Halberd Waster

Several times through my historical martial arts career I've got it into my head that I'd like to do halberd. However, the issues with a suitable waster have tended to put me off, specifically creating anything that can be used at something approaching full intention. The issue is that if you make the head from the usual materials (steel, aluminium, wood, leather etc) you have to exercise extreme caution at very slow speed because all you've made is a giant heavy mace on the end of a 6ft lever.

Recently I was working on making foam swords for another side project and while doing this it occurred to me that foam was the obvious solution to the halberd head issue. Pretty quickly I developed this simple waster.

The head is cut from EVA foam matting. This material is importantly both ultra light and pretty robust. To get a good strength I cut two head shapes out and stuck them together. The bracket to attach the head to the pole is just PVC piping with a slot cut into it for the head to sit in. I then glued the bracket onto the staff which is a simple light pine staff. The head attaches with bolts so that it can be easily replaced. Finally I a gave the head a few cosmetic touches by spraying it over in black then silver paint to look the part.

Halberd Parts before assembly
Now, before anyone falls off their seat and says "but that will never last, not like [insert material here]", I'd say that's correct, it's not supposed to last. The design philosophy here is that you break the head rather than the person you're hitting. The trade off for this relatively weak material is that it's both light and soft, so you can smack people at something pretty close to full speed. When you break the head, which costs about $5 in materials to make, you simply unbolt it and slot a new one in.

After some testing, it works pretty well. The points collapse completely in the thrust or false edge cut and then reform pleasingly afterwards. When hitting people with the edge, you still have to pull it a little bit, but probably only as much as you would with any other synthetic waster.


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