Quarterstaff is not part of our current regular timetable however private lessons are available, e-mail chris@yorkschoolofdefence.co.uk for more information. When the weather improves we will be hosting a number of monthly outdoor seminars that will be free to all existing students of the York School of Defence.

The quarterstaff is a formidable weapon that was popular across Europe but is most recognisable as a uniquely British implement from the Early Modern period. We utilise a variety of sources in our study of the quarterstaff including the works of Joseph Swetnam, George Silver and Zachary Wylde, with supporting material coming from a variety of other places.

Although not strictly quarterstaff we will also, from time to time, delve into the use of the staff from other parts of the world, especially from the late medieval and renaissance German school of fencing. Many of our students study the quarterstaff alongside our other classes, and it especially compliments our KDF, broadsword and pugilism classes, and some of the principles flow over into our English longsword class.

Whilst it was initially a deadly weapon the quarterstaff evolved into a sporting implement and our teaching reflects this. Later manuscripts and treatise describe sets of sporting rules than can be “played” with the staff, and we explore these in our lessons when we able to in order to fully place the quarterstaff into context. The staff also has many advantages when facing off against a person armed with a sword, something that we delve into during our lessons.

Because of the rather lengthy nature of the quarterstaff we tend to hold our lessons outdoors during the warmer months, although we are able to run them throughout winter if enough students are interested. Training outdoors gives us plenty of space to swing staves of wood of anything between six and twelve feet in length without fear of damaging people or property!

One of the unique features of the staff as as weapon is that its “length” can be shortened as required, whilst it is initially advantageous to utilise the entire length of the staff to keep the opponent away, should they come close it is easy to adjust your grip on the stick to enable striking at close range. The staff is also an exceptional aid to grappling as it can function as a lever, being used to trip, lock or throw an opponent.