Spear Work

dennis guy grace amazing at mail.utexas.edu
Wed Oct 2 11:45:58 PDT 1996

At 01:30 PM 10/2/96 U, you wrote:
>Sir Lyonel,
>I have found nearly every thing you have said on this forum to be intelligent
>and well-grounded and I usually agree fully with you.  But, alas, all good
>things must come to an end and I must disagree with you on one point.  You
>mentioned attaching a shovel handle to the end of a spear.  I agree with
>using it to help you retrieve a weapon which the other side is trying to
>steal (although I disagree with this in the sense that there is no historical
>precedent of spears with any sort of attachment like this), but stating that
>the handle could be used to provide the additional "oomph" on a shot is very
>wrong.  Using the butt end of a spear to deliver a shot is "harpooning" and,
>as I'm sure you well know, an extreme no-no.  The thought of someone using a
>handle as additional leverage to increase the force of a spear shot
>(especially a fiberglass spear!) frightens me to no end.
>I'm sure that you just thought of the handle idea and wrote it in or that you
>were saying it tongue-in-cheek but I worry that someone else reading this may
>think it was a nifty idea and try it.
>I always look forward to your correspondence and I feel that this was just a
>minor lapse in your otherwise very intelligent discourse.
>I hope to meet you in person soon.
>Sir Gunthar

Well, I finally put my foot in it, didn't I.  Much thanks for your
diligence, Sir Gunthar, and my profoundest apologies to all concerned.  I've
been out of the loop for nearly three years; I should have known I would
have missed or unlearned something important like this.  Please allow me to
clarify and rectify my foregoing posting.

First, the term "harpooning" is a new one to me, but it sounds like a
description of exactly the sort of attack I was recalling.  Using the shovel
handle allows the spearman to release the spear with the leading hand,
thereby allowing the following hand to guide the spear through a full range
of travel.  If this practice has been outlawed or is simply considered
disreputable, then, by all means, ignore my previous sugestions.

Second, as to the extra *oomph* in my earlier posting, I meant only the
force necessary to complete the full range arc.  In no way do I consider the
application of extra force necessary for a normal range spear thrust, but my
experience with the one-handed delivery suggests that such deliveries end
with a whimper and are frequently ignored.  If such a one-handed delivery is
the "harpooning" of Sir Gunthar's posting, then of course all of this is moot.  

Third (and I suppose this should be obvious from the foregoing), could you
(or anyone) please explain *harpooning* to this rusty old knight.
Specifically, I'd be interested in (1) what exactly constitutes
"harpooning," (2) what is the justification for forbidding the practice, and
(3) whence cometh this restriction (both where and when).  Forgive me if
"harpooning" is one of those things I was supposed to know from years past.
If I knew it, I've forgotten it.

My apologies to anyone who found my previous posting offensive or in any
other wise unsettling.  Until I find something else interesting to discuss,
I shall remain as always

Yours in (slightly outmoded) Service

Sir Lyonel Oliver Grace
Dennis G. Grace
Postmodern Medievalist
Assistant Instructor
Division of Rhetoric and Composition
University of Texas at Austin

For every wight that lovede chivalrye
And wolde, his thankes, han a passant name,
Hath preyed that he myghte been of that game.
                --Jeff Chaucer's Knight (obviously describing the SCA) 

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