Da Bang (大棒) and Jia Dao Gun (夾刀棍)

Chinese Quarterstaff
A Da Bang and a detached Ya Zui, from 'Ji Xiao Xin Shu (《紀效新書》)'.
A Da Bang (大棒, 'Big club' or 'Big staff') , also known as Gun (棍, staff) or Bai Bang (白棒, 'White club' or 'White staff') is the Chinese version of quarterstaff. It measured seven chi in length and three jin eight liang in weigh. The Chinese had a long history of using quarterstaff as battlefield weapon, especially in Northwest China.

The Jia Dao Gun (夾刀棍, lit. 'Staff with clamped blade') is a modified Da Bang devised by general Qi Ji Guang (戚繼光) after he discovered the difficulties of using a quarterstaff on horseback. A short blade measuring two to five cun in length called Ya Zui (鴨嘴, lit. 'Duck beak') is mounted on one end of the quarterstaff so that it can be used like a short spear while mounted.

11 comments:

  1. So Jia Dao Gun is a basically short spear?

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    1. I just call it bladed quarterstaff, since it doesn't mount a proper spear head......but yeah, it technically counts.

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  2. How do you use Jia Dao Gun?

    Strike it like a staff or stab it just luke spear?

    How this weapon different from both of weapons?

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    1. Both, depending on the circumstances. Generally it is used to stab when mounted, and used to stab/hit when dismounted.

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  3. is there any reason that ming army favor quaterstaff over other conventional polearm?

    and after fall of ming tradition of use quaterstaff as battlefield weapon is no more?

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    1. It's hard to say they "favoured" quarterstaff, they just considered it as one of the many choices of pole weapons.

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    2. I should've said they tend to see them as legitimate weapons of war which is not a case in many other countries (ie western Europe) and its quite unique to china and i wonder why becsuse it is cheaper thsn other polearm or for antu armor purpose or simply because they can

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    3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SodHe2uNOWk
      You can view this youtube video to see some speculations on why quarterstaff wasn't common on the battlefield.

      Based on his points, I think I can give you a reasonable guess on why it was used in China:
      1) The issue of "not enough space" will not be a problem when said quarterstaff is used by cavalry, since cavalry generally fought in looser formation than infantry. This was indeed the case in China.
      2) From my observation/reading of Tang period Tongdian and Ming military treatases, it seems that quarterstaff was most often used by second and third-line troops like archers, crossbowmen, handgonners, and porters. These troopers tend not to bunch tightly together like frontline troops as well.
      3) A big part of the battlefield purposes of quarterstaff seems to be hitting at horse face to cause the rider to fall down, and finish off downed enemy.
      4) Da Bang often comes with a small blade attachment (i.e. Jia Dao Gun), so it makes a passable thrusting weapon without sacrifiing its effectiveness in hitting stuffs.

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    4. do you think quaterstaff has more generous striking proportion than other polearm is something add on that

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    5. No idea as I have never handled one. The opinion from Qi Ji Guang treatises is that a larger blade will upset the striking capacity of the shaft, so the shorter the blade, the better.

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    6. @s ss It might be rare in Europe, but such weapon aren't unheard of in other parts of the world, like for instance in the Americas. I read somewhere that Spanish conquistadors recorded that the native Mapuche people of South America used a type of hardwood club that measures 6 ft to 9 ft in length, and can knock down both armored man and horse.

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