Trunk

Weapons training with PVC pipe

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I'm starting to use PVC pipe for my weapons training (sword, light stick, heavy long staff). Less than $10 for a 10 foot length & end caps = short staff + sword. Easy to leave around the yard. Really enjoying it. :)

 

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A friend turned me onto these "dong stick" (light stick) exercises, but I'm also exploring sword (Dragon Gate Sanctuary) and staff (messin' around).  :)

 

 

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sounds like fun.  in Pencak Silat we use different "sticks" for the stick fighting part, bamboo works well, and so does PVC,  got to be  careful with the weight aspect in realistic combat sparing,  but for the flow, and training, it works and like you say, cheap. good luck

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Son and husband do escrima. They have used dowl rods of varying diameter, bamboo sticks and axe handles to practice with. Needless to say there are an abundance of "sticks" and other practice weapons around the house.

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Aside from learning weapons technic, one of the benefits of training with an implement/weapon is that one learns how balance the energy and movment of the body with the implement. It develops a certain kind of "listening" skill that helps in understanding and developing internal energy. This is particularly true of exercises with the ruler, staff and ball. 

 

I tried pvc at one point, looking for a suitable staff, but found it too light and the hollowness did not allow the connectedness with the implement. Dowel rod was too stiff and inflexable. Bamboo worked OK. Found that the best experience was with waxwood staff but it is hard to come by.

 

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Oh, hey.  Thanks for the replies.  I must've had my 'follow' settings wrong, didn't see notifications and thought nuthin' happening here.

 

I like the idea of weapons for the internal work. Basically, before weapons, the arms are used to leverage into the torso and visa-versa: the torso internal powers come out through the arms. Adding a weapon (sword, staff) extends that with a little weight (and it doesn't take much) so that whole new levels of leveraging into the torso interior occurs. That's my interest.
 
Personally, I'm not into weapons training with intent to combat. Just not my thing. And I really don't want weapons around my house or yard because some guest is gonna see it and say, "sword!" and grab it and start swinging around. And I can't leave a sword out in the yard, and for *sure* can't take it to the park. PVC solves all of this for me.
 
I was playing with the heavier staff (1&1/4" PVC) the other day. Good for two-handed twisting and/or circling. It has a little flex in it and so VIBRATES back into the body. It felt *really* good.  
 
Anyway, I'm having fun exploring and when I get more sorted out I'll probably be back to blab 'bout it some more.
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p.s.

These videos seem relevant.

 

 

 

 

 

(The sword stuff I've already got covered from Sifu Matsuo's Dragon Gate Sanctuary.)

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sounds very interesting but PVC is not really flexible.  DOes that matter?    Thanks for sharing :)

 

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On 1/7/2019 at 8:20 AM, OldDog said:

Found that the best experience was with waxwood staff but it is hard to come by.

haven't heard of waxwood, but up here we have a lot of Ash trees growing, and there top branches make great staff's.  Ash is one of the hardest and more dense woods, so a 1 1/2 inch thick staff will easily support my weight. I have a copper fitting on the bottom of it, so when I hike in the mountains, it is a great support for going down the hills.  great self defense weapon also, wouldn't whack a bear with it, but it works great for discouraging someone's off leash dog that tries to have a go at me. :)

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PVC is a cool idea. Cheap and about the same size.

 

I train with Rattan sticks, probably a throwback from my Escrima days.  Rattan is cool because its flexible but also super strong, as the wood is fibrous. Relatively cheap too

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3 hours ago, Zen Pig said:

haven't heard of waxwood

 

White waxwood (a Ligustrum sp.) Is common throughout sothern china but also found in other parts of the world. It is relatively light but quite flexible and resists shattering or splintering. Hence, it is favored in wooden martial arts weapons ... bo, three section staff etc.

 

Chen style taiji long pole practice calls for quite a long pole ... 3 meters in length. Often regarded as an impractical weapon by other martial artists, they miss the point of long pole practice. Many of the implements used in Chen style practice are used to train the body rather than weapons technic. Long pole practice builds a strong stance, hips and center while training the upper body and arms to deliver energy.

