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Emil Andersson




Location: Sweden
Joined: 17 Oct 2010

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PostPosted: Mon 01 Nov, 2010 2:25 pm    Post subject: Axes and Footwork...         Reply with quote

Hello,

I need to keep this brief due to time constraints, but does anyone know of any available resources for studying the
footwork used when dealing with axe or otherwise general pole arm combat? I'm not a practitioner myself, but I believe
the mechanics that apply to sword-based combat would be different when longer weapons with more outward mass is introduced.

Thanks in advance,
Emil Andersson
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Christopher Valli
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PostPosted: Mon 01 Nov, 2010 3:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When it comes to the earlier material, the footwork actually is pretty much the same. Its part of the art- the same body mechanics would be used for longsword, dagger, sword and buckler, poleaxe, unarmored, armored etc etc.
The only thing with long weapons is difficulty crossing the body in guard changes

Asst Instructor, Selohaar Fechtschule

Director, Speaking Window Productions, LLC
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 02 Nov, 2010 7:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And not just for the earlier material. The footwork for sword and staff combat tends to stay parallel with each other even in later periods. There are of course some minor differences, as Chris alluded to, but by and large these differences are pretty easy to overcome once you've learned your foundation.
Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
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PostPosted: Tue 02 Nov, 2010 9:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wouldn't you do this by studying sources on fighting with the pollaxe and other staff weapons? Like Le Jeu de la Hache, Fiore, and the Bolognese teachers. There is not a lot of broad comparative work out there in WMA right now, so you usually have to start with the primary sources.
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Douglas S





Joined: 18 Feb 2004

Posts: 177

PostPosted: Wed 03 Nov, 2010 9:36 am    Post subject: Re: Axes and Footwork...         Reply with quote

Emil Andersson wrote:
Hello,

I need to keep this brief due to time constraints, but does anyone know of any available resources for studying the
footwork used when dealing with axe or otherwise general pole arm combat? I'm not a practitioner myself, but I believe
the mechanics that apply to sword-based combat would be different when longer weapons with more outward mass is introduced.

Thanks in advance,
Emil Andersson


Are you assuming that axes are always longer than swords?
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Christopher Valli
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PostPosted: Wed 03 Nov, 2010 9:54 am    Post subject: Re: Axes and Footwork...         Reply with quote

Douglas S wrote:
Emil Andersson wrote:
Hello,

I need to keep this brief due to time constraints, but does anyone know of any available resources for studying the
footwork used when dealing with axe or otherwise general pole arm combat? I'm not a practitioner myself, but I believe
the mechanics that apply to sword-based combat would be different when longer weapons with more outward mass is introduced.

Thanks in advance,
Emil Andersson


Are you assuming that axes are always longer than swords?


I assumed when he said axe he meant a poleaxe type weapon because of his comment about polearm combat. But even with a single handed axe, the footwork would be the same as the rest of the combat systems.

Asst Instructor, Selohaar Fechtschule

Director, Speaking Window Productions, LLC
www.speakingwindowproductions.com
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Christopher Valli
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PostPosted: Wed 03 Nov, 2010 9:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
And not just for the earlier material. The footwork for sword and staff combat tends to stay parallel with each other even in later periods. There are of course some minor differences, as Chris alluded to, but by and large these differences are pretty easy to overcome once you've learned your foundation.


I thought as much, but I've only skimmed through Meyer so I didn't want to say for sure.

Asst Instructor, Selohaar Fechtschule

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www.speakingwindowproductions.com
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Emil Andersson




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PostPosted: Wed 03 Nov, 2010 10:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for your input, everyone.

It's interesting how you say that the general principles hold true for all/most types of armed combat, although I can certainly see how that is preferable in a practical sense. I have a copy of Paulus Hector Mair's book on Polearms that I bought from Paladin Press some time back, and the same kind of feet postures that you see in sword fencing manuals is shown there as well. It was due to the longer handle and more concentrated weight on these weapons that I figured the body mechanics would behave differently, though I guess that's not necessarily the case.

@Douglas, like Christopher pointed out I was mostly alluding to the longer kind of axes, with a specific one in mind being a sparth axe with a total length of 57''.

Do you know if there's anywhere to view the treatises of axes and polearms online?

