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Thread: Mounted Spearmanship

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    Default Mounted Spearmanship

    Are there any extant ryu that teach the use of the spear from horseback?

    Thank you for time.
    Ron Broberg

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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by kokumo
    East is East and West is West.....
    Wrong stirrups.
    Ron Broberg

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    Hello to every one, I┤m new here. I introduce my self, my name is Maximo and I live in Argentine. I guess you will not find a ryu because the polearms has been developed to use them at foot, not at horse back.
    We make it, but for sure, is not a ryu.
    Mßximo

    I send you something who I find.

    ....""The original warfare of the Bushi was not a thing for
    'commoners'; it was a ritualized combat usually
    between two warriors who would challenge each other
    via horseback archery and sword duels. However the
    invasions of Mongols in 1274 and 1281 changed Japanese
    warfare and weaponry."

    This is a pretty simplistic view of things, and the
    statement about warfare not being a thing for
    "commoners" is a fallacy. "Commoners" simply aren't
    mentioned in the chronicles and histories, because who
    wants to read about Kichibei the grunt? Certainly no
    one who wrote or read said chronicles. Footsoldiers
    certainly did exist, and carried a variety of
    polearms--notably before the mid-1400's they carried
    the naginata. It's true that warfare changed after the
    Mongol invasions, but it's not like in 1281 they
    challenged each other to archery duels, and January
    1st 1282 all of a sudden they started using yari.

    I highly recommend finding a copy of "Arms and Armour
    of the Samurai" by Ian Bottomley and Anthony P.
    Hopson, who I mentioned above. It's a bit of a coffee
    table book, but it does give a great outline of the
    development and timeline of Japanese weapons, and
    would tell you likely all you want to know about yari. "...

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    Default Mounted short-spearmanship

    I'm under the impression that on the ground a warrior would use a long spear, but when on horseback a much shorter spear that was light enough to be used with one hand was preferred. If so, are there any ryu left with kata or techniques performed with a short-spear?
    Is short-spearmanship a part of sojutsu or is it categorised differently?

    I generally haven't had much luck finding information about the short-spear.
    Fredrik Hall
    "To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." /Confucius

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    Default

    I'm under the impression that on the ground a warrior would use a long spear, but when on horseback a much shorter spear that was light enough to be used with one hand was preferred.
    Hey Fred,
    Everything I've read about Japanese history indicates that this isn't true. First and foremost, the samurai were horse archers. It is pretty much impossible to both use a bow and carry a lance. I have heard occasional reference to short spears, but nothing that indicates that they were used from horseback. Of course, my interest in Japanese history is purely amateur, so I have been proven wrong on a fairly regular basis!
    Paul Smith
    "Always keep the sharp side and the pointy end between you and your opponent"

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    Aren't the lances that knights used extremely long? I wonder why the Japanese did not innovate a similar sort of weapon. They sound like a very effective weapon =P
    -John Nguyen

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nii View Post
    Aren't the lances that knights used extremely long? I wonder why the Japanese did not innovate a similar sort of weapon. They sound like a very effective weapon =P
    Japanese Warriors didn't use shields or plate armour. The length of lance was necessary to increase it's mass and hence it's kinetic energy for more penetrative power.

    It's apples and oranges.
    Mat Rous

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    Quote Originally Posted by pgsmith View Post
    Hey Fred,
    Everything I've read about Japanese history indicates that this isn't true. First and foremost, the samurai were horse archers. It is pretty much impossible to both use a bow and carry a lance. I have heard occasional reference to short spears, but nothing that indicates that they were used from horseback. Of course, my interest in Japanese history is purely amateur, so I have been proven wrong on a fairly regular basis!
    Yes it is true that the way of the Samurai was the "way of the horse and bow", but in the Sengoku Jidai the mounted archer was past it's prime. Again this is just my impression of the timeline.
    Fredrik Hall
    "To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." /Confucius

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    Fred,

    If you haven't seen it already, you might find this thread helpful.

    Also, take a look at these Edo-era screen paintings of the Battle of Sekigahara:

    Right.
    Left.

    It's hard to make out the details, but to my eyes it looks like there are a few mounted spearmen who have long, full-length spears (unless those are spearmen running alongside the horses). Most of the mounted samurai are carrying big-ass tachi, though. (Of course, there are the usual caveats about trusting a work of art for historical accuracy...)
    Josh Reyer

    Swa sceal man don, ■onne he Št gu­e gengan ■ence­ longsumne lof, na ymb his lif ceara­. - The Beowulf Poet

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred27 View Post
    I'm under the impression that on the ground a warrior would use a long spear, but when on horseback a much shorter spear that was light enough to be used with one hand was preferred. If so, are there any ryu left with kata or techniques performed with a short-spear?
    Is short-spearmanship a part of sojutsu or is it categorised differently?

