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The Medival European Knight vs a Japanese Samurai

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  • Originally posted by R6Guy View Post
    I thought Miyamoto Musashi was said to be anywhere from 5'11" to 6'2"?
    Many of the Qin terracotta soldiers were more than 6 feet tall. William Wallace was said to be 10 foot tall, able to shoot lightning out of his eyes and fireballs out of his @rse.
    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

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    • Originally posted by IDonT4 View Post
      This show is mainly geared to get viewers than to get the truth. Of course the most "popular" warrior won. They neglected the fact that the Samurai:

      1.) Fought on horse back as a horse archer or heavy cavalry;
      2.) The Yari (spear) was the main kill weapon;
      3.) Arquibuisers supported the the spearmen;
      You are preaching to the choir Don, that show is hardly good history and as has been pointed out, that showbiz samurai did not try to stab, still in the slashing attack depicted on that silly show the katana failed to cut the chain mail.
      Give me a fast ship and the wind at my back for I intend to sail in harms way! (John Paul Jones)

      Initiated Chief Petty Officer
      Hard core! Old School! Deal with it!

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      • Originally posted by Intranetusa View Post
        Many of the Qin terracotta soldiers were more than 6 feet tall. William Wallace was said to be 10 foot tall, able to shoot lightning out of his eyes and fireballs out of his @rse.
        Ha!

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        • I recently had some exposure to Koryu or "old school" style swordsmanship. We wore Kendo bogu (armor) and trained with iaito or training swords. It was interesting to note how a helmet and breastplate could change the way in which you had to move and cut. I was told that the kabuto would make it more difficult to deliver an overhead cut and that kesagiri (diagonal) or gyakugesa (inverse diagonal) cuts were favored in armor.

          I learned a particularly wicked inverse cut that was meant specifically for armored opponents that targeted the underarm, groin, or inner thigh.

          Practicing Kendo does give me a real appreciation for moving, defending, and attacking in armor. Over the last month I had been gaining ground on my sensei, losing only 2-1 or 3-2 in several bouts, but his game evolved again and I will have to catch up.
          TTFN

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          • Interesting. Depending on the period of western armour you are talking about, that inverse cut would have either severed an unprotected femoral artery or slid harmlessly along chain mail or plate.

            Which I guess goes to show that a similar technique was probably at work in the west and they had to adjust their armour to counter it.

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            • Something most people do not realize is that the Japanese (samurai) had a wide range of light weight armor to wear other than traditional armor. The period of time had a lot to do with what weapons and armor a samurai would have fought with. A later Edo period samurai would have not used a horse, or bow, at all. With one on one combat they were likely to use a sword and to wear some form of armored clothing. Guns as personal weapons were not common even though the samurai used firearms, guns were more likely to be used for large battles. When you look at old period drawings you see a lot of samurai were armed with swords and wore some form of armored clothing instead of the traditional armor most people of as being samurai armor. Here is a full suit of samurai chain armor.

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              • Originally posted by americansamurai View Post
                Something most people do not realize is that the Japanese (samurai) had a wide range of light weight armor to wear other than traditional armor.
                But I think the "light" part of that is the key. By the 1500s the European armor-smiths had become so talented at their craft that knights in such armor were not as disadvantaged as knights were centuries earlier and thus had very good maneuverability in the light of how well protected they were.

                With all such hypothetical fights I think it would most likely come down to the relative skills of the combatants and other variables (who has the drop on who, the terrain, the weather, etc. etc.), but at its simplest I would take the man in the more durable and stronger armor. Thats not to say that the samurai were totally inferior to the knights, but that I think the knight does have a slight overall edge.

                Of course the interesting thing to note is that if this were a real situation and Japanese samurai did spend time fighting western knights, they would soon incorporate European advances into their own armor and thus the longer they fought the more the field would be leveled.

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                • Originally posted by daemonofdecay View Post
                  But I think the "light" part of that is the key. By the 1500s the European armor-smiths had become so talented at their craft that knights in such armor were not as disadvantaged as knights were centuries earlier and thus had very good maneuverability in the light of how well protected they were.

                  With all such hypothetical fights I think it would most likely come down to the relative skills of the combatants and other variables (who has the drop on who, the terrain, the weather, etc. etc.), but at its simplest I would take the man in the more durable and stronger armor. Thats not to say that the samurai were totally inferior to the knights, but that I think the knight does have a slight overall edge.

                  Of course the interesting thing to note is that if this were a real situation and Japanese samurai did spend time fighting western knights, they would soon incorporate European advances into their own armor and thus the longer they fought the more the field would be leveled.
                  The funny thing is that the Japanese were exposed to Europeans from the 1500s and while they did pick and choose from the weapons and armor they observed its amazing they did not change their methods more. They did not use cross bows, battle axe, maces etc, or full metal armor. For the most part the Japanese artificially controlled the types of weapons and armor they made and used.

