Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Poleaxe: Trial by combat weapon only? Reply to topic
This is a Spotlight Topic Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4 
Author Message
Christian Henry Tobler
Industry Professional



Location: Oxford, CT
Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 690

PostPosted: Tue 15 Apr, 2008 9:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all,

I wouldn't start axe work with 'La Jeu', but with Kal, Talhoffer, and Falkner for the German school, and Fiore, Vadi, and the Anonymous Bolognese treatise for those working with the Italian tradition.

La Jeu has some ambiguities in the technical terminology that we don't fully understand yet - for one, some question whether the 'queue' is really the extreme tail end of the weapon, or the haft in general. La Jeu is a great text, and has some really interesting and unique things, such as dealing with left-handers, but it's better approached from a more seasoned vantage point. I'd learn some poleaxe basics before playing with it.

Kal & Talhoffer on the other hand show opposing guards, basic parries, and sundry follow-on actions with both the blade/hammer and the points. Falkner, who I hope to bring to print sooner than later, shows some neat plays, including one that drives up the butt from lower right to parry a high attack. Finally, there's a little-known anonymous German text on the axe that appears in the addenda of the Vienna copy of Kal - this will appear in my next book, along with photographic interpretations. The Selohaar Fechtschule's poleaxe curriculum draws from all of the above sources.

As I said above, the Italian sources include Fiore, Vadi, and the 'Anonymous Bolognese' treatise. Fiore gets a bad rap regarding the poleaxe, with some citing that includes only a handful of plays and therefore "Fiore doesn't like the axe." That's misleading, as he has already laid out the principles you need for most weapons by this point in his highly self-referential treatise - all he's doing, or needs to do, in the axe section is give you those things that are specific concerns for that weapon...the rest you already should know. Vadi, I believe, largely follows those plays shown by Fiore - but we have the blessing of a high-quality facsimile and translation already available in English.

The Anonymous Bolognese text is apparently a fantastic source for the axe and the Chicago Swordplay Guild's Greg Mele draws much of his axe instruction from it. If you're interested in that, I'd suggest dropping him a line.

As for Waldman...he's probably drawing from Anglo's opinion, which is nothing short of bizarre to me. Anglo says that that the poleaxe seems relatively harmless to armoured opponents. It's really the complete opposite, and so much so that making a 'safe' poleaxe simulator for bouting is all but impossible; anything shaped like a poleaxe generally performs like one: dangerously! Control, and respect for the weapon, are a must, even in substantial harness. That's likely why it was the province of real hard-case tourniers like Jacques de Lailang. And Dr. Anglo must clearly be ignoring the gazillion manuscript illustrations showing these weapons wielded in battle, some of which have been posted here.

It's too bad, because most of Waldman's book is outstanding. I wish there was more, and more accurate, stuff on the poleaxe. I would however call his study of the halberd 'definitive'.

All the best,

Christian

Christian Henry Tobler
Order of Selohaar

Freelance Academy Press: Books on Western Martial Arts and Historical Swordsmanship

Author, In Saint George's Name: An Anthology of Medieval German Fighting Arts
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Joined: 21 Aug 2003
Likes: 10 pages
Reading list: 13 books

Spotlight topics: 7
Posts: 5,911

PostPosted: Tue 15 Apr, 2008 10:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anglo! I knew I'd seen this idea somewhere before but couldn't recall where. I'll put in yet another plug for Waldman, though. Get his book while you can, folks! You might think it's expensive now, but just wait a few years.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Shawn Henthorn




Location: Amarillo TX
Joined: 25 May 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 144

PostPosted: Tue 15 Apr, 2008 5:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christian Henry Tobler wrote:
Hello all,

I wouldn't start .

La Jeu has some ambiguities in the technical terminology that we don't fully understand yet - for one, some question whether the 'queue' is really the extreme tail end of the weapon, or the haft in general. La Jeu is a great text, and has some really interesting and unique things, such as dealing with left-handers, but it's better approached from a more seasoned vantage point. I'd learn some poleaxe basics before playing with it.


Christian

Well just some random conjecture on my part: the queue is a type of lance cradle so I would assume it would mean the
end of the haft (like the part of a lance that would fit in the queue). Its most likely way off but it got me to thinking Happy
View user's profile Send private message
Greg Mele
Industry Professional



Location: Chicago, IL USA
Joined: 20 Mar 2006

Posts: 356

PostPosted: Wed 16 Apr, 2008 9:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the main thing to remember with the axe is that you'll need to survey a few sources to really round out your curriculum, as only Le Jeu treats the poleaxe a principle weapon.

