GRABONG – traditional staff fighting in Berlin

GRABONG (staff, quarterstaff) is traditional armed combat with body length objects such as quarterstaves, spears or broomsticks as improvised weapons.

Southeast Asian wanderers and monks have always used simple bamboo sticks to transport provisions and luggage. According to the legend of Zaiyuh, it was the monk Tang Gam Jang who, when he brought the Buddhist teachings to China, passed through the Nanjauw region populated by the Thai, using a magic long staff.

But it is more likely that resourceful Pahuyuth Free-Warriors have used such staffs much earlier for protection against waylayers and wild animals.

A typical free warrior GRABONG is an even, about body length long staff made of heavy wood. Ancient war staffs were additionally covered with braided steel wire or riveted with metal plates to withstand sword blows.

The special feature of the GRABONG are the complex turning techniques, which distinguish this unique discipline from most staff fighting methods and make it possible to use it in narrow or obstructed environments. It is said that a good GRABONG-Warrior can move his long staff so skilfully that it looks as supple as a rope.

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.

The fighting style of GRABONG

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.

grabong stock kampf langstock sparring berlin hof

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.

grabong stock kampf langstock faust fuss ellenbogen knie

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.

grabong stock fight langstock bang racharn front loader rifle

A Free-Warrior from Bang Racharn. Front loader rifles could be used like staves in an emergency if there was no time to reload.

grabong stock kampf langstock bang racharn Kopie

A heavy pestle for rice (Saak Dam Kauw) from Bang Rachan. An experienced GRABONG-Warrior knows how to deal with long staffs and body length objects of all kinds.

Grabong stockkampf staff fighting technik technique Kopie

A snake knows no obstacles – it is said that a good GRABONG-Warrior can move his staff so skilfully that it looks as supple as a rope.

Quarterstaff Handling

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Quarterstaff Techniques

Pahuyuth compendium grabong techniques staff quarterstaff

GRABONG students of the basic level (green belt) learn 142 school techniques.

Technical Manual

Pahuyuth kompendium techniques handbook square

The Pahuyuth Compendium contains the 142 school techniques of GRABONG.

Book trailer

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The Pahuyuth Compendium is the new technical handbook for the basic level. It contains the basic techniques of MUAI, LING LOM, MEED, MAI SAWK, DAAB, GRABONG and SABAI.

Grabong, not Krabong

After the execution of King Tak Sin in 1782 AD, the ancient Pahuyuth Free-Warriors retreated from the public. They went underground and took the knowledge about Thai staff fighting (GRABONG) with them.

Decades later, during the reign of King Rama II (1809-1826 A.D.), members of the royal family developed a stage fencing for noble people, which was to serve as “game, sport and entertainment”. The so-called Krabi Krabong.

Because the Krabi Krabong, unlike the GRABONG, has never been used in war, but is falsely declared as an ancient martial art, we always use the spelling with “G” at the beginning.

Detailed information about Krabi Krabong and its history can be found in our blog article.

Grabong Quarterstaff Fighting 101

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In this video from the Pahuyuth beginner’s course a teacher introduces the students to the grabong (long staff) and shows the differences between show and fight handling.

Grabong Quarterstaff Handling for Beginners

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In this video from the Pahuyuth beginner course a teacher shows first exercises and techniques for quarterstaff handling. A grabong is rotated with one or two hands around the entire body.

Grabong Quarterstaff Attack Techniques for Beginners

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In this video from the Pahuyuth beginner’s course a teacher shows striking and stabbing techniques with the long staff for beginners.

Grabong Quarterstaff Defense Techniques for Beginners

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In this video from the Pahuyuth beginner course a teacher shows staff fighting defense techniques for beginners.

More GRABONG

Grabong 103 applications archiv featured
Grabong training booklet 1996
Grabong unterrichtsheft 2 1978 featured
Preliminary stage five disciplines 1996 featured
Grabong 116 Techniques 1998 featured online
Grabong vorgruen heft 1996 featured
Grabong online featured

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