Daneaxe workshop Moesgaard '09

This is a compilation of some of the ideas concerning daneaxe, that Gunnar and Jerry presented at Moesgaard workshops from 2006-´08. My idea of presenting it in a written form has the goal of continually improving the theoretical framework of our fighting system, and giving beginners a base to start from. I will keep compiling tip and ideas in order to improve the training with the daneaxe. I hope in time, it will be a more thorough guide assisted by pictures. Feel free to pass it around, give comments and new ideas to EMAIL77377

Regards

Jakob

Advantages Disadvantages
Distance - You can reach 1h weapon fighters Shorter than 2h spear no passive defence (=shield)
Force - the most powerful weapon of all,you can move shields and weapons minor active defence
Angles - killing from the front and the sides

Weight on hindmost foot -„Don´t get plantet there!“ -Jerry

This serves two purposes:

  1. It counteracts a stooping stance, with exposed shoulder(s) and head(!) Standing up straight improves your field of vision and your reach.
  2. It gives you mobility to move backwards fast, if your opponent goes for you. If your weight is in front, your front leg will bear the most weight and be hard to move away fast.

Centered balance

Even though your weight is on your hindmost leg, you should have a centered balance.

The hip: All strength and control stems from the hip. The bodymechanics dictates that all stances will have either left foot and hand in front or the right side limbs in front. A left hand - right foot stance will lock your body, wreck your spine and give no power or control to your weapon blows.

Hands: The front hand controls the direction of the weapon, the hindmost hand gives the power.

Legs: be able to move around in all directions without losing balance. Don't take steps, sweep your legs just above the ground.

The power of the daneaxe makes safety a core issue and the foremost responsibility for a daneaxe man. Safety is allways first!

Hooking:

Rule: If you hook your opponents body (especially joints): LET GO OF THE AXE!

The hooking of limbs is basically you being too sloppy with your distance, so train controlling the distance between you and your opponent, even in hunts.

45 degrees controlled hits on shield/opponents shoulder and leg.
Train it standing still, both sides, the moving forwards and backwards.
Using your hip to lock up the body will bring strength and control and relieve your arms.

Training alone
Train controlled hits, highs and lows, 45 degrees. Fx on a rope with markings on it.
That will tell you how precise and controlled your hits are and you don't have to damage a tree in the garden or stuff in your house.

The daneaxe is HARD WORK! And there is seldom the glory of a lot of kills on the line.

Your are working for the line with the job of disrupting the enemy line rather than killing. If you go for kills, you will surely be met by spear (and killed)

Keep alive! You need to take 3-5 peoples attention, open shields for your spearmen and stress the nme line, so 1h weapons can find openings for kills.

It is essential for survival and efficiency, that you are guarded by experienced people. They need to keep you alive and kill, when you make the brief openings in the enemy line with the daneaxe. However, you can never expect full protection from other, so you need to have extraordinary overview of the line, timing to make the hits on the line and the feet to get out of dodge alive!

  1. hitting down spears. Must be done i a circular movement, with contact with enemyweapon only when your axe is going down. A reversed shovelling movement.
  2. Stressing shields. Thrusts on the shield BELOW the boss, when the daneaxe pointed down, so it won't bounce upwards and into the opponents face. Hooking the shield should be done with care, so you don't flick the opposite shield rim into the opponents face. Following a clock-analogy attack the place from 8-10 and 14-16 as a rule of thumb. If the shield is held loosely, follow up with a thrust.
  3. Locking 2h spears. Hook a spear and pull/push it over other spears i one movement. It must be timed, fluent, so the contact with the spear is kept. Turning the axehead upwards can help making this difficult move, with the top of the shaft and upper curve (not cutting curve) of the metalhead locking down on the spears. If your manage to lock som e spears, they need to spend some time recovering and your line should use that time killing them off.

Keep the weight on the hindmost leg when thrusting, it's safer and you can move back quicker if there's retaliation.

Speed and precision kills the opponent, your legs keeps you alive. -Gunnar“

The fighting style with daneaxe varies from person to person, since height, muscle, temperament etc. Influences fighting style. Train with initiative and find out, what works for you.
There are some rules of thumb, that can be good to remember:
Keep the distance
Your biggest advantages (vs 1h weapons) is distance. Keep the daneaxe between you and your opponent.
Go for the nearest target You mostly have the advantage of distance, but there's no need to make it more difficult than it is.
If the opponents shieldleg is forward (defensive stance), go for the shoulder and/or leg in that side (high-low/drop shot)
If his weapon leg is forward (offensive stance): control the weapon, hook the shield and stab. Maybe you don't get in the first time, but you will get him on his heels and there will be openings.
Variation
Your opponent wants to hunt you, so when his think he has read your way of fighting, he will go in. Be aggressive, change your attacks, stances, so he'll never be able to guess a step ahead. and have confidence for the hunt. Be able to make all kinds of attacks.
Attack is the best defence : Dominate the fight! Use the intimidation of the axe to keep your opponent away (do it sanely, not the axe 20cm from his head!)

If your facing an experienced fighter, you need to control his weapon. He will have a good chance of blocking a shot to his shield side and move in on you with his weapon. Stress his weapon, try to disarm him. Even if you don't, he will need to ready his weapon.

If you are being hunted:

  • Move back away from his weapon, maybe change stance and attack his other side.
  • Use the daneaxe as a „shield“/obstacle and draw 2ndary weapon. Your daneaxe need to block his weapon side.

Vs Spears.
You need the skill to win most fights against spears. Train this very hard. I twill benefit your skill and confidence in the linefight.
Axe head back
The safest way to kill a spear is by holding the end of the shaft vs your opponent in a 45deg. Angle. When he stabs sweep it away. When you can block it, so your axe is between you and your opponent, take a step in and swing to kill. The longer you maintain contact(control) with his spear, the safer it is. If he manages to pull it back and away, he can stab again, so follow up fast.
Axe head forward
Has the advantages of your axehead being closer to him. Use the axehead to block the stabs enough for them to miss your body. When your axe has contact/control with the spearshaft, press to the side, step in and kill him. Again, the longer you maintain contact with the spear, the safer you are.

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