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The Medival European Knight vs a Japanese Samurai

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  • One major difference is simply that European martial arts were done in heavier armor.

    I saw a series of drawings from the Middle Ages showing European unarmed fighting. I think it was on "Weapons That Made Britain: The Sword". I remember thinking how similar the moves were to the Tae Kwon Do I was trained in. The difference is both guys are in steel armor and the other guy has a sword.

    Basically, the sword guy swings downward, and the unarmed guy goes into a Front Stance and uses a High Block on the swordsman's arm. Now, in Tae Kwon Do, the most natural move here is to give a sharp corkscrew punch to the armpit which should drop the guy. Unfortunately in this case he has armor that is too strong to punch through no matter how many bricks you've broken, so the European, instead of punching, grips his opponent around the hips and throws him backward over his shoulder.

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    • Here's a goofball video. It's entertaining, but I guess it goes to show you that there's no set outcome to this and I don't think either has a distinct advantage.

      TTFN

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      • The Knight was scared to hit the unarmored guy...

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        • Originally posted by AThousandYoung View Post
          The Knight was scared to hit the unarmored guy...
          Yeah, you could tell that it wasn't all out nor were they really professional level combattants like a real knight or samurai would have been.

          I'd have worn some eye protection personally and used wooden weapons.

          But one thing I caught was the samurai latched on to the outer side of the shield where the knight's cutting arc was weak and then got on the inside of his cutting arc all together to immobilize the sword arm. It's a raw portrayal of how mobility can hold an advantage over superior armor.
          TTFN

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          • Originally posted by AThousandYoung View Post
            The Knight was scared to hit the unarmored guy...
            He was afraid his ill fitting armor would fall off.

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            • Originally posted by Kendoka Girl View Post
              Yeah, you could tell that it wasn't all out nor were they really professional level combattants like a real knight or samurai would have been.

              I'd have worn some eye protection personally and used wooden weapons.

              But one thing I caught was the samurai latched on to the outer side of the shield where the knight's cutting arc was weak and then got on the inside of his cutting arc all together to immobilize the sword arm. It's a raw portrayal of how mobility can hold an advantage over superior armor.
              I've heard Japanese style fighters have used the same trick in the SCA.

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              • I'm not going to go too far into the whole discussion since I believe that it comes to a large degree down to the warriors in question and the era the fight takes place.

                On the techniques I will however say that the european knight fought against the mongols, the vicings, the arabs, went on several crusades, did the spanish reconquista and so on while the japanese were on their island, fighting one another (they did invade korea and the mongols launched a failed invasion fleet that sank in a storm, granted).
                So I would say that the european sword technique is not as unwieldy and dumb as normally thought when one only watches holywood guys waving their swords about. The japanese very seldom encountered enemies that fought outside their own military tradition or honor code, while the europeans did all the time and still survived the test of time.
                Ha, wie so stolz und hehr
                Wirft über Land und Meer
                Weithin der deutsche Aar
                Flammenden Blick.

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                • Samurai had many weapons....

                  http://www.samuraiweapons.org/Samurai_Weapons.php

                  and horses (though smaller than European).... and armor.....

                  I guess it would depend on the situation.
                  In Vino Veritas

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Jefffar View Post
                    As the post you were quoting pointed out, European martial arts essentially died out, only the sporting forms survived into the present day, in a heavily transformed and regulated form.

                    Or, in other words, there's a lot of difference between modern western combat sports and the way things were actually done by the guys who were putting their lives on the line.
                    Exactly.






                    I think much could be said about the more prevalent martial arts from the east, where they oftentimes seem to be more regulated than you would think. I mean, I never learned to go for the eyes in my Karate classes.

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                    • Originally posted by dongar1 View Post
                      Samurai had many weapons....

                      http://www.samuraiweapons.org/Samurai_Weapons.php

                      and horses (though smaller than European).... and armor.....

                      I guess it would depend on the situation.
                      Yes, but the armor was inferior by the 1500s. Weapons were pretty similar, and both groups of noble warrior classes were similarly trained.

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                      • Originally posted by daemonofdecay View Post
                        Exactly.






