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The Medival European Knight vs a Japanese Samurai

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  • Nice to see new blood keeping a great thread going.
    Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

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    • Glad to contribute . It seems to me that the only knights that could really stand toe-to-toe and possibly even kill a fully armed samurai would be a knight from one of the military orders, namely the Knights Templar or Hospitaller. I say this because these fighting orders had more or less the same mentality as the samurai. These men weren't out for personal glory. They were serving Christ, his brother knights, and the people of Christendom, just as the samurai served his daimyo, the Shogun, and the Emperor. This kind of selfless dedication meant these warriors would fight that much harder, no matter what the odds. Defeat to both these warriors also meant death, whether by committing seppuku to avoid dishonor or by facing slavery or decapitation, since captured Templars could not be ransomed back.

      Originally posted by Kendoka Girl
      From what I've read, the kanabo along with the no-dachi became very popular during the Nambokucho of the 1300's and the Onin no Ran or the 1400's. An interesting development in armor came in the kabuto or helmet, which developed a very wide brimmed shikoro or overlapped metal skirts to facilitate the sweeping, circular styles associated with these weapons.
      Oh yeah, the iconic image of the Samurai helmet. NOt shure how effective that would be against a kanabo strike, though...
      Let us to't pell-mell, if not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell!-Richard III

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      • Originally posted by Knight-Errant View Post
        Glad to contribute . It seems to me that the only knights that could really stand toe-to-toe and possibly even kill a fully armed samurai would be a knight from one of the military orders, namely the Knights Templar or Hospitaller. I say this because these fighting orders had more or less the same mentality as the samurai. These men weren't out for personal glory. They were serving Christ, his brother knights, and the people of Christendom, just as the samurai served his daimyo, the Shogun, and the Emperor. This kind of selfless dedication meant these warriors would fight that much harder, no matter what the odds. Defeat to both these warriors also meant death, whether by committing seppuku to avoid dishonor or by facing slavery or decapitation, since captured Templars could not be ransomed back.

        Oh yeah, the iconic image of the Samurai helmet. NOt shure how effective that would be against a kanabo strike, though...
        Don't be so sure about your first point. Medieval Europe was an extremely violent place and time, and most knights of the secular orders trained daily for martial skills. They fought very hard and were very hard to kill. There is a mystique which has built itself around the samurai and rather inflated their capabilities. People are people, in other words the raw material of a Japanese samurai is the same as a Frankish knight. In a medieval battle, that is to say a barely controlled hacking / bashing contest, better weapons and armor count for a great deal. European armor was much better than Japanese, and European weapons were every bit as functional as their Japanese counterparts.

        IMHO, the decisive factor would be the use of cavalry, in which European knights had a definite advantage.

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        • Originally posted by llkinak View Post
          Don't be so sure about your first point. Medieval Europe was an extremely violent place and time, and most knights of the secular orders trained daily for martial skills. They fought very hard and were very hard to kill. There is a mystique which has built itself around the samurai and rather inflated their capabilities. People are people, in other words the raw material of a Japanese samurai is the same as a Frankish knight. In a medieval battle, that is to say a barely controlled hacking / bashing contest, better weapons and armor count for a great deal. European armor was much better than Japanese, and European weapons were every bit as functional as their Japanese counterparts.

          IMHO, the decisive factor would be the use of cavalry, in which European knights had a definite advantage.

          Yes, the secular knights of the time were tough kills, but few of them had the same disicpline and mentality as the brother knights of the religious orders. If a secular knight were to be captured or surrounded, he had the option of surrendering and demanding the right of ransom. The historian who said that the average knight had more in common with Tony Soprano than Lancelot more oress hit the nail on the head. During the crusades, the concept of chivalry was a relatively new way to keep rogue knights from targeting their fellow Christians, and many saw the chivalric code more as guidelines. Orders like the Templars demanded that the brother knights adhere to the Rule every waking moment, ceasing to be an individual and becoming a part of a collective whole. Yes, the average knight was a skilled killer, but most lacked discipline and a "do or die" attitude when he went into battle.

