Some pics of basic stance work using the Irish sparth axe

Here are a few photos that have been mouldering away on my hard drive for several months now. I planned on doing some more but have not gotten around to it.

Problem is, the info on using axes historically is thin at best so there is just not a lot to work with. These are based on George Silvers work…perhaps given some incentive and a bit more time we could come up with a bit more to work with but for now, this is about all I have to share:

1untitled-3 Open

untitled-4 Low ward

untitled-6 High ward

untitled-7 Tail ward or Guardant

untitled-3 size of the Sparth axe

Don’t get too hung up on the names of the wards…they are little more than place holders for now.

Three of us today…..
2 Rds shadow boxing
2 rds controlled sparring 3 count drill
1 rd speed bag
1 rd freestyle footwork
We then went over a few kicking counters to punching attacks from savate and
then some footwork for avoiding the bull rush type of fighter.

Next up sambo…..we worked on a few of the concepts from Scott Sonnon’s new
book on sambo for mma. Regardless of how many might feel about the guy and
his marketing, the book is very good and has a lot of interesting concepts
in it.


We finished up with some mountain axe…we went through two plays axe vs
axe…then we worked on two deflections into chops to the head. We also got
to talking about JdP as well and swung our longer sticks for a short while.


Session 12-21-08

A cold one today….I was pretty sure no one was going to show but Justin and Chris both showed up to freeze. Matt was wisely vacationing in Florida. Outside temp 13 F, inside the LOD a scorching 22 F. We found two antique heaters to warm our gloves up in the storage side of our training building.

No unarmed today…all weapons. When it is this cold I just have no desire to hit the frozen mats.
We started out with Justin and I having three bouts with the single stick. Chris came in a little late so we then each took a turn bouting him as well.
Next up we dug out our three headed flail trainer and discussed it’s use for a bit referring to the Montante class, taught by Craig Johnson, from last ISMAC that I took. We then did some work with the flail against the short staff and had several bouts with these mismatched weapons. Definitely fun to play with and very unpredictable…I can only imagine what fighting with a metal version would have been like. Plastic chain and nerf golf balls are crazy enough.
We then went over to concepts with the shillelagh…first to block then grab the opponents stick off the bind and pull then into a butt strike…second to set up a bind from an attack so we have action being dictated by us rather than having to try and pull off some things as a reaction. Once we had the bind the rest was up to the individual stickfighter. Personally I like raking the eyes with the ferrule on the butt end of the stick as I wind around into grappling.
We ended the session with some work on the murder axe from Paulus Hector Mair’s Opus. We went through the first play for about a half hour, forcing it too work at times but in the end finally getting a feel for what is being shown plus organically finding a few variations of our own.
I would have liked to work on some mountain axe and possibly even some boxing but it just got too cold and we called it a day.

Session 12-15-08


Nice warm day with temps into the 40’s F.

Started off with just Matt and I doing sambo…basic warm up followed by some grip/off balancing work.
We then shot a few vids of some technique mainly for our own viewing but we may share on you tube or something. Mostly sambo but we did some work with the mountain axe and entrenching tool (we’ll definitely share at least those via you tube).
Chris came in a little late and watched the end of our sambo session. We then worked on our clinch..escaping and basically just how to deal with various attacks from the clinch. We had to venture into Muay Thai for this…how can you defend against what you do not understand? 
We ended the session with pugilism. 2 rds of boxing for each of us, followed by a discussion and demo of the casting method aftershich we worked through

Session 12-7-08

Four of us today…Chris came back after recovering from an injury.

It was a cold one with the temp reading 27 F in our training area.

We threw our kurtkas on for warmth. An extra layer just can’t hurt in this weather.

We started with some work setting up leg take downs by going for one then switching to the other. Rather than technique I tried to get across the ploy…not sure if I succeeded or not. Hard to grapple wearing winter gloves. Matt threw me and his glove got stuck under my belt and I took it to the ground with me.

Next up lots of big knife drilling. We tried to focus parrying with the spine of the big knife in this session and almost everything we did had this as it’s main theme. We did three different back and forth partnered drills. They seem to be getting a little easier now that we have been working more blade theory.
008I am pretty up on the entrenching shovel lately and Justin brought his new one so….we did a little e-tool against knife and then against bayonet, lots of fun.

We somehow managed with Chris’s urging to go into boxing for a bit. We stuck mainly with this combination…straight lead, straight rear (thrown thumb down to split the space between the opponents gloves or fists) followed by a lead inverted hook then a big big rear inverted hook…rinse, lather, repeat.

We ended the session with mountain axe working against a thrust to the face following the parry with a butt strike then a cut. We also worked against a swing by knocking the incoming axe to the side and delivering a strike with the pole end of the axe, be it spiked or just plain metal…either way very strong. We followed up with a strong chop and a thrust for good measure.

Session 11-30-08

The thermometer read 35 in the LOD today but it seemed a litte warmer, either that or we are getting used to the cold.

Three of us today…we had a part timer show up as well but mostly just for a social visit and he left early.

Started with sambo…
1 rd warm ups
2 rds off balancing grip work
1 rd ground engagements
We worked on two throws…a split throw and a cross grab sacrifice throw from both sides.
2 rds free style sambo.
At one point during a match with Justin I accidently kneed him in the groin…a few seconds later his elbow found my groin….good times! Gotta start wearing that cup!


We ended with some stretching…Matt’s back was bothering him so we cut out a bit earlier than normal.