Thank you,
Emil Andersson
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Wed 03 Nov, 2010 12:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
Wouldn't you do this by studying sources on fighting with the pollaxe and other staff weapons?


Well, sure, but the vast majority of that material is inclusive (with the exception being Le Jeu). Fiore, the Bolognese, the various Liechtenauer sources, etc, usually don't show the entirety of the staff repetiore because it's ingrained into the entire system. In other words, in order to study the staff presented in those sources, you have to approach the art holistically rather than picking and choosing one aspect of it.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Wed 03 Nov, 2010 12:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Emil Andersson wrote:
It was due to the longer handle and more concentrated weight on these weapons that I figured the body mechanics would behave differently, though I guess that's not necessarily the case.


Don't get me wrong: There is a definite change in body mechanics between different sized weapons, particularly when the weapons have the hands spaced differently. It's just that the differences are not gigantic, and if you understand the particular martial arts system well enough, then the weapon itself is almost an afterthought. There is more alike than dissimiliar.

Quote:
Do you know if there's anywhere to view the treatises of axes and polearms online?


I don't think there is too much that online yet, but here's a wonderful DVD that will give you a good overview of the Poleaxe of the Liechtenauer tradition:

http://www.freelanceacademypress.com/poleaxedvd.aspx

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Thu 04 Nov, 2010 3:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My personal experience with the long daneaxes and glaives is that there is less large steps with these weapons.

Countrary to what might seem logical, practical fighting with cutting polearms does not feature large, sweeping blows as a standard attack. When faced with a pole armed or agressive opponent, these attacks are simply to slow.

Instead of swinging the weapon around your head, you turn it in your hands, and use body mechanics to deliver fast, hard blows from a head forward guard.
The main disadvantage of this guard is that the heavy head of the polearm makes it to slow to "fence" with spears. Once the head is lifted of center, the spearman slips to the side, and stabs you in the face.
For this reason, you frequently see polearm guards with the cue(shaft) forward, in order to block and bind the opponent, before landing a blow.

At 142 cm, your sparth is a bit short for the polearm techniques, but they should give you a decent idea. Two handed sword techniques might also give some clues. (I have a personal theory that two handed swords are seen early and freqently in scandinavia is because the scandinavians are used to the broad grip of an axe.)

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
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PostPosted: Thu 04 Nov, 2010 7:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
Sean Manning wrote:
Wouldn't you do this by studying sources on fighting with the pollaxe and other staff weapons?


Well, sure, but the vast majority of that material is inclusive (with the exception being Le Jeu). Fiore, the Bolognese, the various Liechtenauer sources, etc, usually don't show the entirety of the staff repetiore because it's ingrained into the entire system. In other words, in order to study the staff presented in those sources, you have to approach the art holistically rather than picking and choosing one aspect of it.

I agree, but I would add the commonplace that techniques inferred from another part of the system are less canonical than those explicitly described. Just like evidence from sources other than our main one is. For example, there are no hooks or feints with the butt in Fiore's azza section, so if one wants to include either one has to decide whether they are 'close enough' to the body mechanics and techniques shown in other places (obviously dangerous) ... or study other sources on the grounds that his students already knew the basics of pollaxe combat.

Emil Andersson wrote:

Do you know if there's anywhere to view the treatises of axes and polearms online?

Thank you,
Emil Andersson

Which languages can you read? Most translations and some facsimilies cost money to view. A good starting place is the Online Treatises section of the Schola Gladiatoria forums.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 04 Nov, 2010 7:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
I agree, but I would add the commonplace that techniques inferred from another part of the system are less canonical than those explicitly described. Just like evidence from sources other than our main one is. For example, there are no hooks or feints with the butt in Fiore's azza section, so if one wants to include either one has to decide whether they are 'close enough' to the body mechanics and techniques shown in other places (obviously dangerous) ... or study other sources on the grounds that his students already knew the basics of pollaxe combat.


