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The Medival European Knight vs a Japanese Samurai

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  • Man, this is one of those threads that will never die.

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    • Originally posted by daemonofdecay View Post
      Man, this is one of those threads that will never die.
      Much like the invincible medieval knight when fighting the evil, unskilled, lowly samurai.

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      • Originally posted by llkinak View Post
        Much like the invincible medieval knight when fighting the evil, unskilled, lowly samurai.


        Lets just hope this doesn't reach a Operation CENSORED level of ridiculousness, eh? The Thread That Shall Not Be Named lasted for a long, long time too.

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        • Originally posted by daemonofdecay View Post


          Lets just hope this doesn't reach a Operation CENSORED level of ridiculousness, eh? The Thread That Shall Not Be Named lasted for a long, long time too.
          Hey, Disaster, 'sup pretty baby? I'm DoD. You look hot tonight. What's a nice Irish girl like you doing in a place like this?

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          • Originally posted by llkinak View Post
            Hey, Disaster, 'sup pretty baby? I'm DoD. You look hot tonight. What's a nice Irish girl like you doing in a place like this?

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            • Originally posted by Moon Lancer View Post
              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.
              A lot of the Koryu techniques in armor focused on attacking the vulnerable areas much like European techniques did. The katana has a non-sharpened side and gripping or reinforcing the back of the blade for leverage was common. Even in my own practice I've learned cuts to the back of the knees and thighs, gyakugesa (upward diagonal cuts) to the groin, armpit, and neck. We've also learned leveraging the left hand on the back of the blade to press or unbalance an opponent.

              Sword to sword, both warriors are well armored with excellent weapons. I think that it would be hard to deliver a single killing blow against either with longsword or katana. I would be interested to see poleaxe or halberd against cross-bladed yari or naginata.

              Hypothetically, a knight in gothic armor with a poleaxe, longsword, mace or dagger vs a samurai in okegawa or okitenugui armor (solid steel breastplate or steel banded breastplate) with cross-bladed yari, katana, wakizashi and tanto would come down to individual skill and luck.
              TTFN

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              • Originally posted by Kendoka Girl View Post
                Hypothetically, a knight in gothic armor with a poleaxe, longsword, mace or dagger vs a samurai in okegawa or okitenugui armor (solid steel breastplate or steel banded breastplate) with cross-bladed yari, katana, wakizashi and tanto would come down to individual skill and luck.
                I think the problem here is that Samurai were often supposed to fulfill differing roles on the battlefield: not only were they shock cavalry but also horse archers.

                The European Knight was one thing: heavy. Heavy cavalry. Heavy infantry. Just damned heavy. This doesn't mean they weren't immobile chunks of armor, but the were geared up to be able to hold their own against others of their class while dominating anything lighter than them (if they could catch them, that is). A Knight's suit of armor did not have to make concessions to being able to operate a bow from horse back, it was all about getting into grips with your opponent.

                Now the Japanese Samurai was not that all behind a Knight. Samurai even had very western styles of armor in some case, like the 'Nanban'-style armor.


                However, these were not the same thing as the full-body works of practical art that Italy and Germany were making for their own nobles during the period. Samurai had very good armor with modern breastplates and helmets, but they didn't have the same level of all-around protection that a Knight would have.

                I think that in the end the victory would go to the Knight, as the Knight is geared up to beat other warriors of an equivalent level of protection; against a Samurai in lamellar armor, the results would be brutal. The Samurai would have a slight edge in general mobility and stamina (do to wearing lighter armor) but he could not afford to rely on his armor to turn aside the same blow that a Knight could.

                A Samurai would need a very precise stroke in the weak points of the armor, while a Knight could count on battering through his opponents guard to get one or two good hits in with a mace or other blunt weapon. Really in a one-on-one match, I would give the Knight the (slight) advantage.

                The strength for the Samurai would be in non-single combat matches. A Samurai could in many ways emulate the tactics of the Mongols and the Muslims by refusing to meet the Knight in melee until the Knight is weak and tired, using their bow to pepper the enemy to unhorse him or score a lucky hit on a weak area. In a situation where the Samurai is some distance from the Knight and on horseback, then the Samurai has the advantage.

                But if the Knight can close on the Samurai, or they are both on foot, then the Knight would win more often then not.

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                • If you match up a samurai against a knight in the same time period, I'd say the knight would have better armor.

                  Correct me if I'm wrong, but the samurai didn't wear plate armor until well into the age of gunpowder weaponry. The Japanese later suppressed the widespread use of guns, which I assume why the samurai existed into the 19th century whereas the knights had died out hundreds of years earlier.
                  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 daemonofdecay View Post
                    I think the problem here is that Samurai were often supposed to fulfill differing roles on the battlefield: not only were they shock cavalry but also horse archers.

                    The European Knight was one thing: heavy. Heavy cavalry. Heavy infantry. Just damned heavy. This doesn't mean they weren't immobile chunks of armor, but the were geared up to be able to hold their own against others of their class while dominating anything lighter than them (if they could catch them, that is). A Knight's suit of armor did not have to make concessions to being able to operate a bow from horse back, it was all about getting into grips with your opponent.