                        I think much could be said about the more prevalent martial arts from the east, where they oftentimes seem to be more regulated than you would think. I mean, I never learned to go for the eyes in my Karate classes.
                        It really depends on the school. As a wee youngin, I took Senbukan Karate and I recall eye strikes, strikes to the ears, nose, groin, etc. In Aikido, we learned about breaking fingers, atemi to the throat, eyes, carotid holds, etc. In Iaido, I'm learning cuts to the armpits, backs of the knees, achilles tendons, groin, etc.
                        TTFN

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                        • I guess it depends on the time period then for weapons and armor..

                          As we see, by the mid-1500's...

                          Arquebus technology came to Japanese shores with the Chinese during the early Sixteenth Century, but came into widespread and pivotal use soon after Portuguese sailors were shipwrecked on the island of Tanegashima in 1543. Their firearms technology would start a revolution in samurai warfare - if used correctly, this weapon had the power to annihilate one's enemies and even unite Japan. Oda Nobunaga for example was an early exponent of the use of guns, using them successfully against the Ikko Ikki and at Nagashino in 1575; failing to unite Japan only through his betrayal and murder in 1582. The daimyo who failed to make use of this new innovation either quickly changed their ways or were crushed by those less idealistic (Bryant, 1989 p25). By the mid to late Sixteenth Century the strength of armies was now counted in guns, particularly proving their worth in defensive situations.

                          http://www.samurai-archives.com/sts.html
                          Last edited by dongar1; 05 Dec 09, 08:37. Reason: Forgot to Cite
                          In Vino Veritas

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                          • Miyamoto vs Connor, all guts, glory and honor!!!

                            Basically there's not much that I can add on to this spectacular thread---
                            for I believe that every aspect pertaining to this very popular, multi-dimensional subject has been thoroughly covered, rigorously examined, deeply explored and fiercely debated by minds much better learned and experienced than myself.

                            Yet I'd love to expand upon this particular angle that deals with this imaginary sub theme/matchup where this typical late 16th century Japanese Samurai faces down and engages this quintessential 14th-15th-early 16th Irish Gallowglass mercenary in ferocious, hard fought hand-to-hand combat.

                            For I believe that the Samurai represented the finest and most thoroughly skilled warrior that the Far East could breed and produce back between 900 till about 1877, while the late Medieval Irish Gallowglass (((who would be mostly Scottish in origin, springing originally from the Western Isles and seaboard of the Highlands, with Gaelic, Pictish and Norse blood running through his veins!))) would be the toughest, strongest, fiercest and most formidable swordsman that the West could breed and fashion back between 1250ish till about 1600 or so.

                            For the ultra-fearsome Irish/Scottish Gallowglass mercenaries were, in essence, and mainly because of their legendary and unmatched combat prowess, the rough European equivalent of the Samurai---at least until the coming and emergence of all those superbly intricate, brilliant and dazzling sword fighting techniques and methods whose genesis could be traced to Germany back between the mid 1400's till the mid 1500's!

                            For in one of his earlier posts German Knight, along with many other brilliant and enthusiastic AGF members---and who're quite the impressive experts in this thrilling, endlessly debated subject---provided some very strong assertions and these convincing views that basically gave much validity to the argument that certain Medieval European martial art styles were just as effective and deadly as most Oriental ones!

                            Also, I've done my own fair share of research all throughout You Tube, and I've discovered much in the way of mid 15th-mid 16th century German swordsmanship---as demonstrated by these super dedicated professionals using these various and eye-opening techniques---that lends much validity to any debate concerning the effective deadliness and poetic skill of such Central European sword play (((Dutch, German and Swiss!))) and how it, in all its various manifestations from 1450-1650, basically measured up to all the sword fighting styles and techniques which sprang from the Far East and Japan.

                            Some might even say that those various Central European sword fighting styles, methods and tactics were even better and deadlier than the Japanese ones, as they were based on greater efficiency, timing, excellent defensive skill, these quick counter thrusts and brilliant exploitation (((basically much of it was predicated upon parry, then thrust! Parry-thrust, parry-thrust, parry-thrust, parry-thrust, parry-thrust! Yet there is this very graceful, and aesthetically pleasing, element/aspect to such Central European sword techniques that it's impossible not to marvel at such beautiful, original and highly innovative swordsmanship based on much finesse, intricate skill and this awesome, brilliant style!))).

