The most popular weapon in ancient China
The staff, or as it used to be called, the "Eyebrow height stick" was the most popular weapon in ancient China. People always had to defend themselves against bandits or wild beasts and the stick as a part of domestic life was always on hand. And circumstances themselves made suggestions. Very soon the staff became the basic weapon. From that indefinite time the staff technique started to be developed in China. Cheapness and quick production are big advantages of this weapon. Another good thing is its length, because it is much safer to fight from the distance of 2 meters with an enemy than just 1 meter.
The staff as a weapon was very popular for centuries, and it is still used for body developing. Exercises with the stick improves coordination and attention, and strengthens arms and back muscles.
You have to keep in mind that the mastering of the staff as well as other kinds of weapons can be begun only after many years of preparation. And this is correct. Chinese tradition supposes: 'first learn to control the body and establish a moral base, then take a weapon into your hands'.
The 'eyebrow height stick' is the main weapon of Shaolin monks. Some people think that Shaolin Kung Fu was born from the staff mastery technique, but this is a very disputed issue. Actually, the taolu for fight training with the staff was developed a little earlier than the 'fists' forms, but this can not be considered as the defining factor because in Chinese Kung Fu the principles of movement are more important than forms. Nevertheless the staff has always been the favorite weapon of Shaolin monks. Historical documents confirm that monks with staffs were fighting in many battles with Japanese pirates. And the memorial stones in Shaolin temple still keep the notes about the feats of one master with q staff, who fought off the attacks on the temple in the time of the Red Turban Rebellion. This and many other feats of the monks glorified the Shaolin staff among people in all of the Celestial. The amount of forms has been rising and now there are over 50 of them. Examples: Shaolingun (Shaolin's staff), Shaohogun (annealed in fire staff), Basyangun (the staff of eight immortals).