Spear Primer and Need to Know

The spear combines the intricacy and control of the rapier, the blows of the longsword, and the ambidexterity of the poleaxe. It’s a fast and engaging weapon worthy of your attention.

Spears of All Sorts

Spears come in many different forms from long and thrusting oriented to short and capable of both thrusts and cuts with their broad blades. Tapered and clean pointed spears without adornment prioritize thrusting and minimize the overall weight of the head and weapon making it easier to manage and more dextrous. These sharp and narrow points are ideal for piercing armour.

A ground lance

Those that feature longer blades often have cross guards as well. These cross guards can catch the hafts of other weapons to set them aside and protect the wielder. I have handled quite a few originals and can attest to the fact that the heads of these can be quite heavy which lends well to their use to strike cuts as well as thrusts. Here are 4 different Italian spears from the broad bladed partisan to more thrusting oriented tridents and spears.

Various Italian Long Spears c1500 on sale at a Christie’s Auction

Methods of Using the Spear

Though there are many different lengths of polearm, and styles of head, the core system for their use stays quite consistent. The weapon can be used either gripped at one end to maximize reach in the thrust (and keep you farther from your opponent) or held center-gripped to make the head more maneuverable and allow for use of both ends of the weapon. Many spears can also be used single handed often accompanied by a shield.

A center-gripped partisan in the manual of Achille Marozzo (1535)
A spear play in the manual of Fiore dei Liberi (1409)
Single handed spear with rotella in the manual of Achille Marozzo (1535)

Crash Course in One Form

The Duello Armizare system teaches all three forms of grip typically focusing on the long grip early then progressing to the half grip and finally the single hand grip. This short form covers the core postures, attacks, and defenses of the spear in the single hand and extended grips. A great place to wet your appetite for this weapon.


Access the Full Form Walk-Through

Subscribers can access the full form walk through here.

I also recommend checking out the polearms course. All of the material taught in both the poleaxe and quarterstaff lessons is relevant to the spear and represents the complete system.

Start on the Polearms course here.

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