Spears vs swords tested

Discussion in 'Weapons' started by aaradia, Nov 24, 2018.

  1. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    I had Thanksgiving with an old friend of mine. He is not a martial artist, but he is a weapons geek. He told me about this guy and sent me the link when I got home.

    I found it really interesting to see how efficient the spear can be.

    I thought others here might find this interesting. And I am curious what thoughts other had on this overall.

    One thing that surprised me is how many throat shots happened with the spear. We have a "Throat locking spear" form at my school, but I guess I always wondered about how hard it would be to hit that target. This video suggests not as hard as I would have originally thought.

    This is with HEMA people who had lots more experience with swords than spears. So imagine how much more efficient the spears would be over swords with more experience on the spear side.

    I brought this up on FB and a friend said he wondered about whether spears broke more often than swords. Or got caught and stuck in the strike. Anyone here have any thoughts on that?

    Dan93, aikiMac and axelb like this.
  2. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Great video, very well edited and presented and great fun to watch.

    This is why I love HEMA. They are great for pressure testing.
  3. PointyShinyBurn

    PointyShinyBurn Valued Member

    Historically spears and spear-type things (bills, halberds) tend to predominate over swords as infantry weapons for I guess basically these reasons.
  4. Aegis

    Aegis River Guardian Admin Supporter

    Practice spears will break regularly because they have to be designed to be flimsy to keep people alive!

    In reality, they might break from time to time, but probably no more frequently than swords even in battle. Wood is very robust, hence you find wooden weapons still common even through to the age of steel.

    In very broad summary, a spear is going to win in most non-ranged one-on-one encounters starting out of maximum effective range. In addition, it will probably win against almost any other combination of weapons in a frontal formation-vs-formation encounter. Where it's obviously not great is with multiple attackers, because it's at it's most effective when you keep the point between you and your target, or in a confined space.

    It's also not that great against plate, but it's still probably better than a sword because it's designed to thrust and you have two choices with plate: smash it completely or thrust through the weak points (the best weapon for this is probably a hammer or mace with a spike or a separate piercing dagger).
    Southpaw535 and axelb like this.
  5. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    There is an old Chinese saying, "The spear is the king of all weapons." That's not just down to ease of use and individual tactical advantage, but economics of production, group advantage, and as you see in this collaboration between Lloyd and Matt, training time vs effectiveness.

    As for breakage take a well cured piece of wood used for spears, like ash for instance, and will be pretty damn durable. As with many things it comes down to quality. You may have an instance where you have a conscript army, quick weapon production, and insufficient time to ensure quality of materials. But at that point, for all the reasons listed, spears are still the best option.
  6. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Swords have taken on an almost mythical place in popular culture, but, as Matt Easton is fond of pointing out, they were sidearms. And sidearms are sidearms for a reason.
    axelb likes this.

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