I think we're actually saying the same thing. Happy My point was not to that someone should study sword sources to the exclusion of pole arm sources; Rather, it was to study an entire system, and not to only look at the pole arms, otherwise you will miss out on the big picture of how pole arms are meant to be used.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Fri 05 Nov, 2010 7:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, I did not say or imply "just look at the sword in two hands and staff weapons and ignore everything else." A few weeks ago I suggested the reverse (learn the basics of the whole system then find a focus) to someone who wanted to skip straight to sword and rotella in the Bolognese sources. Its annoying when I find myself arguing on the Internet with someone I basically agree with over phrasing and emphasis.
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Kel Rekuta




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PostPosted: Fri 05 Nov, 2010 8:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:

I agree, but I would add the commonplace that techniques inferred from another part of the system are less canonical than those explicitly described. Just like evidence from sources other than our main one is. For example, there are no hooks or feints with the butt in Fiore's azza section, so if one wants to include either one has to decide whether they are 'close enough' to the body mechanics and techniques shown in other places (obviously dangerous) ... or study other sources on the grounds that his students already knew the basics of pollaxe combat.
.


Or recognize that the azza section only shows concepts unique to the azza... the treatise builds on everything that came before and regularly refers back to previous sections. Any of the pommel hooks with the sword are mechanically identical to using the foot of the azza or spear. This is not dangerous, academically or physically.

Maestro Fiore gives us plenty without having to detail every single action like a modern cookbook or auto repair manual. It is important that you recognize Fiore didn't create the treatise to teach newbs to fight. He described his experience with a whole art and presented it as foundations and built up levels on them. You need to look at all four versions to see the whole art through the eyes of his students and admirers. Cherry picking techniques that suit your interests will never give you that. Denying the obvious links, especially when Fiore frequently refers to them, is not productive.

BTW, Sean, who do you study with?
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Fri 05 Nov, 2010 8:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
Yes, I did not say or imply "just look at the sword in two hands and staff weapons and ignore everything else."


I didn't mean to imply you said that.

Quote:
Its annoying when I find myself arguing on the Internet with someone I basically agree with over phrasing and emphasis.


I wasn't intending to argue so much as I was simply trying to clarify for Emil that there's more to the system than the sum of it's parts. That's all. I didn't feel like you and I were arguing so much as discussing, and I hope you don't feel any different.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Kel Rekuta




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PostPosted: Fri 05 Nov, 2010 8:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Me either Sean. The "you" in my comments should be considered generic.
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Hendrik De Coster




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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2010 6:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i don't know if everybody could see this and i wished there was a youtube version but here's a movie of Ban Van Koert and Arne Koets fighting with pollaxes in a tournament. to me personally this is one of the coolest fights i've ever seen!
http://www.facebook.com/#!/video/video.php?v=1426359735711
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2010 11:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kel Rekuta wrote:
Sean Manning wrote:

I agree, but I would add the commonplace that techniques inferred from another part of the system are less canonical than those explicitly described. Just like evidence from sources other than our main one is. For example, there are no hooks or feints with the butt in Fiore's azza section, so if one wants to include either one has to decide whether they are 'close enough' to the body mechanics and techniques shown in other places (obviously dangerous) ... or study other sources on the grounds that his students already knew the basics of pollaxe combat.
.


Or recognize that the azza section only shows concepts unique to the azza... the treatise builds on everything that came before and regularly refers back to previous sections. Any of the pommel hooks with the sword are mechanically identical to using the foot of the azza or spear. This is not dangerous, academically or physically.

Maestro Fiore gives us plenty without having to detail every single action like a modern cookbook or auto repair manual. It is important that you recognize Fiore didn't create the treatise to teach newbs to fight. He described his experience with a whole art and presented it as foundations and built up levels on them. You need to look at all four versions to see the whole art through the eyes of his students and admirers. Cherry picking techniques that suit your interests will never give you that. Denying the obvious links, especially when Fiore frequently refers to them, is not productive.

Thanks for explaining about the generic "you" since I'm feeling a mite touchy this week.

I think I will leave that there and not quibble further, since you, Bill, and I are basically in agreement. Renaissance martial arts which teach many choices of weapon are designed to be learned as a whole, and its not practical to teach very different footwork with each form. I will say that "with the butt" in my post modified "feints" not "hooks and feints"; probably a better wording would have been "feints with the butt and hooks with the head". The short azza he prefers might have something to do with one of those ... and he does show hooks and shoves with the blade or handle of a sword, and in one case with the crossguard.

Kel Rekuta wrote:
BTW, Sean, who do you study with?

Previously the Lynx Sword Study Group (and intermittently the Victoria Sword School) in Victoria BC; now the AES Calgary.
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