HOW TO HANDLE YOUR BATTLE AXE? AXE-LLENT TECHNIQUES TO KNOW
When it comes to weapons, axes are really underrated, but at Museum Replicas, we give them all the love, attention, and research they require. With the lethality of maces and the dexterity of swords embalmed simultaneously into a simple form, axes have been every man’s best friend, from the poor farmer to the valorous knight.
The classic ‘Viking Age weapon’, the battle axe, was different from the cutting axe, and varied greatly in length, typically consisting of an iron, steel or bronze blade into whose socket (called ‘eye of the axe’) a wooden haft was snugly fixed. While the axe heads were wedge-shaped in cross-sections and varied in profile and detail, the ends or pointed horns of the edges, called forward points and back points, were kept extremely sharp.
By virtue of such a design, this polearm made an ideal, aggressive weapon with every element being a prospective point of delivery of violence, and doubling up as a tool in times of need. For starters, below are a range of classical and simple moves that you can perform and practice with the battle axe:
1. STRIKE THE BLOOD
The most instinctual and visceral move with a fighting axe is to strike a blow with the sharpened edges of the blade. Intimidating at a physical and psychological level, a strike is a great move to efficiently manifest your strength, technique, and timing. The tapering of the arched head of the axe allows for a variety of attacks and damage, depending on how successfully you wield it. Master your axe and you will know the perfect attacking angle, height of the blow, and how to manipulate your body for the right strike from your distance. The longer hafted axes with bigger heads, also known as heavy double axes are ideal for these violent slash and cut actions.
2. ACT THE FOOL
If you intend to target the mental prowess of your rival, a great idea would be to ‘feint’ an attack, to incite a reaction from him to expend his energies, and then, to swiftly switch onto a real, physical dose. Do not forget that the battle axe’s length allows you to strike even when you miss targets with a dexterous manipulation of the handle, and you can take advantage of this leverage to even harm the opponent at more than one place.
3. PLAY HOOKY
The junction of the curved axe head and the haft serves as a brilliant hook that can take in its stride anything, from the shield of your opponent to his other weapons, from his head to his ankle. Once you achieve locking your rival in the desired position allowing him no chance to retaliate, he moves under your command and remains at your mercy till you decide the next blow. Imperative to this move is the control of the haft of your fighting axe, holding it at the right places, and timing it rightly, and exploiting the range of the axe through the handle. In earlier times, a skillful knight could break entire shield walls, maneuvering within the limited space using his Dane axe and this technique!
4. TOOT YOUR OWN HORN
The pointed horns of an axe are one of the most offensive stabbing and slashing weapons, and can be used very much like a knife to offend the opponent, anywhere from his head to toe.
5. HANDLE WITH CARE
The haft or the handle of the battle axe is a great means to parry, or even block the attack of your opponent, if being defensive is what the moment demands. And yes, even with unfinished or tossed away blades, the haft can be used to deliver deadly punches and hammering blows. There is always the risk of a cleaving haft and hence, this move is often used as the last resort. And just like the horns, the part of the haft where it enters the eye of the axe is another nerve-wracking stabbing tool.
6. OUT OF THE BLUE
If you ask your imagination to decide what can be done with your short fighting axe with a little handle, it would ask for it to be hidden and used in surprise attacks. Possessing smaller heads, these can be easily secreted under your cloak or shield, and used single-handedly after the failure of your primary weapons such as swords or spears, to strike your opponent dumb and take his breath away. These can also be utilized for simple, non-lethal, and arresting blows that can be followed up by heavier attacks of other weapons, by other team members.
7. THROW A CURVE
When it comes to war, we say, whatever you hold, you can throw. And, there are no rules when it comes to how you throw your fighting axe. Just like with throwing knives, throwing a battle axe is a combination of the right throwing stance, throwing distance, angle, your grip style and grip location and the target height. Acquainting yourself with the axe with time and practice, you can effectively and intuitively use it as a throwing weapon and outmaneuver your opponent.
It is perhaps true that “Axe-play is honorable and profitable for the preservation of a body, noble or non-noble.” So, we recommend that you take on to this amazing practice, and have a look at Museum Replica’s battle axes for sale, and the most wanted Orleans Batte Axe and Dragon Viking axe. Supplement your purchase with a reading of the ca. 1400 treatise ‘Le Jeu de la Hache’, that encompasses everything about handling the poleaxe and get started!