The Irish beat each other with shilelaghs, the English drew blood with singlesticks and quarterstaves, the French wielded canne and baton. The Portuguese still play at jogo de pao and the Italians had the bastone. The Germans, however, showed no interest in wooden weapons, at least after the Fechtschul traditions of dussack and assorted staff weapons (most of which with a blade of one kind or another) had disappeared. How come?
Oh, alright, there are exceptions. Fechtmeister Josef Feldmann published a Leitfaden zum Unterrichte im Rappier-, Säbel-, Bajonet- und Stockfechten in 1882. But what was presented in his book was Italian bastone, much as Paschen’s slim 1660 instructions for the Jägerstock were derived from French examples.
In his Die Fechtkunst auf Stoß und Hieb (Braunschweig: 1802), Georg Venturini provides a plausible reason—and a rare description of the weapons!—why this may have been the case. (Despite his last name, Georg Venturini’s approach and cumbersome sentence construction is strictly German.):
“Because of the complete protection of the fist, the fencer habituates himself to sloppy parries against cuts against the hand; he does not acquire the arm strength necessary required by the direction of the cut, and never learns to cut sharp. This is the reason why fencers used to wooden weapons usually hit flat with the proper Hieber, and open themselves up to dangerous time cuts of the opponent who notices this.” (Venturini, 152.)
Since his book is directed at Officers and military academies, Venturini had the soldier in mind, who may have had to fight rather than fence, and incapacitate an enemy —Venturini uses Feind instead of Gegner (opponent) throughout the book—with sharp hits. But his advice to start with a middle-weight basket- or bell-guard steel weapon with blunted edge was just as useful to the students who were in the process of adopting Meister Christian Kastropp’s Göttinger Hieber for their cut Mensuren.
After all, especially here, a flat hit is a wasted cut.