                  European knights had to constantly adapt to different weapons and armors. Other than guns the samurai weapons changed very little and after a short period of time most guns were stored away and the Japanese went right back to business as usual. So I would have to agree with you that the Knight had an advantage due to their heavier armor and weapons. A much more fair fight would to put a samurai in chain armor up against a knight in chain armor....that would have been interesting!

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                  • Originally posted by americansamurai View Post
                    The funny thing is that the Japanese were exposed to Europeans from the 1500s and while they did pick and choose from the weapons and armor they observed its amazing they did not change their methods more. They did not use cross bows, battle axe, maces etc, or full metal armor. For the most part the Japanese artificially controlled the types of weapons and armor they made and used.

                    European knights had to constantly adapt to different weapons and armors. Other than guns the samurai weapons changed very little and after a short period of time most guns were stored away and the Japanese went right back to business as usual. So I would have to agree with you that the Knight had an advantage due to their heavier armor and weapons. A much more fair fight would to put a samurai in chain armor up against a knight in chain armor....that would have been interesting!
                    no, that's not true, 13th century Samurais fought very differently from 16th century onces.

                    We coule raise some examples, that the "early" Samurai warfare was certainly not very sophisticated by the standards of major civilization outside of the islands, in the Genpei war in late 12th century, most of the Samurai tactic evolved around a major samurai riding on a horse with a large bow and heavy armor, commanding a group of lesser samurais on foot with polearms. the Samurais did have horse archery but it's really nothing like the tactics used to devastating effect by nomads through the centuries, as there simply wasn't enough of them, and those who were horse archers were typically important commanders and kepted away from harms way anyway. they were obviously still brave soldiers, but lack of exposure to how real wars were fought outside of Japan limits their development.


                    By the later portions of the Sengoku period though, they were certainly quiet sophisticated and changed rapidly, high quality arbeques showed up in the thousands on the field, very well organized pike formations were the most common fighting forces, extremely sophisticated castles were built, and cordination between different arms were the norms. and all sorts of tactics were thrown around on and off the field.

                    The comparason of knights vs samurai though is really faulty by default, the peak of the Samurai era was 16th to early 17th century, by then the era of the knights were basically on it's last breath even in more remote parts of Europe and had virtually dissappeared in more developed area.

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                    • Originally posted by RollingWave View Post
                      no, that's not true, 13th century Samurais fought very differently from 16th century onces.

                      We coule raise some examples, that the "early" Samurai warfare was certainly not very sophisticated by the standards of major civilization outside of the islands, in the Genpei war in late 12th century, most of the Samurai tactic evolved around a major samurai riding on a horse with a large bow and heavy armor, commanding a group of lesser samurais on foot with polearms. the Samurais did have horse archery but it's really nothing like the tactics used to devastating effect by nomads through the centuries, as there simply wasn't enough of them, and those who were horse archers were typically important commanders and kepted away from harms way anyway. they were obviously still brave soldiers, but lack of exposure to how real wars were fought outside of Japan limits their development.


                      By the later portions of the Sengoku period though, they were certainly quiet sophisticated and changed rapidly, high quality arbeques showed up in the thousands on the field, very well organized pike formations were the most common fighting forces, extremely sophisticated castles were built, and cordination between different arms were the norms. and all sorts of tactics were thrown around on and off the field.

                      The comparason of knights vs samurai though is really faulty by default, the peak of the Samurai era was 16th to early 17th century, by then the era of the knights were basically on it's last breath even in more remote parts of Europe and had virtually dissappeared in more developed area.
                      Different eras of samurai might have fought differently but with few exceptions the weapons stayed the same. After developing firearms to the point were they had more firearms in Japan then Europe at one point they went backwards by retired firearms for the most part and continuing the use of traditional weapons (and armor of some type) right up until the end of the samurai era. I agree that what era of samurai and what era of knight would make all the difference in the outcome in a comparison between the two.

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                      • Originally posted by daemonofdecay View Post
                        But I think the "light" part of that is the key. By the 1500s the European armor-smiths had become so talented at their craft that knights in such armor were not as disadvantaged as knights were centuries earlier and thus had very good maneuverability in the light of how well protected they were.

                        With all such hypothetical fights I think it would most likely come down to the relative skills of the combatants and other variables (who has the drop on who, the terrain, the weather, etc. etc.), but at its simplest I would take the man in the more durable and stronger armor. Thats not to say that the samurai were totally inferior to the knights, but that I think the knight does have a slight overall edge.

                        Of course the interesting thing to note is that if this were a real situation and Japanese samurai did spend time fighting western knights, they would soon incorporate European advances into their own armor and thus the longer they fought the more the field would be leveled.
                        With the influx of European technology in the 1500's there were Japanese suits of armor with steel, pigeon-breasted cuirasses and morions.

