Medieval Quarterstaff

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Dave B
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Medieval Quarterstaff

Postby Dave B » Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:18 am

I'm going to put together a pair of quarterstaffs.

Probably not for any really good reason, except that they seem under-represented. I understand that coroners records suggest that they we one of the most common, or at least on of the most murderously effective civilian weapons, but we seem to rarely show them to the public.

I've got access to various post-medieval (16th/17thC) sources for how they were used such as silver and swettenham, and I understand that there is nothing earlier, so those will have to stand as a basis for reasonably conjecture.

I still hope to find better sources for the staves themselves. Does anyone have any 15th (maybe 14thC) images of people using or just holding quarterstaffs? I hope to scale of them and get an idea what the normal length and thickness is.

I'd also like any information on the ferruling of staffs. I've seen several sources that suggest that medieval staffs had metal ferrules, but no detail of what they were like and no information on how we know that this was the case. My guess is that they were a metal ring about 1" long around the end of the staff to prevent it from splintering, but that the end of the wood is exposed for better grip. I think that a complete metal cap that covered the end would make the staff to slippy for use walking over rocks etc, but that's conjecture, does anyone have anything more positive?

Thanks in advance for your help

Dave.


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Re: Medieval Quarterstaff

Postby wulfenganck » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:19 am

Hi Dave,
I can't recall any fencing manuscripts concernig staff pre 1500s. Within the 16th. ct you should try out Jioachim Meyer as he has lots of material for the "half staff" (which should resemble the quarterstaff.
I do find that lots of basic work for staff in the 16th ct manuscripts is similar in use with the earlier sources dealing with poleaxes, like the burgundian "Le Jeu de la Hache" or the various examples for poleaxe from Fiore, Talhofer, Kal and the like.

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Re: Medieval Quarterstaff

Postby Dave B » Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:00 pm

From memory (and I could be wrong) that Meyer is the same weapon, but a different grip. more holding it in the middle and using both ends where Silver, swettenham and wilde are holding it near one end.

I know I won't find any medieval treateses, but was hoping to find some pictures.


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Re: Medieval Quarterstaff

Postby Phil the Grips » Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:01 pm

Image


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Re: Medieval Quarterstaff

Postby zauberdachs » Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:20 pm

Dave B wrote:From memory (and I could be wrong) that Meyer is the same weapon, but a different grip. more holding it in the middle and using both ends


Meyer is very much like Spear rather than Quarterstaff as most people would think of it, i.e. you hold it at one end and thrust with the other.


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Re: Medieval Quarterstaff

Postby wulfenganck » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:43 pm

zauberdachs wrote:
Dave B wrote:From memory (and I could be wrong) that Meyer is the same weapon, but a different grip. more holding it in the middle and using both ends


Meyer is very much like Spear rather than Quarterstaff as most people would think of it, i.e. you hold it at one end and thrust with the other.

Yep, Meyer's grip is at one third of the staff, but nevertheless there are techniques where you use the short end for blocks and levers etc.
And Meyer has the cool move of letting the staff "fly" which is a sort of 360 degrees cicular strike.....



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Re: Medieval Quarterstaff

Postby Dave B » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:00 pm

Thanks chaps. I'll certainly look up the Meyer stuff, I have a link to it online I think.

what's the date for that picture Phil?


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Re: Medieval Quarterstaff

Postby Fox » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:05 pm

zauberdachs wrote:Meyer is very much like Spear rather than Quarterstaff as most people would think of it, i.e. you hold it at one end and thrust with the other.

Although I understand that is how you use a quarter staff; clue in the question, in that your holding the last quarter of the staff?



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Re: Medieval Quarterstaff

Postby chrisanson » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:09 pm

Fox wrote:
zauberdachs wrote:Meyer is very much like Spear rather than Quarterstaff as most people would think of it, i.e. you hold it at one end and thrust with the other.

Although I understand that is how you use a quarter staff; clue in the question, in that your holding the last quarter of the staff?