          As for the cavalry, what makes you think the samurai would be at a disadvantage? Most samurai were expected to be master horsemen, and many were skilled as mounted archers, something most knights did not practice. In fact, the katana was originally developed from a cavalry sword. Along with that, the samurai and their peasant retainers were armed with the long yari spear, and the samurai had the naginata, which were both excellent anti-cavalry equipment.
          Let us to't pell-mell, if not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell!-Richard III

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Knight-Errant View Post
            Yes, the secular knights of the time were tough kills, but few of them had the same disicpline and mentality as the brother knights of the religious orders. If a secular knight were to be captured or surrounded, he had the option of surrendering and demanding the right of ransom. The historian who said that the average knight had more in common with Tony Soprano than Lancelot more oress hit the nail on the head. During the crusades, the concept of chivalry was a relatively new way to keep rogue knights from targeting their fellow Christians, and many saw the chivalric code more as guidelines. Orders like the Templars demanded that the brother knights adhere to the Rule every waking moment, ceasing to be an individual and becoming a part of a collective whole. Yes, the average knight was a skilled killer, but most lacked discipline and a "do or die" attitude when he went into battle.

            As for the cavalry, what makes you think the samurai would be at a disadvantage? Most samurai were expected to be master horsemen, and many were skilled as mounted archers, something most knights did not practice. In fact, the katana was originally developed from a cavalry sword. Along with that, the samurai and their peasant retainers were armed with the long yari spear, and the samurai had the naginata, which were both excellent anti-cavalry equipment.

            When hard pressed knights of secular orders often fought very well. I certainly agree chivalry was a guideline but id doesn't really bear on what we're talking about. I don't debate that religious orders were outstanding troops, but your point was that they were the only ones who could stand up to the samurai. I certainly disagree with that for the reasons mentioned. Simply because a samurai might have been more willing to die than a secular Europen knight does not instantly make him a better fighter. Knowing when to fight another day is always a virtue.

            European knights held a cavalry advantage because they had, fundamentally, perfected heavy cavalry tactics, as far as such a thing is possible. Lined up shoulder to shoulder with lances, heavily armored men and horses were often a deciding factor in medieval battles, at least until a manner of repelling cavalry consistently was developed. Even then massed cavalry charges were often effective and European cavalry was much more likely to be decisive that it's Japanese equivilent.

            The Tachi, from which the katana developed was a beautiful weapon. Swords, however, are of very limited use in cavalry engagements, or general medieval battles at all for that matter. Their performance agains armor is in general very poor compared to axes, maces, lances, and other pole arms.
            Last edited by llkinak; 15 Jul 09, 15:48.

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            • Originally posted by llkinak View Post
              When hard pressed knights of secular orders often fought very well. I certainly agree chivalry was a guideline but id doesn't really bear on what we're talking about. I don't debate that religious orders were outstanding troops, but your point was that they were the only ones who could stand up to the samurai. I certainly disagree with that for the reasons mentioned. Simply because a samurai might have been more willing to die than a secular Europen knight does not instantly make him a better fighter. Knowing when to fight another day is always a virtue.

              European knights held a cavalry advantage because they had, fundamentally, perfected heavy cavalry tactics, as far as such a thing is possible. Lined up shoulder to shoulder with lances, heavily armored men and horses were often a deciding factor in medieval battles, at least until a manner of repelling cavalry consistently was developed. Even then massed cavalry charges were often effective and European cavalry was much more likely to be decisive that it's Japanese equivilent.

              The Tachi, from which the katana developed was a beautiful weapon. Swords, however, are of very limited use in cavalry engagements, or general medieval battles at all for that matter. Their performance agains armor is in general very poor compared to axes, maces, lances, and other pole arms.
              What I'm talking about is the mentality of the warrior, his driving force. I've been a fighter for many years, and I can tell you that the opponent you never want to face is the one who doesn't fear death, but welcomes it. The Templars, the Hospitallers, the Teutonic Knights, and the Samurai shared this sort of mentality. These were the men who would keep fighting, even when defeat and death were imminent. They would not stop until all the blood had drained from their body, or until they had taken you with them. They had a duty they swore to their daimyo, to their order, to their emperor, or to God. That's not to say they didn't know when to fall back or when to fight another day, but when there was nowhere else to run, when their backs would be against the wall, order knights and samurai did not usually have the leisure of ransom or compromise that most secular knights enjoyed.

