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The Medival European Knight vs a Japanese Samurai

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  • Brilliant finale maestro!
    TTFN

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    • Originally posted by Kendoka Girl View Post

      Brilliant finale maestro!
      This discussion is over?
      Last edited by Intranetusa; 09 May 10, 02:00.
      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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      • Speed, skill & brilliant exploitation!!!

        Actually, this discussion is far from over! For this particular subject can be debated & explored from so many different, & varied, angles that it would take years to finally come to this definitive & satisfactory answer (if that's even possible!).

        Also, let's just say we substitute this expert, superbly skilled, lightly dressed, typically mid 15th century, German practitioner of that style of Central European swordplay ((in which I roughly described on page 21, #313!)) for this heavily armoured Medieval European Knight. Then for his opponent we call upon this quintessential, proto-typical & generally perceived 16th-17th century Japanese Samurai, dressed only in this robe, while he is, just like his German counterpart, wearing sandals for footwear.

        Then we have them go at it. They both eventually deliver the killing blow at the same time. Actually, the lightly clad Samurai prevails 6 out of 10 times! Though here's how I see things --

        For after watching several videos on You Tube I became convinced that the 15th-16th century, Central European sword fighting styles & tactics were, for the most part, just as effective, innovative & deadly as the Japanese ones!

        For the clip that featured these one-on-one sword duels with wooden poles---where one opponent was trained in the Japanese style of swordplay while the other was this master of the 15th-16th century Central European methods---I came to the realization that those various sword fighting techniques, tactics & long-sword fencing skills that were developed over in Germany back during the very late Medieval period & throughout the Renaissance times were indeed quite capable of matching up to, & counter-acting, the Japanese style of attack.

        For the Central European techniques could be very effective if utilized properly, & with great skill. I was very, very impressed to say the least!

        More-over, although in one of the clips the dude wielding & attacking with these two shorter wooden poles---these obvious substitutes for Katana swords---seemed more capable, more professional, more adept, more expert & more sure of himself, the dude fighting with the longer pole (this obvious substitute for this long-sword!), & who displayed the 15th-16th century German long-sword fencing skills, revealed that style of innovative Central European sword fighting to be potentially brilliant, remarkable & extremely refined!

        So if employed by someone more expert & professional than the dude I saw in that You Tube clip, such sword fighting skills that were devised & put into serious practice over in Germany back during the 1500's would no doubt be quite effective against any such style of attack that came in the Japanese manifestation. Now that's amazing to say the least!!!

        For although much of what I witnessed while watching all those various You Tube clips was basically along the lines of slice, parry, then quick counter thrust, or slice/parry/counter-thrust, slice/parry/counter-thrust, slice/parry/thrust & so forth ((for all movements & actions took place within the space of usually two seconds or less, as much of it was based upon super quick exploitation of the attacker's slice & thrust!)), there were also other displays of graceful & refined swordsmanship that just blew my mind! Very beautiful indeed!

        For such was the finesse & skill of each participant who was involved in those spectacular, eye-opening & beautiful demonstrations of old-school Central European sword fighting!

        It was very impressive, despite being more orientated to quick exploitation & expert sword on sword manuevering/manipulation in this manner that precluded any long, drawn out sword play ((there was almost always just one loud "clang" before the sliding, brilliant exploitation/counter-thrusts began!)).

        Yet then again the blinding, dazzling & poetically awe-inspiring swordsmanship that emanated from Japan hundreds of years ago would still be extremely difficult to match & emulate, even from the most highly trained & thoroughly professional master of Central European martial arts & sword fighting.

        Though despite its ability to counter & thus exploit any opponent's sword thrust, the old school Central European styles & techniques that I closely watched on You Tube still didn't seem quite as exquisite, refined, dazzling & as aesthetically pleasing as many of the Japanese & other Far Eastern sword fighting styles & tactics that I've seen, & somewhat studied.

        All in all I think it would come down to the level of dedicated training & overall expertise of the swordsman, regardless of which style he happened to be familiar with, therefore surpassing in relevance the actual style & system of swordfighting itself that that particular warrior chose.

        For this top notch, expertly trained professional in the 15th-16th century Central European sword fighting mode might prove deadlier, better & more formidable than any opponent that was only semi-professional in the old-school Japanese style. It would all depend upon the level of training & discipline that each combatant received, & which might prove far more decisive in determining the winner than the choice of style that each respective warrior pursued.

