The staff or just a strong stick is, along with the rock, the oldest weapon. Used since the Stone Age, it has persisted until the 20th century.
In Europe, staff weapons, AKA polearms, were popular weapons for the military from the 12th to the 17th centuries.
In previous centuries, it was a common weapon for self defense and an important part of several masters of arms’ curriculae during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, having had great respect.
Several sources show evidence of the importance and usefulness of the staff as both tool and weapon, especially amongst people both living and traveling in the countryside. Easy to obtain and easy to use, it was an effective weapon. Various images contained in numerous manuscripts, depict travelers carrying staves, leading to the assumption that the staff was used as a tool of support and as a means of self defense.
From the middle ages we find evidence not only from fighting treatises, but from stories and illustrations of the staff or polearms. There is a wide variety of polearms or staff weapons in historical records, such as halberds, poleaxes, spears, amongst others, and are shown being used by soldiers, both on the field of battlefield of battle and in judicial duels.
The quarterstaff has been represented in several of the most important manuals, being a strong portion of such masters like Dobringer, Fiore Dei Liberi, Marozzo, Paulus Hector Meier, Egenolph, Meyer, Silver, Sutor, Swetnam and Wylde. Some of these early masters have recommended adding metal tips to the staves (as seen in various medieval illustrations), thus suggesting in later manuals that the staff is the basis for training other polearms. Historically, the staff has been primarily associated with England, however, there are numerous treatises from various countries on the staff.
The class will focus on the basics of the staff, particularly footwork, grip, guards and strikes, to follow up with various exercises on attacking, defending and counterattacking. The class will draw from various masters like Chsitian Egenolph, George Silver, Joseph Swetnam and Joachim Meyer. No previous experience is required. Protective gear (mask and gloves) is highly required.