Attacks of the Spear

Blue Spur Spear Fundamentals: Basic Attacks from the Ground

The second checklist item in Spear section of your Blue Spur guide is

Demonstrate the basic attacks and defences of the spear in the extended position.

spear thrustThis week we'll look at attacks, and cover defences next week.  There are five types of attacks of the spear in the extended postion, ie using the point at distance from the body:

  1. Firm-footed:  without moving your feet, extend the spear forward, allowing the body to follow.  This is analogous to a rapier strike from misura stretta or a fix-footed thrust from posta breve to posta longa with the longsword.spear vs sword
  2. Lunge: complete all the motions of the firm-footed strike above, extending spear then body, and follow with a step with the front foot, just as you would with a rapier thrust.
  3. Long strike: as you lunge, push the spear through your lead hand with your base hand, until your hands meet.  The hands should be extended in front of your body, palms down, and lower than the spear tip.  As you recover, slide your lead hand back to its normal position on the shaft.
  4. Passing strike: slide the spear through your hand as for the long strike, then release the lead hand and twisting the shoulders so the lead hand extends behind you and the base hand pushes the spear forward on its own.  Follow by passing the back foot forward so the body is profiled, arms extended, as if you had just completed a rapier lunge.  Recover in reverse order, stepping back first, then pulling the spear back to meet your lead hand again.  If the spear is heavy you are likely to end up dropping the point as you recover, so don't practise with hard staves or sharp spears on good floors!
  5. Shuttle strike: begin with a long strike.  As you strike, allow your base hand to come forward, over your lead hand, and slide the lead hand back to the base.  Complete the move with a mezza volte of the body or a triangle step to reorient your feet.  You should now be in a mirrored position, with your opposite hand and foot leading.  This can be done with a forward or backward step, and is a handy way to change both orientation and lead hand while striking – a luxury swordfighters don't generally have!spear exchange 2

In all these strikes remember to keep the point high enough to protect your head, especially as you recover.  As with all weapons, order is very important.  Make sure you spear extends before your body, and your feet move last.

Once you are comfortable with the mechanics of all five strikes, begin practising against moving targets to improve accuracy and measure.  A partner who will gently counterstrike if you strike out of order or in poor measure is very helpful.

For Duello.TV lessons on spear techniques, go to the quarterstaff section.  Although staves don't have points, anything that can be done with a staff can be done with a spear, and the striking mechanics are the same.

Current and Upcoming Classes

Riding and Horsemanship Level 1-2grooming

This combined beginner and level 2 class is designed for students working towards achieving their first and second levels in both Riding and Horsemanship.  There is one space left in this series.  Although the first class was last night, if you have some prior experience you are welcome to join in for the remainder of the series.  If you are a complete beginner you would be better off joining the Beginner Riding and Horsemanship in October.

Mondays 21 September - 26 October
6:30 - 8:30pm
cost: $300 + gst for 6 classes
prequisites: some prior experience recommended

Riding Level 3+

Shannon peggingThis series of six classes is tailored to the participants' needs as they work towards the higher riding levels in the program.  Course curriculum consists of improving the quality of walk, trot and canter, lateral movements, quadrille and pas-de-deux work, mounted games skills, trot poles, gymnastics and jumping courses.

Mondays 21 September - 26 October
7:30 - 8:30pm
Sundays 18 October - 22 November
noon - 1pm
cost: $200 + gst for 6 classes
prequisites: Riding Level 2 or permission of instructor

Beginner Riding & Horsemanship

Tracey ringsNew or relatively new to riding?  This class is for you!  Learn everything you need to know to get your journey in the saddle started, from handling, grooming and tacking up, to confidently riding at a walk and trot.  Course fees include a riding or horsemanship assessment on the afternoon of November 22nd.

Sundays 18 October - 22 November
10am - noon
cost: $300 + gst for 6 classes
prequisites: none

Riding & Horsemanship Level 2Ben quintain

If you have completed Horsemanship Level 1, you have the option of staying with the Beginner course or moving on to this class as you work towards your Riding Levels 1 and 2.

Sundays 18 October - 22 November
10am - noon
cost: $300 + gst for 6 classes
prequisites: Horsemanship Level 1 and some riding experience

Horsemanship Level 3-4

This series of six classes will cover the material needed to achieve either Horsemanship 3 or 4.

Sundays 18 October - 22 November
10:30am - 11:30am
cost: $130 + gst for 6 classes
prequisites: Horsemanship Level 2

Mounted Combat - BeginnerDuello_Mounted-Combat_Chena_2897

Learn swordplay and grappling techniques from the ground and from the falsemount to prepare you for mounted combat.  By the end of this course, you should be able to sign off your Mounted Combat checklist, and if you have your Riding and Horsemanship level 1 you will be eligible for Green Spur classes.

Tentative dates: Sundays 18 October - 15 November (to be confirmed)

Mounted Combat - Intermediatesteph vs jen

This course is designed for riders who have achieved their Green Spur and are working towards the next rank.  You will spend roughly half the time on horseback and the other half on the ground and falsemount working on your grappling, swordplay and spear skills.  Each five-week course will have a specific focus to address one area of the Blue Spur checklist.

Tentative dates: Sundays 18 October - 15 November (to be confirmed)


Jennifer Landels heads up Academie Duello's Cavaliere Program. She has been swordfighting since 2008, and riding since before she could walk. She started the program as an excuse to combine those passions.
Read more from Jennifer Landels.