                            Though back to the unbridled, mad dog ferocity and visceral savagery of this proto-typical, undaunted, blood-crazed, late 14th century Irish Gallowglass, and how well he would stand against this utterly fearless, magnificently trained and quintessentially late 16th century Japanese Samurai.

                            The Samurai (((by the name of Miyamoto Musashi!))) would be dressed in the same style and type of body armor as was brilliantly depicted in ""The Last Samurai!"" All credit for that goes to Tom Cruise!!!

                            He would also be armed with this utterly beautiful, shining and painstakingly crafted Katana sword, which would, when raised above his head, soak up all the late afternoon sun rays, thus magnifying the brilliance of that deeply venerated katana (((for the Japanese had, and still have, this mystical regard for their swords, which can in effect, at least from the Samurai's unique perspective, imbue them with this almost supernatural quality!))).

                            Now the dour, cruel, bloodthirsty, mean (((though deep down he really was this loving, sentimental and caring dude!))), broad shouldered, extremely powerful, hard-as-coffin nails and very tall Irish Gallowglass---(((who would fight until the death, no fear, no regrets, for the Gallowglass mercenaries, as I wrote previously, always took this sacred oath before battle never to retreat from the field of combat regardless of the odds, unless they were needed to fight another day!)))---went by the name of Connor McSheehy.

                            (((though it was MacSheehy before his Scottish Gallowglass Grand da married into the O'Brien clan in north western Munster, thus changing the family name to McSheehy so as to more properly fit into Gaelic Irish society!)))

                            The lovely and gracious Mr. Connor McSheehy would be dressed in this coat of chain mail, which would be made up of thousands of interlocked metal links, thus making such protective armor quite flexible and less burdensome when the Gallowglass is compelled to physically exert himself in battle.

                            Though under all that chain mail the Gallowglass would be wearing this thoroughly padded leather garment, or this thoroughly padded,
                            quilted tunic, so as to give him even greater protection against any potential, deadly sword blows.

                            The giant, strapping, imposing and extremely intimidating Gallowglass would also be 6 foot 6, at least 10 inches taller than his Samurai opponent!

                            He'd also be wearing this skull, or this close-fitted iron helmet, so as to add some further protection (((for the Gallowglass were invariably employed and deployed as these first-rate, close-quarter oriented shock troops, raised and trained to smash into any type of enemy formation, regardless of the odds. So you can see where the iron helmet would come in handy!))).

                            As far as his choice of weapons, the Gallowglass would, in this particular case, be armed with this Medieval, two-handed, double edged, Gaelic style Broadsword, capable of slicing this ox in two if swung, and gripped, with these exceptionally powerful, stone crushing hands! Though he'd also be armed with this razor-sharp skean, or this long knife, just in case he couldn't pull his sword out of any cleaved skull in time to face his next, usually hapless battlefield adversary!

                            Yes, both the late Medieval Irish/Scottish Gallowglass and the 15th-17th century Japanese Samurai were some pretty redoubtable, highly proficient and ferociously inspired warriors indeed, the toughest and most vicious around!

                            Now let the ****ing games begin!!!!!!

                            For as we all know each warrior, when wielding, slashing, slicing and fighting with their respective weapons---the late Medieval, Gaelic Broadsword and the super sharp katana---was capable of wreaking and causing this prodigious, gruesome amount of bloodshed and carnage when engaged in savage, do-or-die close-quarter combat, as history itself has repeatedly demonstrated!

                            Though in terms of swordsmanship I believe the typical Japanese Samurai to have been more refined, sophisticated and cunning, while the quintessential Irish/Scottish Gallowglass mercenary was capable of attacking and fighting with greater ferocity, tenacity, endurance and determination. For each warrior invariably lived up to his awesome, deadly and respective reputation in terms of skill, professionalism, athleticism and viciousness with blade weapons!

                            Let's say the combat takes place right behind my local Legion Post, which features this grassy, flat stretch of ground, right below this small, sloping hill
                            (((and which overlooks this rather secluded, trash strewn beach!))), and whose diameters constitute about one half this NFL size Football field, more than enough room to fight, maneuver and kill!