                        I'm sure there will be disagreements, but my humble opinion is that it's a pretty balanced fight. European armor would be superior, but Japanese armor isn't that far behind. The Japanese sword and sword technique is arguably superior, but European swordsmanship is excellent.

                        Both cultures evolved quickly to meet changing conditions on the battlefield and both progressed in organization, equipment, and skill. A Sengoku army is not the same army that Minamoto Yoshitsune fielded in 1185. Richard III's army is not the same army as that fielded by William the Conqueror.

                        The samurai did use a wide and weird variety of weapons, but these were much less common than in Europe. War axes, war hammers, maces, sickles, etc, all were used. I was watching that Deadliest Warrior and I would have gone with a cross-bladed yari rather than the naginata, which was uncommon by the Sengoku Jidai. The yari has a fine point and edge, good reach, reasonable impact, and you can use that cross blade to trip and yank shields to expose openings, since generally an edge doesn't do well against good armor.
                        TTFN

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                        • Oh, by the way, I fought my sensei to a 3-3 draw the other day, then a 4-5 loss. But tonight, he skunked me 4-1. He's a nanadan kyoshi (7th degree dan), so I feel pretty good.
                          TTFN

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                          • Though arms and armour can undoubtably make the ultimate difference in a fight, in my opinion the battle, being so evenly matched in technology, would come down to the individual speed, agility, stamina and experience of the fighters we are refering to. For instance the retarii (gladiator with trident and net thingy) would be considered at a disadvantage to the secutor (gladiator with large shield, gladius and body armour) yet they were often pitted against eachother in the arena. These fights would depend on the skill and speed of the fighters as to their result. This confrontation is no different. There is something about a the light armour and deadly blades of the samurai that swings me over that side

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                            • Originally posted by hmsvictory View Post
                              Though arms and armour can undoubtably make the ultimate difference in a fight, in my opinion the battle, being so evenly matched in technology, would come down to the individual speed, agility, stamina and experience of the fighters we are refering to. For instance the retarii (gladiator with trident and net thingy) would be considered at a disadvantage to the secutor (gladiator with large shield, gladius and body armour) yet they were often pitted against eachother in the arena. These fights would depend on the skill and speed of the fighters as to their result. This confrontation is no different. There is something about a the light armour and deadly blades of the samurai that swings me over that side
                              Here is a picture of a light weight portable Edo period samurai armor with a collapsing helmet and folding chest armor. and a suit of Edo period chain armor that is around 20 lbs total, which is less than one half the weight of traditional armor. If you were to match up a knight in similar armor then that would really be an interesting confrontation based more on skills and weapons. Here is a link to some pictures of different samurai armor and armored clothing. http://s831.photobucket.com/albums/z...mor%20samples/

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                              • Booze fest!!!

                                There's really nothing I can add on to this vibrant, thrilling & awesome thread, as it's been thoroughly covered, explored & deeply analyzed from dozens of angles & perspectives!

                                Also, my other contributions found in the previous pages of this thread (pages 1, 17 & 21!) basically sum up my particular take on this very original, exciting, fierce & endlessly debatable subject. So I'll just end my contribution with this rather absurd & aberrant scenario.

                                In this general beer chugging contest (in the pub of the their choice of course, though if I had it my way it would be held in my buddy's quiet, dark Irish pub!) the quintessential European knight, all of types & stripes, would no doubt drink any Samurai that he came across under the table with the greatest of ease!

                                Also, any Scottish or Irish Gallowglass mercenary, such as Connor McSheehy, would make it to his 20th shot of Scotch whiskey before even the most hard core, booze-resilient, utterly alcoholic Samurai made it to his 3rd!

                                Actually, most Gallowglass warriors would be able to polish off this entire keg of Guinness, basically by drinking straight out of the keg itself, before most any Samurai would be able to chug this whole pint of that freshly poured stout. For in that respect the fiery, hard drinking Gallowglass had very few peers, if any!

                                Of course if the generally classy & courteous Gallowglass decided to leave his manners at the door & give off this deep, powerful & hearty belch (after tossing back that entire Guinness keg by himself!), the resulting sonic boom waves would blow just about any Samurai away as though that Far Eastern warrior were this pink balloon! It might even upset the relatively stable space-time continuum!

                                Yes, in this beer chugging contest the Samurai wouldn't stand this snowballs chance in hell against either this tough, chivalrous, proto-typical late Medieval European knight or this stereo-typical, strapping, ferocious & insatiably hard-drinking Celtic/Norse Gallowglass!

                                For yes, within the sphere of hard core beer chugging/non-stop booze guzzling both the Knight & the Gallowglass would drink any Samurai right under the table, & then some!

                                Though when it comes to darts & pool...???
                                Last edited by Taylor Ahern; 08 May 10, 20:20.

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