WMA - Spear Work

Western(esse) Martial Arts / Numenorean Martial Arts....

Combat and self-defense in Middle-earth

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Greg
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WMA - Spear Work

Postby Greg » Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:19 pm

Tolkien said very specifically, on more than one occasion, that Rangers were skilled with spear, bow, and sword. All three. I've been shooting a bow my whole life, dinking around with swords for most of that, and studying swordplay intensely for about a year now.

Not once have I picked up a spear, even in practice, save to mount a spearhead/carry it around a little bit. I really want to genuinely follow Tolkien's ideal of a Ranger, so I suppose it's high time I started working on that.

The thing is, I've only ever seen this short page of plates regarding spear work. The guy who posted these images is NOT a WMArtist, he's a modelmaker, who looks at pictures to get ideas for dioramas. Not what I'm looking for. His descriptions aren't perfect, and I daresay this set of exchanges is incomplete. Can someone link me to a better description of Spear work? For that matter, does anyone know whose fightbook these came from? The people don't look like Talhoffer's dudes...

http://www.thortrains.com/getright/drillspear1.html

To finish this up, anyone got suggestions for a light contact practice spear? I've got a few matched 6' long paint roller handles that I thought I might wrap the ends in foam and duct tape before covering with a tennis ball...any input?
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Beornmann
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Re: WMA - Spear Work

Postby Beornmann » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:24 pm

Cold Steel article

SCA Spear fighting

Irish Single Handed Spear Fighting Combat Guide

Viking Spear

Spear Fighting Within The Vikings

Spear: The Real Melee Killers

Cold Steel Challenge Spear Fighting Gallery

I also saw a class listing from a WMAW Workshop:
A German Spearman's Primer
Instructor: Christian Tobler, Selohaar Fechtschule
Class Category: Medieval Martial Arts
Class Length: 90 min (12 Sat 1:00pm-2:30pm)
Experience Level: Everyone welcome
Intensity Level: Moderate
Pre-Requisites: None, but some familiarity with other schools of polearm combat or Liechtenauer's art is a plus.
Required Equipment: Mask, gloves, and a rubber-tipped spear (some may be available on-site).
A staple of the medieval battlefield, tournament, and dueling lists, the spear is one of man's oldest weapons, and a mainstay of the tradition of Johannes Liechtenauer. This class will include methods for fighting with long and short spears, drawing from the commentaries in the Sigmund Ringeck and Peter von Danzig Fechtbücher, as well as illustrated sources such as Hans Talhoffer, Paulus Kal, and 'Gladiatoria'.

Search spear at on http://www.thearma.org for articles. I read a little at The Fight-Book of Hugues Wittenwiller

bo staff or quarterstaff play works well with a spear shaft.
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Greg
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Re: WMA - Spear Work

Postby Greg » Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:00 pm

Wow, I suck at searching.

Thanks a million!
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Re: WMA - Spear Work

Postby mcapanelli » Sat Aug 14, 2010 2:53 am

You could also pick up "Fighting With The German Longsword" by Christian Tobler. It has a spear section in the book and shows you how the longsword techniques cross over for all of the weapons of the list. In essence he uses the Longsowrd as a foundation for all the other weapons. So if you've been studying from Toblers work then you kind of already know how to use a spear, more or less.
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Greg
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Re: WMA - Spear Work

Postby Greg » Sat Aug 14, 2010 4:56 am

Sweet! Tobler is the man!
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Re: WMA - Spear Work

Postby Beornmann » Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:57 pm

Also fencing has very similar mechanics, especially defending the line, parries, and attacks.

Also found
Fencing With Spear and Sword: Medieval Armored Combat, By Hugh Knight
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Re: WMA - Spear Work

Postby Pwyll » Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:30 am

For some variety, I'll throw out Meyer, who has a section on Pike, as well as David Lindholm's book, "Fighting with the Quarterstaff". Many of the techniques are very similar. Staff, spear, or other pole weapon, all very similar. Lindholm covers Swetnam, Meyer, Silver and others.
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Re: WMA - Spear Work

Postby Beornmann » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:20 pm

Near is the hour when the Lost should come forth, And the Grey Company ride from the North.
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Re: WMA - Spear Work

Postby Steve b » Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:13 pm

Most of my spear training comes from work with the Japanese naginatas and yaris. I've added European quarterstaff to that, to round things out. I've also got a lot of experience with the European pike, but since that's 18 foot long and designed to be used in a block, it's not quite the same. My preference has always been for a spear that has a cutting edge as well as a point. Much easier to cut on the backstroke if you miss with the thrust.

I do wonder what is meant by 'skilled with the spear'. Single spearmen do not fare well against shieldmen, especially agressive shieldmen. Run in fast, block the point with the shield until you are inside the reach, and then it's pretty much over. I would not want to face an orc shieldman with a spear. Is there any indication that the spears were used in a block, similar to the ECW or Swiss pike blocks?