                            So both contestants emerge from the Post, right after downing about 3 glasses of booze apiece---(((naturally Connor chose to swill about three glasses of Scottish Whiskey, while Miyamoto, greatly disappointed that no Saki is available, opts instead to guzzle three small glasses of Vodka, so as to fuel and inflame his famous, raging fighting fever!))).

                            For they came running out of the back door, weapons in hand, furiously impatient for the much anticipated, one-on-one combat to commence, with my entire neighborhood spilling out of the local watering hole right behind them, wildly cheering and giving these loud, boisterous and joyous shouts all the time (((you would've thought that it was Saint Patty's Day, or the Red Sox winning the World Series again!!!)))!

                            Before I blow into the whistle the chain mail clad Gallowglass, with his simmering, bursting, ferociously adrenaline inducing Fighting Fury at this Fever Pitch---(((engendered, through no small degree, by the Scotch whiskey that he just guzzled, and which never fails to inspire this irresistible, all-consuming battle lust!!!)))---explodes into ferocious, immediate action, and begins to furiously charge and rage at the slightly stunned, yet heavily armoured Samurai!

                            Now there are dozens upon dozens upon dozens of scenarios that one could conjure up and apply to this particular situation.

                            Yet the exact course of action that I believe to be the most likely, and therefore most plausible, would be this---the Samurai, while watching the intrepid, exceedingly battle eager Gallowglass running at him full steam ahead, would wait until the very last second before gracefully and expertly ducking the oncoming, soon to swing Broadsword of the hard charging, mad as Hell Irish Gallowglass.

                            For in the process of ducking Connor's Broadsword the extremely agile and naturally acrobatic Samurai would---barely this millisecond before the first Broadsword blow was about to land---quite instinctively tap into his finely honed, spectacular reflexes (((which would be sharpened to this razor edge!))) and roll forward head first, thus feeling the savage, powerful and palpable swoooshhh of the Gallowglass's Broadsword slashing overhead, barely missing his head and feet by mere inches. Then, after rolling forward head first, the Samurai would pop up like this jack in the box right behind the off-balance, enraged Irish Gallowglass, providing Miyamoto with the ideal situation to exploit to his advantage!

                            Though Connor the Gallowglass---who's also very swift and adept on his feet despite his exceptional weight and size---is very quick to regain his balance just in time to swing his entire chain mail clad body around with great speed and fury in order to expertly counter, and thus parry, the blazing, super quick sword of Miyamoto, in effect resulting in this piercing, fierce and loud CLANG!!!!!!

                            Now the real sword duel can begin!!!

                            So they engage each other in this rather unconventional sword duel, each utilizing to the best and utmost of their ability their respective sword fighting styles, in a sense effecting this clash of two very disparate cultures along with two very distinct swords! For it's East meets West---out in Squantum!!!

                            Initially the Irish Gallowglass---through brute strength, more reach and the raw power, and ferocity, of his non-stop sword hacking, slicing and swinging---gets the upper hand. Then the Samurai eventually reverses course and attacks Connor with this ferocious, blinding, slashing speed and viciousness that is extremely tough to counter and defend against!

                            For Miyamoto's style is much more sophisticated, dazzling and driven by finesse, grace, blinding speed and superb timing. Yet Connor's particular, more conventional style is no less effective or deadly. For Connor just oozes with such phenomenal strengh, power and determination, as his razor sharp reflexes, which are no less well developed than Miyamoto's, enable him to counter and parry---with this series of screaming clangs---the Samurai's flashing, blazing, super fast Katana strokes and slices, which, of course, are executed with this blinding speed and spectacular, superbly honed skill!

                            Though Connor cannot be cowed, not by anyone, as---once both swords come together into one fearsome, bone rattling crash---he finally executes this great, circular sword arc in order to throw Miyamoto's sword off trajectory, thus severely disrupting the Samurai's poetic, beautifully executed body/sword rhythm that Miyamoto maintained all throughout his attack mode.

                            Then Connor, after one more parry, regains his momentum, coming at the Samurai with this savage, unrelenting ferocity, swinging and slashing away the whole time, never letting up as he keeps delivering these seemingly inexhaustible, devastating, well aimed sword blows that could easily fell this Redwood Tree, thus placing Miyamoto in defensive mode!

