1994, 2000 Richard J. Orli   -  Credits

Swrd.jpg (1720 bytes)

Di Grasse - His true Art of Defense

The Second Part - Attack and Defense Tactics and Opening Moves from each Ward of the Several Weapons



A bill is an ax or Hachette mounted on a pole, you can still buy a bill ('bush ax') in any rural hardware store where kudzu rules.

A halberd is the same with the addition of a point. A partisan is symmetrically shaped, like a fleur de lys.


























The heel of the pole arm should have a metal point.


XVI. Staff Weapons - bill, partisan, halberd.

.D esigned originally to reach and take down heavily armored horseman, these have long shafts and good steel heads. A mighty cut can rend any armor or cleave a sword.

Six motions are possible - toward head, feet, right side, left side, forwards, backwards. The last is an offensive threat if the weapon has a reverse hook.

The weapon should be borne in the middle of the shaft, with the heel of the shaft low and the point at face level. The lower half to heel should be used to ward blows and thrusts.

dghalb.jpg (14190 bytes)
                              Figure 14 Halberd

The qualities of the partisan is best seen against pikes. Against a pike, the lower half should beat the point aside. Step in to the void created, and strike down as forcibly as possible to cut the pike (or anything else).

Against another staff weapon, the thrust is much preferred to the cut. Cuts with a bill or halberd are slow because of their weight and the circumference of the blow, and so can be avoided or stepped into by the nimble. Four wards are possible, three with the point up and forward, one with the point back.

1 Point low, hind (right) arm lifted up.

2. Point high, hind arm borne low.

3. Point and shaft level.

4. Point up on high, with the heel forward.

The ones with the point forward require a false thrust, followed by one indeed. Without, and delivery within, high, and delivery below, the usual combinations are possible. I recommend that the rear foot should move circularly away from the line of first false, so that you will be in a more protected position as you thrust home.

The last is much used, especially with the bill. The use of this ward is to anticipate the enemy's attack, ward with the heel or middle of the shaft, and finish by lunging and delivering an edgeblow.

The false: after the ward with the heel of the weapon, start the lunge and cut, then finish by withdrawing the weapon and giving a thrust underneath with a lunge.

I recommend the low ward, hands well apart, point directly at the enemy's throat. Adopt the reverse of the footwork orientation of our opponent. Rely generally on the direct thrust delivered with proper timing.

The most useful other attack is beating upward, trying to entangle the enemy's weapon, and strongly lifting up (using you rear hand as a pivot). As you lift, quickly pass-step inward. Strike the opponent with the heel, and finish with an edge blow that is a pivot (cut using your hands and forearms, not shoulders). A pivoting edge cut is the fastest and most nimble.

If your opponent is lifting your weapon, the proper response is to step in even more quickly, and hit with your weapon's heel, finishing with a pivoting blow.

If entangling, another option is to change hands (increasing reach) and step back, while cutting down and to the side.

With a straight thrust, timing is everything. Anytime the opponent's point is off line, particularly while cocking back for a beat, or passing through a beat, you must quickly deliver a thrust.





While heavy, these weapons are easier to handle and quicker than one might expect.

























The False

halbreds.avi (530846 bytes)

executed first with Halberd, then with Partisan vs. Musket (butt-end)