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  #1  
Old 08-02-2020, 09:02 AM
combat auto combat auto is offline
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Who Trains in Staff Fighting?

Howdy Folks,

I'm taking up a new sport of sorts, Staff Fighting. I'd like to get input from anyone involved with this at any level, home sport, to self defense capable (this is the level I am looking to achieve), to competition-level...

We don't see much use of this in the context of SD, and of course there is no comparison to a firearm, but I think it could have its place and does have certain advantages over fist-fighting/other types of physical contact (especially as a person ages), and knife fighting (which is extremely risky, they say no matter how good one is, expect to be bleeding after a knife fight encounter).

Also, as you enter your senior years, walking around with something approximating a staff is not an unreasonable thing...Also, things like brooms, and what not are pretty ubiquitous in any building.

Not sure if anyone on the forum is involved with this genre, but would enjoy your opinions if you are out there.

Here is the book I am starting with:
https://www.amazon.com/Art-Science-S.../dp/1594394113

Here is an interesting article as far as using a "staff" (actually a broom) for SD.
https://globalmartialarts.university...-self-defense/

Thanks for your input in advance.

-C.A.
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Last edited by combat auto; 08-02-2020 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:32 AM
TominMO TominMO is offline
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I do, as part of my overall martial arts/street combat training.

More useful IMO would be his book on stick fighting. It is very inconspicuous to carry a cane, which is just a long stick really, with some kind of hook. Overall I consider the stick to be the better weapon. You're gonna get some funny looks carrying a staff around, plus they're kinda awkward at times.

Having said that, a broom or other long readily-available tool would be good to have, esp. as an intimidation measure to defuse the situation--if you have room to use it. But of course don't bluff; know how to use it.

Sticks are more usable indoors, and can be a great advantage. The important thing to remember is that it is not the weapon that is dangerous, it is the person holding it; i.e. level of expertise and willingness to use it. This holds true for everything from nuclear weapons to rocks.

One of the areas I especially like is getting inside the effective range of the staff or stick, and attacking them at close range, where their weapon has actually now become a liability. Elbows, knees, hooks, etc. For this reason I tend to use a shorter staff, about 5 feet, to force the fight to the inside. Very disconcerting to someone who wants a long-range encounter. Also disarming is a good skill to learn; very demoralizing to the guy who just a couple seconds ago thought he had a big advantage.

Also, don't fixate on the weapon, a common mistake. You are the weapon. The stick etc. is just a temporary tool to accomplish a task. Don't forget that you can also kick and punch while still holding any weapon. And if/when the situation calls for it (e.g., infighting), abandon the weapon when it no longer aids you and continue.

All warfare is deception -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War, first sentence. "All" can also be understood as "the essence of" or "the most important element of".

Fighting, like everything else, is about 90% mental. Defeat the will and you defeat the body.
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Last edited by TominMO; 08-02-2020 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:00 AM
combat auto combat auto is offline
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Tom, thanks, a lot of great insight there...I ordered his other book too.

Some questions about your training:
1) Do you train with both staff and stick (or just stick)?
2) Do you have a favorite implement for each or either?

-CA
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  #4  
Old 08-02-2020, 11:11 AM
magazineman magazineman is offline
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I've worked in places where the staff fought all the time
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:44 PM
TominMO TominMO is offline
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Originally Posted by combat auto View Post
Tom, thanks, a lot of great insight there...I ordered his other book too.

Some questions about your training:
1) Do you train with both staff and stick (or just stick)?
2) Do you have a favorite implement for each or either?

-CA
Sometimes stick(s) against staff! That gets interesting. Typically in kali schools you will see sticks of about 28" for adults. Kali/escrima/arnis is also generally termed FMA (Filipino Martial Arts), and heavily uses sticks for training. The stick is basically a safer training tool meant to represent a short sword, machete, etc. Or also, just a stick. This actually gives coordination and other skills for knife and empty hand as well.

My staff is 60". What would actually suit me better is 66" or slightly more; but about 72" is generally what you see people with. A good staff would be fairly thin and a hardwood. Somewhat thicker than a broom handle. Sticks tend to be made of rattan, but there are other materials. Recommend against any super-light composite materials; those are more for competition and demonstrations.

I recommend focusing on single-stick for training, as being most likely for an actual encounter; but you need to do it all. Advanced training would be one stick against two. Great fun.