        Though I must say the German style that was developed back during the late Medieval Era was pretty damn impressive, if not spectacular, in its own right!

        Yet I would dare to wager that this expert in the ancient Japanese art of swordfighting would prevail against this expert in the old-school Central European style at least 6 or 7 out of 10 times, for the Japanese style is that blazing, brilliant & dazzling. Though that's just my opinion, & personal interpretation, on this particular, ceaselessly fascinating subject!

        I wish that I had the appropriate computer technology to transfer those You Tube videos onto this website, for such outstanding & awesome displays of professional swordfighting would further highlight, & thus bring to more immediate attention, what I was just trying to describe in terms of style, mode of attack, expert defensive tactics & super quick exploitation!

        Getting back to the Scottish/Irish Gallowglass angle of this protracted discussion, they were still, as I wrote earlier, the baddest bad-asses around! Also, if trained in either style of sword fighting they would be as deadly, capable & as formidable as any warrior in history!

        Yet the style & techniques that the Gallowglass trained & fought with, while more conventional & traditional, were still very deadly, highly effective & very dangerous to anyone, Samurai or otherwise, unfortunate enough to find himself on the receiving end of the Gallowglass's fury, reach, blinding sword slashing methods & blind savagery!

        For the Scottish/Irish Gallowglass were definitely the most ferocious, toughest & viscerally inspired warriors to take to the field of battle back during the late Medieval period, as they were also equally professional, & renowned for their considerable dexterity with blade weapons ((this result of being subjected to this rigorous, ruthless & brutal training regimen under the watchful eye of this grizzled, hardened Gallowglass veteran!)). Of course all that made them, in essence, the European Samurai! Their awesome combat prowess could scarcely be matched!

        That's also the very reason that Connor McSheehy, my fictitious Gallowglass of choice, fought Miyamoto the Samurai to this draw ((page 21, #313!)). For his prodigious size, strength, athleticism & superb skill with blade weapons was more than this match against the Samurai's natural agility, grace, & blinding speed & finesse when fighting with his beautifully crafted Katana!

        For that was the ultimate sword duel, as I'm certain that any such similar manifestations ((this Scottish or Irish Gallowglass against this Japanese Samurai!)) in real life would turn out the same as that which I described at the very bottom of page 21!

        Though of course if the Gallowglass did attack too ferociously, & with too much rage, than he would in all probability over-extend himself, thus leaving himself ripe for exploitation, whereby he would lose either his head or his arm! So he better keep his rage in check!

        Yet, I really believe that the fictitious scenario that I described at the bottom of page 21 was, for the most part, right on in most respects, emotionally accurate & vividly realistic. I hope!

        Any ways, Connor & Miyamoto are now best buddies, as they are now both masters in the fine & refined art of drinking whole pubs under the table with the greatest of ease!!!
        Last edited by Taylor Ahern; 14 May 10, 05:54.

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        • I totally love your discussions, Taylor!

          I spend a lot of my youth learning fencing, which is a distant cousin to the earlier forms of European swordplay. My maitre d'armes was former French Army officer and he was quite knowledgeable about the development of swordplay. I was always impressed by the intricacy of the bladework that began to develop as swords got better balance and longer due to better forging techniques.

          As a Kendo/Iaido practitioner I can see how many things are similar - distance, timing, feints, parries, thrusts. In fencing, I was taught the concept of "ring generalship" or using these along with terrain, to your advantage and dominating the opponent psychologically. This applies to any fighting art. As I approach the Nidan rank, I am learning more of the intricacies of Japanese bladework, which uses so many of the concepts of fencing - pressure, friction, angle, etc. Even utilizing all the areas of your blade for the greatest effect. In foil, each area of your blade could be used to manipulate your opponent's blade with different levels of pressure in order to obtain a different result. The area near the guard or the guard itself could be used to press or bind while the middle of the blade was more effective for a beat. Feeling the subtle changes in pressure could keep you informed as the the opponent's intentions.

          The mindsets of both style are also similar and both confidence and deception are critical. I've played tired to lure an opponent or altered body positioning to induce an off balance attack. Sometimes, I would stand a little taller to invite a highline attack and then duck under with Passata Soto or square off to invite an attack to my outside only to sidestep with Inquartata. In Kendo, I'll expose some wrist to invite the Kote attack and then pull my hands up as the attack comes so I'm in a position to strike as they overswing.

