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Close combat with a spear and knife

Discussion in 'Research' started by JohnKPatterson, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

    And that's exactly what they're doing wrong. The focus should be on the knife.
  2. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    My understanding is that the Greek Hoplites used a spear of about eight feet and a round shield, so obviously it must be possible to use a longish spear one handed. Of course it would depend on the weight of the spear as well as the length.

    As for two weapon fighting, it is a highly advanced technique, but the Japanese samurai swordsmen used it. Long sword katana (?) in one hand and the shorter parrying blade wakizashi in the off hand. Likewise throughout medieval Europe there were many parrying blades developed so it again must be a technique that was taught if not common.

    Cheers Greg.
  3. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

    It was never a common style amongst samurai. It was famously pioneered by Miyamoto Musashi, but remained an eclectic tactic.

    The use of parrying blades is an important example - 'fighting florentine' as it is often called, using a long blade in the main hand with what is called a 'main gauche' in the other. However, the use of the dagger in this situation is more similar to a shield, and it not as often employed as an offensive tool. Still, it is probably the most common two-weapon use in history.
  4. Ivan

    Ivan Minstrel

    Despite the example I provided, hoplites fought in a very specialized way that mitigated the problems of using a long spear one-handed. Fighting in phalanx, it was hard to get into striking range because once you got past one spear, there was another behind it, and another behind that one, and more of them to either side. And then you had to stab a guy who is covered from head to ankle in heavy armor. So although it is definitely possible to wield an eight-foot spear in one hand, doing so in open order combat is much trickier than in close-order with a bunch of guys around you to help out.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012
  5. Godzilax99

    Godzilax99 Scribe

    Just to share a bit.

    Like most people said before, 8 feet spear in one hand is impossible to wield. Just holding it is tiresome.

    But, I just like to tell you, it is possible for a soldier to bring a spear and a sword along. In fact, I think it's good. Most soldiers don't have that kind of luxury because equipping a full army is expensive. So usually foot soldiers or grunts are just given spears or sword. Either one and seldom both. Well, of course, a veteran in battle could have enough money to buy one for himself, or he could take it from his fallen comrades or enemies. Plundering the battlefield is common sense.

    One thing is, in China or chinese martial arts, it is believed that a spear is the most powerful weapon. It's hard to master a long spear, but it is extremely powerful. Using the distance, most weapon could not reach the user without being stabbed by the spear head. With good footworks, the distance could always be maintained. You could let your character be a master of spear and fight without a side weapon.

    Another way i could think of, is that the spear is the primary weapon to use. When the enemy come close, the user will drop the spear and pull out his sword for close combat. That is totally feasible.

    Hope this helps. :)
  6. JohnKPatterson

    JohnKPatterson Dreamer

    Whoa, this is quite a wealth of assistance! Thank you very much, everyone.

    Your counsel has been most helpful. I have decided, per your advice, to shorten the spear to six feet, have the character wield it double-handed, and he will keep the knife for emergency strikes. The spear is a very light metal, forged with a kind of magic that keeps its edge and makes it almost unbreakable, so perhaps he can use it to break swords and shields from time to time.

    Again, I do appreciate your help. You've taught me a great deal.
  7. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

    long spear: Like others have said, the 8' spear is tough to weild, but with practice it can be done, solo not with a second weapon.

    Two weapon: The mind can't process two different weapons easily. If you use two weapons, they need to be similar types.
    Such as the sai, Kama, or swords (sword and knife are similar)
    The spear is unique, even though it is basically a knife on the end of the pole.

    The 8' spear video is very impressive, but how effective would it be with an opponent or several opponents? The 8 foot spear is great for attacking a mounted target(the high stabs in the kata) The low stabs I guess would be for a fallen opponent.
  8. Ivan

    Ivan Minstrel

    Spears were made for piercing shields and armor, but not for breaking swords. It depends on the hardness of the sword but you would be more likely to notch it, bend it or knock it out of the guy's hand, if somehow you managed to hit it dead-on with a full swing, which is relatively unlikely as 1. the guy will try to deflect the blow away instead of brute-force blocking.
  9. FatCat

    FatCat Maester

    Agreed on the 8ft. spear, simply way to large. Scale it down and have your character use the spear as his primary weapon, you could have him do something cool like parry a blow, stab a dude, then pull the knife for a quick artery-slice before pulling the spear out of the previous guy and continuing on. A knife's strong point is its agility (that is an assumption), so you could use the two weapons alternately, not simultaneously.
  10. The Anachronist

    The Anachronist Acolyte

    Wouldn't it be rather awkward for a person, no matter how adept at combat, to use two weapons demanding such drastically different movements? As someone already mentioned in a tediously long, and quite informative, post that the best way to use a spear of such length would be to place the off hand around the center of the spear to guide it and the other hand at the end of the shaft to apply force and allow it to achieve maximum range. A short sword, or knife, on the other hand would require a style that wouldn't comply to such extreme movements. Depending on the shape of the blade, straight/curved/etc, you're looking at a set of actions that would require a more centered balance while the purpose of using a spear is to thrust forward by putting a considerable amount of weight behind the attack to run them through. Perhaps if the character had trained for ages with the two one might consider a scenario where the character would use the knife to parry an attack to their open stance during or immediately after a thrust and even that much would be sort of far fetched. Though at that point wouldn't a light shield serve the same purpose, better than the knife?

    Now, if your character were to use a 6 ft spear with both hands then we have another problem. There is no situation where can use both the spear and the knife unless he completely abandons use of one of the two. As I mentioned earlier using the knife while at the same time using the spear would be quite inefficient, other than being damn near impossible. But in order to switch between the two you would have to either wield the spear with one hand, at which point it's just dead weight, or abandon the spear altogether and commit to fighting close ranged. The alternative would be to sneak in a quick strike with the knife and then sheathe it, or dump it, to use the spear once again. The sort of fighting style you would have to develop to combine the wide, powerful movements of a spear with and the quick, precise movements of a knife (or a short sword, which I imagine would be trickier) is implausible.

    Of course, if you intend to use the knife as your secondary weapon in case you lose, dump or become unable to use the spear then it would be a good idea.

    Another thing, please don't make the spear 'light' because of some magic. As I mentioned before, a spear is supposed to run 'em through. The momentum of the spear itself isn't decided based solely on the amount of force you put behind it but also by it's weight. If you have a hollow iron rod with a pointed end and an iron rod that isn't, of the same parameters, then the one that isn't hollow will deal more damage. Naturally getting hit by either could prove fatal but the impact from the latter would be far greater. By making your weapon lighter, you literally have a pointed staff. Spears are heavy because the purpose is to strike with a large amount of force. The lighter a spear the less efficient it would be in fulfilling it's purpose as one.

    Just my two cents.

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