Dragonstaff Skill Trees

Know what to learn, when! Know exactly how to build up to the techniques you want!

The Dragonstaff Skill Trees are split into 3 trees for ease of use. Chi Rolls, Horizontal and Vertical. Currently I am happy to display the first two only. Each tree is then split into a simplified and full version. The simplified version is all that's needed to progress through the art of Dragonstaff. Those who would like the full version be warned - they are a little overwhelming at first! I suggest you start with the simplified version and only view the full version when you are comfortable with the simplified tree!

Chi Rolls Skill Tree

Know what to learn, when! Know exactly how to build up to the techniques you want! Click here to download an image of the skill tree. An interactive version, with clickable links to videos coming soon!

As videos are completed for the skill trees, they will go up on Patreon first! Public release will be months behind, so if you'd like to support this project and get early access to all the information, click here!

Horizontal Skill Tree

Based around the staff spinning in the horizontal plane, this tree will guide you through all you need to know! Click here to download an image of the skill tree. An interactive version, with clickable links to videos coming soon! Support me on Patreon to help get it out sooner!

What are the Skill Trees? How do they work?

The Dragonstaff Skill Tree is a step-by-step method of learning that guides a student through the skills needed to progress all the way from a beginner dragonstaffer to master.

The skill trees are not "trick" trees. They do not contain all the tricks available. They provide the skills needed to learn tricks. They guide you through the learning process to gain a solid understanding and working knowledge of Dragonstaff. This knowledge can then be applied to learn any other trick or variation you encounter with ease, as you will have a solid foundation. Ultimately, you will have the knowledge and ability to create your own Dragonstaff tricks and become a Dragonstaff Master!

Each box has a "demo" and "tutorial" button. These buttons will link you to a video or playlist with tutorials to learn!

The symbol integrated into the top right of each box refers to either Novice, Competent, Proficient or Expert. Based upon the learning theory below, each of these tutorials is tailored to the student's journey. For example, the Novice tutorials are based around "Here is a trick. Learn the Trick." Competent tutorials are a little more difficult, and introduce the ability to link tricks and create choreography. Proficient level tutorials include theory around variations and more complicated concepts. Expert level tutorials use an analytical approach to guide you through linking all previous skills and using working theory to create an encompassing vision.

Learning Theory for the Skill Trees

Shu-Ha-Ri is a way of thinking about how you learn a technique. The name comes from Japanese martial arts (particularly Aikido), and various individuals have used it as a way of thinking about learning techniques and methodologies in many areas of life. My focus is on the Flow Arts, which I have adapted to: Learn. Explore. Create.

The idea is that a person passes through three stages of gaining knowledge:

Learn: In this beginning stage students learn the teachings of a technique precisely. They concentrate on how to do the task, without worrying too much about the underlying theory. If there are multiple variations on how to perform a technique, they concentrate on just the one way the instructor teaches them.

Explore: At this point students begin to explore the prop at a deeper level. With the basic practices working they now start to learn the underlying principles and theory behind the technique. They also start learning from others and integrate that learning into practice.

Create: Now the students aren't learning from other people, but from their own practice. They create their own approaches and adapt what they've learned to their own particular circumstances.

The fundamental idea here is that when teaching a concept, you have to tailor the style of teaching to where the learner is in their understanding and that progression follows a common pattern. Early stages of learning focus on concrete steps to imitate, the focus then shifts to understanding principles and finally into self-directed innovation.

There are other expressions of this style of learning. I rather like Clark Terry's formulation of this model: Imitate, Assimilate, Innovate. A more nuanced approach is the Dreyfus model. It is a combination of these variations that I base the skill trees around. A person passes through 5 stages of knowledge acquisition when on the journey to mastering a new skill:

Novice: Introductory and Foundational techniques. Trick-based learning.

Competent: Trick-based learning techniques based on foundations. Ability to link tricks and formulate routines.

Proficient: Begin to form a holistic viewpoint. Employ maxims for guidance that adapt to the situation. Underlying principles and theory behind the previous techniques.

Expert: Create an intuitive grasp of families of techniques based upon prior understanding. Use an analytical approach to understand different techniques. Combine previous techniques into an encompassing vision.

Master: Innovation, adaptation and intuition. At this stage the student is learning and creating from their own ideas and practice . They adapt what they've learned to their own particular circumstances.

By understanding these various stages of learning, the tutorials that I create are given a designation from Novice to Expert. This way a student can understand the type of tutorial it is and hopefully it will be tailored to their current level of progression and understanding of the prop.