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Thread: The British Quarterstaff Association

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    Senior Member RedJack's Avatar
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    The British Quarterstaff Association

    The British Quarterstaff Association
    http://www.quarterstaff.org/gallery/videos/index.html
    An Englishman named Richard Peeke was involved in an episode during the English, Spanish wars and is a tale of how effective the Quarterstaff can be in trained hands, as an excerpt from maister Terry Browns book English Martial Arts explains.
    "In the year 1625 England and Spain were at war and Peeke was serving in an English naval squadron, under the command of the Earl of Essex, which was attacking a Spanish naval stronghold. After heavy and accurate bombardment the English captured the fortress, whereupon, they sent forces ashore to carry the attack inland. In the wake of the English landings sailors were sent ashore to forage for food. Richard Peeke, of Tavistock in Devon, was among them. Unwisely he foraged alone and paid the price for his mistake when he was attacked by a patrol of spanish musketers. After a furious fight, during which Peeke was wounded twice, he was captured and taken in chains to Cales ( Cadiz ). from there he was transfered to Xeres where he was put on trial. Present at his trial, which in reality was a miitary interrogation, were four Dukes, four Marquesses, and four Earls. After much questioning Peeke was asked if he thought that the Spanish soldiers present would prove such 'hennes' as the English when they landed in England the following yeare. "
    "No" replied Peeke. "They would prove to be pullets or chickens."
    Peeke's insolent reply brought forth an angry response from the Spaniards.
    "Darst thou then ( quoth Duke Mdyna, with a brow half angry ) fight with one of these Spanish pullets."
    Peeke replied that,
    "...hee was unworthy the name of an Englishman, that should refuse to fight with one man of any nation whatsoever."
    At this Peek's chains and shackles were removed and a space was created for him to fight a Spanish champion by the name of Tiago. Both were armed with Rapier and Poinard. The ensuing fight continued for some time before Peeke, using the guard of the poinard, trapped the blade of Tiago's rapier and simultaniously swept the Spaniards feet from under him. Peeke's rapier, held to the throat of senor Tiago brought forth the necessary capitulation. Spanish pride had been sorely wounded and it was demanded of Peeke whether he would be willing to fight another Spaniard. Peeke replied in the affirmative provided he was allowed to fight with.
    "... mine owne countrrey weapon called the quarter - staffe."
    Upon this remark the Spanish unscrewed the head from a Halbered to create a makeshift Quarterstaff. Armed with the weapon of his choice Peeke stood ready to meet his next challenger. However the Spanish were clearly no longer so confident in the prowess of their soldiers for, to Peeke's consternation, two Swordsmen stepped forward to fight him. Peeke sarcastically asked if more would like to join them. The Duke of Medyna asked how many he desired to fight.
    "Any number under sixe". replied Peeke.
    The Duke smiled scornfully and beckoned a third man to join the original two. Peeke and the rapier men warily traversed each other, all the while thrusting and warding, till finally Peeke gambled on an all out attack. His first blow a left one of his adversaries dead and his subsequent blows left the other two injured and disarmed. No doubt they also left the spanish seriously questioning the wisdom of their invasion plans. Peeke's feat so impressed his Spanish captors that they released him and granted him safe conduct to England
    http://ejmas.com/jwma/articles/2001/jwmaart_docherty_0501.htm
    Don't let Europe Rule Britannia!

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    Senior Member Angelcynn Beorn's Avatar
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    Quarterstaffing is probably the most under-rated of all the English Martial Arts. Unfortunately this organisation is an imposter.

    Anyone who has studied Western Martial Arts knows that the English held their quarterstaffs like a spear, with one end pointed at their enemy for thrusting. A quarterstaff was also usually between 8ft and 12 ft long.

    The staves shown in the videoclips on that site look at most 5ft long (the length of a Japanse Bo) and are also handled in the Oriental way. Ie with a double overgrip, held across the body, and hitting with either end.

    Essentially someone trained in the Japanese way of using the Bo has just set up a society to make money off of people wanting to learn a traditional English skill, and is teaching them the traditional Oriental art under false pretences.
    I am Ripper... Tearer... Slasher... Gouger.
    I am the Teeth in the Darkness, the Talons in the Night.
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    If I may comment on English martial culture, I have read that the quarter staff was gripped on the lower quarter and wielded in a manner a great-sword or halbred.

    A staff gripped in the middle was called a "half-staff". It was also quite long, not at all like a "bo-staff"

    George Silver on the perfect length of the staff in Paradoxes of Defense:

    To know the perfect length of your short staff, or half pike, forest bill, partisan, or glaive, or such like weapons of vantage and perfect lengths, you shall stand upright, holding the staff upright close by your body, with your left hand, reaching with your right hand your staff as high as you can, and then allow to that length a space to set both your hands, when you come to fight, wherein you may conveniently strike, thrust, and ward, & that is the just length to be made according to your stature. And this note, that these lengths will commonly fall out to be eight or nine foot long, and will fit, although not just, the statures of all men without any hindrance at all unto them in their fight, because in any weapon wherein the hands may be removed, and at liberty, to make the weapon longer of shorter in fight at his pleasure, a foot of the staff being behind the backmost hand does no harm.
    George Silver on the heirarchy of weapons in combat. It is interesting that he places the long and half staves above all other forms in a fair fight, saying that they lose only against two-to-one odds:

    The short staff or half pike, forest bill, partisan, or glaive, or such like weapons of perfect length, have the advantage against the battle axe, the halberd, the black bill, the two handed sword, the sword and target, and are too hard for two swords and daggers, or two rapier and poniards with gauntlets, and for the long staff and morris pike.

    The long staff, morris pike, or javelin, or such like weapons above the perfect length, have advantage against all manner of weapons, the short staff, the Welch hook, partisan, or glaive, or such like weapons of vantage excepted, yet are too weak for two swords and daggers or two sword and bucklers, or two rapiers and poniards with gauntlets, because they are too long to thrust, strike, and turn speedily. And by reason of the large distance, one of the sword and dagger-men will get behind him.
    Silver puts the short staff above all weapons.

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    Senior Member Angelcynn Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zimobog View Post
    If I may comment on English martial culture, I have read that the quarter staff was gripped on the lower quarter and wielded in a manner a great-sword or halbred.

    A staff gripped in the middle was called a "half-staff". It was also quite long, not at all like a "bo-staff"
    You've slightly misunderstood it. A quarterstaff was so called because a quarter of the staff was held between the hands, ie the lead hand would hold the staff palm-up at the middle point, whilst the rear hand would grip the staff palm-down half way between the end and the centre of the staff. Hence a quarter of the staff would be behind the rear had; a quarter between the hands; and half of the staff forward of the lead hand.

    Half staffing was where the the grip was changed so that the staff was held with the hands equidistant from each other and the ends of staff, with half of the staff between the hands.

    An (admittedly rather lame) example:


    ====X==X== Quarterstaffing


    ==X====X== Halfstaffing


    X = Hand placement.
    I am Ripper... Tearer... Slasher... Gouger.
    I am the Teeth in the Darkness, the Talons in the Night.
    Mine is Strength... and Lust... and Power!
    I AM BEOWULF!

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