After Borealis (which was an unmitigated success, might I add), I felt we were all due for a bit of a change of pace after doing longsword for some time prior to the event. Inspired dually by Tiffany Vinci and Devon Boorman, I gave a class on basic spear. Tiffany inspired me because despite never having picked up a spear, she fought in a spear bout at Borealis and won. I thought that was deserving of a lesson, if nothing else was!
Devon provided inspiration through the class he graciously gave at LMA on the five ways to win a bind, or his “Five Winnings” and three advantages in the bind. I decided to run with this concept and apply it to spear. For reference, the “winnings” are: Parry, Deflect, Collect, Counter cut and Counter thrust. His three advantages are: the Crossing (gaining an overbind), leverage (gaining superior leverage by placement in the bind) and edge alignment (better understood with the spear as musculo-skeletal alignment, since there’s no edge).
Devon defines his “parry” as a cover in front of the attack. This is probably the most common type of cover you will find in swordplay, and spear is no different. Students were paired up, with one being denoted as the attacker, the other defending, and were asked to employ the “advantages” to make a proper parry. Therefore, from symmetrical guards (same foot forward, e.g. left) in posta breve, one partner attacks to the inside line, the other defends. The defender must parry by using the three advantages, setting aside the spear.
Devon defines the deflection as coming from behind the attack, so as with the drill above, both partners assumed posta breve with their respective weapons. Attacks are made to the outside line, and deflected using the three advantages. Of particular import here is the placement of the wrist in this action – align it so that you gain proper structure.
Collections were done using a spear variant of posta frontale, performing a rising parry with the portion of the haft between the hands. Much like with frontale with the longsword, there is no opportunity for an immediate riposte. Students were asked to perform a butt strike as a follow-up. This is where we abandoned the “five” winnings, and I sort of ad-libbed some close-quarters spear techniques. from disarms to lock and takedowns, collapsing distance gradually. I’d spell it all out in detail, but frankly, I simply don’t feel like it. So there. Let’s make it the subject of another blog post, what say?