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The Medival European Knight vs a Japanese Samurai

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  • Off topic: What was the arab/turkic equivalent to the knight and samurai?
    Standing here, I realize you were just like me trying to make history.
    But who's to judge the right from wrong.
    When our guard is down I think we'll both agree.
    That violence breeds violence.
    But in the end it has to be this way.

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    • ^^



      You better drop your flag an withdraw.

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      • Originally posted by Czin View Post
        Off topic: What was the arab/turkic equivalent to the knight and samurai?
        I would say the Sipahi for mounted warriors and the Janissary for infantry.

        But a case could be made for Mameluk as well.






        Anyone else?
        History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon. Napoleon Bonaparte
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        • Infantry wise would probably be rich Ghazis, the arabs and turks prefered lightly armored troops to lumbering behemoths, it worked, until it came to sieges ... XD XD XD
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          • Originally posted by Kendoka Girl View Post

            I'm curious though from any who know more about longsword/broadsword techniques - just from my Iaido/Kumitachi training, it seems like a katana is more effective right from the draw or in tight spaces. I can deliver an effective cut or thrust to someone right in front of me or at nearly any quarter. I'm wondering if there is an equivalent for a longsword.

            I have a few years of training with the longsword.

            All knowledge on how the longsword was used is passed not by tradition but by manuscript. To my knowledge Their are no moves involving a draw from the sheath. That said i would not want to be caught flat footed with my weapon still sheathed. That's not to say i dont have options but they are not nearly as single time as ones from japan. this has to do with the longsword being straight and long and not shorter and curved.


            In tight spaces with a longsword one probably would want to use thrusts, assuming your in a narrow hallway. The German system has some devastating single time thrusts that counter thrusts and cuts. The system uses the cross-guard as much as possible for defense while making attacks.

            Except for cuts from the draw. I have not found a move in kenjutsu or similar tradition that is not done in the German or Italian tradition of longsword fighting.

            The historical sword arts are beautiful thing and I believe that both Europe and Japan found similar solutions to winning sword fights with the weapons they had.
            Last edited by Moon Lancer; 22 Sep 10, 00:35.

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            • Originally posted by Moon Lancer View Post
              I have a few years of training with the longsword.

              All knowledge on how the longsword was used is passed not by tradition but by manuscript. To my knowledge Their are no moves involving a draw from the sheath. That said i would not want to be caught flat footed with my weapon still sheathed. That's not to say i dont have options but they are not nearly as single time as ones from japan. this has to do with the longsword being straight and long and not shorter and curved.


              In tight spaces with a longsword one probably would want to use thrusts, assuming your in a narrow hallway. The German system has some devastating single time thrusts that counter thrusts and cuts. The system uses the cross-guard as much as possible for defense while making attacks.

              Except for cuts from the draw. I have not found a move in kenjutsu or similar tradition that is not done in the German or Italian tradition of longsword fighting.

              The historical sword arts are beautiful thing and I believe that both Europe and Japan found similar solutions to winning sword fights with the weapons they had.
              Thank you for the info! Having seen some of the longsword arts, I really was amazed at how similar some of the techniques were in timing and footwork. I can see how a thrust could be very effective close in too. I was a decent in-fighter in foil and one would be amazed at how a good thrust can be delivered right up to corps-a-corps. I had a funky riposte from Prime or even an around the head riposte that would score from knife fighting range.

              Thanks again - I always love learning new things about the combat arts.
              TTFN

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              • Originally posted by Torien View Post
                I would say the Sipahi for mounted warriors and the Janissary for infantry.

                But a case could be made for Mameluk as well.






                Anyone else?
                Very close, but these are almost entirely Turkish (Ottoman) examples. Plus the Janissary is a weird situation since, unlike the knight and samurai, they were professional salaried soldiers and not feudal warriors. The Sipahi is pretty apt though, as the Sipahi (and the lighter Timariot) were both feudal cavalry soldiers (although technically some Sipahi were also sallaried and professional soldiers, the majority of them were very much the Islamic equivalent to a knight).

