GRABONG – Traditional staff fighting

GRABONG (quarterstaff) is a traditional weapon-based martial art, that uses body long objects, such as staffs, quarterstaffs, spears or even broomsticks as improvised weapons.

Ever since southeast Asian wanderers and monks have used simple bamboo staffs to carry provisions and luggage – or to defend themselves against waylays and wild animals.

According to the legend “Zaiyuh” it was a monk named Tam Gam Jang, who repeatedly used a magical long staff, while traveling through the area of Nunjauw in order to bring Buddhist teachings to China.

But more likely is that Pahuyuth free warriors have used such staffs ever since to defend themselves against way layers and wild animals.

A typical free warrior GRABONG is an even, body long quarterstaff made from solid wood. Ancient war staffs were additionally coated with metal wire meshes or plated with metal in order to provide resistance against sword blades.

The specialty of GRABONG are the complex spinning techniques, that distinguishes this unique discipline from most other staff-fighting martial arts and allows to use long weapons in close-quarters or difficult terrain.

It is said, that a good GRABONG warrior can make a bulky long staff look as smooth and flexible as a rope.

A snake …

Typology

A typical Free-Warrior GRABONG is an even, body-long quarterstaff made of heavy hardwood. Antique war staffs were additionally covered with braided steel wire or riveted with metal plates to better withstand sword blades.

Common and relatively widespread were simple staffs (Plong), fishing spears (Hog) and glefs captured on battlefields (Twoun, Twoun Song Nahh, Ngauw and Ngamm). Also muzzleloading rifles could be used like staffs, if there was no time to reload. Nowadays mainly billiard cues, broomsticks and street signs or scaffolding poles are used by GRABONG warriors.

Quarterstaff fighting in the sense of GRABONG requires a pure harmony of movement between body and staff, which must not hinder each other during the fight. This requires different handling and turning techniques from and to every position. Those techniques differ clearly from artistically shaped stick turning techniques (juggling, spinning, fire stick, etc.).

It is said that the art of handling a GRABONG is about moving a bulky object like a long staff so skilfully that it appears as soft as rope and thus effortlessly overcomes the opponent‘s defence. A snake knows no obstacles. A GRABONG can be used single-handed and with two hands. The whole 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 staff fighting styles, it does not necessarily require an open space. GRABONG was explicitly designed for use in narrow environments (e.g. in the jungle or on the battlefield).

The effective range of the body‘s own weapons (fist, foot, elbow and knee) is extended by the quarterstaff. Conversely, the hand-to-hand elements of GRABONG (especially the kicking techniques) represent a shortening or supplementation of the staff techniques. Similar to the DAAB, the GRABONG uses the centre of rotation of the weapon to divert the power of an opponent‘s attack into a counter technique.

An experienced GRABONG warrior knows how to handle quarterstaves and body-long objects of all kinds. He incorporates both, bodily weapons and ground fighting, into his fighting style. With his handling techniques he swiftly changes between different hand positions and distances. On contact or impact he manipulates the opponent‘s weapon in his favour.

A multidisciplinarily trained GRABONG warrior can alternately use his staff like a quarterstaff (full length), a sword (half length) or a knife (sixth length). He also uses knowledge from LING LOM to apply leverage techniques or to disturb the opponent‘s balance to gain an advantage.

Quarterstaff Handling

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Staff fighting techniques

Pahuyuth compendium grabong techniques staff quarterstaff

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

Pahuyuth compendium techniques handbook square

The Pahuyuth Compendium contains the 142 school techniques of GRABONG.

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The Pahuyuth Compendium is the new technical handbook of 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 free warriors retreated from the public sphere. They went underground and took their knowledge about ancient Thai staff fighting (GRABONG) with them,

Decades later, during the reign of King Rama II. (1809-1826) members of the Royal Court developed a stage fighting style for noble people, supposed for “fun, sports and entertainment”. Its name was Krabi Krabong.

As a matter of fact Krabi Krabong has never been deployed in war (nor was it created for such a purpose), but it is often falsely advertised as an ancient combat martial art.

GRABONG on the other hand is an actual combat martial art. For this reason we spell it with a “G” instead of a “K”.

For more detailed information about Krabi Krabong and its history, check out our blog article about this topic.

The untold history of krabi krabong

Quarterstaff Training in Berlin

You are interested in quarterstaff fighting and want to learn GRABONG at the Pahuyuth School in Berlin?

Pahuyuth has a traditional training and teaching concept with belt steps. The aim of our teaching method is to provide a well-founded and safe martial arts education in the physical as well as the mental sense. At the same time we want to prevent that dangerous knowledge gets into the wrong hands and can cause damage.

The entrance requirement for the discipline GRABONG is the Pahuyuth student status (green belt), which requires passing the entrance examination.

Admission to the entrance examination again requires a participation in the trial student course.

Interested? Then visit our trial training page!

… kennt keine Hindernisse.

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