                            Though Miyamoto, while employing much outstanding footwork and amazing agility, and while instinctively tapping into his superbly conditioned reflexes, continues to parry, dodge, duck, sidestep and parry, parry and parry the fearsome, terrifying Broadsword being wielded and swung by the incredibly strong and rabid Connor McSheehy, who by now has become quite frustrated. The savage and loud CLANGS just keep on ringing!!!

                            Also, the Squantum crowd that has gathered to watch this epic showdown is by now rabid, booze drenched, amazed, crazed and totally thrilled beyond words, vigorously cheering both combatants with this vigor and force, bringing the volume way up in this manner that would probably drown out the full noise emanating from Fenway Park during this Red Sox-Yankess playoff game!!!

                            So it's not long before Miyamoto finally exploits Connor's frustration and fury---(((brought about after so much futile sword swinging, slashing and slicing on the part of the Irish Gallowglass, which, in effect, drained much of his once tremendous, superhuman energy!)))---by gracefully countering one final sword blow that Miyamoto adeptly deflected, thus throwing off the ferociously delivered trajectory of Connor's Broadsword before launching himself at the giant Gallowglass with this renewed ferocity, this resurgent, unquenchable warrior spirit and this inspired fighting elan (((featuring many spectacular, dazzling and poetically awe-inspiring sword tricks!))) that nearly defeated the huffing, puffing Connor!

                            Then Connor struck back!!!

                            So, after this furious, supercharged and blinding series of clangs---clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang-clang---both swords finally come together with one final, thunderous, earthshattering and nerve-wracking CLANG!!!!!!

                            So now we come to this tense, anxiety inducing stalemate---(((for there is much money riding on this particular blood fest, as the Vegas odds favored the Samurai by this slight margin, yet Connor was quite popular with the Squantum crowd, who were more inclined to support and bet on the Irish Gallowglass as the likely victor!)))---and the wild, mesmerized, fist pumping and largely drunk crowd surrounding the two combatants is speechless with shock, unable to either guess or anticipate how this match is gonna end.

                            For although the contest was, thus far, basically this draw, no one watching could deny how utterly thrilling, jaw-dropping, viscerally inspired, exciting, nerve-wracking, inspirational and mesmerizing the entire sword duel was!

                            My buddy Bill McCallum wanted to kick out the bagpipes (((for he's quite the excellent bagpipe player, one of the finest in Massachusetts!))).

                            Yet most believed, quite rightly, that such a loud, screeching, euphoric inducing and pro-Irish spectacle would give Connor this unfair advantage, in effect driving him to this renewed, vein popping fever pitch guaranteed to render him invincible, driven by this ancient, swelling Celtic pride totally galvanized by the bagpipes!!! So we all eschewed that idea for the sake of this more even, more closely matched showdown.

                            Yet Miyamoto and Connor were finished, drained and exhausted beyond any repair or rejuvenation, for their respective, extremely deep reserves of energy were all used up!

                            For there would be no immediate resurgence of fighting fury, ferocity and furious sword swinging, as the seemingly supernatural energy that once impelled those two legendary die-hards to fight like these undaunted fanatics pumped up with hard booze had finally ebbed to this low point of no immediate return. So what to do???

                            Call it this draw, call it a day, and all the beers are on Taylor!

                            Any ways, that's my particular, protracted take on the proto-typical, late Medieval Irish Gallowglass mercenary vs this generally perceived, well depicted late 16th century Japanese Samurai, sword on sword!
                            Last edited by Taylor Ahern; 27 Feb 10, 08:54.

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                            • Originally posted by daemonofdecay View Post
                              I think much could be said about the more prevalent martial arts from the east, where they oftentimes seem to be more regulated than you would think. I mean, I never learned to go for the eyes in my Karate classes.
                              Aye. IIRC, Bruce Lee said that if he was in a life-or-death "real" fight, he would go for the eyes, groin kicks, bite the opponent, etc - use whatever is necessary to win.
                              Surrender? NutZ!
                              -Varro

                              Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death. -Sun Tzu

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Taylor Ahern View Post
                                The giant, strapping, imposing and extremely intimidating Gallowglass would also be 6 foot 6, at least 10 inches taller than his Samurai opponent!
                                I thought Miyamoto Musashi was said to be anywhere from 5'11" to 6'2"?

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