Staff: Kung Fu Weapon of Skill…Our new Book/DVD package is here!


click to order and for more info

Despite last week’s hiccup, we are very proud to announce the arrival of Plum’s newest publication, “Staff: Kung Fu Weapon of Skill.”

Sometimes I think the most difficult part of every project is the one I am engaged in right at this minute: writing the announcement post about the project. We don’t like to brag about our own products, but we do want people to know what inspired the work in the first place. You see, we don’t just go down a list of topics and pick the next one. Our mandate, the thing that moves us, is to make a real and necessary contribution to the martial arts canon. This Staff book and DVD is just such a project.

Although there are a few books on Staff sets in general, when we looked at our customer questions and emails, we realized that the fundamentals and theories behind this most important weapon was even less available. How can this be? Yes, it’s great to learn new staff sets but the staff is so much more than that; it is often referred to as a teacher itself, because it incorporates so many lessons, in weapons work and even in empty hand work (for instance, in Chin Na.) To work with the staff is to investigate the intersection between weapons work, martial space, and intentional energy.

Once we got started it was hard to stop, so what we have is a medium format, 200 page book along with an almost 2 hour DVD containing detailed form instruction, but also usage for almost every move; extensive sections on basics, strikes, and fundamentals; partner training and exercises; and much more. And we used the ‘narrative instruction’ format so well-received in our Learning Bagua Zhang book, to make it as accessible as possible to every level of student. And how about an introductory price?

Just click on the image above to take you to a longer description, and the page where you can order. And finally…Ted will sign a number of the first copies we send out, so order early for a signed copy.  

9 Responses to “Staff: Kung Fu Weapon of Skill…Our new Book/DVD package is here!”

  1. Jeff says:

    I’ve just finished my first read through the book. Thanks so much for making this available.

    I have a question or an observation about the north vs. south – long vs. short grip of the staff as discussed in the book. You say that in northern styles, the grip is more of a spear grip at the end of the stick, while southern styles tend more toward a middle grip, and you give some good reasons for this, reasons that chime with my own thoughts on the matter.

    I’ve also been studying okinawan bo staff for a couple of years now. In kobudo, the staff is almost always held in the center. You shift out to a longer stick occassionally, for one or two moves during a kata.

    Now, the theory is that karate and kobudo arose from southern styles, most likely White Crane. However, while the movements in the White Crane staff that I have studied are very similar to the movements in kobudo, the staff is held, for the most part, spear-fashion.

    I wasn’t aware, until I read your book, that southern styles use a middle grip like kobudo.

    My theory, up until this point (it may need to be amended), is that grip is a function of space. In kung-fu, the staff was used and practiced in open spaces – fields, courtyards, etc., while modern kobudo is largely practiced indoors, inside small dojos with low ceilings. It has been my experience in the school where I practice, that the kobudo grip is pretty much mandatory, due to the size of the space. Just last week I was demonstrating a kung-fu form and despite the care I was taking, I took a chunk out of the ceiling. Add students to the mix and you really can’t be doing big horizontal swings or long thrusts in a small dojo without damaging the facilities and the people.

    I think geography of the training ground also affects the size of the forms, for the same reason. Kobudo forms have a very small footprint, often no more than two or three steps away from the starting point, while a form like the White Eyebrow staff would take up half a gymnasium, at least!

  2. Stan Meador says:

    I got this book and DVD set for Christmas and I am thoroughly enjoying it! I wanted to enter it in Goodreads, but it didn’t come up in the search by title or by author. A couple of sifu Mancuso’s other books did show up though. Any way to get this book into the Goodreads system? I’d like others to know about it!

  3. Plum Staff says:

    Hi Stan,
    Many thanks! To tell you the truth, I have no idea but will look into it.

  4. Stan Meador says:

    Hi Debbie! I found a way to add the book into the goodreads database. So, it is now possible to add it to book lists and review it there, which I have done. I just wanted to let you know.

  5. Plum Staff says:

    Great, Stan, I’ll check it out and thanks so much!

  6. HR says:

    I really enjoyed Ted’s staff dvd-book. Very solid, well presented. I learned the 9 provinces form a long time ago, but didn’t get the detail this set presents. Much appreciated!

  7. MS says:

    I’m really enjoying reading the staff book I ordered from you guys earlier. Once again you guys have created a quality martial arts tome here: Sifu Mancuso’s teaching style really comes through, and he conveys the staff’s key concepts and it’s usage very well. I’m actually getting a better understanding of it’s use through this than any other book I’ve owned on the subject, and it’s actually giving me confidence that I can actually become decent with the weapon. This is yet another feather in your cap guys; you really do produce some of the best martial arts reference materials on the market.

  8. TM says:

    Dear Mr. Mancuso,
    I was lucky enough to receive your recent book on the art of the staff as a Christmas gift and it has been on my bedside table ever since. After a few months of reading, re-reading and practicing, I’ve come to greatly appreciate not only the time it must have taken to put together this body of work, but to also appreciate the words you used to give a voice to concepts that I was struggling to lend a voice to. I approach staff from a different lineage and tradition, but so many of passages brought back the echoes of my instructors words over the years. Thank you again all of the hard work that went into this product, and for so freely sharing the results of your years of hard work! Tom

  9. A & H says:

    The “STAFF Kung Fu Weapon of Skill” has been our constant companion for months. The content is substantial and very well structured. Five stars!
    Best regards,
    A and H

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