Of course you ain't gonna learn much from a book, mainly just concepts and some basic drills. See if you can find a more-knowledgeable training partner, maybe someone from a nearby kali school. Or join the school. Don't get private lessons; they are a waste of money for beginners. Youtube will of course have lots of material as well. Better than just a book, but you really need at least one partner to train with, and more is better.

Think of fighting as a three-dimensional action; high/middle/low, in/out, angling left and right; different speeds and rhythms of movement, too many angles of attack. This is not emphasized enough in many schools. The idea is to overwhelm the opponent with threats he has to guard against, and can't.
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Last edited by TominMO; 08-02-2020 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:44 PM
Levian Levian is offline
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I've seriously considered it. If I were to delve into such pursuits ideally I'd like to learn both. Unfortunately, I lack time and money to obtain training in such things. Which makes me wonder if there's a place that teaches such a thing around here. If not that could present a hurdle that's larger still...
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Old 08-03-2020, 05:46 AM
combat auto combat auto is offline
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Originally Posted by TominMO View Post
Sometimes stick(s) against staff! That gets interesting. Typically in kali schools you will see sticks of about 28" for adults. Kali/escrima/arnis is also generally termed FMA (Filipino Martial Arts), and heavily uses sticks for training. The stick is basically a safer training tool meant to represent a short sword, machete, etc. Or also, just a stick. This actually gives coordination and other skills for knife and empty hand as well.

My staff is 60". What would actually suit me better is 66" or slightly more; but about 72" is generally what you see people with. A good staff would be fairly thin and a hardwood. Somewhat thicker than a broom handle. Sticks tend to be made of rattan, but there are other materials. Recommend against any super-light composite materials; those are more for competition and demonstrations.

I recommend focusing on single-stick for training, as being most likely for an actual encounter; but you need to do it all. Advanced training would be one stick against two. Great fun.

Of course you ain't gonna learn much from a book, mainly just concepts and some basic drills. See if you can find a more-knowledgeable training partner, maybe someone from a nearby kali school. Or join the school. Don't get private lessons; they are a waste of money for beginners. Youtube will of course have lots of material as well. Better than just a book, but you really need at least one partner to train with, and more is better.

Think of fighting as a three-dimensional action; high/middle/low, in/out, angling left and right; different speeds and rhythms of movement, too many angles of attack. This is not emphasized enough in many schools. The idea is to overwhelm the opponent with threats he has to guard against, and can't.
Another great post, excellent advise....Thanks for taking the time!

Although I haven't been in a brawl for many, many, decades, in my younger years while I lived in NYC I had my share of them, so I do have some experience and skills in SD. In the neighborhood I grew up in, you learned to defend yourself early-on or suffer the consequences. So I do "get" what you are saying.

But my body today, although I stay in excellent shape, just isn't the same as my teens, 20's, or 30's. Mostly in the total mass department, which is normal as one ages. Although I still "pump-iron" as part of my P.T., which helps mitigate the inevitable decline.

I'll see how it goes, books and vids are a good start, refreshing the basic skills is a plus, as mentioned, i have been in street-fights before. Thugs aren't very disciplined people, they don't spend much time training I would guess, so any amount a good guy does, whether with a gun, stick, or other implement of SD will always be value added.
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:49 AM
f1racefan f1racefan is online now
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Buy a mouse pistol that you can always have in your pocket. Hand to hand is always risky. The other guy may be bigger, better, faster, etc. As the old saying goes, "God created all men...Sam Colt made them all equal."

One other thing. I just turned 57 and keep myself very fit. I've thought about taking some type of martial arts class before. But what stops me is this. I carry a pistol with me pretty much all the time. If I ever have to use it, and kill someone, wouldn't it be easy for the prosecutor to say, "I see you have a ______ belt in ________. Why didn't you use your martial arts skills to defend yourself. You were just looking to kill someone which is why you chose your gun instead, right?"

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Old 08-03-2020, 07:37 AM
bradsvette bradsvette is offline
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I've carried a stick, a whip, and a cattle prod while walking my leashed dog in the mornings. I do this not to defend against human attackers, I do it because none of my lazy neighbors will control their dogs.

Their dogs are off the leash, not restrained, and will run up and attack my dog while I'm walking him on the leash. My dog is a big rescue mix who doesn't suffer fools. So, my dog defends himself, bites the crap out of the other dog, and then the other dog's owner wants to sue me for having a viscous dog. You can't make this stuff up.

