How you use a staff...

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geezer

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Blindside: Thanks for those awesome Dog Brothers clips. Lonely Dog is amazing. That's some real stickfighting.
 

hoshin1600

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so from what i see in the escrima video he is using a rattan staff. the weight of the staff is super light. this allows multiple hits and you can reverse your direction, pulling back to hit again. the TKD student is most likely used to a version derived from Okinawan Bo use. these are thick heavy oak by comparison. you cant use the two weapons the same. if i tried to imitate what i saw in that video my joints would be killing me after a few hours of practice not to mention the vibration in my hands would make my hands numb.
with oak weapons im not a big fan of smashing the weapons together like shown in the clip. im not going to critique the clip but i would suspect your students past is a reflection of the training methodology for the more solid heavier weapon.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Their staff fighting is more like long sword definitely not CMA
Agree! those clips look more like Ancient European double hands sword technique. Those sword can be as long as 6 feet.

double-hands-sword.png
 
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geezer

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so from what i see in the escrima video he is using a rattan staff. the weight of the staff is super light. this allows multiple hits and you can reverse your direction, pulling back to hit again. the TKD student is most likely used to a version derived from Okinawan Bo use. these are thick heavy oak by comparison. you cant use the two weapons the same. if i tried to imitate what i saw in that video my joints would be killing me after a few hours of practice not to mention the vibration in my hands would make my hands numb.
with oak weapons im not a big fan of smashing the weapons together like shown in the clip. im not going to critique the clip but i would suspect your students past is a reflection of the training methodology for the more solid heavier weapon.

In the Filipino martial arts, rattan is used for training, while hardwoods (like bahi and kamagong) were reserved for fighting. You might draw a rough parallel to the use of shinai versus boken. Rattan is cheap, strong and can be used to bash stick against stick in training, where as hardwood can break and even shatter. So the real objective is not to hit the stick, but your opponent. The video that I posted at the beginning wasn't advocating stick smashing! It did illustrate a different approach to generating explosive power though.

BTW, although rattan is generally lighter than hardwoods, it does vary depending on type and density. The larger rattan staffs we have used, especially the 7 foot by 1 3/4 in. raw, unskinned rattan are pretty hefty, and weigh more than the typical 6 foot oak bo with tapered ends that are sold at our local martial arts supply store. Actually, my concern about my student was that, for a much bigger guy than I am, he was not so effective at power generation, especially with the heavier staff.

Incidentally, I personally have scaled back to a somewhat lighter 6 foot by 1 1/2 inch raw rattan staff to save wear and tear on my joints. So your point is well taken. ;)
 
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JowGaWolf

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Dog Brothers Gatherings aren't style specific, though most of the fighters come from a FMA dominated background. Some of them do not like Gong Fu Dog
Thanks. For the video That's definitely CMA. The swings aren't big, lots of stabs, and combo attacks. With CMA systems (not sure about the others) If I see one attack coming then I can assume that 2 or 3 more will follow soon after. The big swings are reserved for multiple opponents.

The most difficult thing I've ever had to deal with a staff training was to avoid the second attack within a combo.
 
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The most difficult thing I've ever had to deal with a staff training was to avoid the second attack within a combo.

I just re-read this thread and this last comment caught my eye. I agree completely, and it's because the first strike is often a set up. If you react and block it, you are that much more open for next attack in the combo ...and especially with a staff or spear held at one end. That's because with the one-end grip the attacker can move the tip of a long weapon very fast. Often faster than the defender can react can respond. Check out the first segment of the following video from about 1:45 -2:30. Regardless of whatever weapon you are using, the tip of a spear or staff is too fast to "chase".


One way to solve this problem of dealing with the second strike in a combo is to steal the offence. Make your defense offensive.

In Wing Chun we often talk about lin siu di dar or "simultaneous defense and attack", and also say, da sau juk si siu sau or "attacking hand is defending hand". This strategy isn't just for empty hands work. Its in the WC long pole, luk dim boon kwun. Similarly, in Latosa Escrima, while evasion (not blocking) and simultaneous counterstriking is optimal, when we do "block" we try to employ what we call interference striking. That is, we make the defending move into the attacking move.

If you can effectively counter the initial attack with a simultaneous and aggressive counterattack, you have just pre-empted the second strike in your opponent's combo. Now he has to contend with your combo!
 
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Flying Crane

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I just re-read this thread and this last comment caught my eye. I agree completely, and it's because the first strike is often a set up. If you react and block it, you are that much more open for next attack in the combo ...and especially with a staff or spear held at one end. That's because with the one-end grip the attacker can move the tip of a long weapon very fast. Often faster than the defender can react can respond. Check out the first segment of the following video from about 1:45 -2:30. Regardless of whatever weapon you are using, the tip of a spear or staff is too fast to "chase".


One way to solve this problem of dealing with the second strike in a combo is to steal the offence. Make your defense offensive.

In Wing Chun we often talk about lin siu di dar or "simultaneous defense and attack", and also say, da sau juk si siu sau or "attacking hand is defending hand". This strategy isn't just for empty hands work. Its in the WC long pole, luk dim boon kwun. Similarly, in Latosa Escrima, while evasion (not blocking) and simultaneous counterstriking is optimal, when we do "block" we try to employ what we call interference striking. That is, we make the defending move into the attacking move.

