Typology of GRABONG
A typical Free-Warrior GRABONG is an even, body-long long staff made of heavy hardwood. Antique war staffs were additionally covered with braided steel wire or riveted with metal plates to better withstand sword blows.
Common and relatively widespread were simple staffs (Plong), fishing spears (Hog), and spears and glefs captured on battlefields (Twoun, Twoun Song Nahh, Ngauw and Ngamm). Also muzzle loading rifles could be used like staffs in an emergency, if there was no time to reload. Nowadays the weapons used by GRABONG-Warriors are mainly billiard cues, broomsticks and street signs.
Quarterstaff fighting in the sense of GRABONG requires a pure harmony of movement between body and long staff, which must not hinder each other during the fight. This requires different handling and turning techniques from and to each body position. They clearly differ from artistically influenced staff turning techniques (juggling, spinning, fire stick, etc.).
It is said that the art of expertly guiding a GRABONG is to move a bulky object such as a long stick so skilfully that it appears soft as a rope and thus effortlessly overcomes the opponent’s defense. A snake knows no obstacles. A GRABONG can be used one-handed and two-handed. The entire length of the staff is used for attack and defense.
Although the GRABONG is a relatively long weapon with a correspondingly high range, it is rarely used in this way. Unlike other stick fighting styles, GRABONG does not necessarily require a free space. GRABONG was expressly designed for use in confined and obstructed environments (e.g. in the jungle or on the battlefield). The fighting distance of the bodily weapons (fist, foot, elbow and knee) is extended by the staff. Conversely, the unarmed fighting methods contained in the GRABONG (especially the kick techniques) represent a shortening or addition to the staff fighting techniques. Similar to DAAB, the GRABONG uses the center of rotation of the weapon to divert the force of an enemy attack into a counter technique.
An experienced GRABONG-Warrior knows how to deal with long staffs and body length objects of all kinds. He incorporates both bodily weapons and ground fighting into his fighting style. Through his handling techniques he switches between different hand positions and distances. On contact he manipulates the opponent’s weapon in his favor. Multidisciplinary trained GRABONG-Warriors can alternately wield their staff like a quarterstaff (full stick length), a (Thai-)sword (half stick length) or a knife (a sixth stick length). He uses knowledge from LING LOM to apply leverage techniques or to disturb the opponent’s balance.