The Pollax Form

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The pollax form comprises the defending and attacking roles of four pair drills, tied together with pollax handling drills.

Part one has the defender’s actions, against the attack; Part two has the attacker’s counter-remedies to the defences. The handling drill connecting parts one and two is a separate handling drill in its own right, called “The Dragon”. The drills are ordered according to the starting guards, which follows the ordering of the six guards of the Pollax in the Getty MS. I’ll write up the form in the order you do the actions when performing it solo.

Part One:

The Form begins with you the defender in Vera Croce, and the Attacker in Posta Breve la Serpentina. The attack is a thrust, which you parry, and enter to strike with a thrust with the head of the axe to the attacker’s face. His visor is in the way, so open it with the left hand and thrust again.

Flip the axe and cut down into Dente di Zenghiaro.

The Attacker is in Posta di Donna Destra, you wait in Dente di Zenghiaro (or posta di porta di ferro la mezana; the text is ambiguous here). The attack is a mandritto fendente, which you parry, entering with a strike of the pedale (the foot spike of the axe), following up with a strike of the axe head to the attacker’s head. [We need better terminology; I’m tempted to borrow the nomenclature from the Jeu de la Hache]

Strike up with the pedale, swing the head up in a mandritto sottano, ending in fenestra on the left. The attacker is in coda longa. Pass back towards fenestra on the right; this is an invitation. As the attacker enters with a mandritto fendente, beat it to the ground, hit him in the face with the head, drop your axe between his legs, cover his visor with your right hand, passing across, and again, tripping him with your axe shaft. Pick up the axe and turn behind you, swinging the axe through a mandritto fendente to dente di zenghiaro, then up with a thrust, a pedale strike, and a mandritto sottano of the head, all the way to vera croce, then strike a roverso fendente to posta breve la serpentina.

Wait in posta breve la serpentina. The attacker is in fenestra on the left. As he attacks with a fendente, parry up from underneath and stab him in the face with the pedale. Turn the axe and strike again with the head, turn tyour left hand on the shaft, and end in posta breve la serpentina.

The Dragon

Turn round (now you are in vera croce), take your right hand off, and Enter the Dragon (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Thrust with the pedale from below; lift your hand and thrust again from above, passing; scoop the axe round to your right side, grab it with your right hand and shift your left hand round; stab from the right one handed with your left hand; cut a fendente with the head, passing back; stab again from below, then from above with a pass, and scoop the axe round into posta breve la serpentina.

[This is not the complete Dragon handling drill; that is in development and will be posted here when complete.]

Part Two:

You are in posta breve la serpentina. Defender waits in vera croce. Attack thrusting with a pass offline; as he parries, defend with the middle of the axe, and hook the pedale over his neck and throw him to the ground. Keep the motion going with a tutta volta, swinging the axe up onto your right shoulder, rear weighted.

From posta di donna destra, attack against dente di zenghiaro with a step offline of the front foot to angulate the attack, striking the arms or head as he tries to parry. Beat the axe away to be safe, then hit him in the face with the head, and thrust him in the face, and hook his right knee, pulling back and passing back to make him fall. End in coda longa.

From coda longa, as the defender invites, accept the invitation with a feint, avoid his parry and stab him in the face; then beat the axe out of his hand, hit him with the pedale, and scoop up his right arm into a ligadura sottana with your left arm. Turn to break the arm.

Make a one-handed thrust with the axe followed by a mandritto sottano into fenestra on the left (arms crossed). Defender is in posta breve la serpentina. Attack with a fendente, as he parries, hook the middle of his axe with your head, pull him off balance, and stab him in the face, ending in posta breve la serpentina.