If you can effectively counter the initial attack with a simultaneous and aggressive counterattack, you have just pre-empted the second strike in your opponent's combo. Now he has to contend with your combo!
Very interesting and entertaining video, thanks for sharing that.
In Chinese martial arts, spear is often called king of weapons because it is so effective. Two-man weapon sets are often spear vs. another weapon, because the spear is the primary weapon to beat.

I love the spear, I think it is tremendously effective. In the video, the use of spear and shield together was not terribly effective. Wielding a spear with one hand is very clumsy, so that is not surprising. I wonder if a small shield, perhaps buckler-sized, and maybe oblong, attached to each of the forearms, leaving both hands free to continue with a two-handed technique, could have been effective. It could provide for some blocking and deflecting capabilities, without mandating a full commitment to a less effective single-handed technique with the spear.
 
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geezer

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In the video, the use of spear and shield together was not terribly effective. Wielding a spear with one hand is very clumsy, so that is not surprising.

I'm no expert on HEMA or the history of war, but it is my understanding that spear and shield was the norm for warfare in group formations. With trained teams it was apparently quite effective. Dueling, as you noted, was a different matter.

Now bringing this back to staff fighting, if I have the room, I prefer to use the long (one end) grip and stab a lot as though it were a spear. A stabbing thrust with a heavy staff packs a heck of a punch.
 

Flying Crane

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I'm no expert on HEMA or the history of war, but it is my understanding that spear and shield was the norm for warfare in group formations. With trained teams it was apparently quite effective. Dueling, as you noted, was a different matter.

Now bringing this back to staff fighting, if I have the room, I prefer to use the long (one end) grip and stab a lot as though it were a spear. A stabbing thrust with a heavy staff packs a heck of a punch.
I believe you are correct about the formation, but it requires a lot more soldiers than the four or so used in the video, in order to make the formation effective. They need multiple rows, and the ability to have a wide line that isnt easily circumvented.

In a four-on-four melee, the formation dissolves instantly and it essentially becomes a free-for-all.

Regarding the spear-like techniques used with a staff, I believe that tends to be adopted/modified spear techniques. It makes sense to have that kind of cross-over. One of our staff sets is essentially that: mostly all modified spear.

Our school teaches (that I am aware of) three staff sets (of which I have learned two, but have seen the third many times) and one spear set (I would not be surprised if Sifu knows more than these, however). It is my opinion that knowing these together gives one a very functional ability with a long weapon. It is very useful.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Tokumine no kun.
Urashi no kun.
Shishi no kun.

These are the bo weapons kata I practice. I'm not overly fond of no, I prefer sai. However, they are quite useful and good training. As mentioned, weapons kata informs empty hand training if you look for the value.
 
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Tokumine no kun.
Urashi no kun.
Shishi no kun.
These are the bo weapons kata I practice. I'm not overly fond of no, I prefer sai. However, they are quite useful and good training. As mentioned, weapons kata informs empty hand training if you look for the value.

I found several Youtube clips of each and picked examples demonstrated by different individuals. I hope I chose well enough. They are fairly complex, especially when taken collectively. Bill, if you have mastered all three of these, you clearly have spent a good deal of time working with the bo ...even if you "prefer the sai". (Geezer bows deeply).



 

JowGaWolf

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I found several Youtube clips of each and picked examples demonstrated by different individuals. I hope I chose well enough. They are fairly complex, especially when taken collectively. Bill, if you have mastered all three of these, you clearly have spent a good deal of time working with the bo ...even if you "prefer the sai". (Geezer bows deeply).



It was really nice to see real staffs being used and not those tooth picks that we see so often. I hadn't thought about it before, but I can see the chambered fist here. Just an observation, people always ask about what's the purpose of the chambered fist. Maybe it helps train the drawing back of a staff.

The power of a staff swing is Push - Pull. The faster one can pull back on the staff the more striking power it will have. I've noticed this in my own staff training where earlier on in my training I tried to generate power with the hand that's moving forward. That all changed when I pulled back on the stick has hard as I could, and I found that the power was significantly more.

Thanks for the video. I usually don't enjoy karate bo staff kata but I definitely enjoyed this one.
 

isshinryuronin

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Tokumine no kun.
Urashi no kun.
Shishi no kun.

These are the bo weapons kata I practice. I'm not overly fond of no, I prefer sai. However, they are quite useful and good training. As mentioned, weapons kata informs empty hand training if you look for the value.
Tokomine is my favorite. Urashi is much like Tokomine, but longer and a little repetitious on its main series (but that's good for practice). Shishi is just plain long, but challenging. I like them all, but I, too, enjoy the sai, when I use a well balanced set.
Watching the video of Taira Shinken (perhaps Okinawa's last true great kobudo master) really helped me in using body movement with the sai - very inspirational. Many times I see practitioners using weapons with just their arms, thinking the weapon will do all the work, but the key to all weapon effectiveness is in the body motion. As a side benefit, I've found using the body more helps keep your arms from getting tired.
I'm not sure why, but working with weapons puts me in a different place, internally, than when working empty hand kata. I found that to be true in iaido, especially. Has anyone else felt this?
 

Bill Mattocks

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I found several Youtube clips of each and picked examples demonstrated by different individuals. I hope I chose well enough. They are fairly complex, especially when taken collectively. Bill, if you have mastered all three of these, you clearly have spent a good deal of time working with the bo ...even if you "prefer the sai". (Geezer bows deeply).

Mastered, no. It is a requirement for 3rd dan to be able to perform the entire empty hand and kobudo system. But I have the rest of my life to practice. I suspect mastery will elude me.
 

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