforce the line by grabbing the part of the staff that is covering the gap, just a large range of things and that can be done from that stance with the staff.

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But back to the neutral stance. If I'm in a conflict with one person. Then I would take that neutral. I haven't tried this application yet, but as I read your comment I thought what would do if someone tried to shoot in on me to wrap their arms around mind. The answer that I came up with was to do the same upward motion. If they are trying to immobilize my arms so I can uses the staff, then that upward motion would raise their arms, then I can shoot the middle part of the staff into their chest while under their arms. After the strike, I could then follow up with that second technique which can be used in grappling as well. It's not only a strike, this I'm 100% certain of and have been training it as both. My son has been a good sport with me tossing him and I return the favor and he's able to do the same with me .

New Update:
My thoughts about the bear hug scenario when someone traps to immobilize my arms works. I just tried with my wife. That upward movement smashed bones. I learned that by the sound the staff made has it hit the bones. My wife was not too happy. I didn't do it full speed, it was walk through speed. Then I had her try the same thing on me so I could understand what was going on with the mechanics. The staff lands really nice on the ribs. Really good placement, it interrupts the raising of the staff and the blast to the chest interrupts the forward movement. There's no way to brace for the impact because the raising of the staff raises the arms. The second step (which I should probably video) turns the body. which I was 100% sure of. I almost hurt by back again as my wife was able to easily turn my body.

I wasn't just going with the turn (which is why I almost injured my back.) I tried to add resistance from the position that the chest strike put me in, because it's the only way to feel how the technique is working against me.

FYI: When I make statements like "almost hurt my back", I'm referring to the initial stress that I'm feeling on my back as I try to resist, once I feel that, I'll just go with the flow and stop trying to resist. A lot of times resisting is what causes the injury. This is also why I initially go through these things myself so I can understand what's going on before testing on my son. Now that I know what is happening, I can safely train with others. After my son experiences it, he will then be able to safely train with me and not injure me. He will have a good reference as to which part of the technique have to be handled with extreme care.

In terms of the bear hug type attack. It doesn't feel like I can get the same results without the cross stance. The cross stance allows me to step around my training parter's footing.

In our form, the response to this scenario is direct and aggressive. In application practice, we explore several options (as overt aggression may not be appropriate).
Same here. After experience on a very low level of what's happening to my body as these techniques are applied, there's no way I can even go at some of this stuff at 20%. Like 20% power of a staff strike on the skull still hurts. 20% power on a twist that stress the back, is still an injury. I personally don't want to spend another 6 months trying heal from another injury. I don't want to even spend the 3 days for muscle recovery lol.
 
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JowGaWolf

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I'm going to meet with a couple of guys a little later. I'll throw a couple of staffs in the car and maybe we can grab a little impromptu phone video. Then if someone can show me how to post it... Well, no promises, but it would be a good way to continue this discussion.
I look forward to it. Let us know if you need help with the video. I'm sure there is someone here that can help. lol.
 

geezer

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I look forward to it. Let us know if you need help with the video. I'm sure there is someone here that can help. lol.
Thanks! ...it'll have to wait a bit. The staff student didn't make it and we ended up focusing on something completely different.
 
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JowGaWolf

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Just sitting here waiting to get my 2nd vaccination.

I have a second staff application video coming using the same motion. I think I'm starting to like grappling with the staff. It seems to be easier in some aspects.
 
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JowGaWolf

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Feel free to try these applications out if you like. Just be careful with the strikes as the opposite end of the staff comes around really fast. It's easy to focus on one end of the staff and forget about the other end.

I'm curious if you guys get similar results. I would like know where the technique failed for you and if it failed.

@geezer personal thanks. Your post about having other options made me think about what if scenarios and as a result I discovered that the first two techniques in the bow has some decent coverage. The second technique gives me some insight on why the school teaches that it used to strike the ches or to push someone away. It's just not in the way that they think. It's seems that this may be where the confusion lies.
 

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Have you tried the following staff skills?

Put a staff on the ground, use your foot to roll it toward you, you then hook it up with your instep, and

- use your hand to grab on that staff.
- kick it to your opponent 10 feet away so he can grab on that staff.
 
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JowGaWolf

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Have you tried the following staff skills?

Put a staff on the ground, use your foot to roll it toward you, you then hook it up with your instep, and

- use your hand to grab on that staff.
- kick it to your opponent 10 feet away so he can grab on that staff.
Nope I haven't tried that. I'm not even sure if I can visualize that correctly.
 

isshinryuronin

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Put a staff on the ground, use your foot to roll it toward you, you then hook it up with your instep, and

- use your hand to grab on that staff.
I saw this done in an early Kenpo branch school and one other kenpo school and worked it for a while. You have one foot forward and one back, sort of a cat stance, with the staff in-between. The front foot slides back, the sole rolling the staff on to the instep of the back foot. The rolling foot then steps back. Pull the (now) front foot and toes up, hooking the staff in the middle, flipping it into the air for a catch. All this is predicated on the staff laying just right on the ground. Hope this helps JowGaWolf's quote on visualization, at the bottom of the post.

