Friday 31 August 2007

Making a quarterstaff

A question we often get asked at workshops is the best way to make a staff. The best answer is not to cut a staff at this time of year! The trouble with cutting saplings when they're full of sap is that they're more likely to split. One way of preventing this is to cut your sapling and not to strip off the bark but to stand it upright in a pot of teak oil. You'll find the sapling will absorb a surprising amount of oil and this will stop it splitting. For the top of the sapling, slosh as much oil as you can over it and wrap the end in plastic to reduce evaporation, and add more oil every week. Wait two or three months before stripping off the bark and shaping the staff.
The best time to cut saplings is in winter (December, January) when they contain a lot less sap. You can fashion a staff straight away from a winter-cut sapling.

And it does have to be a sapling. Heartwood is no good because it's too stiff. A quarterstaff needs some spring in it, which is why really stiff woods like sycamore are no use.

Avoid saplings with large knots, heavily decayed branches or fissures in the bark- these often signal weakness in the wood.

The best British woods for staffs are oak, hawthorn and blackthorn. Ash is OK but does tend to split and for the surface to flake off. Hazel is fine for a beginners staff but warps a lot and will break if hit hard. Softwoods (pine, fir, spruce) are too light and will also break. We don't really know about foreign woods but reckon that for North America, hickory would be good because it's used for making axe handles.

Bristol Workshop 15th September 2007

The British Quarterstaff Association is running a workshop in Bristol on Saturday 15th September.

It will run from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm.

We will do foundation training for beginners and there will also be sessions in which those who have already done some quarterstaffing can improve their skills.

Cost is £10 (unwaged £5). Staffs will be provided.

Please email Chris at christaff@mac.com if you would like to come and we'll send venue details.

Pictures from Tribe of Doris

New pictures are in the gallery from the Tribe of Doris. Chris and Gwil ran four two-hour workshops and about 80 men participated overall. Thanks, Doris - we enjoyed it and also improved our drumming skills. In brilliant weather, we were on a flat grass field and did work on combat sequences, sparring, using peripheral vision, mind-body-weight coordination and using the qualities of the six animals.

Saturday 25 August 2007

Quarterstaff workshop at Tribe of Doris

Members of the BQA will be leading workshops at the Tribe of Doris this weekend. The Tribe of Doris is a festival / camp type thing with lots of different workshops. Photos to come!

British Quarterstaff Association TV Clip

New video posted, originally filmed by the BBC in London in 1999. The video gives a good introduction to what we do!


Here is the new blog, which will bring the latest news from the British Quarterstaff Association.