Christian already hit all of the basic axe sources. Pietro Monte also includes a bit here and there on the axe, but it isn't really a system he is presenting.

The Anonymous Bolognese author's axe treatise is really an ideal starting point for the Italian tradition, as it reduces the system to two guards - each with a right or left lead variant - and basically divides it's corpus into several short sequences on how to strike first with the head, and then how to counter that, how to right with the axe head forward and use the hooks of the weapon, and finally, how to use feints and the like. You learn a couple of cool, fundamental throws and disarms, and a unique counter to the collar throw. All in all a very concise system, and easy to then pick up dei Liberi's instructions.

Speaking of Fiore, here is a fun fact. The "Lord Galeot" mentioned presiding over the duel between Richard Beauchamp and Pandolfo Malatesta is Galeazzo da Mantova - one of dei Liberi's students, and himself known for his spear duel with Marshal Bouccicault. Small world, eh? Wink

Greg Mele
Chicago Swordplay Guild
www.chicagoswordplayguild.com

www.freelanceacademypress.com
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Felix R.




Location: Germany
Joined: 08 Oct 2006
Reading list: 25 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 555

PostPosted: Wed 16 Apr, 2008 1:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you so far.
Is there alink or other source for the Bolognese manuscript?
View user's profile Send private message
Greg Mele
Industry Professional



Location: Chicago, IL USA
Joined: 20 Mar 2006

Posts: 356

PostPosted: Thu 17 Apr, 2008 2:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Felix R. wrote:
Thank you so far.
Is there alink or other source for the Bolognese manuscript?


Hi Felix,

(BTW, I really like how your harness is evolving! Who made the gauntlets?)

The "Anonymous" is not available online or in translation. However, if you read Italian it was published in an Italian edition by Marco Rubboli, and he has or had a transcription of the poleaxe section available on his website: www.achillemarozzo.it

I plan on publishing an article on the poleaxe material - in English, obviously - later this year.

Best,

Greg

Greg Mele
Chicago Swordplay Guild
www.chicagoswordplayguild.com

www.freelanceacademypress.com
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
David E. Farrell




Location: Evanston, IL
Joined: 25 Jun 2007

Posts: 156

PostPosted: Thu 17 Apr, 2008 3:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg Mele wrote:

I plan on publishing an article on the poleaxe material - in English, obviously - later this year.


*ears perk up*

glad to hear the axe is gettin some love Razz

Any idea where this article will be published?

AKA: 'Sparky' (so I don't need to explain later Wink )

For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother
-- King Henry, Henry V, William Shakespeare

Before I came here I was confused about this subject. Having listened to your lecture I am still confused... but on a higher level.
-- Enrico Fermi
View user's profile Send private message
Fabrice Cognot
Industry Professional



Location: Dijon
Joined: 29 Sep 2004

Posts: 354

PostPosted: Fri 18 Apr, 2008 2:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christian Henry Tobler wrote:
La Jeu has some ambiguities in the technical terminology that we don't fully understand yet - for one, some question whether the 'queue' is really the extreme tail end of the weapon, or the haft in general. La Jeu is a great text, and has some really interesting and unique things, such as dealing with left-handers, but it's better approached from a more seasoned vantage point. I'd learn some poleaxe basics before playing with it.




Well if I can help on that specific point, Christian : there is no ambiguity in Le Noble Jeu de la Hache about what is the queue : the extreme tail of the weapon (the part of the haft under your left hand, if you hold it 'right-handed'). There might be ambiguities in Anglo's translation, however, which might have led people to think what you state. But reading from the original French, it's quite clear.


Also : Le Jeu does not deal with left-handers per se, but with people holding their poleaxe with their left hand near the 'big end' - as sometimes you see it appearing in period sources, chronicles, fictional works and the like.



Le Jeu is an excellent starting point for poleaxe, IMO, as it contains the basics, the advanced and the something-in-between. It covers quite exhaustively the use of this weapon (leaving aside wrestling with the poleaxe however), dealing with all of the possible situations you might encounter (ie 'tour de bras' vs the 'head' guard, tournde bras vs the 'tail' guard, thrusts with the dagger against 'head' guard, and so on, and so on) in a very organised, well-thought way.