Hard to do if you have fat toes, or are wearing shoes. I never saw it done consistently and consider it a trick move. Easier to bend down and just quickly pick it up if safety allows. If not, well, that's the price you pay for dropping your weapon. Maybe Kung Fu Wang has it mastered?
I'm not even sure if I can visualize that correctly
 

Kung Fu Wang

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The front foot slides back, the sole rolling the staff on to the instep of the back foot.
What you have described is very similar to what I used to do. I will also start with a cat stance (empty stance). I use my front foot to roll the stick back, I then move my front foot back, use the instep of my front foot to catch it, I then either kick it into my hand, or to my opponent.

Another trick that I used to to is to put the middle of the staff on my right shoulder. Use my right hand to hold 6 inch from one end. I then push down that end, let the staff to rotate on my right shoulder. I release one end, reach to the other end, this way the staff can rotate vertically on my right shoulder non-stop.

Both tricks are just to be familiar with the staff, so the staff can coordinate with hand and foot better.
 
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punisher73

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Dumb question...what is the standard length of the staff in Jow Gar?
 
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JowGaWolf

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I saw this done in an early Kenpo branch school and one other kenpo school and worked it for a while. You have one foot forward and one back, sort of a cat stance, with the staff in-between. The front foot slides back, the sole rolling the staff on to the instep of the back foot. The rolling foot then steps back. Pull the (now) front foot and toes up, hooking the staff in the middle, flipping it into the air for a catch. All this is predicated on the staff laying just right on the ground. Hope this helps JowGaWolf's quote on visualization, at the bottom of the post.

Hard to do if you have fat toes, or are wearing shoes. I never saw it done consistently and consider it a trick move. Easier to bend down and just quickly pick it up if safety allows. If not, well, that's the price you pay for dropping your weapon. Maybe Kung Fu Wang has it mastered?
Thanks. That helps. not sure if I'll be adding that one to my skill set. I practice on concrete so any rolling of the staff will create rough spots on my staff. Maybe something I can do in the grass.

Is there any benefit in this.
 
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JowGaWolf

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Dumb question...what is the standard length of the staff in Jow Gar?
Good question because I was never given a guide on staff height. In the school we trained with staffs of various sizes (not by choice if you didn't have your own). My own personal guide is a range.
- Staff should not be shorter than your height
- Staff cannot touch the ground when you hold the middle of the staff and raise your arm parallel to the ground. There should be a few inches (1or 2) between the ground and the bottom of the staff.

Anything within that range should still allow you to flower the staff without issue and to do other techniques.

When the staff is too short then the range becomes too short in a bad way, like trying to block a swing or attack, Your opponent's staff only to have it go under there staff. When the staff is too high then it causes problems with the lower "upper cut" type swings and "paddle your boat" movement. My son was having difficulty in performing one of the techniques so I told him to think like he's rowing a boat and that seemed to work. Not sure if that works for other people. Below is the "paddle your boat" motion. If your staff is tool long then this motion becomes troublesome when the stance level changes causing the staff to hit the ground. It becomes less of an issue as you get used to the size of the staff you are using.

If it's too short like the Jo Staff in Aikido then you end up missing the staff when you use a similar "paddle your boat" technique. Making sure your staff doesn't hit the ground when doing techniques like the one below is more important than the flowering. We don't do a lot of flowering but it's a good measurement of when a staff is too long.

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JowGaWolf

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Both tricks are just to be familiar with the staff, so the staff can coordinate with hand and foot better.
That sounds good. "To be familiar with the staff" is the first thing I said before I started training. I literally thought to myself that "I need to be really familiar with the staff" if I'm going to be able to use it and apply the techniques. I knew I couldn't be a robot with it.
 
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JowGaWolf

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This is a Jow Ga 2 man set with the double headed staff. You can see here that the fighting range is close. The safest area is within the swing radius. When we watch staff sparing from HEMA and The Dog Brothers, we see them fight on the outside of the string radius. Both methods are valid, it's just 2 different approaches.

This is from Lam Ga

My thoughts on the double headed staff method is that a lot of it will be the same across many styles. There's only so many ways to swing a staff in a way that will make the strike powerful and fast.


There is also tons of grappling with the staff.
 
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JowGaWolf

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Caution about some of the things you see on Youtube in terms of staff training. Some of the things are accurate and not accurate at the same time. This isn't me being a know it all, but as you work with the staff and become familiar with the techniques, you'll begin to see key things that need to be done in order for the technique to be successful. You'll be 100% sure about it because it's something you've worked out and figured out on your own.

At 0:014 in the video below. He uses an entry that is similar to all staff systems (as far as I can tell). At 0:32 he says "Don't disconnect with the bow" then he shows an example of why. This is not true. If you want to do the technique he's doing then it requires that the bow stays in contact. If you want to smack the guy on the head then you can disconnect. The technique is correct but the warning isn't. The key point in this technique like others is that you move forward to get inside of the swing. In his demos you'll see him take that step forward. But when he gets to :32 he doesn't take a step forward. If anything the warning he gives should be "Move / Step inside the swing..This is why" The only thing I can say is that we all goof sometimes. Just be cautious of this stuff as I may make similar mistakes. It's sort of like talking where you say one word when you really mean to use a different word. That split attention is a killer lol
 
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