Spear usage


right now this video is about Spears I don’t actually have a spear here with me I decided to be a little bit dangerous be wielding my what I’ve got is a an 8 foot length of Dowling but it’ll do the job of illustrating playing the part on a spear now 8 foot is about the longest a one-handed spear can be and there were of course longer Spears but they weren’t real inning in quite the way that I am talking about the style of sphere I’m talking about is one that you could use in melee as an individual with one hand my reenactment society many years ago did make a nine-foot spear and nobody could wield it and there were some guys much bigger and heavier than me in the society and they get they gave it a go and it was considered to be just unwieldy by pretty much everyone so 8 foot seems to be about the longest that you can you can use in one hand and some of these smaller weaker members of the society even didn’t like eight footers now the principle point I’m going to be arguing is that I think that most of the time spears were used underarm not overall now it’s very important for you to understand exactly what I mean by underarm versus overall so let me try to make it clear over arm I have the little finger of my hand closest to the enemy that I’m trying to hurt and my the back of my hand is away from my head and I’m using the spear like this overall okay whereas underarm that’s the other way around and my little finger is further away from the enemy and I’m using the spear like this now I can use the spear underarm down here or up here it’s still this still counts as underarm okay even if the the the spear is above my shoulder it’s still but the way I’m holding it is still underarm okay so that’s what I mean by underarm now I believe that spears were normally used not exclusively used but normally used underarm for several reasons now the first is reach Spears are good because they are long that’s their that’s their stick that’s the unique selling point they can’t punch as hard as an axe or a mace then others wieldy as a sword they don’t have great you can’t really chop with one again haven’t the other blade on them isn’t really very useful all you can do is thrust but they are long and that’s that’s how they they are better than other weapons so if the enemies got load of swords and we’ve got Spears haha then we won’t be able to get nearest now if I hold a spear under arm I can hold it with my elbow very close to the end here like that and that’s perfectly that’s perfectly stable in my hand okay so here you can’t see it of course but there’s an awful lot of spear sticking out the front there and like of course I get the length of my arm as well like that and I get length of my lunge which you can’t fully appreciate either but if you have the eight eight-foot spear – most of a cubit there plus length of my arm and the lunge it’s I don’t know it’s going to be at least 15 foot reach I’ve got with this thing if I use it under arm and if I use it under arm I can poke downwards at the guys feet I could put upwards at his face and I can poke not the guy opposite me not the guy next to him but the guy – away from him over there off or the guy have to avoid this even night you know – away from him down the road that way I’ve got a lot of choice in what I thrust that if on the other hand I hold my spear over arm I have to hold it in the middle and I’ve now got very limited range for start I’ve now only got a 4-foot spear cuz I’m holding in the middle and if I want to thrust at someone’s feet that’s extremely affect he right seriously he’d have to be standing only about two paces very carefully standing within swords reach of me easy sword reach of me for me to get him in the foot and to get him in the foot look how awkward my position is and it’s a really weak thrust as well okay these foot really isn’t a viable target anymore isn’t he yeah I could but it wouldn’t be very easy I can get him in the belly sure I could get him from the belly upwards definitely no problem I can’t I could get the guy next to him with a bit of awkwardness if I if I step down them out of the lieth of my formation a little bit then I could get the guy I decide of him but the guy’s either side of them know they’re out of reach so my angles of attack are fewer my thrust from most angles is much weaker a Mitch of the I can do a very strong thrust there’s one threat if you ever got exactly that he’s standing exactly the right distance from me and I get exactly the right line of attack then I could there is one very strong thrust but other than that all my thrusts are a bit weak and awkward another thing is that because I’m holding it in the middle if you knock the spear sideways this bit of spear sticking out the back is a counterweight that that’s in sympathy with that so knocking sphere here is it’s very difficult to stop the spear spinning that way because the weight of this whopping great counterweight is is helping that that turning motion so someone wants knock aside my sphere with his sword or edge of his shield whatever demands it very very easy um whereas if I got it braced against my arm like this he can knock it aside a bit but it doesn’t go anything like as far and I can bring it straight back come straight back another thing I can do is I can parry with this spear if I’ve got it like this under arm I can parry and not just Spears a thrust aimed at me I can rig a very light match in the volume of air in front of me that I can parry enemy Spears in it’s very large and worthy reenactment most of the pairing you do with your spear isn’t against the tax aimed at you it’s protecting the guy’s either side of you and the guys either side of them I can if anyone does use the reach of his spear to try to attack the guy – to my right he’s going to come across me and I can they just knock his spear up or down I can kind of try to get exhausting after a while because in the long rejecting spear fight they’re doing this raking Spears raking Spears out of the air time and it gets quite tiring but that’s what you got to do so I can parry not just blows against that aimed at me but I can protect all the guys next to me if I use my spear underarm if I use it over arm however I can’t really parry with it at all and I can’t help the guys either side of me much Plus every time this gets knocked don’t forget there were spikes on both ends of Spears okay so I’ve got a spit I got a spike on that end of it and I’m a danger to the guys behind me every time this fear gets knocked so those are some reasons that I believe that the spears we used underarm rather than over arm and there are others oh I just want to make clear as well that if I do if I got shield if I do want to get to over top of an obstacle or although I can just raise the spear I can even take it away from my elbow and thrust quite effectively like that but we would fighting across obstacles quite often have a in the reenactment of sciatica often be holding our spheres up like this and you can you can find out that quite some while and so you know the feeling getting a spear high isn’t particularly a problem with an underarm hold and so you can parry got the reach you’re less danger to your friends greater help to your friends yeah I reckon under arms the way to go

44 thoughts on “Spear usage

  1. Well, there is a clear difference bethween javelins (ment to be thrown with overarm grip) and spears (witch are ment to poke the fuck out of everyone and their neighbours in reach).

