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The History of Contact Staffs

Momo Bonobo

Contact staff is a prop used in the flow arts community. The staff is spun around the body in a variety of patterns, and it can be used to create beautiful and flowing movements. The “contact” part of “contact staff” refers to any techniques or tricks to flowing with a staff without using your hand to hold onto it.

The history of contact staff is a bit murky. Some people believe that it originated in China with the fei-cha, where it was used as a martial arts weapon. In this way, contact staff and dragon staff have a shared history (see The History of Dragon Staffs). Other communities it pulled inspiration from were bo staff spinners and baton twirlers. Whatever its origins, contact staff became popular in the flow arts community around the 1990s. Contact staff also became popular as a fire prop, and it is now one of the most popular fire props in the world.

There are many different styles of contact staff. Some people focus on creating intricate and complex patterns, while others focus on creating more fluid and flowing movements. There are also many different techniques that can be used with contact staff, such as rolls, wraps, and pinches.

Key Points from the History of Contact Staff

  • It’s believed to have originated in China with the fei-cha and and is also inspired by bo staff spinning and baton twirling.
  • Contact staff became widely popular in the flow arts community in the 1990s.
  • There are many different styles of contact staff, and many different techniques that can be used with it.
  • Modern contact staffs are generally made of aluminum or carbon fiber, although some builds can also use steel, pvc, or wood.

Although it can be a challenging prop to learn, there are many beginner friendly staff spinning moves you can do which don’t require doing contact. This way you can sprinkle in new contact moves into your flow as you learn them. If you don’t have a contact staff already, check out what we have in stock here!

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