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Re: Medieval Quarterstaff

Postby Ranger Smith » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:53 am

Holding in the traditional hollywood position is half staff. The quarter staff is mentioned in the plays in the man that woll (several fragmentory 15C english fencing manuscripts) in the roll as opponent to the fencer. The Paulus Hector Mayer stuff is good although I find it dificult in the enterpretation but worth it. The same guards/wards for sword will flow into poleaxe, spear, quarterstaff as they do into unarmed combat. Quarterstaff is good fun although I suggest you get a good pair of gloves (lacrosse are good) as you will definatly get a few good smacks on the hand although you will definatly have fun.


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Re: Medieval Quarterstaff

Postby Bittersweet » Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:16 am

"Fighting with the Quarterstaff A Modern Study of Renaissance Technique" by David Linholm
ISBN 1-891448-36-6

Quite interesting and has some picture references too.


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Re: Medieval Quarterstaff

Postby zauberdachs » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:24 am

Fox wrote:
zauberdachs wrote:Meyer is very much like Spear rather than Quarterstaff as most people would think of it, i.e. you hold it at one end and thrust with the other.

Although I understand that is how you use a quarter staff; clue in the question, in that your holding the last quarter of the staff?


I've always understood that a "quarterstaff" as opposed to a "short staff" was that a "quarter staff" was your height plus a quarter extra.


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Re: Medieval Quarterstaff

Postby Fox » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:34 am

zauberdachs wrote:
Fox wrote:
zauberdachs wrote:Meyer is very much like Spear rather than Quarterstaff as most people would think of it, i.e. you hold it at one end and thrust with the other.

Although I understand that is how you use a quarter staff; clue in the question, in that your holding the last quarter of the staff?


I've always understood that a "quarterstaff" as opposed to a "short staff" was that a "quarter staff" was your height plus a quarter extra.

I heard both, and quarter staff is certainly about that long, although....
Ranger Smith wrote:Holding in the traditional hollywood position is half staff.


But that's why I put the question mark on the end of my sentence.



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Re: Medieval Quarterstaff

Postby zauberdachs » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:58 am

Fox wrote:But that's why I put the question mark on the end of my sentence.


It's only a peripheral interest of mine but in all the treatises I've seen the name has referred to the length rather than the manner of grip. However I haven't studied any of the more modern treatises and if there is one thing that is consistent in Historical Fencing it is that names and terminology are often reused and changed over time by new generations

wulfenganck wrote:And Meyer has the cool move of letting the staff "fly" which is a sort of 360 degrees cicular strike.....


Yes my understanding of this technique was that it was a cool way of striking and of swapping your lead hand at the same time. In summary, a very brief summary, my take on his staff was 1. strike with cuts to make a bind/opening 2. Once in a bid or you've made an opening finish with a thrust to the face.

My favourite technique was his simple let go with the lead hand and holding the butt end of the staff with the back hand thrust them very quickly at maximum measure. It's fast, silly, unexpected and very effective :)

Back on topic, Mair has far more on staff and there is a most excellent book: Polearms of Paulus Hector Mair, ISBN-13 978-1581606447

For earlier than 16th century I would recommend you look at spear/lance technique, Vadi certainly has some.


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Re: Medieval Quarterstaff

Postby zauberdachs » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:32 am

Dave, this might be of use to you: http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Staff


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Re: Medieval Quarterstaff

Postby Dave B » Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:12 pm

Bittersweet wrote:"Fighting with the Quarterstaff A Modern Study of Renaissance Technique" by David Linholm
ISBN 1-891448-36-6

Quite interesting and has some picture references too.


Already on my desk.

zauberdachs wrote:Dave, this might be of use to you: http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Staff


Thanks for that, will have a look.


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Re: Medieval Quarterstaff

Postby The Methley Archer » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:59 am

Dave not really quaterstaffs but pilgrim staffs.
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