By Jefferson Webb
Although there are an almost endless number of on-line and physical businesses through which one may purchase a sword, the majority of these swords are display and not at all fit for actual steel-on-steel contact. For that matter they cannot be deemed fit for contact with anything but the display stand on which they sit. And if that is what someone wants as part of home décor, then naturally there is nothing wrong with that. But what about the modern martial artist who wants a sword that is functional in the sense that it can withstand steel-on-steel contact for years as an integral part of the art in which he or she is training. Naturally these swords must be (or should be for safety) blunt and dull, NOT sharp. Where can a practitioner of Western/Euro martial arts or Asian martial arts acquire such a sword? From whom can he or she purchase such a sword? (more…)
By: Jefferson P. Webb
Without question there are a plethora of extremely effective and efficient weapons that were utilized during the Medieval period to defeat one’s enemies. But how many of them are still in military service today, and held by men who know how to use them? One without a doubt is still in service and that weapon is the halberd. The halberd is much more than a single weapon, it is a weapon system. There are a great number of applications for this weapon when in the hands of a skilled soldier.
When taking a look at this weapon, even the novice will immediately imagine many different uses for the weapon rather than one single function. One characteristic of this weapon is its ax blade. This aspect of the weapon lends itself to hacking/chopping and slicing, just as one can imagine an ax head doing. The head of the halberd has yet another feature called the fluke, or hook. The hook was used to hook mounted troops and pull them off of their horses.1 Naturally one was also able to swing halberd and drive the hook into an enemy as well as unseat him from a horse. (more…)
By: Jefferson P. Webb
Although there are a great number of battles that have taken place throughout the great spans of history whose names are so familiar, the name, Sphacteria, does not typically ring a bell with the average person. In spite of this the Battle of Sphacteria was a paramount military engagement of the classical world where the advantages of heavy versus light forces, and combined arms forces are concerned. This match-up took place on the island of Sphacteria in 425 BC during the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens1. While it would be very easy to get involved in discussing everything culminating up to the point of this battle, it should suffice to state the fact that the Spartans were concerned that the Athenians would take the island and Sparta deployed a force of 420 hoplites (heavy infantry) to the island to occupy it. What the Spartans did not count on was the Athenian sea victory around the island that stranded the 420 hoplites, leaving them effectively cut off and isolated on the island.2 Next, the Athenian forces invaded the island in an attempt to smash the Spartans’ force and themselves occupy the island. What took place was a key point in the evolution of combined arms warfare. (more…)