Blue Spur: The Thrown Spear
The spear is not only a useful weapon for mounted and ground encounters, it is also beautifully aerodynamic and easily balanced for throwing. Even stone-age spears were designed to be thrown, and this function of the shorter spear lasted all the way through most of history, to the modern sport of javelin. Aside from its use in hunting, the thrown spear could be an effective first attack before a rider closed with his enemy with the sword. Which is why we want you to be able to:
Demonstrate the ability to throw a spear to reliably strike a target at 15 feet away, from the ground and from the falsemount.
Changing Your Grip
To throw a spear you need to switch from the thumb-forward grip used with the spear in two hands or when couched, to a thumb-backward, javelin-style grip.
To switch your grip, toss the spear in the air and turn your hand around as you catch it. You don’t have to throw the spear high. It’s more important to keep it level and control its sideways motion so it stays parallel to your side (or your horse’s side). A little roll generated from the wrist tends to keep the spear level and steady in the air.
Practise at home with a small stick, like a section of PVC pipe or a broom handle, and work your way up to heavier and longer staves. We are not looking for super-speedy grip changes — just confidence and smoothness.
To throw from a standstill, begin with your opposite leg to your throwing arm forward. Shift your weight onto your back leg and extend your throwing hand back behind you, palm up, with the spear angled upward no more than 45 degrees (if your target is close, use less angle). It may help to point your opposite arm towards the target at a similar angle to the spear for balance and aim.
For the throw, think of pushing your hand in a straight line along the path of the spear, letting go only when your arm has reached its maximum extension forward. This means your arm will begin extended, fold in half with the elbow down as it passes your shoulder, and finish stretched forward. Be sure to point your hand at the target as you release for accuracy. Your other hand will follow an opposite path, changing positions and twisting your shoulders 180 degrees at the end of the motion.
Adding a step will increase your power. As your shoulders twist, allow your back foot to push off and pass forward. We don’t ask you to do a running or hopping throw as is done in the sport of javelin, but it’s a good idea to try it out and see how much more power and distance you can achieve — which still doesn’t match the power from a galloping horse!
- Practise the motion of throwing without a spear. Use a mirror or a friend to check your body mechanics before, during, and after the movement.
- There is no need to shift your grip and throw in the same motion. Switch the grip first, align yourself, then throw.
- Keep the elbow pointed downward and close to the body as your arm comes forward. If your elbow sticks out, your spear will curve sideways as you throw.
- Avoid arcing your hand upward; this will usually cause your spear to tumble short. The most efficient path is always a straight line, and the highest point your hand reaches should be at the end, not the middle of your cast.
This concludes the Spear from the ground checklist. Next up, Mounted Games!
Coming up at Red Colt
Riding and Horsemanship assessments will take place at Red Colt from 1-4pm on Sunday November 22nd. If you are part of a weekly course you have one assessment included. However you still need to register in advance (choose the ‘included with prior course’ option).
Mounted Combat assessments for the Green Spur will also take place on the 22nd. Blue Spur assessments will be held at Academie Duello during Open Floor on Friday December 4th.
Mounted Combat Playday
Our last Mounted Combat Playday of the year will include sparring, horseback archery, mounted games and holiday treats! To take part on horseback, sign up here. You’ll need your Riding Level 1 for mounted games and horseback archery, and your Green Spur for sparring. Spectators are welcome, free of charge. Join the facebook event so we get an idea of how much holiday baking to bring. Volunteers are always needed, and will get first crack at the hot chocolate and gingerbread!