              No, the sword was never intended as a primary cavalry weapon, but both the katana and the medeival broadsword were derived from cavalry based swords, the Tachi and the spatha. This indicates a heritage of emphasis on cavalry training. And as I said, the primary weapons of the samurai on the battlefield would be the bow and arrow (in and out of the saddle), the naginata halberd (again in and out of the saddle) and the long yari spear, which they used in a phalanx. So even if the knight was a better cavalryman, the samurai was more than capable of countering his charge.
              Let us to't pell-mell, if not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell!-Richard III

              Comment


              • Originally posted by llkinak View Post
                When hard pressed knights of secular orders often fought very well. I certainly agree chivalry was a guideline but id doesn't really bear on what we're talking about. I don't debate that religious orders were outstanding troops, but your point was that they were the only ones who could stand up to the samurai. I certainly disagree with that for the reasons mentioned. Simply because a samurai might have been more willing to die than a secular Europen knight does not instantly make him a better fighter. Knowing when to fight another day is always a virtue.

                European knights held a cavalry advantage because they had, fundamentally, perfected heavy cavalry tactics, as far as such a thing is possible. Lined up shoulder to shoulder with lances, heavily armored men and horses were often a deciding factor in medieval battles, at least until a manner of repelling cavalry consistently was developed. Even then massed cavalry charges were often effective and European cavalry was much more likely to be decisive that it's Japanese equivilent.

                The Tachi, from which the katana developed was a beautiful weapon. Swords, however, are of very limited use in cavalry engagements, or general medieval battles at all for that matter. Their performance agains armor is in general very poor compared to axes, maces, lances, and other pole arms.
                European horses were also much bigger than the Mongolian horse ridden by the samurai. A heavy cavalry charge with couched lance was a devastating force.

                On the other hand, the Mongolian horse had incredible stamina and maneuverability.

                One of the reasons to why Japanese cavalry developed in the manner that it did was the terrain and the type of horse available. Japan has far less open plains suitable for European cavalry tactics. With the exception of the Takeda on the Shinano Plains, most engagements involved some rough terrain in which horse archers were more suitable.
                TTFN

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                • Originally posted by Knight-Errant View Post
                  What I'm talking about is the mentality of the warrior, his driving force. I've been a fighter for many years, and I can tell you that the opponent you never want to face is the one who doesn't fear death, but welcomes it. The Templars, the Hospitallers, the Teutonic Knights, and the Samurai shared this sort of mentality. These were the men who would keep fighting, even when defeat and death were imminent. They would not stop until all the blood had drained from their body, or until they had taken you with them. They had a duty they swore to their daimyo, to their order, to their emperor, or to God. That's not to say they didn't know when to fall back or when to fight another day, but when there was nowhere else to run, when their backs would be against the wall, order knights and samurai did not usually have the leisure of ransom or compromise that most secular knights enjoyed.

                  No, the sword was never intended as a primary cavalry weapon, but both the katana and the medeival broadsword were derived from cavalry based swords, the Tachi and the spatha. This indicates a heritage of emphasis on cavalry training. And as I said, the primary weapons of the samurai on the battlefield would be the bow and arrow (in and out of the saddle), the naginata halberd (again in and out of the saddle) and the long yari spear, which they used in a phalanx. So even if the knight was a better cavalryman, the samurai was more than capable of countering his charge.
                  One of the interesting things that I've read is how, in Europe and in Japan, most of the wars were fought by armies made up of an elite force and a whole lot of rabble. In Japan after the Onin no Ran of the mid 1400's, the term bushi or samurai became very fluid as social classes blurred and armies grew in number. Things like treachery and cowardice became commonplace and mercenaries, who fought for anyone evolved. This endured until after Hideyoshi's sword hunt and the final stratification of the social classes after the civil wars.

                  There are certainly some great examples though of incredible fighting spirit - the Taira, who were about obliterated by the Minamoto; The Sanada Clan; Kusunoki Masashige's rebellion to restore the Emperor; the Ikko Ikki. One of the double edged swords of this (as seen in WW2) was often a false sense of fatalism in which lives were uselessly thrown away. It often prevented the implementation of innovative tactics or last ditch efforts that may have turned the tide of a battle.

                  You do have a great point in that samurai armied did exhibit great discipline and superior pike and "bill hook" tactics to counter cavalry charges. Ming cavalry took terrible losses against samurai pike and cross-bladed yari troops. The one thing that was exhibited almost uniformly during Sengoku era armies was excellent command and control and battlefield leadership. As Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu gobbled up Japan, anyone who didn't have those capabilities were absorbed or obliterated.
                  TTFN

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                  • Originally posted by Knight-Errant View Post
                    What I'm talking about is the mentality of the warrior, his driving force. I've been a fighter for many years, and I can tell you that the opponent you never want to face is the one who doesn't fear death, but welcomes it. The Templars, the Hospitallers, the Teutonic Knights, and the Samurai shared this sort of mentality. These were the men who would keep fighting, even when defeat and death were imminent. They would not stop until all the blood had drained from their body, or until they had taken you with them. They had a duty they swore to their daimyo, to their order, to their emperor, or to God. That's not to say they didn't know when to fall back or when to fight another day, but when there was nowhere else to run, when their backs would be against the wall, order knights and samurai did not usually have the leisure of ransom or compromise that most secular knights enjoyed.