The cattle prod is the best weapon, but the power pack is bulky. That thing will get a 2,000 bull to move. I accidentally touched the prongs once. Once! That shock made our electric horse fence shock seem like a kiss from an angel.

CA, if you like working out with a staff, then go for it. It can't be anything but good. But I agree with f1. A small blaster in the pocket will be far more effective and safer for you, as long as the legal tests for self defense are satisfied.
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Old 08-03-2020, 07:41 AM
TominMO TominMO is offline
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Originally Posted by f1racefan View Post
Buy a mouse pistol that you can always have in your pocket. Hand to hand is always risky. The other guy may be bigger, better, faster, etc. As the old saying goes, "God created all men...Sam Colt made them all equal."

One other thing. I just turned 57 and keep myself very fit. I've thought about taking some type of martial arts class before. But what stops me is this. I carry a pistol with me pretty much all the time. If I ever have to use it, and kill someone, wouldn't it be easy for the prosecutor to say, "I see you have a ______ belt in ________. Why didn't you use your martial arts skills to defend yourself. You were just looking to kill someone which is why you chose your gun instead, right?"
What I see as a huge benefit is having a wide range of options to deal with a potentially dangerous situation.
1. Avoidance--stay away from sketchy people and areas. Try to not be alone in dark remote parking lots. Be nice and polite to people you meet regularly.
2. Verbal de-escalation--with someone who is angry, speak calmly and quietly; it tends to have a calming and mirroring effect.
3. If a guy takes an offensive posture or actually pushes you, you can make the decision to either continue de-escalation or going full Tasmanian Devil on his butt; this is the crunch-time decision and depends on a lot of factors. Is he alone; is he your drunk BIL at a wedding reception or an actual thug, etc etc.
4. Most people will fold pretty quickly once they realize the other guy is up for the fight. Risk vs reward. You might even turn him. Maybe fighting was his way of letting off steam from overwhelming stress, due to a bad personal situation he could not figure out how to resolve. "Hey, let's go get a beer and tackle this together," that kinda approach.
5. Robbery: have a cheap extra wallet with a bunch of $1 bills in it. Give it to him, he goes away. Druggies who need their fix but aren't actually professional criminal types. Just another possible response, for more flexibility. Especially if you do not have non-gun skills, and your only other response is to blast him into the afterlife. Of course showing a gun would resolve the situation too.

Having a range of skills between talking and pulling out a gun is a great idea. Besides, there are situations where the target (you) can't get to the gun. Better have a plan for that; it bugs me that some gun people think the gun is the be-all and end-all to SD. Also, if you started with a non-lethal response but had to escalate to a lethal one (e.g. multiple attackers), then you can show good intent. Another point: with no hand-to-hand skills, your gun might be taken from you. Having such skills might buy you the time and space to pull it out, when you could not have without such skills.

There will of course be rare, extreme situations where you have to go straight to the gun. I get that. This happens to almost no one, in real life, if they practice avoidance and are basically friendly. That's why such things make the news. And the great majority of gun-related SD encounters are ended by the target just showing he/she is armed.

IMO the single best martial art you can take, with readily available training, is boxing. This is the best foundation, and everything else can be added on as you have time, money, inclination and opportunity. Boxing gives you hand skills (to which you can easily add kicks, knees and elbows); and training in range, angles, speeds, timing and footwork. And experience getting hit. No other martial art does all this so well and so quickly. Youtube videos are full of boxers taking out experienced martial artists, who just don't have an answer to the boxer.

And along with all this training, I also carry a gun. I consider it a long-range weapon (i.e. outside of kicking/stick ranges) and one of last resort.
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Last edited by TominMO; 08-03-2020 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 08-03-2020, 07:50 AM
combat auto combat auto is offline
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Originally Posted by bradsvette View Post
I've carried a stick, a whip, and a cattle prod while walking my leashed dog in the mornings. I do this not to defend against human attackers, I do it because none of my lazy neighbors will control their dogs.

Their dogs are off the leash, not restrained, and will run up and attack my dog while I'm walking him on the leash. My dog is a big rescue mix who doesn't suffer fools. So, my dog defends himself, bites the crap out of the other dog, and then the other dog's owner wants to sue me for having a viscous dog. You can't make this stuff up.

The cattle prod is the best weapon, but the power pack is bulky. That thing will get a 2,000 bull to move. I accidentally touched the prongs once. Once! That shock made our electric horse fence shock seem like a kiss from an angel.

