For the last seven years I have dedicated myself to the study of Joachim Meyer's combat arts, and his quarterstaff in particular. In this I have had some very good friends accompanying me over the years in my club, and also some in other parts of the world.

While the handling of lighter weapons like rapier or longsword can be reminiscent of solo dancing, handling heavier weapons like the quarterstaff, halberd or Zweihänder is more like partnered dancing or figure skating, where your weapon is your partner, both moving in perfect synchronicity. The need for proper mechanics and timing is greatly emphasized with these heavy and powerful weapons and with good mechanics you more guide your weapon, following it with your body and often just nudging it into a new trajectory, as a dancing partner.

This of course also connects to the handling of both longswords and single-hand weapons like the dusack and the same mechanics should also be applied to them, in Meyer's teachings, although with these it is easier to cheat and force things with improper mechanics.

Unfortunately not many practice Meyer's polearms although every Meyer student should. For that reason I have decided to start recording a very informal series of videos showing some of the core principles of the mechanics and footwork involved, to help get people started, possibly digging deeper into techniques and more advanced concepts in an extended series.

So get yourself a staff, either a regular bo, or an ash or oak staff of about 180-22cm x 3cm in size. Oak is more fun as it is heavier, but ash safer for later sparring.

I have also set up a short 2 hour workshop to accompany this, focusing on the same topic, as a partner to the 4-5 hour full workshop that goes through all of Meyer's staff techniques and mechanics. Both these will be taught at several events this year.

And anyone interested is of course also always welcome to come and practice with our club. I can promise you a lot of fun.

So, without further ado, here is the first video, very informal and completely ad lib, showing the core mechanics rotating the hips and shoulders to generate power with as little effort as possible. All power comes from such rotation, and very little from the arms.


And yes, this was shot after the Saturday morning class and I had slept on my face, for which reason my beard clearly points to my right side. Will comb it properly before next shooting. 🙂

Also, my stance is often a little bit too high as I speak. Still need to practice and build even more strength in the legs.

Part 2 can be found here: Basic Meyer Quarterstaff 02: Long and short edge

Roger Norling
Roger Norling is an instructor on Joachim Meÿer's Halben Stangen (Quarterstaff) with the Gothenburg Free Fencer's Guild (GFFG).

Starting with the Gothenburg Historical Fencing School in 2008, he is since 2015 a member of the GFFG. His main focus in his research is the "Kunst des Fechtens" and primarily the longsword, dussack and polearms. He has been focusing on the works of Joachim Meÿer since 2009. In this he has enjoyed collaborating with the Meyer Frei Fechter Guild and in May 2013 he became a Fechter of the MFFG.

Currently, he is writing on several books which will explore the teachings of Joachim Meyer, as well as on pedagogics for teaching martial arts.

He is the creator behind the three sister sites, Water on a Rock, an online journal on philosophical ponderings, and and shares his experiences and knowledge in articles on both sites.

He regularly lectures on topics related to HEMA, and teaches workshops on Meÿer quarterstaff, dusack and longsword at various HEMA events around the world. For more about this, read his instructor's profile.