The Quarterstaff reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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The quarterstaff is the name given to the Medieval English variant of the staff weapon, consisting simply of a long shaft of hardwood, usually oak, hawthorn, hazel or ash. The weapon's name comes from the way it is commonly held: one hand at the center of the staff, and one hand halfway between the center and one end.

The length of the quarterstaff varies, from around the height of its wielder at about 1.8m through to a 2.5m longstaff described in George Silver's 16th century fighting manual. Certainly the weapon became shorter and lighter during its revival in self-defence schools in Victorian England.

The quarterstaff is a crushing weapon, much like the club, but its weight distribution is even throughout its entire length. Sharpened or fitted with a metal head, the quarterstaff easily becomes a spear or other pole weapon.

More generally, the staff being a very simple weapon to manufacture, it has a long history of use, and a wide cultural dispersion.

The staff is a traditional weapon of many Asian martial arts. In Japan it is often referred to as the bo, or in shorter 130cm version as the Jo. It was historically a common weapon in England, where it features in the Robin Hood legend as the favorite weapon of Little John. In French savate, the staff and the techniques of using it is known as the grand canne. There are also many (farm)tools that can easily be used as or quickly converted to a staff. This made it a weapon of choice for people who were not allowed by law to carry weapons, such as in Japan, where weapons were for the samurai only.

Moves include many different forms of blocks, thrusts, strikes, and sweeps.

See also: Bo, Jo, Hanbo