CA, if you like working out with a staff, then go for it. It can't be anything but good. But I agree with f1. A small blaster in the pocket will be far more effective and safer for you, as long as the legal tests for self defense are satisfied.
Agree Brad, although I didn't mention it, wild dogs is another good application for a stick/staff...Yep, there is no comparison with a firearm as I mentioned in my OP, but a reminder, we don't have carry in NJ, and the SC recently refused our law suite on this issue.

Another point also, in a SD encounter (IF) within acceptable risk parameters, if one can use less than lethal, like pepper-spray, or a stick/staff, before going to a firearm, it is great if that can end it, but even if it doesn't, it will help one to justify the shoot if it was inevitably needed.
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Last edited by combat auto; 08-03-2020 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 08-03-2020, 08:02 AM
bradsvette bradsvette is offline
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CA, I absolutely agree with you and Tom. I try to stay in reasonable shape. But at 65, my body isn't what it used to be. Sore elbows, sore wrists, sore knees, sore shoulders. I boxed as a kid and was my college intramural champion. My dad was the Golden Gloves champ of the state of Missouri twice.

So I'm a fan of boxing and martial arts. And as y'all know, I can spool up pretty quickly. But unless you're throwing punches at a heavy bag pretty routinely, your body might not respond exactly how you want it to when the time comes for action. Imagine fighting a young guy who is skilled, tough, and weighs 250 lbs. Having a blaster aboard is always comforting. Too bad NJ is so freaking unreasonable.

Last edited by bradsvette; 08-03-2020 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 08-03-2020, 08:33 AM
HarryO45 HarryO45 is offline
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I would consider a stick when I run out of ammo...
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Old 08-03-2020, 10:07 AM
TominMO TominMO is offline
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Originally Posted by bradsvette View Post
CA, I absolutely agree with you and Tom. I try to stay in reasonable shape. But at 65, my body isn't what it used to be. Sore elbows, sore wrists, sore knees, sore shoulders. I boxed as a kid and was my college intramural champion. My dad was the Golden Gives champ of the state of Missouri twice.

So I'm a fan of boxing and martial arts. And as y'all know, I can spool up pretty quickly. But unless you're throwing punches at a heavy bag pretty routinely, your body might not respond exactly how you want it to when the time comes for action. Imagine fighting a young guy who is skilled, tough, and weighs 250 lbs. Having a blaster aboard is always comforting. Too bad NJ is so freaking unreasonable.
Lots of good supplements you can get that help tremendously. Krill oil, fish oil, turmeric extract, etc. Plus of course Tiger Balm and CBD paste/cream. I'm 70 and have zero joint issues. I'm in good shape for my age (5'11", 147#, and pretty active), but no one is going to invite me onto any Olympic teams.
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Old 08-03-2020, 11:32 AM
combat auto combat auto is offline
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CA, I absolutely agree with you and Tom. I try to stay in reasonable shape. But at 65, my body isn't what it used to be. Sore elbows, sore wrists, sore knees, sore shoulders. I boxed as a kid and was my college intramural champion. My dad was the Golden Gives champ of the state of Missouri twice.

So I'm a fan of boxing and martial arts. And as y'all know, I can spool up pretty quickly. But unless you're throwing punches at a heavy bag pretty routinely, your body might not respond exactly how you want it to when the time comes for action. Imagine fighting a young guy who is skilled, tough, and weighs 250 lbs. Having a blaster aboard is always comforting. Too bad NJ is so freaking unreasonable.
I agree with Tom about having boxing skills, but you make a great point and being at 64 it is the very last thing I want to get involved with a hand to hand fight with no weapon...I had many slug outs when I was a teenager and even in my 20's, but at this age getting hit in the head is something I consider a deadly force threat against my person, and I believe a jury would feel the same way, unless I was stupid enough to start a fight, which of course I never did and never will...That is one reason I like stick fighting, it gives one the opportunity to keep the SB away from your person. In SD, distance=good, that goes for any kind of SD from gun to no weapon at all. Close contact raises the stakes dramatically, granted though sometimes you have no choice.

Funny, only thing that came close to a SD encounter in scores of years for me was a few years ago, some SB was hounding me for money in a parking lot at our local food-town. He was a lot younger than me too. I promptly took the shopping cart and used it as a "staff" :-) to keep him away from my person. Worked great, he walked away shortly after that. There was no way I was going to let him in arms length of me, he could have easily had a knife.
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Old 08-03-2020, 11:58 AM
USMM guy USMM guy is offline
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Back when I was getting broken in (literally) to Arnis.