                Interestingly, I would think that the Sipahi and Muslim "knight" shares many traits with both sides: they often used heavy armor like the western knight but also were very competent fighting from horseback with their bows and had a greater focus on mobility. Indeed their strategy relied less upon the heavy lance charge of the knight (as incredibly devastating as it was) and more on lighter "hit and run" tactics to draw out their opponents and strike when the opportunity arose.

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                • I might have been confused when you said "close quarters". If we are talking about what happens when two opponents find themselves too close too each other (rather then fighting in a cramped hallway), like in the eastern traditions there are many throws available in the various longsword traditions. In the German system their is also a great move when two swords are bound up close at the base of the blade involving a strike using the pommel which if done correctly can end the fight.

                  Something that Europe and Japan both shared (correct me if i am wrong) was using wresting and grappling as the foundation and then adding sword work to that.

                  I think where the systems diverge is when armor is added to the equation. They both go for weak parts of the armor but they seem to do it very differently.

                  I would love to see free sparring between someone who knows armored combat from Japan (possibly Shinto Ryu) and someone who knows armored combat from the Italian or German systems.

                  Heck I would just love to see a good amount of what armored combat from Japan looks like.

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                  • Originally posted by daemonofdecay View Post
                    Very close, but these are almost entirely Turkish (Ottoman) examples. Plus the Janissary is a weird situation since, unlike the knight and samurai, they were professional salaried soldiers and not feudal warriors. The Sipahi is pretty apt though, as the Sipahi (and the lighter Timariot) were both feudal cavalry soldiers (although technically some Sipahi were also sallaried and professional soldiers, the majority of them were very much the Islamic equivalent to a knight).

                    Interestingly, I would think that the Sipahi and Muslim "knight" shares many traits with both sides: they often used heavy armor like the western knight but also were very competent fighting from horseback with their bows and had a greater focus on mobility. Indeed their strategy relied less upon the heavy lance charge of the knight (as incredibly devastating as it was) and more on lighter "hit and run" tactics to draw out their opponents and strike when the opportunity arose.
                    I have a friend in fencing who is big on the Ottomans and has done a lot of research into Middle Eastern styles. It's an area that I don't know much about, but am very curious. I think the way in which regional styles developed is fascinating and how, the vast deserts and other different terrain features molded those hit and run tactics, just as the vast plains molded the Mongols and the moist, hilly terrain molded the samurai.
                    TTFN

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                    • Originally posted by Moon Lancer View Post
                      I might have been confused when you said "close quarters". If we are talking about what happens when two opponents find themselves too close too each other (rather then fighting in a cramped hallway), like in the eastern traditions there are many throws available in the various longsword traditions. In the German system their is also a great move when two swords are bound up close at the base of the blade involving a strike using the pommel which if done correctly can end the fight.

                      Something that Europe and Japan both shared (correct me if i am wrong) was using wresting and grappling as the foundation and then adding sword work to that.

                      I think where the systems diverge is when armor is added to the equation. They both go for weak parts of the armor but they seem to do it very differently.

                      I would love to see free sparring between someone who knows armored combat from Japan (possibly Shinto Ryu) and someone who knows armored combat from the Italian or German systems.

                      Heck I would just love to see a good amount of what armored combat from Japan looks like.
                      I suppose either coming to knife fighting range in a duel or in cramped quarters would be similar. I've learned several situational waza in which you are in a doorway, under a shelf, in a closet (I'm not coming out of the closet, ), etc as well as grappling with a sword armed opponent and using a sword against grappling. In Kendo we have taiatari where you crash into your opponent after missing a strike to disable his weapon, body check him to disrupt his balance, and, for our dojo, to possible disarm him, which sensei has done to me many times. I like the body and blade pressure that you can use to deceive your opponent, opening a close in strike or thrust.
                      TTFN

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                      • Originally posted by Kendoka Girl View Post
                        I have a friend in fencing who is big on the Ottomans and has done a lot of research into Middle Eastern styles. It's an area that I don't know much about, but am very curious. I think the way in which regional styles developed is fascinating and how, the vast deserts and other different terrain features molded those hit and run tactics, just as the vast plains molded the Mongols and the moist, hilly terrain molded the samurai.
                        Well the Ottoman's were a Turkish peoples originally from Central Asia, so their ancestors had been steppe raiders and the like.

