Dragonstaff Skill Trees

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

The Dragonstaff Skill Trees are currently split into 3 trees for ease of use. Chi Rolls, Horizontal and Vertical. Currently I am happy to display the first two only. 

Chi Rolls Skill Tree

Click here to jump to the Chi Rolls Skill Tree!

New interactive version ready to use!

Vertical (and others) Skill Tree

Based around the staff spinning in the vertical plane, this tree will eventually provide a nice guide.

This is very much a work in progress, so if you're a techy person, take a look here.

Here is the older Dragonstaff Tricktionary on youtube: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5gfCsdBXIsaL7_xjaiicIfY8XWYlj5kZ You can find many of the techniques in the vertical skill tree here.

Here is an old version of the Dragonstaff Tricktionary on youtube: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5gfCsdBXIsaL7_xjaiicIfY8XWYlj5kZ You can find many of the older techniques in the skill tree here.

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!

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 sequences and 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 (beginner): Introductory and Foundational techniques. Trick-based learning.

Competent (Intermediate): Trick-based learning techniques based on foundations. Ability to link tricks and make sequences.

Proficient (Advanced): Begin to form a holistic viewpoint.Understand families of movement. Understand the principles and theory behind the previous techniques.

Expert: Have an intuitive grasp of families of techniques. Use an analytical approach to understand different techniques. Combine previous techniques into an encompassing vision.

Master: Self guided innovation, adaptation and intuition. At this stage the practitioner 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.

For the full workshop talk that goes for 70 minutes, click here to download! This is an audio file ~65Mb that is a recording of my "Journey from Novice to Master" workshop. It covers the journey that flow artists go through when progressing from a Novice to Master.