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A quarterstaff (plural quarterstaves ), also short staff or simply staff is a traditional European pole weapon and a technique of stick fighting, especially as in use in England during the Early Modern period.
The term is generally accepted to refer to a shaft of hardwood from 6 to 9 feet (1.8 to 2.7 m) long, sometimes with a metal tip, ferrule, or spike at one or both ends. The term "short staff" compares this to the "long staff" based on the pike with a length in excess of 11 to 12 feet (3.4 to 3.7 m).

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Paulus Hector Mair in his martial arts compendium (1540s) details techniques of fighting with the staff in the German school of fencing of the Renaissance (chapter 3).
According to the 16th to 18th century writings of Silver, Swetnam and Wylde,the quarterstaff is held with the back hand at the butt end of the staff and the other hand about a foot to a foot and a half (30 to 45 cm) above it. The body is turned so the forward hand and forward foot are both facing the opponent, the feet taking the same stance as is used in sword or rapier fighting. This basic position, according to Swetnam and Wylde, is known as the low guard.

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