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                        • The most vigorous discussion on the entire Web!

                          Although I feel like that I'm beating this dead horse, this thread is so irresistibly enticing, fascinating & multi-dimensional that I feel as though I need to add one more posting so as to keep it going.

                          For starters, this thread's premier question over who was more effective & deadly---the quintessential, late Medieval European Knight or this proto-typical, generally perceived Japanese Samurai---can never really be answered in this thoroughly conclusive, definitive way, basically because there are so many possibilities, aspects & variations that can be factored into the vast, very wide & usually complex equation.

                          For in terms of overall physical strength & brute force the European Knight/German Landsknechte Doppelsoldner/Irish Gallowglass of partly Scottish origin would no doubt have this major advantage.

                          For any one of those fearsome, traditional, old school European warriors would be at least 10 inches taller & roughly 100 pounds heavier than their Samurai adversary.

                          Though in terms of sword slashing/slicing speed, it would all depend upon the overall training & level of expertise of the individual warrior, regardless of whether he was this European Knight or this Japanese Samurai.

                          For as has been discussed by myself & other, more knowledgeable participants in this thread certain old school, late Medieval European sword fighting techniques & tactics were just as deadly, efficient, blazing, blinding, refined & intricate as all those old school Japanese ones ((be sure to check out pages 17 all the way to this one, along with all of Alice's postings, so as to get this clearer & more vivid idea of all the various old school European sword fighting systems!)).

                          In terms of agility & athleticism the Japanese Samurai would usually have this advantage, though the Irish/Scottish Gallowglass mercenary warriors were also renowned for their running speed & spectacular agility upon the field of battle, so in that department those late Medieval Celtic warriors would give any Samurai they faced this great run for their money ((read my postings found at the bottom of pages 17 & 21, so as to gain this better idea of how ferocious & agile the quintessential Irish/Scottish Gallowglass mercenaries were.)).

                          Also, in terms of overall sword fighting techniques & methods, it would again depend upon the full extent of training & discipline of each individual warrior. For certain European sword fighting/fencing styles, as has been discussed dozens of times previously in this thread, were just as effective & intricate as most Japanese ones.

                          Though back to both Connor McSheehy & Miyamoto Musashi. Although they're best buddies by this point, after guzzling about 20 pints of their favorite whiskey the more egotistical side of their respective natures just became more assertive, as their individual pride began to rise. So they both agreed to have one more, final sword clash so as to determine who really was the finest & most formidable swordsman on the planet, & therefore who had bragging rights. Now let's allow the games to begin!!!

                          The area of combat will be the same location, right behind my local legion post, all along this grassy stretch of land that leads right down to this narrow inlet connected to Boston Harbor, & which finds itself at the bottom of this sloping hill. Once again I'm in charge of blowing the whistle so as to let them know when violent combat betwixt the two of them should commence.

                          More-over, many of the same raucous, excited & drunken patrons that witnessed the first battle between these two champions have showed up to watch this one, for it's promising to be quite the spectacular contest!

                          So after I blow the whistle they both run at each other, full steam ahead, as they're each whiskey saturated! There is this very loud, savage CLANG as both swords come crashing together!

                          Though Connor the rampaging Gallowglass has been training, quite rigorously & thoroughly, in many of those old school, refined Central European longsword fencing styles that I described in keen, great detail on page 23. Yet Miyamoto came prepared, as he also had immersed himself in such old school Central German longsword fencing tactics on many occasions, training & practicing until his arms ached & he became this professional in such beautiful & graceful swordplay.

                          For 1/10th of a second after each sword came together both extended their elbows & arms & began this downward thrusting stroke that struck home with blazing speed! Though such brilliant sword maneuvers lacked the power & force to penetrate the armor that each was wearing.