 

As for dealing with loose dogs, I find the standard cane works just fine in a suburban setting. 

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19 hours ago, dawei said:

sounds very interesting but PVC is not really flexible.  DOes that matter?    Thanks for sharing :)

 

 

To me they seem flexible, and your question made me re-examine that.  Two things I found:

1. There is some actual flexibility in the PVC, varying with width n’ length.

 

2. The other part that makes is seem (feel) more flexible in my practice is keeping the integration of my fascia structure~movement in my body and extended to include the ‘weapon’.  Meaning, that kind of rubbery feeling when my body is warmed up and moving in the more whole-body qigongy way.  And no joint is cranked much further than any other joint.  That long whole-body rubbery thing.  (Maybe some of you other guys know the correct words for this.  I don’t.). The ‘sword’ is included in that... so its’ movements kinda feel rubbery circular and angles about the same as my own joints~limbs.  So it feels flexible.   ... or maybe *I* do, and the way I am including the ‘sword’ is part of & contributing to that feeling in me.  And that’s where it all gets so endlessly interesting and fun. :D 

Edited by Trunk
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I've had fun moving in the opposite direction.  Having a metal pipe as a jo and using a suburito, extra heavy bokken. 

Heavy creates respect.  Slows you down, enforces proper body mechanics, especially if you want to control the weapon rather then have it control you. 

 

It's nice to whirl around a light instrument, hear it whistle as it moves, like a cheap kung fu flick, but heavy has its rewards and honesty to it. 

 

As does old fashion striking (repeatedly) a large tire.  Striking the air, no matter how fast or pretty does not substitute for hitting a hard target.

Edited by thelerner
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I got a lot of thoughts about this, staff is the wu chi i’ve put most hours into and it’s exciting in its simplicity.

I say a PVC pipe with end caps is all fine as a beginning tool but using a living material like hardwood, waxwood or rattan just makes the whole exercise come alive differently. I prefer rattan staffs of equal diameter all the way, same goes for spears, i been taught its called a Double Headed Serpent. Theres plenty of styles using this, many other use the Rat Tail Gwan (tapered thick to slimmer, thick end is where hands go most often), theres Olive Kernel Staff (thick middle and slim at both ends) and more i cant remember.

Bamboo is not recommended no ,atter what anyone says if you’re going to use it for power or support, since the sections are hollow it’s very brittle and bamboo dries out quickly so it’ll loose its ability to transer energy a lot faster than more equally dense plants.

 

I’m with a southern school and our approach to staff i pretty different from most i’ve seen actually. North shaolin styles often have a right hand forward weilding the power and use the left in the back for guiding support, like an anchor point. Where i come from the right hand is power and movement while the left is guiding support and the odd little flick but their position is reversed. Now all three of my teachers with staff have all been strict and stern in their own way. The first two learned from our grandmaster who is the third of my teachers and i’ve come to be pretty allergic and snobbish with staff and staff methods, i’ll try to keep it toned down.

 

A couple of percepts to guide anyone who wants to learn staff are to follow, skip if you dont like it, i just gotta say this ok? :)

 

Choose your staff well and treat it like its your closest friend. That means take care of it, don’t abandon it and keep it fresh and unhurt. If you break staffs on the regular you’re using your muscular force like a moron, no offense.

 

Study the Wing Lam video of Lau Gar staff, especially his body alignment and footwork. These two are second and first priority respectively. Power comes from stepping and using principles of levers to transmit power. Your spine should be erect and your power should reach the staff tip a millisecond after your moving foot touches ground.

The WLE video shows a huge amount of awesome staff method and technique, observe his body first and see how the staff moves after. His stepping and shifting weight is very much in control, his feet are light but as soon as one of them is supporting they’re like tree trunks of steadyness. The shift between fluid and firm is instantaneous, strive for that. I think if he’d do it on a wet beach he’d leave minimal amounts of messy gouges. The earth is providing his strenght and power, he lets it and therefore the fight between them is minimal.