  2. "A lot of choice of what to thrust at." That was the Graduate and Professional Students Bar (the Gypsy Bar) at Yale in 1979-192.

  3. I just watched Schola Gladiatoria’s video about this same subject and he brought up a solid point. Using a spear underarm while in a phalanx, or any unit really, becomes troublesome. You don’t have much room behind you unless the bloke behind you doesn’t mind being doink’d in the face and chest each time you retract your spear. Also, you don’t have your midsection available as free real estate when you’re in a phalanx or shield wall since, well, shields are usually covering from shoulder to hips or knees. Underarm seems much more natural and a far better use of the advantages of a spear while not in a formation but what dunce would use a spear when you’re in a mixed melee?

  4. really enjoy your vids. have you ever watched the The Warlord (1965) , it has great armor, the best AX vs Sword fights ever , and spears used correctly. please consider using it in your vids.

  5. I don't agree with this one. Yes, you gain a lot of reach with the underarm grip but your thrusts are weaker and your angles are worse. Everything you said about the foot with the overarm grip is true of the head with the underarm grip. The other thing is that the back end of your spear is much more of a nuisance for your comrades if you hold it underarm.

    Just about everyone who picks up a spear for sparring prefers the underarm grip but in tight formations the overarm grip has many advantages.

  6. Two hoplites talking on training: – Man, I can't trust you being behind me in battle, try to refrain your spear away from my back! – Sorry, dude, I can't help it, there's an awful lot of my spear, sticking out there. 🙂

  7. looking at ancient greek and roman arts, I find overarm usage in duels / skirmishes gladiator fights, while underarm in formations. Logical for me, since a half length of spear between each battle line seems quite unhandy. Especially the greek fought not to kill but to dissolve the enemy phalanx, so it had to be tightly packed and overarm usage takes to much space behind you.
    BUT since spears did evolve everywhere in the world, there where other forms of handling. I remember seeing pictures of celtic / gaul warriors using spears mid gripped, which would enable you to switch underarm / overarm use in a blink. Don't remember though if these pictures where authentic .

  8. Some hints perhaps mate.  I love you as a brother geek for ancient pokey tools, however there are a couple things to take into account as you are not holding a proper spear.  The first thing to remember is a well constructed spear has a butt cap or even just a heavy metal ring at the base to act as counterbalance.  This makes holding it far nicer then faking it out with a staff or pole and if a spear does not have a counter weight, than the spear blades joint with staff should begin at the top of your head or it becomes unwieldy.

    When holding the spear, you should hold it with at least the length of your forearm hanging behind your elbow when you couch the weapon.  The thrust should always begin at the couched set position for full thrusting force.  You will find, if you use an underhanded and properly balanced spear, that couching the spear on your forearm down the nested on the elbow (like an Atl-Atl sp?) the spear is just as versatile as the tucked under-hand position.  You are holding it in the style a javelin, not a spear. this should only be done if your hurling the spear, and again, keeps the same idea as the atl-atl with the spear in line from wrist to elbow.

    When using a two handed grip, forehand is a guide and brace, thumb over fingers curled under on fore-hand if couched down and reverse when couched over the shoulder, for me that would be my left hand.  Your thrusting hand, has the same grip but is held with a sword grip mentality, back of hand facing fully to side away when couched unlike the forehand which has the back of hand at a 35 to 45 degree angle wristed out (or fingers curled further under), rugged and forceful yet also supple and well formed.  The only time you use an over the shaft overhand grip is for setting the spear against a hard charge or when using a long pike which requires the extra upward force of the fore-hand to keep the bloody point off ground.

    Movement of the spear is a whole other commentary ….

    Keep up the fun an amazing adventures mate.

  9. "I can get him in the knee.."
    I used to be a adventurer like u but I got weak spear thrust in the knee!

  10. I wish I could try that out in SCA circles after seeing that video (which I think is good), I used to fight a lot but those days are gone due to wrist damage. I once tried rather unsuccessfully to use a spear one handed with a shield which really was never the norm in the SCA but I was going in naive based on the idea that I would try fighting over hand and the idea I would use it in single combat, and when it didn't work well I caved to the popular opinion that it was not a great idea and that those vases were a javelin stance, which they may have been

  11. I made a video about fighting against a Spear or Polearm…
    with a Shield or Buckler.
    https://youtu.be/KyOgBxEr5CA

  12. I know I'm just now looking at your videos, and I'm enjoying them. I've always believed that the only guys with shields were on the front rows. the guys in back were the ones doing all the sticking and the ones in front were doing many things. Knocking away spear points from the enemy, knocking bodies off of the spears of their companions so they can keep on sticking, sticking the bodies to keep fakers from coming alive behind them, and actively hammering into the shield wall in front of them. So I suspect the front ranks were operating with shorter one handed spears while the guys in back were two handed thrusting. Esp when you consider how much force it takes to pull out a stuck in spear while the body on the stuck in side is grabbing and wiggling like crazy. One handed just doesn't make sense

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