Montag, 2. Mai 2011

3rd Lesson on the Poleaxe: the Change of Hands

As you may notice in comparison to the picture before, the hammer head of the axe is now controlled by the Poleaxe Change of Handsleft hand and the spike is now in the right hand and works like a rondell dagger. I named it the Change of Hands (not the correct historical term).
By the change of hands the rear end with the spike or the bottom of your spear becomes the front end, the new Ort (point) of your weapon. The strong (Sterke/Stärke) of your weapon stays at the same location but changed in the way you should use it. You changed in reach and that changes everything because the reach triggers any action and reaction of your fighting.The aim of the axe or hammeer head of your weapon is now reduced in reach and below breast level (if you do not let it fly over your head like Meyer does it). The window for your spike at the former rear end of your weapon is over the hip level (if you have not one of those brutal weapons with another hook on the rear end). Your fighting with your poleaxe is now very simular to the halfsword-fighting. With the movement of your feet you should mirror this change. The right foot is now leading all the time until you change your hands again or passed the weapon of your opponent on his right side.
The change of hands must be well exercised and trained so it comes fluently and easy to you in battle. There are several ways to accomplish it, nearly all are done in a rotating movement, let the right slide to the left hand in the moment of longest reach, release the left hand, which catches the shaft at the end of the rotating movement. One of the extraordinary movements is the flying of the weapon provided by Joachim Meyer. But we have to adapt it to Talhoffer because Meyer mostly keeps the right hand on the rear and. One way to do this is to start with the left foot forward and a blow from the right below cross to the left side up (Unterhau). At the end of the Unterhau rotate the weapon above your head around your back, let the right hand slip and grip the weapon near the left hand, release with your left, let the weapon rotate free in a wide single handed Oberhau down and catch it again on your left side by stepping forward with your right leg. Do not forget to rise with your right ellbow (like in the pictures, otherwise the head of your poleaxe will meet the ground). There are several other ways to let your weapon fly, read Joachim Meyer or do some experiments of your own.
Simular rotationg movement but in a smaller circle and without that much velocitiy is happening in nearly all other Change of Hands. You can do it by an Oberhau (ends in a kind of Pflug), by an Unterhau (ends in a kind of Ochs) or even with Mittelhau.
The change back is just the same thing played backwards. Slip the right to your left let the left go and catch. Step with your left foot forward.
Do exercise this heavily. There are a lot of variations to this. It must come very easy and fluent to you.
And why do you do this? You should never cross your arms in Poleaxe play. Poleaxeplax is Ringen armour in it’s most martial form, you better do not cross your arms in Ringen in armour if you do not want your opponent to control both of your arms with only one of his.

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