So you've heard of the mighty and mythical fire breathing dragon, but what is a dragon staff? Who invented the dragon staff? What size dragon staff should you get? In this article, we'll answer all the questions you never even knew you had about dragon staff!
If you’re keen to learn how to spin dragon staff, want to know more about dragon, or want to connect with other dragon tamers, there is a handy Facebook group dedicated to dragon staff. They also have some helpful guides and tutorials that are worth checking out.
Enter the Dragon
What is a Dragon Staff?
The dragon staff is similar to a contact staff (an evenly weighted staff with full length grip that's heavier than a spin staff) but it has spokes on each end. The key focus of movement with a dragon staff is maintaining a continuous rolling flow along the arms and body. In order to assist with these rolling contact movements, the length of a dragon staff will be covered in grip.
A dragon staff will often have three, four, or more spokes at either end which help with rotational inertia. The spokes also create incredibly stunning effects and pattens when the staff is rolled across the body, especially when the spokes are on fire.
Many dragon tamers enjoy this prop because it feels great to spin, offers a full body workout, and is an excellent tool to help spinners get into flow state (in the zone). Plus it just looks awesome!
Photo by Evgeniya Litovchenko
Important Elements of a Dragon Staff
There are two things that are extremely important with dragon staff. First, the weight distribution, and second, the grip.
While the total weight of a dragon staff is important and can influence the way it moves - heavier heads tend to be easier for beginners as the weight gives feedback that can be felt, while lighter heads give more freedom of movement and longer flow times due to less physical exertion - the total weight is not as crucial as the weight distribution.
Because of the techniques used with dragon staff, it’s extremely important that the ends are weighted equally, and that they are the same distance from the centre of the staff. The spokes also need to be centred, in order to get a good, smooth roll. Without even weight distribution and centred spokes, your dragon will spin wonky and be challenging to tame.
The grip on a dragon is an essential tool in keeping the staff in contact with the body as it’s being spun and rolled. The entire shaft of a dragon staff should be covered with grip, the thicker the grip, the better.
Here are a few of the more common grips, and their pros and cons.
Pros: tacky and stays tacky, easy to clean
Cons: thin so can tear easily, slippery when wet, prone to pulling hairs due to its tackiness
Pros: tacky and gets tackier with age, range of thicknesses available, squishy and soft on the skin
Cons: can tear if it contacts a sharp object, leaves black residue on skin, needs to be replaced with considerable use
Pros: medium tackiness, lots of choice, easy to find
Cons: inconsistent quality, tackiness declines quickly, needs to be replaced often
How to Train Your Dragon
What Size Dragon Staff Should you get? Is Dragon Staff Hard to Learn?
A good way to find the right size dragon staff for you is to measure from the ground to your nose (or anywhere between your eyes and your chin).
A dragon staff closer to chin length will allow you to switch planes (check out our flow glossary) and execute certain moves easier, but you run a higher chance of the spokes colliding with your head.
A dragon staff closer to eye length will give you a bit more freedom with your movements, although you may find the spokes hitting the ground more often.
As for the question of 'is dragon staff hard to learn?' Well, it all comes down to how much time and practice you're willing to put in! As with any flow prop, the ease of learning dragon staff will differ from person to person. While dragon staff will be a little trickier to learn than spin staff, if you put in the practice, you'll see the results. There are a ton of tutorials available online, and you'll probably find a dragon tamer in your local fire and flow group who would be willing to give you a few pointers.
Reign of Fire
The History of Dragon Staff - Who Invented Dragon Staff?
Many people believe the dragon staff originated from the Chinese martial art, Fei-Cha (using a trident, or fork style staff). While there are similarities between the two props, and Fei-Cha has been the inspiration for many dragon staff techniques, this is not actually the case.
The inventor of the dragon staff is Gora Krisztian, who came up with the idea in 2002. Gora says the idea was an accident, and that they didn’t learn about Fei-Cha until after coming up with the dragon. Gora just wanted “a crazy staff with lots of flames”, and so the dragon was born.
In 2005, Gora first introduced the dragon staff to the fire scene at the European Juggling Convention in Ptuj, Slovenia. At the time, it was simply called ‘10 headed’ but Gora soon changed the name to ‘Dragon Staff’ because it sounded cooler, it fit the amazing appearance of the prop, and dragons are the most powerful fantasy creature.
Source: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dragonstaff/permalink/2887279234715121/ (comments made by Gora Krisztian, with support from other community members)
Keen to become a Dragon Slayer?
If you’re keen to learn how to spin dragon staff, you can order your very own dragon staff right here!