                    Now the Japanese Samurai was not that all behind a Knight. Samurai even had very western styles of armor in some case, like the 'Nanban'-style armor.


                    However, these were not the same thing as the full-body works of practical art that Italy and Germany were making for their own nobles during the period. Samurai had very good armor with modern breastplates and helmets, but they didn't have the same level of all-around protection that a Knight would have.

                    I think that in the end the victory would go to the Knight, as the Knight is geared up to beat other warriors of an equivalent level of protection; against a Samurai in lamellar armor, the results would be brutal. The Samurai would have a slight edge in general mobility and stamina (do to wearing lighter armor) but he could not afford to rely on his armor to turn aside the same blow that a Knight could.

                    A Samurai would need a very precise stroke in the weak points of the armor, while a Knight could count on battering through his opponents guard to get one or two good hits in with a mace or other blunt weapon. Really in a one-on-one match, I would give the Knight the (slight) advantage.

                    The strength for the Samurai would be in non-single combat matches. A Samurai could in many ways emulate the tactics of the Mongols and the Muslims by refusing to meet the Knight in melee until the Knight is weak and tired, using their bow to pepper the enemy to unhorse him or score a lucky hit on a weak area. In a situation where the Samurai is some distance from the Knight and on horseback, then the Samurai has the advantage.

                    But if the Knight can close on the Samurai, or they are both on foot, then the Knight would win more often then not.
                    Horse archers esentially went the way of being obsolete soon after the Mongol invasions. They became uncommon by the Nambokucho and were downright quaint by the Sengoku. While the samurai as a class fulfilled different roles, they did have cohesive units, some with polearms, some mounted lancers, some infantry.

                    The lamellar armor may have greater protective power that what it might seem. I am surprised by the protective quality of a bamboo do, reinforcedwith leather. Plus, padded materials were worn under the armor as additional protection. I do agree that European armor of the 1400's on is superior with more metal parts and design. Japan was wet and humid much of the year, the terrain was often rocky and mountainous and so different materials were chosen for the most part.

                    I think that the comparison of weaponry is interesting. I believe that a katana has a slight edge over a broadsword as a weapon. The shape of the blade makes it quicker to employ from the scabbard, delivers a more sinificant cut, and versatility by being able to grip and maneuver the back of the blade. Additionally, many samurai utilized grappling or tripping weapons, much like the kusarigama. Heavy armor may proved to be more of a liability in that. Much like European knight's hand to hand training, samurai also had jiu jitsu training many times, specifically how to tangle, throw, and trip an armored opponent. A knight wading in with the hopes of a quick and overpowering victory may be in for a rude surprise. Just in Kendo, I've learned how to pull on cords and yank on armor (not in competition) to mess up someone's day and throw them off just enough to open a vulnerable spot.

                    On horseback, lance to lance, the knight is a nearly sure victor. The use of the couched lance is far more devastating than the cut of a yari from horseback. Plus, the European warhorse is monstrous compared to the Mongolian horse of the samurai.
                    TTFN

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                    • Originally posted by Intranetusa View Post
                      If you match up a samurai against a knight in the same time period, I'd say the knight would have better armor.

                      Correct me if I'm wrong, but the samurai didn't wear plate armor until well into the age of gunpowder weaponry. The Japanese later suppressed the widespread use of guns, which I assume why the samurai existed into the 19th century whereas the knights had died out hundreds of years earlier.
                      I believe you are correct. Perhaps in the earliest medieval era, samurai armor was equivalent, but by 1200 or so, European armor begins to pull away and from around 1350 - 1550, European armor is pretty supreme. By 1560's, samurai armor (for the elite) has solid metal breastplates and other steel parts and the gap closes.

                      Guns weren't so much suppressed as not further developed. In the 1860's they still had matchlock muskets with burning cord. One of the oddities of such technological freezing is that it allowed swordsmanship to evolve for three centuries more which is why there are so many Japanese sword schools and techniques that have reached a great deal of maturity. We know that there was an evolutionary process because many schools faded away through conflict because their sword techniques got them killed by other practitioners.
                      TTFN

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                      • To add more fuel to the fire, here's a little clip for your viewing pleasure...



                        I think the katana wielder wins on account that he wasn't wearing a funny clown hat.

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                        • Originally posted by Kendoka Girl View Post
                          The lamellar armor may have greater protective power that what it might seem. I am surprised by the protective quality of a bamboo do, reinforcedwith leather. Plus, padded materials were worn under the armor as additional protection. I do agree that European armor of the 1400's on is superior with more metal parts and design. Japan was wet and humid much of the year, the terrain was often rocky and mountainous and so different materials were chosen for the most part.
                          Agreed, but remember that Knights also normally had padding beneath their armor for reasons of comfort and added protection.

