Considered by many to be a quintessentially English weapon, the quarterstaff was and still is practiced the world over. Historically, some masters held it in low regard next to the sword. Others - such as George Silver (p. 22) - considered it the "perfect" weapon, and praised its tactical flexibility, ability to stand off enemies either singly or in groups, and striking power. One needn't look any further than the tales of Robin Hood to gain an appreciation of its legendary status!

Against a shorter weapon, the staff fighter takes advantage of his reach. He keeps his distance, using strikes and the Disarming and Sweep techniques to attack from afar. If his enemy's weapon is longer, though, he steps in close with an Attack or rushes in with a Move and Attack. Once inside his opponent's reach, he uses Armed Grapple or Sweep to put his adversary on the ground, and then finishes him with a thrust, swing, or Choke Hold. Not every instructor teaches all of these moves . . . but most teach the majority of them.

Historical staff fighters used weapons of many lengths - the half-staff, quarterstaff, pikestaff, and so forth - named for their dimensions, the wield-er's grip, and/or the staff's origin; see Chapter 6. A true master knew how to use all of these weapons. The staff-fighting style given here assumes a fully developed "school" that teaches all lengths and techniques. It's nominally European, but Asian arts are very similar; see Staff Fighting (p. 192).

Some masters put a spike on one end of their staff. Others practiced staff tactics as a "backup" to pike fighting, for use in the event that the head broke off their weapon. Add the Spear skill and the Form Mastery (Spear) perk to reflect such a style.

Skills: Staff.

Techniques: Arm Lock (Staff); Armed Grapple (Staff); Back Strike (Staff); Choke Hold (Staff); Disarming (Staff); Feint (Staff); Sweep (Staff).

Cinematic Skills: Blind Fighting; Power Blow; Pressure Points; Push.

Cinematic Techniques: Dual-Weapon Defense (Staff); Grand Disarm (Staff); Pressure-Point Strike (Staff); Timed Defense (Staff); Whirlwind Attack (Staff).

Perks: Grip Mastery (Staff).

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