 

Now the Bamboo stick woman made my hackles rise, her entry position or at rest position is just senseless (WHY would you expose joints, staff and everything to stand in such a clumsy and slow to action posture?!) and her form and movenent is coarse, she falls into stances with her full weight (poor control), she tilts completely forward with head and shoulders as she kicks and then i had to stop watching. The exercises might be good but hers are, sadly, a poor rendition of them, sorry if this is harsh but thats my honest opinion.

 

Again with the WLE video, he clicks the staff to the ground, he’s not hitting the ground. I’ll leave anyone who is interested to figure out what the difference means and how to use that.

 

Target practice with stick or staff is good, it teaches you to use form, the correct amount of power and how to handle it. Notice i’m underlinging the correct amount of power, there is no need to smash and bash, you’ll break your stick. This relates to the above paragraph regarding clicking. Figure that out and you’re on a good way to actually making sense of staff power.

 

Balance and control exercise should be coupled with intent of power exercises. If you hold the stick perfectly horizontal in one end with both hands and want to raise the tip it should move with equally distributed power in the whole stick. If someone were to give 2kg of opposition at the tip your staff should not tilt even a little bit when you raise it upwards but stay perfectly perpendicular. Try this by attaching a string with a water bottle (vary weight as you progress) so that moving the staff means that the weight immediately leaves the ground. Keep the line taut but with no resistance, the lift the bottle. Sounds easy but it can take quite some time to figure out.

Try using the full lenght of your stick as a weight to train your forearm strenght and control, use only one hand and grip it off center. Try just holding it straight for a while, you’ll see what i mean :)

 

Also consider studying how quickly you can change grip and grip position on the staff without dropping it. Study this in absurdum.

Twirl and play, practice speed and flow and to stop right in the middle of a movement, just to challenge your control and the amount of power you unconsciously and needlessly add to it. Earth gives power to the body, the body moves the arms and the stick obeys.

 

You’re the boss of the stick btw. It should do what you want it to do, like you finger or your head. Dont follow the stick, this is a sure way to ruin.

 

 

Humblest regards from you friendly neighborhood staff-nazi, i hope someone finds this useful and pardon my rant.

 

PS.

Adding some links with suggestions for routines, will update if i find more good ones.

 

Nice form, decent speed so you can see the movements nicely, observe how the steps and stances guide what the staff does. Very few weak positions, few silly exposures and not much of flourishy transitions like you can observe in most Yin Shao Gun from Shaolin Temple, and in all respect there’s immensly skilled people doing it.

Edited by Rocky Lionmouth
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PPS. 

If you break up this snippet of form into its idividual techniques this sample of WLE (quite excellent) Monkey King Staff form you have a doggone awesome set of basic step-body-staff techniques.

 

 

I cant currently find a good view of partner drills, especially individual ones, but here’s an example of how that Monkey King Staff form contains a whole method and approach to staff combat, it’s a style in itself almost. If you were to break individual techs up from the first video, then observe which ones they correspond with in the sparring form video, the find a friend to do each tech of attack and defense you’ll have a boatload of fun, someone will probably break a knuckle or finger (please DONT or Lightning strike you!) and you’ll start to feel like there is a determined approach to this. It’s not a complete system but it’s a set of tactics, failsafes and strategies at least.

 

 

Enough from me now, sorry for getting so excited about this but i friggin love staffwork so yeah.

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Ok my final words for tonight:

A wood or rattan staff will weigh just enough, keep them oiled: they’ll behave better and live longer.

My reference for any beginners staff is to find or buy a piece of solid round construction wood, the kind used for handrails and drapery-hangers. Spruce or similar inexpensive wood is fine, even has a little flex.

About 30 to 35 millimeters thick (1.3 inches roundabout) and get it cut to 100-200 mm taller than yourself (4 to 8” more or less). Sand it lightly with mid and then fine grit paper so you dont get any splinters, round the ends off so they dont fray as easily.

Extea fancy version: soak it in boiled linseed oil for a couple of days and hang (HANG) it to dry and sweat for a few more. Maybe give it another ever so feathery light pass with your fine grit paper and let it dry some more.

Dont varnish or paint it, you’ll catch blisters from friction with sweaty palms.

 

Try it out!

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