In the polearm combats, notice how often the butt end of the weapon is advanced towards the enemy. Recently I was rereading one of the Black Medicine books and in that text the author recommends if defending yourself with an object such as a broom or long handled shovel to keep the head to the rear. I looked at some contemporary illustrations of combats with pole arms and there were numerous incidences of fighters having the butt towards the enemy. Many of these seemed to occur during what might be interpreted as defensive actions. If you consider a rifle when it is used for close combat, with or without the bayonet the butt is to the rear. However, the rifle butt is the primary striking element of the weapon so functionally the rifle butt serves the same role as a poleaxe head.