Medieval Weapons – The Quarterstaff [Ep5]

The Quarterstaff became extremely popular in Medieval Europe, notably England, and was used as an informal, close-combat weapon.

It got its name from the way it was produced; made from the hardwood of a tree cut into quarters, it had the potential to be a particularly brutal weapon, especially when used as a bludgeon.

Measuring about six to eight feet long, quarterstaffs, or quarterstaves, became well-loved in sporting activities towards the end of the Middle Ages. It was held with two hands and the user was taught food positing, sweeping and clubbing. Although it was very frequently used in duels between individuals, it was most commonly used against petty thieves, who could be easily beaten to death.

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There are many examples of the quarterstaff being modified with moulded-iron tips and spikes, making them much more dangerous and psychologically fear-inflicting. Leather grips could be added to the centre of the pole to enhance the fighting experience. Used in close combat, the pole weapon became an integral part of European martial arts and was often used for training soldiers to use the longsword, as well as the spear and occasionally the pike.

Its popularity stems from its easy-to-produce and easy-to-use nature. Because it was extremely affordable, many peasants and impoverished citizens of Dark Age England made their own and used them as a form of self-defence.

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