19th century Zen Master Nantenbo was tough on discipline, using his famous stick to hit his students (today, of course, this would be labelled abuse, obviously, but it pays to look past this for a moment. Nantenbo was a respected teacher. Students were often looking for masters that could harden their character).

Besides discipline, the stick also had another function. Advanced meditatiors know that a sudden startle can snap them into a deeper state of meditation, as the confusion brought on by the startle gives them a moment when they do not overthink what they are doing.

Nantenbo was also an established artist. In this post we see a marvelous ink painting depicting his staff.

the great world history book stephan dinkgreve japan zen meditation nantenbo staff startling

"The Great World History Book"