PhD in medieval archeology.
HEMAC member
De Taille et d'Estoc director
Maker of high quality historical-inspired pieces.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
David E. Farrell




Location: Evanston, IL
Joined: 25 Jun 2007

Posts: 156

PostPosted: Fri 18 Apr, 2008 4:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fabrice Cognot wrote:

Also : Le Jeu does not deal with left-handers per se, but with people holding their poleaxe with their left hand near the 'big end' - as sometimes you see it appearing in period sources, chronicles, fictional works and the like.


From what relatively little I know of the axe, I would have been surprised if a text mentioned 'left handed' axe users specifically, as it is clear in at least Fiore's MSs (the only ones I have spent any time studying) that one should know how to use either hand as the lead - making the axe sort of an 'ambidextrous' weapon compared to say the longsword. In fact, this aspect of it is one of the things that I think make it such an interesting and nuanced weapon.

AKA: 'Sparky' (so I don't need to explain later Wink )

For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother
-- King Henry, Henry V, William Shakespeare

Before I came here I was confused about this subject. Having listened to your lecture I am still confused... but on a higher level.
-- Enrico Fermi
View user's profile Send private message
Christian Henry Tobler
Industry Professional



Location: Oxford, CT
Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 690

PostPosted: Fri 18 Apr, 2008 6:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Fab!

Fabrice Cognot wrote:

Well if I can help on that specific point, Christian : there is no ambiguity in Le Noble Jeu de la Hache about what is the queue : the extreme tail of the weapon (the part of the haft under your left hand, if you hold it 'right-handed'). There might be ambiguities in Anglo's translation, however, which might have led people to think what you state. But reading from the original French, it's quite clear.


Ok, good to know. I don't work with La Jeu anymore (it's been, oh, five years now), so I've only heard what I've heard second hand. I must say that only makes sense, as I recall no other technical term there that *would* have been the tail of the axe, were it not 'queue'.

EDIT: I just realized that I've stupidly been referencing the wrong thing - it's the demy-hache that I'd heard debated, not the queue! Can you give me your current read on exactly what part of the axe this refers to?

Quote:
Also : Le Jeu does not deal with left-handers per se, but with people holding their poleaxe with their left hand near the 'big end' - as sometimes you see it appearing in period sources, chronicles, fictional works and the like.


That too makes more sense - thanks. The most common matchup between guards, after all, in German texts is one guy in vom Tag, with his right hand leading on the axe vs. another in what looks most like Nebenhut on the left, his left hand leading.

Quote:
Le Jeu is an excellent starting point for poleaxe, IMO, as it contains the basics, the advanced and the something-in-between. It covers quite exhaustively the use of this weapon (leaving aside wrestling with the poleaxe however), dealing with all of the possible situations you might encounter (ie 'tour de bras' vs the 'head' guard, tournde bras vs the 'tail' guard, thrusts with the dagger against 'head' guard, and so on, and so on) in a very organised, well-thought way.


From my days with it, it did seem the positioning of the guars was ambiguous. If I'm missing something here, can you cite a passage where the actual positioning is described?

In any case, I'm glad there are folks working still with this unique Burgundian work - the only thing we have from that part of Europe from the late medieval period, to my knowledge.

Thanks for the info!

All the best,

Christian

Christian Henry Tobler
Order of Selohaar

Freelance Academy Press: Books on Western Martial Arts and Historical Swordsmanship

Author, In Saint George's Name: An Anthology of Medieval German Fighting Arts
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
Sean Hayes




Location: Eugene Oregon
Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Fri 18 Apr, 2008 3:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fabrice Cognot wrote:
...there is no ambiguity in Le Noble Jeu de la Hache about what is the queue : the extreme tail of the weapon (the part of the haft under your left hand, if you hold it 'right-handed'). There might be ambiguities in Anglo's translation, however, which might have led people to think what you state. But reading from the original French, it's quite clear.


Hi Fabrice-

Thanks for that clarification: we've been wondering about just that point. Wink Another we've wondered about is Anglo's comment:

"The intersection of the head and the haft is referred to as la croix which, in turn, is sometimes distinguised from la croisee which I take to mean transverse spikes."

Does this, like queue, actually mean the part of the weapon forward of the lead hand?

Thanks!