                    No, the sword was never intended as a primary cavalry weapon, but both the katana and the medeival broadsword were derived from cavalry based swords, the Tachi and the spatha. This indicates a heritage of emphasis on cavalry training. And as I said, the primary weapons of the samurai on the battlefield would be the bow and arrow (in and out of the saddle), the naginata halberd (again in and out of the saddle) and the long yari spear, which they used in a phalanx. So even if the knight was a better cavalryman, the samurai was more than capable of countering his charge.
                    With respect, I think your first statement is somewhat overly romanticized. The "warrior mentality" is such an illusive concept that it almost defies definition. Simply being unaffraid to die is a far cry from being an effective soldier / warrior / whatever one might want to lable them. It's experience, training, and superior power that count in battles, lacking fear of death, or even worse the welcoming of it, can be tremendous liabilities to the overall success of an army.

                    I'll make another statment. Very, VERY few individuals are consistently brave, and while even those few might not fear death, if they've seen the results of battle they do, unless they're insane, fear the mutilation and pain which accompanies it. Samurai are no different from any other human in this regard. And history is chocked full of examples of groups, who don't have the mystique of Samurai, who have fought to the last for various reasons, secular knights included.

                    Bows were also poor weapon against plate armor, although somewhat better against mail. Also bear in mind that English longbows had draw weights ranging from 120 to 160 lbs on average, and fired arrows weighing up to a quarter pound. They were much more powerful than Japanese bows and they still didn't do even close to the lions share of killing at Agincourt and Crecy (unless one counts the horses).

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                    • I have to agree that the Warrior Spirit is a little over emphasized by Knight-Errant. Its hard to define as Ilkinak put it. Al Queda is more ready to die and welcome death more than US marines but are they better soldiers? No. Would they win 1v1? No. An extreme but simple example.

                      One thing though, given the builds of Japanese vs Europeans, I don't think that human structure would have been that different or changed much in 400-600 odd years. Do you think physical disparities could have pushed the advantage towards one side? I mean just from the outset. Europeans tend to be larger, bulkier than Japanese (broad generalization, but a fair one). Would that in any way counter or make the tactics of either side less efficient? Kendoka Girl touch upon the differences in horses, how bout the differences in people.
                      steal street team
                      www.stealstreet.com

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                      • Originally posted by royalwelch View Post
                        There were very few "average archers" who trekked with Henry to the field at Azincourt.
                        At the time, Henry's army, consisting mainly of archers was suffering from acute diarrhea due to the water ingested at Harfleur.
                        The archers were paid 6d per day as opposed to a man-at-arm who received 12d per day, but was required to maintain his horse.
                        An archer in England grew into his bow. He began with small bows and when he had become a man, his bow, made of yew grown in Holland/Belgium had a draw weight of 150 to 180 pounds. The arrows were tipped with "bodkins", a point which was quite capaable of penetrating the plate armour of the 15th century. Many of the French died from wounds suffered via their eye slits of the bacinet.
                        If you visit the museun at Agincourt, you can interact with their various weapons. When you arrive at the Longbow exhibit, you are testing a silly 60lb draw weight bow.
                        The exploration of the "Mary Rose" has dispelled many hitherto theories of the "archers"
                        Remember that the Archers carried lead mallets to enable them to drive their 6' stakes into the ground. These same lead mallets were very effective against armour laden, exhausted French men-at arms.
                        When Henry asked the Heralds, both French and English(in essence,the umpires of the day), who was the the victor, they proclaimed, Henry.
                        As to the crossbowmen, who were mostly Genoese, they had become obsolesent at Crecy in 1346.
                        There are a number of stories concerning the crossbowmen at Agincourt. I think that both Barker and Curry would agree on this single point; their contribution was minimal at best.
                        Best regards
                        I don't think Crecy is a sign of crossbow obsolescence. It was a sign of horrible French discipline. Agincourt was similar. The French had such contempt for the crossbowmen that they didn't use them properly.
                        Last edited by AThousandYoung; 16 Jul 09, 21:27.

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                        • Originally posted by banditman View Post
                          I have to agree that the Warrior Spirit is a little over emphasized by Knight-Errant. Its hard to define as Ilkinak put it. Al Queda is more ready to die and welcome death more than US marines but are they better soldiers? No. Would they win 1v1? No. An extreme but simple example.

                          One thing though, given the builds of Japanese vs Europeans, I don't think that human structure would have been that different or changed much in 400-600 odd years. Do you think physical disparities could have pushed the advantage towards one side? I mean just from the outset. Europeans tend to be larger, bulkier than Japanese (broad generalization, but a fair one). Would that in any way counter or make the tactics of either side less efficient? Kendoka Girl touch upon the differences in horses, how bout the differences in people.
                          Good question. Certain types of individual combat favor mass and strength while others favor speed and agility. If I am correct, sword and shield combat such as in Europe until the 1400's and later heavily favored physical size and strength. From what my first fencing master told me, as swords became lighter and sword schools developed, technique and agility became more important. The Spanish and the Italians seemed to come around first with these ideas and then, other parts of Europe. Interestingly, from my observations, modern epee favors tall, lean, and wiry individuals and sabre often seems to favor shorter, stockier individuals...in general.

                          In individual combat (not in mass battle), samurai favored styles that involved technique and precision cutting, leveling the field against size and strength. Also, I think I mentioned this earlier, but, like the thrusting longswords of the later medieval era, certain katana styles such as those with O-kissaki, were meant to thrust through armor. I saw a demo in which one was put through rounded steel plate enough to kill someone on the other side, but the kissaki was chipped. The shobu-zukuri style weapon also had a reinforced ridge leading to the tip (unlike yokote-zukuri, which is the most common style that you see), which was supposed to make for a better thrust.

                          So, while size matters technique evens the score.
                          TTFN

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                          • Originally posted by Kendoka Girl View Post
                            Good question. Certain types of individual combat favor mass and strength while others favor speed and agility. If I am correct, sword and shield combat such as in Europe until the 1400's and later heavily favored physical size and strength. From what my first fencing master told me, as swords became lighter and sword schools developed, technique and agility became more important. The Spanish and the Italians seemed to come around first with these ideas and then, other parts of Europe. Interestingly, from my observations, modern epee favors tall, lean, and wiry individuals and sabre often seems to favor shorter, stockier individuals...in general.

                            In individual combat (not in mass battle), samurai favored styles that involved technique and precision cutting, leveling the field against size and strength. Also, I think I mentioned this earlier, but, like the thrusting longswords of the later medieval era, certain katana styles such as those with O-kissaki, were meant to thrust through armor. I saw a demo in which one was put through rounded steel plate enough to kill someone on the other side, but the kissaki was chipped. The shobu-zukuri style weapon also had a reinforced ridge leading to the tip (unlike yokote-zukuri, which is the most common style that you see), which was supposed to make for a better thrust.

                            So, while size matters technique evens the score.
                            Sorry, but cannot help it.

                            I see a few myths flying in these pages.

                            1. Swords became lighter? No, no no, sword were almost always light! Hand and half swords, Long swords, and the Katanas were only about 2 2/3 to 3 ˝ lbs! Claymores were about 3 to 4 lbs. Swords did not become lighter; there were always light weapons in the start.

                            Over all the Rapier was not any lighter, it was not even a battlefield weapon but a street defensive weapon, it was used in street fights…


                            2. Sword schools developed, technique and agility became more important?

                            Technique and agility has always been important in European fighting, it has been sense the Greek’s city-states were around. You need strength for good Technique and agility. Why do you think you need to be in very good shape in the military for?

                            Technique and agility was so important that a man had to perform gymnastics in his armor!

                            There were always sword schools and fighting schools in Europe as far back as Western history can go. Sword schools did not just pop out one day, they were there the time wars existed.


                            3. Swords were never made to thrust through steel armor… There is no sword out there that can thrust through steel plate… The Straight swords were made for thrusting the GAPS of steel armor, manly the European ones. Most European straight swords were tapered for that job… (yes they can cut just about as well too)
                            Last edited by German-Knight; 16 Aug 09, 04:05.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by banditman View Post
                              I have to agree that the Warrior Spirit is a little over emphasized by Knight-Errant. Its hard to define as Ilkinak put it. Al Queda is more ready to die and welcome death more than US marines but are they better soldiers? No. Would they win 1v1? No. An extreme but simple example.
                              Another Example that can be used is the Japanese Soldier in WW2. They Did Many Banzai Attacks in which no Japanese were to surrender and figt to the death. - Did they make them better than Americans? No i dont think so if they have enough discipline and training they can overcome these opponents.
                              God didn’t create evil. Evil is the result of when man does not have God's love in his heart.It's the cold when there is no heat.The darkness that comes when there is no light

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                              • Duty, honor, service, God, country and Ego!!!

                                Although I've already posted in this thread before I sort of feel this urge to further add on to and contribute as best I can to the enduring legacy and vibrancy of this awesome, highly debatable discussion! Though trust me, I'm NO expert in any way, shape or form (just an expert enthusiast in the perpetual pursuit of fun and games!), nor do I have anywhere near the knowledge and understanding of the vast majority of this debate's participants when it comes to this particular subject over who was better.

                                Though let me begin anew! As MajorSennef so clearly pointed out earlier in this thread, if the much anticipated face-off took place in this narrow alleyway and/or "corridor" the knight would no doubt prevail, at least 6 out of 10 times, as his considerably superior strength, size and reach would usually determine the outcome (granted the knight's shoulders weren't too wide or broad, for he'd get stuck between the bricks, thereby giving the Samurai this clear, decisive advantage!).

                                Though, as the Major also made pretty clear, out in the great wide open, with more than enough room to maneuver and dance around with this great, impressive agility, the Samurai would have this major, in many ways nearly insurmountable advantage. Though that's so long as he, like the knight, was armed with nothing more than razor-sharp blade weapons for close-in, face-to-face killing.

                                For although the knight would be in excellent shape he would in no way be able to match nor emulate the sheer endurance, graceful agility and natural finesse of the much more nimble, flexible and instinctively-honed Samurai (whose reflexes would usually be sharper and quicker!), and who would, under most circumstances, also be far less weighed down with heavy body armor than the heavily burdened knight (this relevant point that Alice, aka Kendoka Girl, and others have many times made irrefutably clear in previous, much better postings!).

                                Also, no doubt the Samurai sword, preferably this superbly crafted Katana blade (made of the finest steel in the World back during its heyday!) would be able to slice right through and penetrate even the toughest and most impenetrable of Midieval European body armor, especially when being brandished and swung in the expert, powerful hands of this thoroughly and magnificently trained Samurai warrior.

                                For no doubt this missing arm or leg, with this terrible effusion of blood spurting forth from the missing limb, would invariably produce and instill much shock and terror in just about any knight not pumped up on extremely powerful drugs---(unless he were that fanatical, crazy knight in that hilarious movie "Monte Python and the Search for the Holy Grail!" For that guy just didn't know when to drop dead, even with all his limbs sliced off!!!)!

                                Let's consider this---in terms of overall dexterity/sword fighting proficiency/body-sword coordination/swinging speed/in executing these deadly, well-aimed strokes/combat prowess and in their various sword fighting techniques the Samurai would have the clear edge, especially when armed with the super deadly Katana.

                                Also, scarcely any European knight in history could ever match the spectacular skill, speed, discipline and ferocity of the quintessential Japanese Samurai, for such was their effective deadliness borne of this die-hard determination and ferocious elan', these fully advantageous traits that would've usually (though not always) been more deeply bred into the typical Samurai than the proto-typical European knight (though such an assertion is always open to heated debate!)!

                                For in such a toe-to-toe showdown/hoedown the Samurai would continuously weave these poetic, dazzling, awe-inspiring and blazing patterns in the air with his sword, eventually throwing the much larger and slower knight slightly off-balance with his relentlessly blinding, frenzied strokes.

                                Such blinding velocity and the sheer relentless speed of the Samurai's changing sword patterns would render the knight far less able to anticipate exactly the when/where/and how of the next strike and basically which part of his body the inevitable blow or swing would be aimed at. For such blazing sword slashing/trickery would soon break the knight's concentration as he would be trying to focus solely on the shining, furiously swinging Katana whipping through the air at Mach 3, thus breaking the speed of sound in one savage stroke!

                                That's by NO means to say that the knight would be lacking in sword fighting skills and general swordplay, it's just that from everything that I've learned and read over the past three years---(including much that I witnessed on that fascinating Spike TV special "The Deadliest Warrior," where the ancient Samurai was judged and determined to be superior and more skilled than the Norse Viking in this sword fight through actual combat recreations and computer simulations!)---this fully trained Japanese Samurai would far more often than not have the edge over any European knight when it came to engaging that knight in this do-or-die, face-to-face sword duel.

                                For the Samurai invariably possessed far greater agility (and not just because the knight would've been dressed in heavy body armor, for if both fought in their underwear the Japanese swordsman would almost always be able to move faster and better!), would usually have much better developed and conditioned reflexes, and, as I previously tried to make clear, was more thoroughly and rigorously trained in the fine and deadly art of sword fighting.

                                For the Japanese Samurai would've incorporated these various, superior, more effective and more deadly sword skills, techniques and methods that any knight would find extremely difficult and near impossible to match, never mind overcome and prevail against (unless that knight was on horseback and could attack with this lance, than the contest would definitely swing in his favor!). Maybe they would both agree not to fight and just be booze buddies!

                                Though just say by chance the knight was able to get the upper hand and push the Samurai back through brute, unrelenting force and towering power, thus throwing the Samurai off-balance, eventually wearing him down through some fearsome and extremely powerful sword blows before catching the Samurai off guard at the exact, precise moment. Such a golden opportunity, aka Godsend, would therefore give the much stronger knight this very rare and brief opening to skillfully exploit, whereby he would be able to immediately send his ultra-fierce and very worthy Japanese opponent to Samurai heaven, sushi and all)!

                                Of course that's barring any super quick, reflexive motions (like ducking, dodging and side-stepping the knight's slashing sword!), outstanding footwork and/or these well-executed acrobatic moves performed by the graceful yet frustrated samurai, who would most likely regain his balance and immediately correct his body stance/defensive posture to deftly fend off any sharp and heavy blows coming from the European knight.

                                I then say the knight passes out from sheer exhaustion and/or dehydration before being pierced from this extremely fast, vicious-as-hell killing blow expertly delivered by the hands wielding the deadly and feared Katana!

                                Moreover, Knight Errant was quick to illustrate and illuminate this well backed up and well stated set of facts that (in one of the more recent postings, which was excellent, very well-written and deserving of many points!)------

                                (""It seems to me that the only knights that could really stand toe-to-toe and possibly even kill a fully armed samurai would be a knight from one of the military orders, namely the Knights Templar or Hospitaller. I say this because these fighting orders had more or less the same mentality as the samurai. These men weren't out for personal glory. They were serving Christ, his brother knights, and the people of Christendom, just as the samurai served his daimyo, the Shogun, and the Emperor. This kind of selfless dedication meant these warriors would fight that much harder, no matter what the odds. Defeat to both these warriors also meant death, whether by committing seppuku to avoid dishonor or by facing slavery or decapitation, since captured Templars could not be ransomed back."")

                                I agree with him on those brilliant and valid points, for Knight Errant really brought this altogether new perspective into this engaging, juicy and finely protracted debate. For that he should be totally commended!!!

                                Though I would still take the Samurai over any one of those highly trained, thoroughly professional and insanely well disciplined knights from those two exceptionally formidable military orders---aka the Knights Templar and the Hospitaller---at least 6 out of 10 times in this man-to-man sword duel.

                                Though this deeply embraced and very sacred code of honor, along with this seemingly inherent "selfless dedication," no doubt imbued, drove, motivated, empowered, inspired and fiercely compelled the Japanese Samurai, the Knights Templar and the Hospitaller to this fever pitch and viscerally inspired fighting fervor that would invariably impel them to violent action and to fight like these crazed, yet indomitable, fanatics that no force on Earth could ever restrain or cow!

                                No doubt one can lay such suicidally-inclined tendencies/impulses at the feet of deeply ingrained religious beliefs/convictions that have always proven highly effective at inciting certain warriors to these acts of over-the-top madness and unbridled, ferocious action, often leading them to certain death, no fears and no regrets. That's just something I could never quite figure out!

                                Lastly, the only professional "knight" who may have been able to match the Samurai---with respect to skill with blade weapons, viciousness, personal prowess in combat, athleticism and in his relentless courage and desire to prevail---would be those ultra-ferocious, tall and powerfully built Scottish/Irish mercenary shock troops known as the Gallowglass---(who served as these much sought after and ultra loyal mercenaries in Ireland from the middle 13th century till the early 17th century, as they were hired out by the various Irish lords and chieftains to fully augment and supplement their native forces, and where they became the ferociously dedicated mainstay of Irish warfare till about 1580!)---and who were probably the most feared and devastating of all close-quarter Western troops when it came to face-to-face, hand-to-hand combat!

                                The term "Gallowglass" came to be this European by-word meaning blind savagery and supreme valor, though what it literally means is young, foreign warrior, probably referring to the substantial amount of Viking blood that many of them had running through their veins. Yet although they fought in this manner and style that was very similar to that of the Vikings (many of them even carried this 6 foot long Norse battle-ax into combat!), while they often donned helmets and wore chain mail body armor---in their native speech, everyday traits and customs, and in much of their genetical and biological makeup they were of mostly Gaelic/Pictish origin.

                                Much like the Swiss halberdiers of 1300-1450 (who would've also been more than a match for the Samurai considering the reach and fearsome jabbing power of their versatile halberds!) the Gaelic speaking Gallowglass soldiers carried and fought with halberds, though they often opted instead to attack and fight with long swords and heavy battle-axes, and in terms of offensive shock power they were the equal of the Swiss pikemen and would no doubt give any Samurai they faced in face-to-face, blade on blade combat this good run for their money, while matching those Far East warriors in terms of ferocity, endurance and courage!

                                Yet the amazing speed and skill of the sword-slashing Samurai would probably prove superior to the brute force, awesome physical strength and unrelenting hacking capacity of the charging, utterly fearless Gallowglass--- (the Gallowglass warriors---who could be either native Irishmen or Scottish, yet whose origins were, for the most part, to be found in the Western Scottish Highlands and Celtic/Norse Isles---also rigidly adhered to this especially powerful code of honor where they actually took this blood oath and freely pledged to never retreat from the field of battle and to fight until the death if need be, which they often did! For at the bloody and carnage strewn Battle of Knockdoe in 1504 they were nearly wiped out to a man yet they still fought with their characteristic fierceness, fearlessness and battlefield prowess, which was quite awesome!!!).

                                Then again the Scottish-Irish/partly Norse Gallowglass mercenaries were some of the most redoubtable and brutally unrelenting warriors that came to prominence during the latter stages of the middle ages, so such a toe-to-toe showdown with this proto-typical Samurai would most likely be extremely brief, with this quick, super fast killing.

                                For the mode and type of combat that the Gallowglass most preferred and put into actual practice was to instantly explode into action and generate such unstoppable momentum before crashing home into his opposing adversary with the utmost viciousness, savagery and striking power, therefore seeking to defeat his foe/foes (or break up entire English/Anglo-Norman Knight formations!) and emerge victorious through one thunderous, furiously determined and utterly irresistible charge fueled and carried forward with the nearly supernatural force of this inexorable, screaming hurricane. Of course he'd be swinging away with either this sword or an ax like this unrestrained, intrepid madman foaming at the mouth with battle lust!

                                You could call that one of those very rare, fleeting and supercharged moments of either kill quick or perish fast. The Samurai better come prepared for this particular contest!!! I'd pay to see that one!

                                So in the end, at least in terms of their invariably evident and visceral determination to win, their spectacular ability in handling, maneuvering and killing with blade weapons, fighting tenacity, and in that inherent, firmly held code of honor the Samurai scores the most points. For I believe that the Samurai would gradually wear down any overburdened, tired Medieval European knight (basically by dancing circles around him and weaving these dazzling, tough-to-follow patterns with the Samurai sword!).

                                Moreover, defeating any Celtic shock troops would be accomplished through expertly exploiting the utterly savage, die-hard ferocity of any mad-as-hell Gallowglass warrior charging at them full speed and bent on wreaking gruesome slaughter and carnage with his ax or long sword---(the Gallowglass usually wore these cheaply made coats of mail that were of this inferior quality to the heavy body armor that covered and protected other knights of their time, thus rendering those Gaelic shock troops terribly vulnerable!)!

                                Furthermore, such expert exploitation would be possible basically through excellent timing and by executing these highly effective, deadly and poetically awe-inspiring Samurai sword tricks---(though of course the mostly Gaelic, partly Norse Gallowglass warrior and the Samurai could both mutually deliver the final killing blow at precisely the same moment, regardless of the opposing fighting forms and body angles!).

                                We'll, that's all she wrote, I can't go any further (actually my keyboard's on fire!!!).
                                Last edited by Taylor Ahern; 18 Aug 09, 02:42.

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