QA: Yan Qing Staff

I was studying the Yan Qing staff video again last night. I noticed the first time the ease and virtuosity with which he handles the stick. I think I’ve spotted why – the way he holds it with his leading hand. He often uses the ends of his fingers, as though holding a director’s wand. Sometimes it is only gripped between his thumb and palm, with the forefinger lying atop the staff as though pointing. In kobudo, you’re taught to hold the stick with the ring and pinky fingers, but his leading hand seems almost always to be open instead of closed, except at the moment of impact. I’ve never seen anyone handle a staff like this before, or if I have, I’ve never noticed it before.  Is this common? What do you think?

The particulars of a specific technique don’t count very much in Kung Fu, which has more staff sets than all of the other martial arts put together.

But the idea of ranging between positions with a “light hand”–that is an essential Kung Fu concept. Having studied Okinawan stick work I would say the overwhelming difference is the way the grip is viewed. Much more emphasis is placed on what is called “ranging” the stick.

Yours in the arts,
Ted Mancuso

One Response to “QA: Yan Qing Staff”

  1. Hal Asbury says:

    I’ve seen many approaches to this. The front hand grip I first learned in the Hung Ga style was to extend the index finger along the pole and grip around it with the other fingers. The hand form was therefore a variation on the single finger ‘bridge hand’ position. Later the grip was altered so that the front hand while seeming to be in the same position gripped the staff between the fingertips and the index while still extended along the pole pressed its tip onto the pole. This latter technique was explained as a stage in the training method for the “yat ji sim gung”, single-finger “chan” being a method for training the forefinger to strike points.

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