    I generally haven't had much luck finding information about the short-spear.
    AFAIK.....
    - Japanese mounted warriors did not depend on the long spear (more typically called a 'lance' in Western military parlance), they were mounted for mobility and mounted archers.
    - The Japanese spear was typically not thrown, but used in thrust and slashes.
    - There seem to be only a handful of pure spear (sojutsu) schools extant in Japan, and AFAIK none in Tokyo (although several sogo bujutsu around the country include the spear in their toolkit). Notably:
    -- Hozoin-ryu (Nara)
    http://www4.kcn.ne.jp/~hozoin/
    -- Saburi-ryu (Hiroshima)
    http://park1.aeonnet.ne.jp/~yari-iai/index.htm
    -- Owarikan-ryu (Aichi)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCeHuv2M5NY

    I reckon today's short spear practice is hiding in place sight - the 手槍 teyari or hand spear, used in close quarters and indoors, is about the length of a 六尺棒 rokushaku-bo (~180cm) or 4尺2寸1分 (128cm, ~50in.) 杖 jo. Think of a spear when you make a slide thrust into the face of someone in a jodo class - six inches of steel through an eye shield would ruin the day of any fully armored samurai.

    If you can use a bo or jo, you can use a 'short spear', but you'd better keep track of the end w/ the blade! I reckon the thrusts, slashes, reverses, everything works pretty much the same. And most spears had metal caps on the butts to use for reverse strikes - just like a bo or jo.

    If you watch just about any samurai movie, in the background there are almost always 足軽 ashigaru, low level foot-soldier samurai types, hanging out, leaning on their staffs, guarding the gates, scratching themselves, bored out of their minds, doing what soldiers do until it's killing time. For peacetime, they just carried their cudgels / clubs / staves / staffs / bladeless spears / whatever you call them, but when there was fighting in the offing, they'd draw live spears with warheads from the armsroom. And if they broke off the blade, they'd keep fighting, using the same techniques.

    Jo
    http://www.shindomusoryu.com/znkrseiteijodo.htm
    various bo schools

    And not only samurai, but commoners would arm themselves w/ bo or jo; in the Sengoku Jidai 'Warring States' era, villages were required to provide levies of armed soldiers, and the weapons included spears. An able-bodied farmer with a spear in a defensive position, determined to keep head on shoulders, often changed the tide of a battle.

    If there's a serious spear school in Tokyo I'd like to see it.

    Cheers,
    Lance Gatling ガトリング
    Tokyo 東京

    Long as we're making up titles, call me 'The Duke of Earl'

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    Sounds interesting. I never realised the Chinese had a Japanese counterpart to their spears (6 foot types, not those 3m ones or whatever).
    -John Nguyen

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    Sorry for the late reply, I had to revisiti some of my sources.

    - Japanese mounted warriors did not depend on the long spear (more typically called a 'lance' in Western military parlance), they were mounted for mobility and mounted archers.
    I must disagree with this one. That they were mounted for mobility is true though, but according to what I read the trend was going from mounted archers to mounted spearmen, beginning in the early Sengoku era. The bow, of course, did not vanish but it did not remain the dominant weapon like during the "classical" era.

    A spear of choice is also mentioned: "mochi-yari" or "held spear" (at least that was teh authors translation). The mochi yari was between 3.2 to 4 meters in length and was adapted for use on horseback and on the ground. Apparently various illustrations suggest it was used both as a lance or for thrusts/slash while standing up in the stirrups. There is a heap of info on the mounted spearman. At the battle of Nagashino, for instance, the Takeda cavalry did not crash into the Oda lines with the bow as the primary weapon.

    I guess the short spear Isn't what I was chasing after all. If the mochi yari was indeed a spear of choice then there is nothing "short" about it. Thanks for the patient replies all.
    Fredrik Hall
    "To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." /Confucius

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    There is also this image of Honda Tadatomo at the battle of Tennoji, clearly he had a short spear. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi..._tadatomo1.png

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    It's my understanding that a mounted soldier who would be riding into a close quarters situation would often carry a shorter spear or naginata, since a bow would be less useful in such conditions. Like modern military, tachi and other weapons carried in the belt are backup weapons, not primary weapons of war.

    As far as short spears go, from what I've read the long spears are generally designed for battlefield, while much shorter spears were used in urban settings. Same thing with naginata - the longer ones with bigger blades are rare to find, while the shorter ones were much more common as house-defense weapons (typically associated with women).

    In addition to the teyari (hand spear), there is a shorter spear called a "makura-yari" (pillow spear) that was kept indoors for defense inside the residence.

    You would think there would be more schools that survived to the modern day that taught the shorter spear methods...
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

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