                          I think that the comparison of weaponry is interesting. I believe that a katana has a slight edge over a broadsword as a weapon. The shape of the blade makes it quicker to employ from the scabbard, delivers a more sinificant cut, and versatility by being able to grip and maneuver the back of the blade. Additionally, many samurai utilized grappling or tripping weapons, much like the kusarigama. Heavy armor may proved to be more of a liability in that. Much like European knight's hand to hand training, samurai also had jiu jitsu training many times, specifically how to tangle, throw, and trip an armored opponent. A knight wading in with the hopes of a quick and overpowering victory may be in for a rude surprise. Just in Kendo, I've learned how to pull on cords and yank on armor (not in competition) to mess up someone's day and throw them off just enough to open a vulnerable spot.
                          Of the Samurai would not be defenseless or helpess by any stretch of the imagination, and really my idea of how the fights would turn out (with warriors of equal skill and talent) is something like the Knight winning ~60% of the time. A Samurai was still a member of the warrior class, and both sides had many comparable weapons.

                          However, I wonder about the usefulness of the Katana in fights. If I remember correctly, Knights most often preferred fighting with longer weapons (spears and polearms) than their swords, while Samurai during this period (15th and 16th century) still favored it as the preferred weapon. Against a Knight in well-maid armor, how useful would a cutting weapon like the Katana be rather than a stabbing or blunt weapon like a mace?

                          Not to mention that I haven't seen any illustrations of Samurai using large shields in combat, so I wonder if a Knight with a shield and one-handed weapon (long sword, mace, axe, etc.) might have the advantage over a Samurai by adding another layer of protection in combat?

                          On horseback, lance to lance, the knight is a nearly sure victor. The use of the couched lance is far more devastating than the cut of a yari from horseback. Plus, the European warhorse is monstrous compared to the Mongolian horse of the samurai.
                          Agreed, but again I imagine that the Samurai could be more mobile in his actions on his lighter (and less encumbered) steed, possibly leading to him being able to choose the sight of the battle. However the sheer shock value of such a massive animal charging at you would be terrifying.

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                          • Originally posted by Kendoka Girl View Post
                            A lot of the Koryu techniques in armor focused on attacking the vulnerable areas much like European techniques did. The katana has a non-sharpened side and gripping or reinforcing the back of the blade for leverage was common. Even in my own practice I've learned cuts to the back of the knees and thighs, gyakugesa (upward diagonal cuts) to the groin, armpit, and neck. We've also learned leveraging the left hand on the back of the blade to press or unbalance an opponent.
                            I recently saw a video that i think demonstrated the gyakugesa cut to samurai armor. It was not Koryu but Shinto Ryu. I believe they might be similar. I highly respect martial arts that remain as killing arts to keep the tradition alive and I enjoyed the video quite a bit.

                            But this demonstrates my previous point in another post. I would never try and cut a person wearing Gothic armor. Most of its plate, but what isn't plate is protected by chain and both are very effective at stopping cuts. I think once wrestling comes into play they have an equal chance of winning but if the whole fight is done at the sword, the knight has the advantage. The samurai is going to have to change his fighting style somewhat where the knight probably will not.

                            I just dont see the gyakugesa working against Gothic armor. This is assuming ideal Gothic armor though, so if it is not ideal there may be a few places for the samurai to cut. It depends. Still I think the samurai is going to be given alot less chances for a cut compared to if he was fighting another samurai. This i think gives the advantage to the knight. although i admit its a very slim advantage. one that could easily be overcome by individual skill.

                            If they are using pole-arms i think they have equal chances.
                            Last edited by Moon Lancer; 27 Jul 10, 14:20.

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                            • Originally posted by Ogukuo72 View Post
                              To add more fuel to the fire, here's a little clip for your viewing pleasure...



                              I think the katana wielder wins on account that he wasn't wearing a funny clown hat.
                              That and funny clown hat is completely off balance after his second stroke and looks very vulnerable. The weight of the broadsword pulled him way to the left. Of course that could be from the user not being that conditioned in it's use.
                              Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

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                              • I find this video to be horribly misinformed. The broadsword relies on brute strength? While the video may be from national geographic, A statement like this shows they haven't bothered to do any research and that they are only repeating what popular culture has to say on the matter.

                                And on the topic of being off weight, I cannot endorse ether fighters fighting style. They are doing tatami cutting and trying to cut through the mat. However if one thinks that this is how one should fight in a real fight this is a mistake. In period, test cutting was to test blade that's all. In combat one would not want to cut to the ground because if one missed (lets say the one receiving the cut takes a step back) their head would be exposed to a nasty cut. This is at least for Germanic fighting in the 1400s called Ernstfechten (earnest fighting). Even Shinto Ryu seems reluctant to make full cuts in the way one normally does when cutting a tatami mat. In the later germanic tradition the thrust became taboo because it hurt too many people in practice and so it evolved broad cuts and no thrusts in response. This is around 200 years later. however this art is more sport fighting because it makes compromises.
                                Last edited by Moon Lancer; 27 Jul 10, 15:04.

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