Real Life Combat: Quarter Staff vs. Out-of-Control Party

Sorry. I couldn't find any 18th century European nunchaku engravings.

My friend “James” lived in Tacoma, which can be very rough. He was buying a house from his father and had issues previously with his roommate, such as not paying his rent.

One night James came home from work and saw a party , more like a riot, in full swing: the toilet was broken, a door was broken, someone had vomited on the floor, and they had played “darts” by throwing knives into the wall!

James snapped. “All right, everybody out NOW!”

Nobody moved. Perhaps it was the booze, maybe they thought James couldn’t do anything to get them to leave.

In this standoff, James’ roommate came out of his room with a pair of nunchakus.

“If you’re going to bring those out, you’d better be prepared to use them!” James warned.  James was prepared, though. He was training in the martial arts, and he had a quarterstaff about 48 inches in length (approximately the same length as the short staff used in Tapado.). Thinking ahead, James had placed the staff up by the curtain rod over the drapes in the front room. The staff was ready, and even someone climbing a step ladder and peering down into the valance might not have noticed it.

James reached up and grabbed his staff, then assumed a ready position, gripping it with the right hand palm-down and the left hand palm-up.

When his roommate came forward and swung the nunchakus at him, James put the tip of his staff into the path of the nunchakus. The nunchakus wrapped around the end of the staff, and with a yank of the staff, the nunchakus were ripped out of the guy’s hand and went flying over James’ shoulder.

James followed through with what GM Estalilla would call an “underight butt,” a strike coming upward from the lower right. The strike caught his formerly nunchaku-wielding roommate in the groin. He dropped to the ground, and everyone else decided the party was over and it was a good time to leave.

Lessons Learned:

Think Ahead. Normally I would say that a quarterstaff is an unrealistic weapon, you’ll never have a quarterstaff on you in a time of crisis, etc. And I would have been wrong. By planning ahead, placing the short staff in a place of concealment, James was ready when trouble went down.

This is my definition of a semi-impromptu weapon. It was a weapon James was familiar with. He had planned ahead to place it in a hiding place, or to carry it. Because it was a long cylinder resembling a curtain rod, it fit right in. If he would have put a Chinese hook sword on the coat rack, it would have stood out, and he might very well have come home to find some drunk was swinging around his sword.

James’ hiding place for a quarterstaff would have worked just as well in a lawyer’s office, while a Chinese hook sword would have been out of place and drawn negative reactions.

Use a Two-Handed Grip. Why is it that James’ roommate was unable to hold onto his nunchakus? James was holding his weapon with both hands, while the roommate was holding his nunchakus with just one hand. A two-handed grip is key to weapon retention.

Also note that the longer weapon afforded James greater leverage.


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