Polearms and Swords
Hey, all! This is my first post to this forum. I have experience in Japanese staff work as well as some of George Silver's manuals on polearm use. I was wondering, which sword style would have the most similarities with polearm use; in other words, which style would be easiest to learn in terms of bearing similarities to polearm use?
Well IIRC Silver says that the two handed sword is used much like his short staff. So perhaps you could look at some of the Italian spadone or Iberian montante material.
The author of Pallas Armata (1639) had this to say about common foundational skills (emphasis mine):

"I have fitted my self to the times, in speaking only of single Rapier and single Sword, being that the Dagger, Gauntlet, Buckler are not in use, and because that the Rapier and the Sword are the grounds of the less noble weapons. The Rapier of the Quarter Staff, of the long Pike, of the Halbard: the Sword, of the two handed Sword, and of the Falchion, so that a man who can play at single Rapier and BackSword well and judiciously, may with great ease learn to handle the rest of the weapons. There be some that will hold that a man having a long arm and consequently a long reach hath a great advantage of a short man, that hath neither so long a reach nor so long a Rapier as he, but if I should make bold to maintain the contrary against those, I should perchance be held to deliver a Paradox, which indeed is no Paradox but to the unskillful: In BackSword-play a long weapon may be advantageous, in Rapier-play it is not, if he that hath the shorter weapon doth but always thrust close to his adversaries weapon: But if two play together that are both unskillful, then he that hath the longer Rapier doubtless hath advantage, because they thrust far off from one anothers' Rapiers."
Almost all of the 15th and 16th Century German manuals say that the foundation of everything is from longsword. Some other manuals say grappling, or the messer.

Everything is indeed related, and you can probably start from any of the more versatile weapons and branch out from there to the more specialized, depending on what system you are using.

There are some important differences between polearms and swords though and I would think in general your best, and by far the most common starting point for polearms of all kinds would be some kind of staff, rather than a sword.


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