          The one beautiful thing I love seeing in both styles is when the phrase is carried well - a series of attacks and counters before someone is hit. I had one memorable duel with my sensei in which we carried a series of 7-8 attacks without scoring, but, with each action, I held a stronger position until I was able to get inside of his action loop and score. Normally, he does this to me.
          TTFN

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          • Oh, here's an Ogawa Ryu training video.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mHG9...os=su6ePH1noaQhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mHG9...os=su6ePH1noaQ
            TTFN

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            • "Controlled savagery" & superb, intricate skill!

              Alice, you own this entire discussion! For your last full post, like all your other ones, was just brilliant! For you've brought much in the way of deep knowledge & exceptional scholarship to this entire thread, & for that you should be thoroughly commended!

              ((pg 14 of this thread is also very revealing, informative & very interesting. Though Alice's postings are simply wonderful, brilliant & altogether revealing! It's this shame my computer freezes after I click on to that You Tube link that she posted.))!

              For you seem to have this amazing & brilliant grasp of all the various techniques, motions, dynamics, appropriate body postures & all the subtle manuevering tactics that pertain to the blade-on-blade positioning/gliding/exploitation techniques, along with certain body shifting methods that go into sword fighting of all kinds, whether it be old-school European fencing or the exquisite art of Japanese sword fighting!

              Very, very impressive indeed! For I love your postings, which rank as amongst the most thoroughly & superbly detailed of any that I've read thus far in this thrilling & wonderfully protracted thread!

              Also, I'd love to see you in action someday, for I know you're one of the best around & truly spectacular when it comes to that fine & deadly art of sword fighting!

              You also seem to fully understand the proper mind-set & way of thinking that go into such sword-on-sword encounters, along with all the other elements, aspects & complexities, as mentioned above. Brilliant!!! Alice, you need to write this book someday!

              I've also been able to find further videos posted on You Tube that feature these awesome, utterly thrilling & exciting demonstrations of these old-school, late Medieval/early Renaissance Central European sword fighting styles/longsword fencing techniques, & I was blown away to say the least!

              For allow me to elaborate on this subject even further---much of that longsword fencing was under the heading of "Zornhau," this brilliant system of sword fighting which basically encapsulated many longsword fencing techniques as pertain to that particular, very unique style & approach ((like parry, then thrust from different, various angles, parry/thrust, parry/thrust! Though the thrusting can be executed from various angles, either downward, upwards at this slight degree or straight through the middle, & all of which is very reminiscent of certain fencing styles. Though basically it's this well-defined system of mid-to-late 15th century European martial arts that do resemble, from various angles, certain Eastern styles as well!)).

              Also, there's much side slashing as well ((right after both swords come together, or if the attacking opponent over-extends his swing or thrust, therefore leaving himself open &/or off-balance. It's this different variation of basically the same system!)).

              There are also these other pieces that feature different variations of old-school Central European longsword fencing techniques that were developed according to the various demonstrations under the designation of "Danzig & Ringeck ((which in effect employed many Zornhau techniqes & skills, as they must've been these dedicated practitioners of that brilliant & innovative system of sword fighting!))."

              For after watching some of those videos I was blown away by all the amazing & intricate skill, along with the precision & grace, that go into such sword fighting techniques/European martial arts.

              Also, as someone wrote, the "cold, controlled savagery" & disciplined ferocity of many of those Zornhau techniques was thrilling to behold, as it featured many feats of superb footwork, split second timing, furious execution, expert parrying, fierce sword-on-sword manuevering/gliding, & this brilliant, deadly exploitation in several dozen manifestations ((mostly in the form of these ferocious & deadly counter-thrusts, though there's much side slashing when the situation is ripe for such a move!)). I loved it, all of it!!!

              For one clip, which featured more Central European longsword fencing, was totally ferocious & startling, almost scary to watch as each expert came at the other with this explosive power & exceptional speed! Though the participants were in control the entire time (("controlled savagery!)). It's all on You Tube ((God bless You Tube & those who brought it into being!))! Also, the music is totally appropriate to the action, great & fearsome!

