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  • What are some different styles of staff fighting and how do they differ?

Curious about different styles of staff fighting from around the world? Staff fighting has been used for self-defense and competition for centuries.

How has the use of staffs evolved over time and across different cultures?

Japanese Staff: Aiki Jo

Aiki-jo is a Japanese martial art. It focuses on the use of a staff or jo in Japanese. Aiki Jo is basically Aikido techniques done using a staff. It was developed by Morihiro Saito. Saito was a very prominent Aikido practitioner way back in the 1950s and 1960s. Aiki-jo and Aikido both emphasizes harmony, non-resistance, and redirecting an opponent's energy to neutralize an attack.

The Japanese Jo is about 4 feet long and approximately an inch in diameter. Usually, you hold both hands. You can strike, thrust, block, and manipulate an opponent's movements. The techniques use very circular and flowing movements. These techniques are designed to disarm or control an attacker without causing serious harm.

Aiki Jo

French Staff: Le Baton

The French term for the great stick or baton is "le bâton". It is a traditional weapon used in French martial arts

The art of la canne de combat uses the staff extensively. This is a type of stick fighting that originated in France in the 19th century.

Le bâton is typically made of hardwood and is approximately 1.2 meters (4 feet) in length. It is a versatile weapon. You can use it for striking, thrusting, blocking, and grappling techniques. 

La canne de combat is a popular sport in France. Competitions are held regularly throughout the country. It is also practiced as a form of self-defense. You can practice La canne staff and as a way to improve your physical fitness, coordination, and agility. Today, le bâton and la canne de combat are considered part of France's cultural heritage. It is recognized as an official sport by the French Ministry of Sports.

Le Baton

Portuguese Staff: Jogo Do Pau

Jogo do pau is a traditional Portuguese martial art. Jogp Do Pau uses of a long wooden staff, known as the pau. The word "jogo" means "game" or "play" in Portuguese. Jogo do pau can be translated as "game of the stick".

Jogo do pau has its roots in the rural regions of Portugal.  It was used as a means of self-defense against bandits and wild animals. Over time, it evolved into a formal martial art. It now has a specific set of techniques, rules, and traditions.

In jogo do pau, the techniques are based on fluid and circular movements. Jogo emphasizes footwork, timing, and distance. Jogo do pau also includes grappling techniques, joint locks, and throws.

Jogo Do Pau

Scottish Staff: Quarter Staff

The Scottish style of staff fighting is called "Quarterstaff" or "Scottish Quarterstaff". The quarterstaff is a long wooden staff, typically around 6 to 9 feet in length. It was historically used in Scotland and other parts of Europe for self-defense and combat.

In Scottish Quarterstaff, the techniques are based on fluid and circular movements. It also emphasizes footwork, timing, and distance. Scottish Quarterstaff also includes grappling techniques, joint locks, and throws.

Scottish Quarterstaff is a traditional martial art. Its roots are from Scotland's history and culture. It is considered an important part of Scotland's heritage. Staff is still practiced today by enthusiasts of historical martial arts. There are various clubs and schools that offer training in Scottish Quarterstaff today. It is a great form of self-defense and as a way to explore Scottish history and culture.

Quarter Staff Sparring

Chinese Staff: Sun Kwan

Shaolin staff martial art, also known as "Sun  Kwan," is a traditional Chinese martial art that emphasizes the use of a staff, as a weapon. It has its origins in the Shaolin Temple. The Shaolin temple is a famous Buddhist temple located in Henan Province, China. Shaolin is known for its long history of martial arts training.

In Shaolin staff is not a martial art in itself but a part of the Shaolin system of Kung Fu

The Shaolin staff is typically made of wood and measures about 6 feet in length. In addition to the standard staff, there are also other variations of the weapon. Some variations are the three-section staff and the double-headed staff.

Chinese Staff


The staff has been used in different cultures throughout history as a companion to help steady people when the terrain gets rough and to protect them when the going gets tough.

Learning different styles of staff fighting can be a fascinating and enriching experience. It really provides insights into different cultures, values, and ways of being.

So why not pick up a staff and start exploring? When you practice staff you connect with the rich history and cultural significance of this weapon.