A staff of hard wood that is six feet long. There are two major methods of wielding it: with both hands equidistant from each other and both ends, so you divide the staff into thirds; and with one hand in the middle and the other a quarter of the way from the end. The first way was developed in eastern martial arts like the various forms of karate. They call it a bo staff.

The quarterstaff is one of history's cheapest and most efficient weapons (economically). It's just a stick; Like a pole-arm, but without any of the fun cookie-cutters on the end. This weapon was never used in large groups in field warfare, being a clubbing weapon with a large area needed to use.

Inefficient compared to the spear, the quarterstaff nonetheless is popular due to its simplicity and style, and use in non-lethal combat; the infamous Robin Hood challenged total strangers to non- lethal staff-combat.

The quarterstaff could be used like a 2-handed club, though this was a poor way to use it; The use of a hand a quarter and a hand a half were superior, using its longer end as a large club. It could also be used in this hold to vault past the enemies, and was effective at stopping weapons.

One of the better defensive weapons when alone, and useless in groups, the quarterstaff could parry well and knock aside blows. Head-shots were easy, and due to the weight of the wood (normally strong oak) it was sturdy and hard.

Its use in martial arts is the most efficient - using it a hand a third along the staff. This is the way anyone will pick up a stave these days, and the way it's always used on television (though innacurate..). Used in this form, both the near and far ends of the staff (the near being the end you hold with your stronger hand) could be utilised, allowing for attacks from many angles. As it was a swung weapon with a long attack area (IE all of it can be used as a weapon), it was accurate; As it acts as a lever someone with only a little strength can use a small one very effectively. (Though of course strong blows would cause a lighter staff to shatter.)

(Another note behind the name of the quarterstaff is the fact that it was solely used in close quarters.)

Quar"ter*staff` (?), n.; pl. Quarterstaves ().

A long and stout staff formerly used as a weapon of defense and offense; -- so called because in holding it one hand was placed in the middle, and the other between the middle and the end.

 

© Webster 1913.

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