Sean Hayes

Sean Hayes
Maestro d'armi
Northweast Fencing Academy
http://www.fencingacademy.net


Last edited by Sean Hayes on Fri 18 Apr, 2008 4:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
Sean Hayes




Location: Eugene Oregon
Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Fri 18 Apr, 2008 3:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg Mele wrote:
Speaking of Fiore, here is a fun fact. The "Lord Galeot" mentioned presiding over the duel between Richard Beauchamp and Pandolfo Malatesta is Galeazzo da Mantova - one of dei Liberi's students, and himself known for his spear duel with Marshal Bouccicault. Small world, eh? Wink


Here's an image of that scene:

http://www.imagesonline.bl.uk/results.asp?ima...age=006496

Sean Hayes

Sean Hayes
Maestro d'armi
Northweast Fencing Academy
http://www.fencingacademy.net
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
Fabrice Cognot
Industry Professional



Location: Dijon
Joined: 29 Sep 2004

Posts: 354

PostPosted: Fri 18 Apr, 2008 6:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christian Henry Tobler wrote:
EDIT: I just realized that I've stupidly been referencing the wrong thing - it's the demy-hache that I'd heard debated, not the queue! Can you give me your current read on exactly what part of the axe this refers to?




IMO the part between your hands, half way down the haft.

Reasons for me to be afirmative about that are the language, as it is consistent with comparable ways of saying things at the same period, and also the fact that using this part as the demy hache doesn't hamper any of the techniques - while trying to use any other part as the demy hache gives debatable - if ever martially sound - results.




Quote:
From my days with it, it did seem the positioning of the guars was ambiguous. If I'm missing something here, can you cite a passage where the actual positioning is described?


It's hardly described at all. You only can know there are two different guards, Garde de la Queue and Garde de la croix (also called Garde de la Dague). The exact feet and body placement - and even more important, hands placement - is not described at all, but you can get clues by seeing other positions and looking at how techniques can or cannot work starting from such or such a position (and never forgetting you're fighting in armour).


Apologies for not saying more, but at less than a week from the HEMAC event in Dijon, my time is hardly mine at all.


Quote:
In any case, I'm glad there are folks working still with this unique Burgundian work - the only thing we have from that part of Europe from the late medieval period, to my knowledge.


Thanks. Still working on it. More to come on that topic, provided I can find time.

PhD in medieval archeology.
HEMAC member
De Taille et d'Estoc director
Maker of high quality historical-inspired pieces.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Fabrice Cognot
Industry Professional



Location: Dijon
Joined: 29 Sep 2004

Posts: 354

PostPosted: Fri 18 Apr, 2008 6:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Hayes wrote:
Fabrice Cognot wrote:
...there is no ambiguity in Le Noble Jeu de la Hache about what is the queue : the extreme tail of the weapon (the part of the haft under your left hand, if you hold it 'right-handed'). There might be ambiguities in Anglo's translation, however, which might have led people to think what you state. But reading from the original French, it's quite clear.


Hi Fabrice-

Thanks for that clarification: we've been wondering about just that point. Wink Another we've wondered about is Anglo's comment:

"The intersection of the head and the haft is referred to as la croix which, in turn, is sometimes distinguised from la croisee which I take to mean transverse spikes."

Does this, like queue, actually mean the part of the weapon forward of the lead hand?

Thanks!

Sean Hayes



I don't really agree with Anglo's comment.

Both terms are equivalent (though croisee es also used in the text when both weapons are crossed).

So basically, the croix/croisée, also referred to as le gros bout (the big end) is the part where most of the iron is Happy (means you're right, provided the axe is held righ-handed, in the Garde de la croix)


Cheers

Fab

PhD in medieval archeology.
HEMAC member
De Taille et d'Estoc director
Maker of high quality historical-inspired pieces.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Christian Henry Tobler
Industry Professional



Location: Oxford, CT
Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 690

PostPosted: Fri 18 Apr, 2008 6:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Fab - perhaps we'll get to talk more about this after Dijon. Have fun at the event!

All the best,

Christian

Christian Henry Tobler
Order of Selohaar

Freelance Academy Press: Books on Western Martial Arts and Historical Swordsmanship

Author, In Saint George's Name: An Anthology of Medieval German Fighting Arts
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
Sean Hayes




Location: Eugene Oregon
Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun 20 Apr, 2008 10:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fabrice Cognot wrote:
I don't really agree with Anglo's comment.


Fabrice-

Thanks - very much appreciated! It's helpful to hear your view as a native speaker and practitioner.

Sean

Sean Hayes
Maestro d'armi
Northweast Fencing Academy
http://www.fencingacademy.net
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Poleaxe: Trial by combat weapon only?
Page 4 of 4 Reply to topic
Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4 All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2019 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum