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The Medival European Knight vs a Japanese Samurai

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  • Good post Taylor!

    Although, against your Templars and Gallowglass I would pit the Sohei and Yamabushi, respectively.



    See, this battle can go on and on and...

    History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon. Napoleon Bonaparte
    _________
    BoRG
    __________
    "I am Arthur, King of the Britons!"

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Torien View Post
      Good post Taylor!

      Although, against your Templars and Gallowglass I would pit the Sohei and Yamabushi, respectively.



      See, this battle can go on and on and...

      Ok here, German Gothic knight:

      http://preachan.tripod.com/icons/german_knt.gif

      Oh and I have armor just like this or very, very colse to it! It is being worked on or modified by Crescent moon Armoury for me.
      Last edited by German-Knight; 18 Aug 09, 11:57.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Taylor Ahern View Post
        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!!!).
        So far there are lots, lots of myths about European fighting and things. Did you even read what I put? But there are a few good things or info in the post...

        Originally posted by Taylor Ahern View Post
        Yet the amazing speed and skill of the sword-slashing Samurai would probably prove superior to the brute force, awesome physical strength
        LOL, another BIG myth! You can do the same amazing speed and skill of the sword with a Long sword, Claymore or any other sword out there.


        Originally posted by Taylor Ahern View Post
        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!).
        LOLOLOL WHAT? LOL NO, no, no. WOW!

        1. Plate armor was not that heavy, it was just about the same as the Samurai’s armor; 40 to 65 lbs. A man in full Plate armor can do just about anything a man with no armor! So the Samurai would NOT BE dancing circles around him…

        2. Medieval Europeans had professional military training. The knight was training sense the age of 6 or 7! Europeans had tough-to-follow patterns with his sword as well…

        3. Medieval Europeans had a code of honor as well!


        Originally posted by Taylor Ahern View Post
        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
        Do you mean these various, superior, more effective and more deadly sword skills, techniques and methods?

        Take a look, Europeans do have martial arts just as well. They knew how to fight just as effective.

        Here are some videos on European martial arts!

        Long Sword
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmoSe...e=channel_page

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsGU5...e=channel_page

        Halberd
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmNTK...eature=channel


        Some Armor info!
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMuNX...e=channel_page



        Medieval Wrestling
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfuMY...e=channel_page

        Ok, this must kill all of your myths!
        Last edited by German-Knight; 18 Aug 09, 11:19.

        Comment


        • If we base the literary or 'mythological' knight against the 'mythological' samurai, they will mutually destroy one and other. lol.

          It will be like the episode in Samurai Jack (Cartoon Network) when the Samurai meets the Scotsman. They fight until neither can beat the other, and become good friends.

          I think in real history, if they met, they would be open minded people - why would they travel out of their country and travel far if they did not have a good reason? They would see mutual warrior spirit and go to the bar or dance club... meet the Danish milk maids ... or the geisha hahahaha.

          What if you had a very bad samurai against a very good European fencer? Or, a very good samurai against a very bad European man on horse with the lance? Person using the weapon and wearing the armour is important in guessing who will win I think.
          I have a question on Scottish Highlanders and Hair! http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...81#post1284281

          Comment


          • Dang, I had some interesting questions and points about the development of weapons and techniques from 500 AD to 1500 AD, but the computer ate my post and so I'll have to stew about it for a bit.
            TTFN

            Comment


            • Originally posted by German-Knight View Post
              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 ½ 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)
              Now, you're going to have to help me out here as some of this is contrary to my learning in the field. My impression was that, during the Dark Ages metallurgy and forging skill is less advanced that during the High Medieval period. As such, sword blades were shorter, more fragile, and often tip heavy. Up through the Viking era swords tended to have shorter handles, smaller hilts, and tip heavy balance compared to longswords or bastard swords of the later era. My understanding was that those weapon types required greater brute physical strength to wield.

              As metallurgy and forging skills improve, sword blades could be made longer, stronger, and lighter with better edges and points. Indeed, a longsword of the 1400's is not that heavy. In comparison with bronze swords made at the beginning of forging techniques, a steel sword from the 1500's would likely be longer and better balanced with a greater capability at the thrust.

              My knowledge of rapiers is that, initially they were long and unwieldy, but by the time of the musketeers it's lighter than a broadsword. The rapiers I've seen are between 2-3 lbs and the broadswords 3-3.5. I've seen two-handed claymores at 5 lbs and over. Later longswords were under 3 lbs. And, are we not also considering weapons used in duels or street brawls?

              Very true that sword training has been around a long time. There are even Egyptian depictions of sword training for their army. Knights from the time of the Song of Roland train daily in a professional setting. What I am saying is that codified schools with discreet techniques didn't become mainstream until the 1300s or so in both Europe and Japan. From what I learned from my fencing Maitre D'Armes these schools took the art of sword fighting to a new level. The number and proficiency in attack and defense techniques multiplies manifold from there.

              Now this is certainly not my area of expertise, but it seems to me that the Dark Ages and the Low Medieval era demonstrated a wide variety of weapons, but not a diversity of techniques. Thrust, slash high, slash low, bash um with your shield. Compared to the intricate bladework and footwork seen in the late medieval and rennaissance periods.

              Indeed, strength is necessary for any edged weapon combat. Less strength decreases your odds of victory especially if you do not have the necessary strength to wield the weapon properly. But certain styles of swordfighting favor speed and agility and too much strength is counterproductive. In my Kendo practice, I am able to easily defeat a man twice my body mass who is a body builder. He simply swings with too much strength and it allows me to dodge/sidestep/deflect his attacks. As he uses all of his strength, he telegraphs the attack.

              Now this is just something I read so you may need to correct me on this, but I've read how certain sword schools of thought developed sharp pointed, diamond cross sectioned blades designed for thrusting. I've seen a modern demonstration in which a steel breastplate was penetrated with a thrust, but it could be said modern steel was used in the sword. True though that it was much more effective to find the chinks in the armor and attack those like the Estoc was designed for.
              TTFN

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Kendoka Girl View Post
                Now, you're going to have to help me out here as some of this is contrary to my learning in the field. My impression was that, during the Dark Ages metallurgy and forging skill is less advanced that during the High Medieval period. As such, sword blades were shorter, more fragile, and often tip heavy. Up through the Viking era swords tended to have shorter handles, smaller hilts, and tip heavy balance compared to longswords or bastard swords of the later era. My understanding was that those weapon types required greater brute physical strength to wield.
                Well, if by tip heavy you mean nowhere near the tip. Unless the tip was made out of some sort of extremely dense material the center of mass would not be past the center of the sword so medieval blades usually had a center of mass at about a 3rd the way up the blade. The katana had a longer hilt so the center of mass was most likely lower than that of a medieval sword. Overall the difference isn't great enough to give either side a distinct advantage.

                In the early middle ages swords were made with a process called pattern welding developed by the celts and vikings which produced blades of comparable quality to that of folded Japanese steels.

                My knowledge of rapiers is that, initially they were long and unwieldy, but by the time of the musketeers it's lighter than a broadsword. The rapiers I've seen are between 2-3 lbs and the broadswords 3-3.5. I've seen two-handed claymores at 5 lbs and over. Later longswords were under 3 lbs. And, are we not also considering weapons used in duels or street brawls?
                Rapiers were about the same weight as other swords however they were much longer. A 40 inch rapier will go through a person and come out the other side before a 30 inch sword of similar weight got close.

                Now this is certainly not my area of expertise, but it seems to me that the Dark Ages and the Low Medieval era demonstrated a wide variety of weapons, but not a diversity of techniques. Thrust, slash high, slash low, bash um with your shield. Compared to the intricate bladework and footwork seen in the late medieval and rennaissance periods.
                I think dark ages swordfighting was a bit more complicated then that, however it is true that it evolved much over the course of the middle ages.
                But we also have to wonder how much eastern sword styles have evolved over the past mellenium. Just like a knight would not know more modern fencing techniques it is likely that a samurai would be using a much more rudimentary version of kenjutsu.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Taylor Ahern View Post
                  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 ! .................................................. .......We'll, that's all she wrote, I can't go any further (actually my keyboard's on fire!!!).
                  Love the enthusiasm .



                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallowglass

                  Gerald of Wales in 1188 stated that while the Normans were good with swords, and the Welsh with bows, the Irish were particuarly good with axes. The closest relative to the Gallowglass may be The Varangian guard, which also combined loyalty and ability.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varangian
                  How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                  Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by RepublicanGuard View Post
                    Well, if by tip heavy you mean nowhere near the tip. Unless the tip was made out of some sort of extremely dense material the center of mass would not be past the center of the sword so medieval blades usually had a center of mass at about a 3rd the way up the blade. The katana had a longer hilt so the center of mass was most likely lower than that of a medieval sword. Overall the difference isn't great enough to give either side a distinct advantage.

                    In the early middle ages swords were made with a process called pattern welding developed by the celts and vikings which produced blades of comparable quality to that of folded Japanese steels.


                    Rapiers were about the same weight as other swords however they were much longer. A 40 inch rapier will go through a person and come out the other side before a 30 inch sword of similar weight got close.


                    I think dark ages swordfighting was a bit more complicated then that, however it is true that it evolved much over the course of the middle ages.
                    But we also have to wonder how much eastern sword styles have evolved over the past mellenium. Just like a knight would not know more modern fencing techniques it is likely that a samurai would be using a much more rudimentary version of kenjutsu.
                    Looking at swords from the Dark Ages and from the Viking era it seems that the handles are much shorter, the blades thicker, and the tips more rounded. Having handled a few replicas it seemed to me that the later medieval swords were better balanced. From what I was told though, a more blade heavy weapon during that time was a good thing as it imparted more impact on the target.

                    Also, the Do-Tanouki style of katana is rather tip heavy and was found to be more effective against armored opponents. This was also true for the Shobu Zukuri style, which was very effective against the Mongols.

                    The evolution of sword fighting in Japan was also very dramatic. The era before the Yamato period was basically hack and slash with a straight sword and shield. The time leading up to the Gempei Wars saw the development of the curved blade from horseback and the disuse of shields. The long tachi was good at making slashing attacks from horseback, but was the secondary weapon of the samurai. Blade quality was inferior and they often shattered in combat.

                    Swordsmanship really begins to develop in the Kamakura Jidai and the great smiths develop better forging techniques and folded steel. Swordsmanship training is universal, but codified schools still are a couple centuries away.

                    It's really not until the 1300's and even later that schools like Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu come out and systems of sword combat grow like mushrooms. Much of the combat techniques up through the Sengoku Jidai are based on attacking gaps in armor and grappling, hence the later Jujutsu art. Kenjutsu takes its roots from this time period. Modern practitioners like Hatsumi Sensei train with sword techniques using period armor.

                    It's not until the Edo Jidai and the disuse of armor that swordsmanship really flourishes. Blade development matches the era and swords become thinner and lighter, often with bo-hi or grooves to reduce weight.

                    Even the art that I take, Eishin Ryu, is constantly evolving. I had another debate...on this forum no less, on why a codified system is better than just training and a warrior spirit. From what I've read on the issue, just training came down to one guy better than you showing you how to swing a sword and then drilling and sparring. With a school, you get a proven system of fighting that has been handed down for generations with techniques constantly being improved and ineffective ones discarded or exploited. The guy delivering the system is a proven master and corrects your technique mercilessly until you are a master...or dead.
                    TTFN

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Kendoka Girl View Post
                      Looking at swords from the Dark Ages and from the Viking era it seems that the handles are much shorter, the blades thicker, and the tips more rounded. Having handled a few replicas it seemed to me that the later medieval swords were better balanced. From what I was told though, a more blade heavy weapon during that time was a good thing as it imparted more impact on the target.

                      Also, the Do-Tanouki style of katana is rather tip heavy and was found to be more effective against armored opponents. This was also true for the Shobu Zukuri style, which was very effective against the Mongols.

                      The evolution of sword fighting in Japan was also very dramatic. The era before the Yamato period was basically hack and slash with a straight sword and shield. The time leading up to the Gempei Wars saw the development of the curved blade from horseback and the disuse of shields. The long tachi was good at making slashing attacks from horseback, but was the secondary weapon of the samurai. Blade quality was inferior and they often shattered in combat.

                      Swordsmanship really begins to develop in the Kamakura Jidai and the great smiths develop better forging techniques and folded steel. Swordsmanship training is universal, but codified schools still are a couple centuries away.

                      It's really not until the 1300's and even later that schools like Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu come out and systems of sword combat grow like mushrooms. Much of the combat techniques up through the Sengoku Jidai are based on attacking gaps in armor and grappling, hence the later Jujutsu art. Kenjutsu takes its roots from this time period. Modern practitioners like Hatsumi Sensei train with sword techniques using period armor.

                      It's not until the Edo Jidai and the disuse of armor that swordsmanship really flourishes. Blade development matches the era and swords become thinner and lighter, often with bo-hi or grooves to reduce weight.

                      Even the art that I take, Eishin Ryu, is constantly evolving. I had another debate...on this forum no less, on why a codified system is better than just training and a warrior spirit. From what I've read on the issue, just training came down to one guy better than you showing you how to swing a sword and then drilling and sparring. With a school, you get a proven system of fighting that has been handed down for generations with techniques constantly being improved and ineffective ones discarded or exploited. The guy delivering the system is a proven master and corrects your technique mercilessly until you are a master...or dead.
                      While I'm not sure exactly what swords you were using I looked up the definition of viking sword on Wikipedia to use as an example.

                      Weight avg. 1.1 kg (2.5 lb)
                      Length 91 - 100 cm (36 - 39 in)
                      Blade length avg. 74 cm (29 in)
                      Width 5 cm (2 in)
                      After looking at some replicas I have found this to be accurate.
                      While you are correct in stating that it has a much wider blade you will note by the tapering and the incorporation of blood groves, as well as the overall weight, that this is not designed to be a heavy weapon despite it's length. It is true that a higher center of mass gave you marginally more power but for real power the vikings just grabbed axes.


                      You mentioned earlier about sword techniques to pierce armor. If you wanted to know more about that I would recommend looking up halfswording, it is a name for medieval techniques that involve grasping the blade for more power (hopefully the knight is wearing guantlets or thick leather gloves). This would give a knight enough strength to pierce weak spots with his sword. Or better yet the knight could just turn his sword around and use the hilt as a battle hammer.

                      Here is a non-english speaking guy demonstrating various techniques against places that would normally be weak points in armor.
                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1m9X2OP_-Q

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by RepublicanGuard View Post
                        While I'm not sure exactly what swords you were using I looked up the definition of viking sword on Wikipedia to use as an example.


                        After looking at some replicas I have found this to be accurate.
                        While you are correct in stating that it has a much wider blade you will note by the tapering and the incorporation of blood groves, as well as the overall weight, that this is not designed to be a heavy weapon despite it's length. It is true that a higher center of mass gave you marginally more power but for real power the vikings just grabbed axes.


                        You mentioned earlier about sword techniques to pierce armor. If you wanted to know more about that I would recommend looking up halfswording, it is a name for medieval techniques that involve grasping the blade for more power (hopefully the knight is wearing guantlets or thick leather gloves). This would give a knight enough strength to pierce weak spots with his sword. Or better yet the knight could just turn his sword around and use the hilt as a battle hammer.

                        Here is a non-english speaking guy demonstrating various techniques against places that would normally be weak points in armor.
                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1m9X2OP_-Q
                        Thank you very much. That was an excellent example of a Viking era sword. You're right, that is not a very heavy weapon.

                        I've seen a couple demos of that thrusting technique. There was actually a very good depiction of it in that series Conquest. I've got a few friends into medieval reenactment and they showed me another one in which you hook your forefinger over the hilt for better control of the blade. Again, it would be good to have a lot of padding on that finger as it rides right on the edge of the blade. I was told that it was particular to the Italians.

                        I appreciate the discussion. It's always good to learn new things.
                        TTFN

                        Comment


                        • If I had to go up against the samurai in those pictures, I'd stomp their exposed little feet with my iron boots, then smash their exposed little faces with my iron fist. That'd teach em what happens when you go to war wearing flip flops.
                          Undocumented Economist

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                          • Originally posted by Aggressor View Post
                            If I had to go up against the samurai in those pictures, I'd stomp their exposed little feet with my iron boots, then smash their exposed little faces with my iron fist. That'd teach em what happens when you go to war wearing flip flops.
                            It is not that easy; remember Samurais were like knights, they know how to fight just as well.

                            Yes, you being a Knight have distinctive advantages over the Samurai, but it would not be a cakewalk what so ever. Never under estimate your opponent…


                            Originally posted by Kendoka Girl View Post
                            Now, you're going to have to help me out here as some of this is contrary to my learning in the field. My impression was that, during the Dark Ages metallurgy and forging skill is less advanced that during the High Medieval period. As such, sword blades were shorter, more fragile, and often tip heavy. Up through the Viking era swords tended to have shorter handles, smaller hilts, and tip heavy balance compared to longswords or bastard swords of the later era. My understanding was that those weapon types required greater brute physical strength to wield.

                            As metallurgy and forging skills improve, sword blades could be made longer, stronger, and lighter with better edges and points. Indeed, a longsword of the 1400's is not that heavy. In comparison with bronze swords made at the beginning of forging techniques, a steel sword from the 1500's would likely be longer and better balanced with a greater capability at the thrust.
                            Bronze swords were light too…

                            This seems accurate; there is some truth on what you said. But Viking or Dark age swords were still light and well made, they use pattern welding, pattern welding was around in Europe in the BCs… (The Romans and the Germans used it as well)

                            Very true, metallurgy and forging skills did improved over time. But nonetheless swords made in the Dark Ages and before were very, very good. Even the Romans, even German, and Celtics had very good blades!

                            The Romans were making high carbon Steel with their bloomeries according to Kevin R. Cashen, plus an Armorer I talked to, and a few others… The Romans did had some amazing steel armor and swords according to them.

                            I never new that, EVEN HE WAS SURPRISED when he first researched that! Kevin R. Cashen study thing like this first had! And even looks at it in molecular level! Surprise, surprise for everyone, the Romans had plenty of good steel after all...



                            The thing is, the greater capability at the thrust was a response to armor, and swords were tapered more…

                            Here are the types:









                            (They all can cut and thrust very well…)




                            Originally posted by Kendoka Girl View Post
                            My knowledge of rapiers is that, initially they were long and unwieldy, but by the time of the musketeers it's lighter than a broadsword. The rapiers I've seen are between 2-3 lbs and the broadswords 3-3.5. I've seen two-handed claymores at 5 lbs and over. Later longswords were under 3 lbs. And, are we not also considering weapons used in duels or street brawls?

                            Very true that sword training has been around a long time. There are even Egyptian depictions of sword training for their army. Knights from the time of the Song of Roland train daily in a professional setting. What I am saying is that codified schools with discreet techniques didn't become mainstream until the 1300s or so in both Europe and Japan. From what I learned from my fencing Maitre D'Armes these schools took the art of sword fighting to a new level. The number and proficiency in attack and defense techniques multiplies manifold from there.
                            Most Claymores were about 4 lbs 3 oz. But there were a few Claymores and Zweihanders that were 3 lbs 8 oz!

                            As for Schools with discreet techniques, in the A.R.M.A international gathering, John said, as much as we know the knowledge of Western martial arts is still very little! Also so much was lost, and needs to be rediscovered. We cannot say for certain when were the Schools made. It could have been 1200s? AD 1000s AD? But there were Fighting schools in Roman times, Greek times. Why not 1000 AD?


                            Originally posted by Kendoka Girl View Post
                            Now this is certainly not my area of expertise, but it seems to me that the Dark Ages and the Low Medieval era demonstrated a wide variety of weapons, but not a diversity of techniques. Thrust, slash high, slash low, bash um with your shield. Compared to the intricate bladework and footwork seen in the late medieval and rennaissance periods.
                            Well, I do not know.

                            There had too be techniques, there always was. Example; People knew how to box and to wrestle as far back as over 1000 BC Greece… They must have applied good techniques in fighting…

                            I herd from a guy that’s in A.R.M.A. that said he found some Roman sword techniques described by historians, lets just say there were much more then just thrusting involved… (But thrusting was the main)



                            Originally posted by Kendoka Girl View Post
                            Indeed, strength is necessary for any edged weapon combat. Less strength decreases your odds of victory especially if you do not have the necessary strength to wield the weapon properly. But certain styles of sword fighting favor speed and agility and too much strength is counterproductive. In my Kendo practice, I am able to easily defeat a man twice my body mass who is a body builder. He simply swings with too much strength and it allows me to dodge/sidestep/deflect his attacks. As he uses all of his strength, he telegraphs the attack.
                            Yea, very true, but every professional soldier had to be strong and agile.

                            We also Dodge, sidestep Deflect attacks, but our Sword fighting has a lot of grappling that comes with it… And if that body builder was train properly, I would not want to fight him… I would have to engage and disengage him every time…

                            Originally posted by Kendoka Girl View Post
                            Now this is just something I read so you may need to correct me on this, but I've read how certain sword schools of thought developed sharp pointed, diamond cross sectioned blades designed for thrusting. I've seen a modern demonstration in which a steel breastplate was penetrated with a thrust, but it could be said modern steel was used in the sword. True though that it was much more effective to find the chinks in the armor and attack those like the Estoc was designed for.
                            Most a modern steel breastplate are crap, I have two, one is VERY strong the other one is very weak and feels like a sword can penetrate it. The one that is very strong; I paid $555.oo for it, the crap one was $122.oo. Even then the armor from the past was better made… The demonstration you seen was not accurate…




                            As you can see, this is why Western military continued with “heavy” armor...
                            Last edited by German-Knight; 02 Sep 09, 16:05.

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                            • As far as I can tell, the training and equipment of the knight and samurai pretty much made them equal.
                              Lance-Yari
                              Halberd-Naginata
                              Flail or Battle Ax-Kanabo
                              Broadsword-Katana (longsword)
                              Mace or Warhammer-Wakizashi (shortsword)
                              Dagger-Tanto (knife)

                              While I'm not sure about the later Gothic armor, plate armor and especially chain mail armor were just as flexible as the Japanese lamellar and metal armor, unless a knight got stuck in the mud (i.e. the Battle of Agincourt).

                              While the knight was the master of the cavalry charge, samurai were excellent horsemen in their own right, and they practiced archery, which most knights disdained in regards to combat.

                              No, despite the popular notion, western medieval swordsmanship was not all about brute force and hacking away. A knight could be as fast and strategic with a sword as any well trained samurai.

                              In regards to the shield in short/medium range combat, it would probably pose a bit of a conundrum to a samurai, who might use both the katana and wakizashi to keep the knight's sword and shield busy. a naginata, however, could be used to hook around the shield, and a solid strike from the kanabo could shatter or damage the shield, depending on its quality.

                              In the end, it most likely boils down to where and when the opponents would fight, and ultimately, who would want it more.

                              I would put more faith in a Templar or a Hospitaller than a secular knight because those orders tended to follow the Sun Tzu rule of getting to know one's enemy. They had dealings with both the Assassins and the Mongols, and in several records the Templars would advise the crusader kings not to make a European style attack on the Saracen enemy. The kings would accuse the Templars of cowardice and a lack of faith, the Templars would relent and move into position, the crusaders would charge into a massacre, and the Templars would be blamed for not beleiving in Christ enough. It was also the force of French Templars who held out the longest against the Mongols at Leignitz, while the Teutonic and Polish knights were put to slaughter. My point is that a Templar or Hospitaller would be able to percieve and adapt to a foreign style of combat quicker than a secular knight (or a Teutonic knight, who tended to get trounced in such situations).

                              Templar rule also required that a brother knight could not back down from less than three opponents. The samurai, therefore, could be prudent and either walk away or kill the knight from a distance with a well placed arrow.
                              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 German-Knight View Post
                                It is not that easy; remember Samurais were like knights, they know how to fight just as well.

                                Yes, you being a Knight have distinctive advantages over the Samurai, but it would not be a cakewalk what so ever. Never under estimate your opponent…




                                Bronze swords were light too…

                                This seems accurate; there is some truth on what you said. But Viking or Dark age swords were still light and well made, they use pattern welding, pattern welding was around in Europe in the BCs… (The Romans and the Germans used it as well)

                                Very true, metallurgy and forging skills did improved over time. But nonetheless swords made in the Dark Ages and before were very, very good. Even the Romans, even German, and Celtics had very good blades!

                                The Romans were making high carbon Steel with their bloomeries according to Kevin R. Cashen, plus an Armorer I talked to, and a few others… The Romans did had some amazing steel armor and swords according to them.

                                I never new that, EVEN HE WAS SURPRISED when he first researched that! Kevin R. Cashen study thing like this first had! And even looks at it in molecular level! Surprise, surprise for everyone, the Romans had plenty of good steel after all...



                                The thing is, the greater capability at the thrust was a response to armor, and swords were tapered more…

                                Here are the types:









                                (They all can cut and thrust very well…)






                                Most Claymores were about 4 lbs 3 oz. But there were a few Claymores and Zweihanders that were 3 lbs 8 oz!

                                As for Schools with discreet techniques, in the A.R.M.A international gathering, John said, as much as we know the knowledge of Western martial arts is still very little! Also so much was lost, and needs to be rediscovered. We cannot say for certain when were the Schools made. It could have been 1200s? AD 1000s AD? But there were Fighting schools in Roman times, Greek times. Why not 1000 AD?




                                Well, I do not know.

                                There had too be techniques, there always was. Example; People knew how to box and to wrestle as far back as over 1000 BC Greece… They must have applied good techniques in fighting…

                                I herd from a guy that’s in A.R.M.A. that said he found some Roman sword techniques described by historians, lets just say there were much more then just thrusting involved… (But thrusting was the main)





                                Yea, very true, but every professional soldier had to be strong and agile.

                                We also Dodge, sidestep Deflect attacks, but our Sword fighting has a lot of grappling that comes with it… And if that body builder was train properly, I would not want to fight him… I would have to engage and disengage him every time…



                                Most a modern steel breastplate are crap, I have two, one is VERY strong the other one is very weak and feels like a sword can penetrate it. The one that is very strong; I paid $555.oo for it, the crap one was $122.oo. Even then the armor from the past was better made… The demonstration you seen was not accurate…




                                As you can see, this is why Western military continued with “heavy” armor...
                                Thank you very much! This is excellent, well researched information. I can tell you have a lot of expertise in this area.
                                TTFN

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