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Polearm Forms

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Note that these are not drawn from the Wheel of Time books. The techniques themselves are drawn from real-world sources, but the names are either adaptations of actual terms or entirely my own invention. ~Ashfalcon

Polearm Forms

Arrow in the Wind

This is the technique you use for thrown polearms like the spear or the javelin. Other polearms can be thrown as well, but not with the same accuracy and effect. The throw is mid-level technique but can be executed earlier as well, but not with the same devastating result. It takes years to perfect this technique, and only experts can use it to its full potential.

Bracing the Wall

By setting the butt of your weapon against the ground and putting your rear heel on top of it, you make it extremely hard to move. This is not a combat technique as such, but instead is used for meeting charges (usually from mounted opponents, and usually as part of a formation). Best if done with a longer weapon.

The Butterfly’s Wings

A spinning, figure-eight motion which can be used to attack multiple opponents. This is an advanced technique, and can be used from horseback as well as on foot. Best if performed with the shorter, better-balanced polearms, such as Horse Swords or Ashandarei. Also a staff or spear technique.

Climbing the Mountain

A thrusting diagonal attack which begins low and ends high; also usable with the spear or staff. The lead hand pulls up, while the rear hand pushes forward. A good basic thrust.

Closing the Circle

Beginning with a diagonal attack (such as [#The Falcon Dives] or [#The Wave Breaks on Rocks]), this technique continues the rotation through a full circle to make another attack from the same direction. The rotation can be done either by pivoting through a Heron stance or with a small hopping motion. Your eyes should stay on your opponent as long as possible, then snap around to catch the target again.

Dropping Anchor

A brief stabbing attack down at the top of the opponent’s feet, usually performed from Low Guard or Reverse Low Guard. Requires some accuracy, so it’s generally taught as a mid-level technique.

The Falcon Dives

Another basic sweeping attack, this one begins high and comes down across a diagonal. For some weapons (such as the Horse Sword), it is the most basic of slashing attacks.

The Hammer Falls

A vertical, downward chop towards the top of the head. A good basic attack which uses gravity to add to its power.

Harvesting Wheat

A broad, horizontal sweep performed while gripping the end of the weapon. Takes advantage of reach and leverage to deliver a really powerful blow, at about the level of the torso. Harvesting Wheat is one of the components of Turning the Waterwheel, but it requires a certain amount of strength to use it alone.

The Heron’s Wing

A sweeping horizontal attack made while pivoting on one foot. Power is generated by turning the body, and the lead hand can actually release the weapon during this technique. The footwork will carry you off to one side, so it can be used to combine a dodge with an attack. A midlevel technique good for people without much upper body strength.

Holding the Line

A series of feints, thrusts, and short pushes, used to hold an opponent at a distance. It is so named because it is most often used in formation. Best with a longer polearm, but can be used with spear, pike, or even staff. Any competent polearm-user will have mastered this one. It is not so much an attack as a collection of techniques for keeping your opponent from getting close enough to attack you.

Hooking the Fish

For polearms with back-hooks or similar features. A basic motion, thrusting the polearm past the target and drawing it back so that the hook will catch. It can be used to pull a mounted opponent from his horse. If your opponent is on foot, it can be used to pull him forward (though this is not always advisable). Can also be used to attempt a disarm.

Maid Sweeps The Floor

A basic to mid-level technique, performed from the Low Guard or the Reversed Low Guard. The end of the weapon moves back and forth horizontally, just above the ground. This is not a wide movement, and relies on leverage rather than momentum. Generally used as an attack against the feet or shins, but may also serve as a low block.

Tapping the Nail

A short, tight chopping attack. Because it does not require as much room as sweeping attacks (such as [#Harvesting Wheat]), this is a mainstay of fighting in formation. It is a basic technique for weapons like the Halberd.

Tipping the Pitcher

A basic trip, done by hooking your weapon under your opponent’s leg and lifting it up to throw him onto his back. Best if done with a medium-to-long weapon (including staff or spear, but I wouldn’t try this with a Horse Sword). If your polearm has some sort of hook or back-spike, you can also damage the leg with this attack.

The Tower of Morning

Like the swordsman’s technique of the same name, this is a vertical attack which starts low and ends high. Generally performed from the Low Guard, but may also serve as a follow-up to [#The Hammer Falls] or similar attacks. Can be used in formation.

Turning the Waterwheel

A sweeping horizontal attack made by gripping the weapon near the butt and swinging it around in a circle above your head. Takes full advantage of the length of the weapon, and uses the momentum of the swing to generate power. For polearms, this is a midlevel technique because it requires good footwork to keep your distance from your opponent and good handwork to keep the weapon edge-forward; it’s easier to do with a staff. Can be used against multiple opponents, but be sure you don’t hit your friends by accident.

The Wave Breaks on Rocks

Much like the swordsman’s technique called Low Wind Rising, this is a sweeping diagonal attack which begins low and finishes high. A basic attack, which generates power by pulling up and back with the rear hand, using the lead hand for leverage.

The Whirlwind Dances

Similar to [#Turning the Waterwheel], except that this technique is done with both hands near the center of the weapon. The polearm is kept spinning overhead, but will sometimes be brought down for a low strike or to reverse direction (done by catching the butt under one arm). An advanced technique, this can also be done with the staff.

Winding the Spring

Basically, twisting the haft of a polearm. Used with weapons that have more than one point on their ‘business end,’ this technique can disarm an opponent or trap his weapon.

The Windmill Turns

Gripping the haft of the polearm about midway along its length, the weapon is rotated along a nearly-vertical plane in front of you (similar to some staff techniques). As a block, it is used to sweep attacks past you; as an attack, it sweeps the head or butt-cap of your weapon towards an opponent’s feet or shins. Another mid-level technique.


A circular motion of the lead end of the weapon, used as a block (deflecting things off to the side), or as a way of moving an opponent’s weapon out of the way so that you can attack. Power is generated by rotating the rear hand; the lead hand acts as a fulcrum and remains (fairly) still. A fairly basic technique, which can be used in formation.

Polearm Guards

The High Guard
The Middle Guard
The Low Guard
The Reverse High Guard
The Reverse Middle Guard
The Reverse Low Guard
The Guard of Wrath