I have a character that’s using a Halberd, but I don’t really know how that kinda stuff works. Like how would they practice with it and how they would use it.

With the major caveat that neither of us are trained on a halberd, so I’m having to do some on the spot research:

Halberds, like most polearms, were used mostly in formations or mass combat. Traditional halberds have something that looks a bit like a hooked axe head with a protruding spike. The goal is still to insert the spike into someone else’s internal organs, remove, and repeat as needed until they stop screaming and bleeding.

The halberd also lets you hack away at someone. This probably looks a lot more like normal polearm combat than actual axe fighting, but I suspect the stance is to keep the hands at least a couple feet apart while connecting with the axe head.

A common two handed axe  technique involves slipping the fore hand down the shaft during a strike to amplify the momentum, (anyone that’s chopped wood before should know what I’m talking about) but I’m not sure if that’s a viable technique here.

The hook on the opposite side might be sturdy enough to function as a billhook. That allows the wielder to snag a mounted foe by their armor and drag them to the ground. I’m guessing, but that was an intended design feature of other polearms with similar hooks.

Most polearms work best as an asymmetrical weapon. That is to say, they can offer a serious advantage, because of their reach, against foes that are equipped with swords or axes. This is especially true of mounted opponents. If they charge the halberdier, he (or she) has a fixed point of reference to aim for, and their foe will have a difficult time getting out of the way. If they drag a mounted foe to the ground, they can easily flip the blade around to dispatch them, or just finish them off with the hook, it’s multipurpose.

It’s also worth pointing out, as with most polearms, halberds aren’t intended to be used by a lone combatant. Most polearm drills I’ve seen focus on vertical and lateral strikes, so that combatant can fight while standing (literally) shoulder to shoulder with the rest of their squad. There’s obvious utility to horizontal strikes, but, it might not be part of the historical drills for a halberd. I honestly don’t know.

The only good visual reference for a polearm duel I can remember off hand is from Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress, but that’s actually a spear duel. If you can rent the film, it’s probably worth a viewing, especially if you’ve never seen a one of his films before. (And before someone asks, there is almost nothing historically accurate about 300.)

-Starke

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