Beginners part 1, Selecting a staff

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Selecting a staff   Next Page  >

Short Staff

They are short and light usually, much easier to transport, easier to carry around to practice. Very good for baton style moves. Lots of little spins around the place. Good for doubles when you are learning, not so good for contact, because they are not very heavy, but it is possible. They do also need to be pushed a lot which means to keep the spin going you need to exert a lot more force and they are easier to burn yourself with as there are flames really close to you the whole time. It is also hard to hurt yourself when practicing if you whack yourself there is not a lot of kinetic energy behind it. It is not going to bump and leave a bruise as much as a long staff. A short staff is generally shorter than twice your arm length.

Long Staff

They are harder to transport unless they break down. They are really good for speed and for contact moves which roll around the body. The weight allows it to have its own momentum. It is harder to burn yourself, but much easier to whack yourself and leave bruises. The length of the staff can limit the number of moves you want to do, particularly if it is going to keep hitting the ground. So it is particularly a good idea to not have it much taller than yourself, but there are lots of people who have it taller than themselves and really enjoy it. Ground to shoulder height is a good length to start with.

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Comments/replies: 4
Member #57667
Reged: Aug 2007
11th Oct 2009 4:39 AM 

Would any one care to offer more insight on the sizing of double staffs?

I just finished making my first pair, I'm 6'2" and found that when placed in to my arm pit, the staff ends 4 inches past my fingers, I think they're about 3.5 feet long. When held in the middle, the wick is a streached finger span from my armpit, this allows ample room for under the arm work.

Bloody hell where is my ruler?

Member #140899
Reged: Oct 2011
21st Sep 2012 4:58 AM 

I am a 5'5 female and a beginner in contact staff. Not sure my height from my shoulder down as I probably would like to order the staff that length. What wieghts would you recommend for me? I'm unsure on this part, I don't want it to be too light or heavy as I need the right momentum on learning the contact moves.

Member #160263
Reged: Oct 2012
24th Oct 2012 10:38 AM 

The correct sizing for double staffs depends on what tricks and styles you are going to apply. From the measurements you are describing, it seems that you are looking for staffs for "tech" style (using anti-spins) and moves with negative space (moving the end of the staff through your armpit and the space between your shoulder and neck)

For "tech" the ideal measurement is a bit shorter than double the length from your palm to your armpit. This way you can do tricks that involve negative space. I'm 5'10 and use 1 meter staffs for this kind of style.

For a combination of tech and swing style (rotating the staff with your wrist as the axis point), I use staffs that are a bit shorter than double the length from my palm to the middle of my chest. This way I can do some tech tricks, but the staff are long enough that swing style tricks look ok. Mine are 1.20 meters in length

For pure swing and contact style double staffs, I use staffs that are a bit shorter than double the length from my fist to the ground. (This way they don't hit the ground when I have my arm down while spinning). The longer length allows for more fire on my staff and looks much cooler than the small wicks used for tech. My big doubles are 1.45 meters.

Staff size is very personal to your own style and body. If you're serious about staff, I suggest you learn to build your own and experiment what happens with different lengths, weights, and thicknesses. When I play around with someone else's staffs I discover different tricks because of the nature of the staff's qualities. Thicker and heavier staffs give an advantage to contact style tricks. Lighter and thinner staffs give an advantage to speed and swing style tricks. With faster spinning you can have more fire on your staff because the flame is drawn away from your hand by the rotation of the staff. Thinner staffs allow for finger tricks that add rotations to almost any trick, but they tend to bend easily if you drop them.

Good luck and happy spinning!

Member #160263
Reged: Oct 2012
24th Oct 2012 10:47 AM 

Heavier contact staffs will generally make contact moves cleaner, since the staff will have more of it's own momentum. However, they do whack you harder than the lighter ones! What I recommend is for you to get an aluminum staff with wooden inserts to weight the ends. In general, the larger the difference in weight between the center of the staff and its ends (ends being heavier), the slower the staff with spin and the more control you will have. If the center has more weight because of the material of the staff (steel) or if the whole staff has a core, the staff will spin faster and be less stable for contact.

If you are just beginning and are mostly going to practice without fire, I recommend you get a lighter staff of the length you want and add weight to the ends by taping strips of bicycle or car innertube to the ends. That will protect your wicks while you practice and allow you to explore what weight you prefer.

Comments/replies: 4