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British Martial Arts – Quarterstaff, Bartitsu

Posted on 29 April 2009 by Tony Hackerott

Quarterstaff

This traditional English stick-fighting art uses a weapon known as the “quarterstaff”—a hard, wooden staff that sometimes has a reinforced metal tip. It is possible the name evolved because the primary weapon was a staff and, when fighting, was typically held with the right hand in the middle and the left hand a quarter of the way from the end— hence “quarter staff.” However, a more probable theory is that the name refers to a fight settled without the use of a lethal sword or knife. In medieval English, “quarter”—meaning to give mercy—may have referred to the act of pardoning an opponent by not killing him and using the staff as a response to an insult instead of the deadly sword. Typically made from oak, hazel, or ash, they ranged from 6-9 ft (1.8-2.7 m) in length and would have been employed in swinging, arching actions, and poking thrusts.

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