The Shaolin monks have practiced the hand and staff forms for thousands of years. The word “monk” is a synonym of peace, of compassion, of harmony, of intelligence, but above all of a great responsibility towards people, helping others, sharing the philosophy with others and understanding the suffering of others. It is for this reason that when the Shaolin monks needed to go to war, to stop violence, or were forced to fight, they avoided using weapons that could easily kill people, such as swords or sabers. It was better to use Chin Na or Dim Mak and in extreme cases, to use the staff to knock out the opponent. They hoped that when he woke up, the opponent would realize that his fighting was unnecessary, and understand that killing others is bad. At worst, when he woke up, there would be nobody there. The monks said that the fallen man should realize that his fighting had been useless and learn from that. This way he would become a better person.
In addition to this, the Shaolin staff became a very common tool. When monks traveled, they did not like to carry weapons, but a good staff is also a good tool to move obstacles on the way, jump across a stream, or to use as a cane when one is tired.
The staff’s flexibility is important factor, since it obtains some additional strength as it is waved towards a target. Also, though the staff may not be sharp like the a sword or poi
nty like a spear, it has the same effects when it is used as such. A direct blow given as if it were a spear may be just as powerful. It also enables the practitioner to swiftly attack from different directions.