Last night we watched the episode of Conquest entitled "The Axman Cometh" which concerned, of course, axes. They covered a variety of axes. The focus was on Viking weapons, but throwing axes (such as the Francisca, adzes, and large British battle axes (as used in 1066) also made appearances. The show took a decided point of view: The axe is a superior weapon to the sword due to its power, but cannot be used defensivley in an effective way due to the uneven weight. Hence, an axe-fighter must focus strongly on a determined and continuous offense that keeps his opponent on the defense, unable to make a riposte. They demonstrated this with a two-handed axe attacks against sword and shield and against spear and shield, with the axe-wielder hammering on the shield and driving the opponent back and back and back, unable to get a chance to make his own attack. I wasn't fully convinced by this demonstration, though even with "play weapons" the axe hacked off two feet of the spear. The show certainly drove home the power of this weapon, though, and how bone-rattling the strikes were even through a shield. I imagine a war hammer would be much the same, though they didn't show that. As usual, I found myself wondering about Filipino axes as weapons. We have played with axes and similarly-weighted objects on our own, but I've never been taught the Filipino axe. I do believe that I have seen pictures of small Filipino fighting axes, but nothing like the spear-length battle axes (i.e. halberds), or for that matter glaives. Incidentally, a "Weapons of the Ninja" episode is showing in a week or so (these are all repeats from around 2003).