"there was a friendly bout at quarterstaff"

Quarterstaff is the name for both a form of stick fighting and the long wooden pole the assailants weild against each other. For many years, this weapon — which was between six and nine feet long and sometimes tipped with a metal spike — was the common man’s main means of combat. Opponents assumed a sword-fighting stance and, through a series of thrusts and parries, used the staff as both a rapier and a spear. Read a succinct account of the quarterstaff’s history here.