Discussion in 'Misc. Sword Arts' started by arnisador, Mar 17, 2006.

  1. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    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).
  2. Matawguro

    Matawguro New Member

    Most polearms are generally used by heavy infantry in tight formations. Shorter, light weapons are used by fast-moving light infantry skirmishers used to harass heavy infantry.

    AFAIK, Filipinos never developed heavy infantry tactics. Most wars and fights were done by skirmishers, which is probably why the name "Eskrima" is said to mean "skirmish".
  3. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    Hmm, that makes sense. But what about smaller axes, of more sword-like length (rather than a polearm)? Something like the American Indian's tomahak (which was featured in the following episode of Conquest, by the way), or what was used by Vikings?
  4. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Senior Member

    smaller axes

    I haven't heard much about the use of axes in the Filipino martial arts other than a reference in The Filipino Fighting Whip by Tom Meadows that Momoy Canete taught double axe techniques. And there is a picture of Dan Inosanto holding an axe with a very broad striking surface on one of his DVD's.

    An Inosanto school in Ct. lists single axe and double axe in its curriculum:

    Certainly the small axe must be an indigenous tool in the Philippines and it makes sense that it was converted from time to time into a martial arts weapon. It can be used in a similar fashion to the stick or sword with the obvious caveats that it is weighted differently and will often not pull through a target given that it is primarily an impact weapon. Other influences might include the use of the axe in Chinese and Malay martial arts which might have been observed in sea-warfare and as a consequence of raids by pirates along the coast.

    Dwight McLemore has a book out on the tomahawk that looks interesting:

    And I think that James Keating had a couple of videos about the tomahawk a view years ago.

    My friend Dave Tillett wrote a great piece about the use of the tomahawk by U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq:


    Steve Lamade
  5. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    Thanks for the info. I figured someone must be teaching Filipino axe!

    The story on current usage of the tomahawk is interesting. I just read an article from USAToday about a battalion commander who 'carried a hatchet as a symbol of the warrior spirit and used it to "knight" subordinates at promotion ceremonies by slapping it on their shoulders' according to the article. It made him look somewhat silly to his superiors, apparently. But, this use was purely symbolic.
  6. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    Axe Attack in Afghanistan.

    Canadian Soldier Injured by Ax-Wielding Afghan Youth

    (Another link in case that one becomes unavailable.)
  7. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    We watched it last night. It was interesting to watch their guest ninjutsu instructor demonstrate some weapons, with much bo and hanbo work plus swordwork and the kama and even the kusari-fundo, but I thought there was lots of misinformation overall--accepting mythology for truth.
  8. Buwaya

    Buwaya Senior Member

    Top of my head, Dugukan is the only system that springs to mind in the PI that teaches axe.
  9. Buwaya

    Buwaya Senior Member

    The axes I've seen Inosanto use look like they came from China...or a fantasy catalog, they weren't Pilipino.
    I dont know about tool steve, but they were definetly used for head hunting:) . That's why we call them "headaxes". We still have head hunters alive in the Philippines who remember what it was like to practice their traditions but I don't beleive they've been allowed to take anyones head for a good 40-50 years now. It'll be interesting to see what becomes of there way of life.
  10. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Senior Member

    Head Hunting

    It is interesting to note that in the following Krieger Plates the Ingorot carrying the head axe is also armed with a shield and spear. It makes you wonder whether the shield and spear were the primary weapons, and the head axe used as a "finisher."


    I agree that the axe in Danny Inosanto's hand on the cover of his DVD is probably of Chinese origin. Still you have to wonder whether hundreds of years of raids by Chinese and Malay pirates had an influence on local design.


  11. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I can't find anything about that art other than a passing reference at Martial Arts there a link for it?
  12. Ron Kosakowski

    Ron Kosakowski New Member

    Check out these Igorot tribal head-hunting axes - and These are brutal weapopns adn you can feel what it can do when playing with it. I am more used to bladed weapons. Now I want to get in with the Igorot tribes to see how to use these more formally. heheheh...just another toy that if carried in the street, the judge would just shake his head and throw away the key! ;)

    Ron Kosakowski
    Practical Self Defense Training Center
    847 Hamilton Ave (Rt 69).
    Waterbury, CT 06706
  13. Riddick29

    Riddick29 New Member

    The second one looks realy like a modern Tomahawk ; I like it a lot.
  14. Pike

    Pike New Member

    The second one that is similar to a Tomahawk
    Is it nicely balanced to throw
    looks good to me, good shaft double edged head.
    Have you thrown this or is it just ornamental my passion has took me from throwing Knives into throwing axes :EvilGrin:
    Best Regards
  15. Ron Kosakowski

    Ron Kosakowski New Member

    Thank you guys for admiring my weapons. Yes, the Igorot tribe weapons are pretty crazy. Those axes are not really for throwing though it is not out of the question. It is more for hacking. It was used mostly in combination with this these wild looking shields. I am actually getting the shields here soon also. After I try to figure out how to get them here. Shipping is an MF'er man!
    I will also be getting some Igorot tribal spears. Those kinds of weapons of the north are not to well known. The weapons of the South and the Visyan region seems to have the more popular known "Filipino" looking blades and weapons and shields.

    The War Golok and the Golok not to mention the Itak Tagalog and of course the axes are some of the Northern weapons. They are just as effective if not as effective as a lot of the weapons of the two other major Islands have.
  16. Ron Kosakowski

    Ron Kosakowski New Member

    To answer that question, no, I have never thrown them. They are so nicely made, I never wanted to ruin them. Any axe with a wood handle would eventually loosen up if not eventually come off. They are combat ready to hack away at anything in the way...if by chance you ever ended up in that type of battle!:viking:
    As a weapons collector myself, I never really abuse my weapons. These are combat ready but obviously we don't fight like that but if there is a home invasion or something, you can do what you have to do if that was the first thing you got yer hands on and still hand these down to your great Grand Children.
  17. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I love the look of the War Golok! Clean, simple lines--obvious use.
  18. Pike

    Pike New Member

    Hi Ron
    Great links
    Itak Tagalog excellent curves, may get one its gonna be one of my favourites i think. Hope the balance is good.[​IMG]

    Got to agree with Arnisador the War Golok is simple but so obvious of use.
    Very nice[​IMG]

    Great collection.[​IMG]
    Best Regards
  19. Ron Kosakowski

    Ron Kosakowski New Member

    I always guarantee that you will be more than satisfied with the engineering and the balance of these. You will feel the power of them when they are in your hand. They want to slash for you. Thats when you can tell its a good combat ready sword.
  20. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I was looking at these again today and I'd sure like to have a chance to handle one! I don't know much about the use of the axe but want to get a tomahawk to experiment with.

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