                          So essentially what started as this contest of egos & for bragging rights evolved into this showdown featuring much fine, beautiful & intricate swordplay of superb skill & graceful finesse. It seemed as though one couldn't get the better of the other, as it just kept going, & going & going!

                          For the protective body armor that each wore was top of the line, first rate & basically impenetrable to these super quick, savage sword thrusts, basically enabling each to jump right back up after being knocked down several times ((though in that respect Connor definitely had the edge, as he was able to out-maneuver & force Miyamoto down at this rate of three to one!)).

                          Though at the very end they both reverted to the style & techniques that they were each more familiar with, & in which they both felt more comfortable practicing & fighting with. So therefore the combat went on for another three minutes, with this series of fierce CLANGS renting the atmosphere & resonating for miles in every direction! For in a sense it was the first contest all over again!

                          Though, after three minutes, Connor expertly parried one of Miyamoto's blows, displaying these superbly honed reflexes in the process! Then he was able, with excellent timing & grace, to instantly switch to the old school German system, whereby Connor was able to totally exploit the situation to his advantage by stabbing his Gaelic broadsword right through the slight opening in Miyamoto's armor, between his shoulder & chest.

                          Miyamoto, while bleeding profusively, quite weary & enraged, was able to regain control of his Samurai sword &, with this expertly delivered downward stroke, slash the right side of Connor's face, leaving this deep, bleeding scar!

                          Then Connor, in this fit of rage, jerked his Broadsword out of Miyamoto's rotator cuff & then proceeded to slash horizontally across his Samurai adversary's mouth, slicing open the flesh that covered his jaws, therefore giving Miyamoto this permanent smile, with much blood gushing from his wound.

                          Then both severely wounded combatants began to back away from each other real slow, each with both hands gripped firmly on their respective swords. That's when I blew the whistle for the combat to cease, for it was getting too bloody, & all the spectators watching were quite horrified!

                          So once again it was this draw, as both warriors felt relieved & emancipated from the gruelling demands of the trial of skill & strength that they had each been ferociously engaged in!

                          Though getting back to the original question over who was better, I think it would all depend upon the individual warrior, how deeply he embraced the particular warrior ethic that was bred into him from this very young age, how well armored he was, & how thoroughly proficient & experienced he was in the particular art of swordfighting that he so chose to train in. For it's this question that can never be answered definitively.

                          For there are so many elements & aspects that need to be factored into the multi-layered, vast & malleable equation.

                          Any ways, Connor the indomitable Irish Gallowglass & Miyamoto the legendary Samurai are both back in my legion post, guzzling gallons of whiskey of all types & indulging themselves to their respective heart's desire, each glad to be alive, despite their deep & savage wounds!

                          Let's keep this awesome & vibrant thread going for another few more pages at least!
                          Last edited by Taylor Ahern; 09 Oct 10, 01:26.

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                          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqyJo...re=grec_browse

                            Hey Taylor, I've recently been learning the Tachiuchi no Kurai, which is similar to this clip. Of course, I'm not nearly so fast or polished, but in time....
                            Last edited by Kendoka Girl; 16 Oct 10, 16:02.
                            TTFN

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                            • Originally posted by Kendoka Girl View Post


                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqyJo...re=grec_browse

                              Hey Taylor, I've recently been learning the Tachiuchi no Kurai, which is similar to this clip. Of course, I'm not nearly so fast or polished, but in time....
                              Loved the last strike to the ankle. Why do I get the feeling that warfare is not heroic but probably a tad unpleasant.
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                              • Haven't seen this link posted before, so here it is:
                                http://www.thearma.org/essays/knightvs.htm

                                It's another take on our topic. The author wimps out in the end and doesn't choose a winner.

                                There are many other factors that still could be raised when speculating on a hypothetical combat between a knight and a samurai. In the end though, my own answer to the question of who would win is that it is unanswerable...but would be an awesome experiment. Being a great warrior is a matter of individual ability and technical factors that are not exclusive to any one culture or time period. The better fighter wins a fight, and whoever does win is therefore considered the better fighter –or at least the luckier one.
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