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Re: WMA - Spear Work

Postby Greg » Wed Sep 15, 2010 6:52 pm

I haven't read any references that would indicate that, but I CAN imagine that, were a ranger carrying a spear to find him/herself encountering an opponent armed with sword and shield, they'd probably ditch/throw the spear, and draw a more practical weapon to deal with the assailant.
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Re: WMA - Spear Work

Postby E.MacKermak » Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:19 pm

Unless of course the person is using short spear and shield like a Saxon or Viking style as opposed to the later period. Even then they would carry a close work weapon for backup.
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Re: WMA - Spear Work

Postby Steve b » Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:10 pm

I guess that's where I find this a bit confusing. The spear is a battlefield weapon. Whether fought as the Celts did, throwing the spear, or as a short spear used with shield, both of these are designed for open combat. My understanding of the Rangers is more of a stealth force and carrying spear in the woods would just seem to get in the way. Hell, even my longbow is a pain to carry in the bush, that's why I'm looking for something shorter. Same thing would apply, I think, for the longsword or even some bastard swords.

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Re: WMA - Spear Work

Postby kaelln » Thu Sep 16, 2010 2:04 pm

Steve b wrote:I guess that's where I find this a bit confusing. The spear is a battlefield weapon. Whether fought as the Celts did, throwing the spear, or as a short spear used with shield, both of these are designed for open combat. My understanding of the Rangers is more of a stealth force and carrying spear in the woods would just seem to get in the way. Hell, even my longbow is a pain to carry in the bush, that's why I'm looking for something shorter. Same thing would apply, I think, for the longsword or even some bastard swords.

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Our founder, Andy, said something similar on his Meranger.com site when it was still up:

"As for Rangers working in the Third Age, a big sword would more times than not be too cumbersome for day to day activities. I prefer a shorter blade such as the Longseax I carry. It was made by Paul Champagne. We both wanted something practical in size but big and beefy enough to engage a full size blade."

Andy's Longseax had a 22" blade, and I'm guessing was about 30" overall.

My take on gear in general is that Rangers would have had the equivalent of several kits. For example, a winter kit, a summer kit, a kit for long travel, a kit for daily patrols around a fixed camp, and a war kit. Some items would be multiple purpose, such as a fire starting kit, while others would only be used in specific circumstances, such as heavy armor. This implies a permanent base of some sort that the Ranger may be away from for long periods of time, but that is visited from time to time. Aragorn seems to have used Rivendell for this purpose.
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Re: WMA - Spear Work

Postby Steve b » Thu Sep 16, 2010 2:39 pm

Understood. I have a Caucasion falchion of a 28 inch blade and a shell guard cutlass of 26inch blade, both rigged to hang vertically. These are my preferred weapons. As I put my Ranger kit together, I've acquired a Hanwei Practical cross hilt, as that seems to be the common style. I'm less than impressed, though, since the angle carry gets in the way more often than not.

The multiple kit idea is interesting. To put a spear or half pike into a war kit would make much more sense than having it as a woods weapon.

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Re: WMA - Spear Work

Postby Greg » Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:45 am

kaelln wrote:My take on gear in general is that Rangers would have had the equivalent of several kits. For example, a winter kit, a summer kit, a kit for long travel, a kit for daily patrols around a fixed camp, and a war kit. Some items would be multiple purpose, such as a fire starting kit, while others would only be used in specific circumstances, such as heavy armor. This implies a permanent base of some sort that the Ranger may be away from for long periods of time, but that is visited from time to time. Aragorn seems to have used Rivendell for this purpose.
This is well-said, and is more or less what I aim for. When I'm out trekking, I only carry half a dozen arrows at most right now. If I were to be going to war, I'd load every shaft I had in my quiver. I don't always wear my chain maille, but I certainly would if I knew I was headed for trouble (knowing me, I should keep it on...lolz) As for winter wear, nearly all of my clothing items have a parallel piece in an opposing material, back and forth between wool and linen, based on the weather/season. I most certainly haven't worn my fur mantle this summer, but you can bet it'll be on every time I go out from the first rain until Spring this season.

Having a flexible kit is one of the most important things I've picked up since joining here. The same stuff doesn't work for everything, so I stick to a few basic guidelines and then work out from there. Guidelines such as "Bring fire, food, tools/weapons, and shelter, not necessarily in that order" tend to work well for rounding out a solid kit. Weather/mission/goal demanding more than what those few things can provide? Expand.

Case in point, to bring this full circle back to the topic at hand (see, I didn't hijack!) I'm not carrying a spear all the time. But I AM carrying a makeshift quarterstaff sometimes now...especially if I have a lot of flat terrain I'll be crossing, or if I've left my sword at home. If I'm going through the hills/mountains, to hell with it. But even if I leave my spear at home 90% of the time, I'll be darned if I don't know how to use it.
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