We were told that the correct length of a fighting stick for any given individual was an arms length plus a hand.

At any rate I have a couple of Bonowi batons that I keep in the vehicles.

https://www.nationalpolicesupply.com...9f8122dde2fc5c
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Old 08-03-2020, 02:37 PM
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I carry a 50+ year old hickory walking stick that belonged to my Grandfather. I have always thought of it as a very effective weapon up close and personal. I would not hesitate to use it if need be. It is really nice to have in those places that won’t allow guns or knives.
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Old 08-03-2020, 04:20 PM
Tenring1911 Tenring1911 is offline
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I have a couple of Bonowi batons that I keep in the vehicles.
My whole family carries a collapsible baton in their vehicle, my wife carry's hers when she is out walking.
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Old 08-03-2020, 04:50 PM
HarryO45 HarryO45 is offline
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This is what I am wondering... are you really better off beating someone with a stick? Verse protecting yourself from deadly force with a concealed firearm (regardless of man’s law). As mentioned by others, unless you are really strong, have great athletic ability, and trained to fight with a stick...is it really a good idea? You could really piss the bad guys off.

What if you kill an assaliant? Is a staff gonna have less liability over a firearm? If it is justified?

Are you gonna use the staff in any other way to defend against anything other than a deadly threat? I guess against wild dogs, maybe. What about multiple younger goblins? I suspect that might be the most dangerous scenario, if so, I don’t think your DA is gonna go after you for “illegal” CCW if it is a justified shooting? And even so, if you don’t act until you feel threatened, then don’t you think the outcome with a firearm will be much much more effective?

I guess everyone has to make their own decision, but in my mind, unless I am walking in the neighborhood and worried about wild dogs, then I would much rather carry an effective weapon that gives me the greatest chance of success regaurdless of percieved legallity in my community. If you never use it...Nobody will know. I would also argue that you are also much more likely to avoid a life threatening situation being armed with a firearm then with a heavy staff.

I do think that training with a staff would be great exercise.
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Old 08-03-2020, 05:07 PM
combat auto combat auto is offline
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This is what I am wondering... are you really better off beating someone with a stick? Verse protecting yourself from deadly force with a concealed firearm (regardless of man’s law). As mentioned by others, unless you are really strong, have great athletic ability, and trained to fight with a stick...is it really a good idea? You could really piss the bad guys off.

What if you kill an assaliant? Is a staff gonna have less liability over a firearm? If it is justified?

Are you gonna use the staff in any other way to defend against anything other than a deadly threat? I guess against wild dogs, maybe. What about multiple younger goblins? I suspect that might be the most dangerous scenario, if so, I don’t think your DA is gonna go after you for “illegal” CCW if it is a justified shooting? And even so, if you don’t act until you feel threatened, then don’t you think the outcome with a firearm will be much much more effective?

I guess everyone has to make their own decision, but in my mind, unless I am walking in the neighborhood and worried about wild dogs, then I would much rather carry an effective weapon that gives me the greatest chance of success regaurdless of percieved legallity in my community. If you never use it...Nobody will know. I would also argue that you are also much more likely to avoid a life threatening situation being armed with a firearm then with a heavy staff.

I do think that training with a staff would be great exercise.
Not an "either or" decision, no one would suggest giving up your firearm and replacing it with a staff...Think of it more as a tool like pepper spray, or a knife...The nice thing about a staff over a knife is you can keep the SB further away from you, and a knife is going to be considered deadly force per se. A staff can be used in a much more versatile way the a knife and a gun. It can be used in a non-lethal way, whereas a gun and knife virtually can not...Pepper spray is fine for less then determined SB's, but it is easily defeated. So IMO, a staff can be a better - less than lethal - alternative...There are a lot of scenarios where a SB needs to be dealt with which doesn't immediately justify lethal force (I mentioned one above, where I used my shopping cart. A Staff would have been just as effective)...Also, I can easily argue that if Cops carried those big ass baton's that they use to when I grew up in NYC, they would have much more flexibility to bringing a SB down vs TASAR or a Gun.
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Old 08-03-2020, 05:17 PM
combat auto combat auto is offline
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To Wit on batons:

https://www.police1.com/police-produ...0jurisdictions.

"They're still considered by many to be among the most useful and reliable tools carried by police officers. ... Televised images of the police force using their batons on minorities gave it a bad rap, and today, straight wooden batons are no longer standard issue in most jurisdictions.Nov 29, 2016"
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Last edited by combat auto; 08-03-2020 at 05:30 PM.
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  #22  
Old 08-03-2020, 05:41 PM
TominMO TominMO is offline
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Collapsible steel batons are a good weapon. They are not legal everywhere--but a 24" long 1/4" socket drive extension is. Steel, thin, fast. Shins make a great first target. Use some sort of grip tape on the end that fits into the ratchet. Any striking weapon also makes a good distraction--e.g., raise it for a head strike to draw his attention, then kick him, then hit with the weapon.

But get training in striking weapons like this. I would have little trouble just taking it away from someone inexperienced. If the perp knows you are scared, he will not be too concerned about a striking weapon. He has already won in the mind level, and now just has to go through the motions to make it happen in the physical world.

If you'll notice, cops are provided with a number of levels of force--mace, stun guns, and real guns both long and short, to give them flexibility to deal with a situation appropriately. Not to mention their legal authority, handcuffs, and often, large strong bodies.

The rest of us get by however we can. For a threatening dog my first choice would be pepper spray, and that would probably be enough. But I have to presume that a thug, presented with pepper spray, will know to charge in low, head down, not breathing and eyes closed or slitted. A genuine thug or group of them would have my gun in their face pronto. But there are people and situations that do not call for that as the immediate response; hence the desirability of a range of options. So it's still avoidance; talking; low- to mid-level physicality; lethal force.

Striking and bladed weapons came from a time before guns, or are used where guns are not available. If I had to get physical, and it got to a very serious stage, and didn't have a stick-type weapon, I wouldn't pull a knife even if I had one. I'd pull a gun. A gun is truly an equalizer, but still no guarantee you will prevail, as you all know. Personally I will charge someone with a stick or two sticks and take the hit or two that I need to, protecting my head as best I can, to get to the inside. It's not really that bad. But most people don't know that, so the stick's best value is intimidation and distraction.

I sure as H. E. double hockey sticks am not charging anyone with a knife, even if he doesn't look like he knows what he is doing.
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Last edited by TominMO; 08-03-2020 at 06:27 PM.
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  #23  
Old 08-03-2020, 05:58 PM
The War Wagon The War Wagon is online now
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OK... who looked at the thread title, and DIDN'T think of this?!


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  #24  
Old 08-03-2020, 06:23 PM
TominMO TominMO is offline
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Looks like me on day one.....
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  #25  
Old 08-03-2020, 08:07 PM
Tenring1911 Tenring1911 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TominMO View Post
Collapsible steel batons are a good weapon. They are not legal everywhere--but a 24" long 1/4" socket drive extension is. Steel, thin, fast. Shins make a great first target. Use some sort of grip tape on the end that fits into the ratchet. Any striking weapon also makes a good distraction--e.g., raise it for a head strike to draw his attention, then kick him, then hit with the weapon.

But get training in striking weapons like this. I would have little trouble just taking it away from someone inexperienced. If the perp knows you are scared, he will not be too concerned about a striking weapon. He has already won in the mind level, and now just has to go through the motions to make it happen in the physical world.

If you'll notice, cops are provided with a number of levels of force--mace, stun guns, and real guns both long and short, to give them flexibility to deal with a situation appropriately. Not to mention their legal authority, handcuffs, and often, large strong bodies.

The rest of us get by however we can. For a threatening dog my first choice would be pepper spray, and that would probably be enough. But I have to presume that a thug, presented with pepper spray, will know to charge in low, head down, not breathing and eyes closed or slitted. A genuine thug or group of them would have my gun in their face pronto. But there are people and situations that do not call for that as the immediate response; hence the desirability of a range of options. So it's still avoidance; talking; low- to mid-level physicality; lethal force.

Striking and bladed weapons came from a time before guns, or are used where guns are not available. If I had to get physical, and it got to a very serious stage, and didn't have a stick-type weapon, I wouldn't pull a knife even if I had one. I'd pull a gun. A gun is truly an equalizer, but still no guarantee you will prevail, as you all know. Personally I will charge someone with a stick or two sticks and take the hit or two that I need to, protecting my head as best I can, to get to the inside. It's not really that bad. But most people don't know that, so the stick's best value is intimidation and distraction.

I sure as H. E. double hockey sticks am not charging anyone with a knife, even if he doesn't look like he knows what he is doing.
Thank you for sharing some your wisdom, much appreciated.

.
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