The humble staff may be the oldest weapon known to most sentient species, save for a handheld rock. Almost anyone can pick up a long stick and swing it with all their strength. Using the principle of leverage, the end of the staff, traveling at full speed can hit with a surprising amount of force, breaking bone, tearing tendon and traumatizing soft tissue. The staff, expertly wielded, can also be a barrier that a foe armed with a shorter weapon would have a difficult time breaching. A hand held six foot long staff can be a weapon up to eight feet away and as close as touching distance. Held in both hands and presented strongly, a staff is an excellent weapon for both offence and defence.
Staves have traditionally been made from some form of hard wood, although bamboo and rattan also makes excellent staves. Modern materials such as lightweight metals, polycarbonate and other synthetic materials can also be used to make a staff. In more traditional, the finding of a suitable tree to harvest a limb from to be used in the creation of a staff is a rite of passage. The ideal wood should be light, yet strong and flexible, although not excessively so in order to maximize the applied force on impact. In some cultures, fighting staves are carved and decorated to show the deeds of the wielder, or soaked in special plant based solutions to harden and toughen the wood. A staff that has been treated in this way is highly resistant to cuts from bladed implements and is greatly valued by its owner.
A good staff for fighting is typically eighty to one hundred twenty percent the height of the wielder. There are as many different martial traditions utilizing staves as there are dialects spoken in the galaxy. At least one culture utilizes fighting staves that can be separated into three sections, each connected by a short length of cord or light chain. One advantage of a staff is that it can pass uncommented through checkpoints where more obvious weapons would be confiscated. A metal shod staff is nothing to sneer at, even in this age of blaster and powered weapon combat.