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Thread: Mounted Spearmanship

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Scott View Post
    You would think there would be more schools that survived to the modern day that taught the shorter spear methods...
    I was thinking that too. It makes sense what Lance said that ashigaru on guard duty using a bo or a jo would prolly have little trouble using a spear if things get ugly. But perhaps thats part of the answer:

    If we look at Shinto Muso ryu jo, which is a perfect example since it wasn't created specifically to take on heavily armoured warriors, not to mention it found its use by ashigaru who without a doubt performed guard duties, then one become very tempted to speculate if perhaps the ashigaru were taught spear-techniques within SMR or if they learned it in a seperate ryu. And if there were such techniques than perhaps its not too obvious to the naked eye. Perhaps there are applications in regular modern SMR-jo techniques, (not to mention other ryu that uses staves), that were suited for spearmanship and were taught as such to the ashigaru. Of course the most obvious spear-inspired technique is the tsuki and we are taught this from day one, but I can also imagine a ashigaru using a short spear to both thrust and slash using SMR-techniques.

    I think I'm gonna bug my sensei about this...Errr..I mean "inquire" my sensei.
    Fredrik Hall
    "To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." /Confucius

  2. #17
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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.
    One of the ai-naginata techniques in Toda-ha Buko-ryu is theoretically about cutting the legs out from under a horse. Since the guy supposedly on the horse also has a naginata, the above makes sense. (Could just be kata, though there probably is some basis for it.)

    In terms of SMR, it's true that we've got the whole, "reap like a naginata, cut like a sword, thrust like a spear" thing. Still, I don't think you really "slash" with a jo. Certainly if you imagine a spear point on the end of your jo, you could slash, but that would change, I think, the principle of the kata. You cut with a jo...backslashes like with a naginata or spear wouldn't work. (You’d whack the guy and you’d do it in a pinch, but it’s not a choice you would make unless you had to. With a naginata or certain spears, however, this is a peachy technique and is something for which the weapon is designed.)

    You would also have to take into consideration what type of spear you were imagining. You can thrust with all of them, but depending on how the business end is shaped, slashes might not be that effective. (Wouldn't do the enemy any good, but might not be the best choice.)

    So, I think the only time the jo is acting like a spear is on the thrust. If you try and make it a spear at other times, you're probably gilding the lily to the point of ineffectuality with this particular weapon. Similarly with a spear acting like a jo.

    Kevin Cantwell

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by K. Cantwell View Post
    .....
    In terms of SMR, it's true that we've got the whole, "reap like a naginata, cut like a sword, thrust like a spear" thing. Still, I don't think you really "slash" with a jo. Certainly if you imagine a spear point on the end of your jo, you could slash, but that would change, I think, the principle of the kata. You cut with a jo...backslashes like with a naginata or spear wouldn't work. (Youd whack the guy and youd do it in a pinch, but its not a choice you would make unless you had to. With a naginata or certain spears, however, this is a peachy technique and is something for which the weapon is designed.)

    You would also have to take into consideration what type of spear you were imagining. You can thrust with all of them, but depending on how the business end is shaped, slashes might not be that effective. (Wouldn't do the enemy any good, but might not be the best choice.)

    So, I think the only time the jo is acting like a spear is on the thrust. If you try and make it a spear at other times, you're probably gilding the lily to the point of ineffectuality with this particular weapon. Similarly with a spear acting like a jo.

    Kevin Cantwell
    I'm not so sure - if you take into account the strikes w/ the monouchi of the jo, then think about a single or double-edged spear, the distance from the tip to the 'sweet spot' slashing surface is very close to the same. There are physics reasons behind the design of many traditional weapons and the use of the jo.

    But with a blade, your choice of targets changes, perhaps a lot. And, as you say, the type of blade changes the optimal techniques.

    I'm not saying that anyone practices this today (in fact my sensei usually responds 'Practice more! no questions today!' to such questions) or perhaps even understands it, but the links seem obvious to me.

    I think you can see links to spear handling in certain koryu jo techniques. Of course one difference in spearhandling is that with a spear you can't pull your hand back past the blade to reverse your grip, but plenty of koryu jo styles release the jo to move from overhand to underhand grips, thus avoiding the (non-existant) spearhead blade. This tends to be more obvious in bo techniques, because the length and weight of the bo limit the full end techniques.

    Cheers,
    Lance Gatling ガトリング
    Tokyo 東京

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

  4. #19
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    I'm not so sure - if you take into account the strikes w/ the monouchi of the jo, then think about a single or double-edged spear, the distance from the tip to the 'sweet spot' slashing surface is very close to the same. There are physics reasons behind the design of many traditional weapons and the use of the jo.
    I thought the point of that distance was to make sure that you are burying the "edge" of the jo into the right spot in the head and you aren't cutting the maai so fine that you miss. Hitting a few inches down on the jo will still hurt, but burying that edge into the "right" spot on the temple or top of the head is what you are looking for.

    Plus, there are times when the stick is the stick and you're just caving him in with a blunt weapon. So, the end of seigan, for example. Nothing fancy, just split his skull.

    Maybe you can see some carryover in the physics, but I think that is simply due to the way we humans have to deal with these types of weapons. For example, thrusting to the face may look more or less the same with a jo or spear. It's not necessarily the influence of one weapon on other as much as the human mechanics of thrusting.

    I'm not saying there isn't any influence, but this may be a case of making things more complex than they are. Beyond the thrust, the stick, I don't think, really mimics the spear. Some movements may be similar, but I don't see anything pedagogical in that.

    I’ve been wrong so many times, though, it’s like my day job. This could be another one to add to the collection.

    Kevin Cantwell

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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!

    Byzantine cavalry soldiers were required to have both the lance and bow. See "Maurice's Strategikon," translated by George Dennis: This was part of their training: "On horseback at a run he should fire one or two arrows rapidly and put the strung bow in its case, if it is wide enough, or in a half-case designed for this purpose, and then he should grab the spear which he has been carrying on his back." P. 11.

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    Hi how are you guys,

    It is only an opinion, but it is based on some previous reading that i have done. I think it is very probable that a horseman could and would carry both bow and lance since either one can be sheathed and tied to the back of the horse, in the comfortable position right behind the saddle. It certainly has been true of the Mongolian warriors, which probably puts most of the Eastern Europe in the same category. I don't see why a Japanese warrior couldn't do the same thing. Thanks.

    Sincerely,
    Igor Lurye.
    igor A. lurye

    "Carry water, chop wood, dream".

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