              More-over, I'd have to say that such Central European longsword fencing techniques & methods can definitely match up to, in terms of speed, intricate skill & blinding finesse, any Japanese or Far Eastern sword fighting techniques & tactics that I've thus far seen. For like I wrote before I was blown away ((I just wish that I had the proper computer technology to transfer those various clips from You Tube to this website.))!

              For, like I wrote before, there is this refined beauty, cunning, intricate grace, speed, & remarkable finesse to such Central European swordfighting/martial arts, especially when employing various elements of the Zornhau system, that I would love to take it up someday!

              For, much like the Samurai style, such late 15th century Central European sword fighting ((Zornhau)) is based upon utilizing one's balance, timing, these exceptionally well honed reflexes, along with much brilliant anticipation & ferocious reaction, this superb & quick thinking exploitation, various thrusting techniques & excellent follow through from these various angles.

              Furthermore, much of that comes in the form of parry/subtle manuever/then fierce thrust from any number of angles ((all under two seconds!))! Also, such savage thrusting can be adeptly & dexterously deflected with brilliant skill & quick thinking before being turned into this fierce & deadly counter-thrust of some kind. It's all amazing, gracefully fierce & very impressive!!!

              Of course there are dozens of fierce body motions & other types of attack methods based upon explosive power, speed & ferocity &/or these quick thinking, thoroughly perfected defensive parrys ((for such defensive parrys are, in essence, thee defining element of Zornhau!)).

              Also, such defensive parrys can be turned into these magnificently executed thrusting motions based upon, & made possible through, subtle manuevering, smooth gliding & super fast exploitation after the swords have already come together into one loud & resonating "clang!!!" For that's when the immediate thrusting &/or slashing motions are usually executed.

              Though, as I wrote above, the one exploiting can become exploited, as the defender (the previous aggressor!) can---again through subtle (& savage) sword-on-sword manuevering, manipulating & gliding---change the course of action & therefore launch this deadly & accurate thrust of his own into his opponent, from various angles! It's all Brilliant, quite lovely & ingenious!!!

              For I would really love to see it put in practice in the form of one expert taking on another who's trained & thoroughly proficient in the Japanese Samurai style, something I'd pay to witness ((for the one demonstration that I saw on You Tube was a bit of this imbalance, as the dude fighting in the old-school German style was basically this rank amateur, not the equal of his opponent fighting in the Japanese Samurai style.))!

              Now if the fearless, indomitable & powerful Connor McSheehy were trained in both the Zornhau system & in the Samurai style he'd be thee deadliest & most formidable swordsman on the face of this planet! Though right now he's too busy getting utterly ****-faced, his other field of expertise besides sword slashing & ax hacking! Actually, he's been on this 96 hour binge!
              Last edited by Taylor Ahern; 18 May 10, 10:01.

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              • I'll try and take a look at some of the styles that you were talking about.

                Here's a few photos of my Kendo madness.



                I'm on the left, fending off the tall dude.



                Tournament bout - I'm on the right, delivering Suriage Men, deflecting a head cut and making a head cut. Once again, fighting off the big dude.
                TTFN

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                • Of course my favorite is....



                  *my anime self*
                  TTFN

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                  • I thought this discussion had run it's course. The last few pages have proved me wrong. Happily wrong! Well done guys and gal.
                    Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

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                    • Originally posted by Taylor Ahern View Post

                      Any ways, Connor & Miyamoto are now best buddies, as they are now both masters in the fine & refined art of drinking whole pubs under the table with the greatest of ease!!!
                      Miyamoto Musashi? I thought he lived in a cave and didn't bathe. I suspect he wouldn't be spending too much time in bars.

                      Seriously, I know nothing of fencing/swordfighting other than what I read in Musashi's masterpiece The Book of Five Rings and from Yagyū Munenori's writings (as discussed in Cleary's The Japanese Art of War and in The Sword and the Mind - there were other Japanese swordsman quoted, but Yagyū stood out for his clarity of thought). These works offer far more than "mere" (I sometimes loathe that word, for it minimizes even where minimization isn't intended) instruction on swordfighting, but IMO speak to the philosophy and strategy of adversarial competition generally, which was what led me to them.

                      Are there any European works of a similar nature - by which I mean works on swordfighting that have more universal application? I haven't gone through the pages of this thread, and I'm being lazy by asking.

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                      • Some years ago, my Maitre d'Armes showed us a manual for Rennaissance style rapier and dagger combat and it had instructions for cuts, thrusts, parries and paired exercises. However, I can't for the life of me recall the name of it. It was purely an instructional manual and did not contain philosophy like Go Rin No Sho or others.

                        In my first read of Go Rin No Sho I was disappointed by the lack of specific techniques, like I had seen in fencing, but I think I have a better understanding now.

                        Musashi did not always live in a cave. He was raised as a samurai, but ran away and sort of developed his own style, Nito Ryu. He fought in conventional battles and then traveled the country on a warrior pilgrimage and even taught a daimyo for a time. He did live in a cave during his final years, writing the book.
                        TTFN

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                        • Originally posted by Kendoka Girl View Post
                          Some years ago, my Maitre d'Armes showed us a manual for Rennaissance style rapier and dagger combat and it had instructions for cuts, thrusts, parries and paired exercises. However, I can't for the life of me recall the name of it. It was purely an instructional manual and did not contain philosophy like Go Rin No Sho or others.

                          In my first read of Go Rin No Sho I was disappointed by the lack of specific techniques, like I had seen in fencing, but I think I have a better understanding now.

                          Musashi did not always live in a cave. He was raised as a samurai, but ran away and sort of developed his own style, Nito Ryu. He fought in conventional battles and then traveled the country on a warrior pilgrimage and even taught a daimyo for a time. He did live in a cave during his final years, writing the book.
                          Thanks KG I knew the cave story. In fact, when I read it the first time, I wondered whether he was trying to emulate something akin to Plato's cave allegory, despite having in all likelihood never heard of Plato. Crazy (me, not him - although maybe him too if the bathing legend is true)

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                          • Plato might have been a remote possibility Japan had known about European culture for nearly a hundred years by then.

                            On the subject of katana penetrating armor, I saw this. I can't say that they guy cuts expertly, but the sword does a decent number on a steel drum. I would be curious to see if it would penetrate when swung at the curved surface.

                            TTFN

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                            • Interesting - though not sure how the steel drum compares to plate armour. Also, it's pretty hard to get an optimal cut against the armour as it would be 1) shaped to provide maximum opportunity to deflect and 2) the wearer of said armour would be moving to try to avoid giving up any cut, let alone an optimal one.

                              I would say we saw some of the katana's potential against armour in an ideal circumstance, but I don't think we saw a realistic view of what could be done against an armoured, fighting opponent.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Kendoka Girl View Post
                                Plato might have been a remote possibility Japan had known about European culture for nearly a hundred years by then.

                                On the subject of katana penetrating armor, I saw this. I can't say that they guy cuts expertly, but the sword does a decent number on a steel drum. I would be curious to see if it would penetrate when swung at the curved surface.

                                Remember a few pages back the armor goes through a special heat treating process. The drum takes damage where i think the armor would not. It might get dinged, but would not likely penetrate.

                                There are a few videos out on the web that show swords stabbing through armor which I tend to disagree with.

                                Mostly because the armor is propped against something. In a real combat situation a thrust would push the knight (or samurai) backwards before the power of the thrust penetrates the plate. This is one of the reasons i think plate armor is so effective. One might just be able to cut through plate armor or stab through if its on the ground or against a wall, but just a small amount of movement from the fighter can rob an incoming attack.

                                Kendoka Girl, How do Samurai fight in armor? What techniques do you think they would use against a knight? A kinght would use halfsword, gaining superior leverage and stab to the face or armpit where no armor is likely to be present. I am told the katana is very sharp and it would not be a good idea to halfsword a katana. Trying to cut through chain where the knight lacks plate using a katana is not likely to happen as chain is very good against cuts but is vulnerable to thrusts.

                                How would a Samurai fight against a knight using halfsword. how would he counter the superior leveraging?

                                I have great respect for the samurai however the only way i see the samurai winning a 1v1 combat is by throwing the knight to the ground and stabbing him with a dagger like weapon. The knight has likely been learning wrestling as a very early age as in Italian and German mid-evil martial arts, wresting is one of the core skills.

                                What bothers me is many people on the internet think that a samurai (without armor) could easily win against knight in full armor. I think this really shows how many people are disconnected from martial arts.

                                If both are wearing armor i give them both a fair chance at beating one another.
                                Last edited by Moon Lancer; 11 Jul 10, 19:18.

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