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Old 04-15-2003, 11:21 AM   #41
Ainaserkewen
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Sting

I don't know about the history of each sword, but if you like them, heres a peice of interesting news.
I was out of town last weekend and at the biggest mall near where I live. There I found a little store called "The knife Shoppe" I went in because of the hints I got from somewhere, and low and behold, on the walls hung the shards of Narsil, Sting, Glamdring, Gimli's axe, legolas's bow etc. all for sale! I couldn't afford them, but it was quite cool, I even got to hold sting(Which was pretty light) I thought it was neat how a little knife store carries swords too.
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Old 04-15-2003, 11:53 AM   #42
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Oh yes, just about every weapons shop carries some form of LOTR weaponry nowadays....

Yep, but i've always wondered the effectiveness of a western swordsman Vs. a eastern swordsman, or in other words a Katana vs. a longsword. anybody with an opinion join in [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] !
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Old 04-15-2003, 01:41 PM   #43
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Sting

Every sword shop maybe, but this was a kitchen knife shop. That's why I was suprised.
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Old 04-15-2003, 04:12 PM   #44
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Sting

oh, i see. i wonder if sting could be used to chop vegetables?
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Old 04-15-2003, 04:24 PM   #45
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Sting

Western versus Eastern style? Ever watched Highlander? No seriously, some of those Katanas were sharp enough to halve a watermelon (I saw it on Mail-Call), of course a steel claymore or something of the like wouldn't be so easy. Still, bigger swords are quite clumsy (obviously not too clumsy, but 'clumsier' then a katana) But then I don't think all the grace and skill of Eastern style could overtake the quick and ultra-efficient style of Rapier-work. The rapier is point work, and so the blades edge is good for parrying, but the kill comes from the extraordinary ability to thrust and cover a huge gap doing so, because one can hack and hack all they want but those are still only flesh wounds, punching a pointed blade through somebody though-fatal. The musketeers did this sorta stuff (I saw that on Conquest, the History Channel? I need a life), and they did it well. Those blades will punch right through ringlets in mail, slip in between plate mail, and go through skull.
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Old 04-15-2003, 05:18 PM   #46
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Sting

This sounds like a question of Strength vs. Agility. If you used a good two handed broad sword you could probably shatter a light katana with a direct blow. On the otherhand the heavier broad sword would be harder and slower to wield and a good Samuri could probably dodge (sp?), weave, and do some carfull parrying till he could get a good blow. You wouldn't have the efficiancy of a raipier going right through chain main, skulls, etc., but you do have a good combo meat hacker/staber. Ever seen The Seven Samuri (wonderful movie but you have to see it in black and white and with subtitles, unless you know Japanesse)? Those guys could achieve deadly effects with one blow.

In an eastern vs. western scenario you also have to take into acount armour. So overall here is my ratings.

******Conventional Western Warrior******

Strengths: Verriety of posible smashing and hacking weapons (maces, conventional swords, axes) all heavy, relatively slow, and giving good wounds. Heavy armer specializing in stoping heavy, relatively slow, hacking and smashing weapons [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img].

Weaknesses: Weapons are slow and heavy. Armor greatly restricts agility and range of movement as well as being slow and heavy.


******Eastern Warrior (Samuri)******

Strengths: Lighter swords with one sharp edge provide quite a variety of fighting techniques. Much faster and more agile. Armor is lighter but still very strong, maximizing agility and protection of vital organs.

Weaknesses: You have to be light on your feet and be quite experianced with this type of fighting. One wrong move and any old Western Warior can land you one you won't forget. Again, armor does not provide as much protection and sword could be broken in certain circumstances.


******Renesaisance Type Western Warrior (Musketeer)******

Strengths: Amazing agility. Light weapon's stabing potential is unmachable. One good thrust and the guys dead (or at least that is how it works in the movies [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] ). Such lightness allows increadible dodging and weaving.

Weaknesses: Only one killing or wounding technic: stabbing. Weapon could be broken. You have to stay alert and on your feet to take advantage of possible opertunities. And armor???? Dodging required here too.

Overall my vote is on the Samuri.
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Old 04-15-2003, 05:26 PM   #47
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Sting

i agree, of course the fact that i do tae-Kwon-Do could make me a bit biased.. but not really, i think that it's really a challenge of wits and endurance. because if the western warrior can't hit, and the eastern warrior can't hurt the western warrior, then it turns into a fight of endurance, the loser being the one who is too tired to go on and get's quickly killed, but don't forget the fact that the eastern katana is a very good thrusting weapon...

and haven't i seen you on Paintball.com Salocin? your sig looks familiar....
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Old 04-15-2003, 06:23 PM   #48
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Sting

well if i had a sword, lol i would name it Earelandiren

nothing special, just a nice name
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Old 04-16-2003, 12:27 PM   #49
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I don't think so One Axe. I've never heard of paintball.com. Anyways I stole this Avatar from my brothers extensive collection because I thought it was funny. Don't know where he got it.
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Old 04-16-2003, 12:31 PM   #50
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Oh, my signiture. "All Your Base Are Belong to Us" is a geek/conspiracy theorist type phenomenon. It was taken from the dialog of the opening sequence of a poorly translated Nintendo videogame. If you do a search for the phrase you'll find all sorts of cool stuff. Just a warning though, once you start there is no going back [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img].

[ April 16, 2003: Message edited by: Salocin ]
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Old 04-16-2003, 03:51 PM   #51
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Thanks, i'll do that [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 04-18-2003, 09:39 AM   #52
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Tolkien

Well, if it's a question of who will get worn out sooner, no doubt it's the medeival western warrior, due to the incredibly heavy type of armor known in those times. Also, if we're not just looking at all-out dueling here, the Eastern sword is much easier to carry silently, say, on one's back. If you were to attempt to try and infiltrate a camp of uruks(keeping us in Middle-earth so mod doesn't get unhappy) alone, you would definitely want a katana strapped to your back, with maybe a strong dagger(such as Sting) strapped to your leg. Or at least I would. Narsil looks so heavy and clanky that it seems it would be hard to move without stirring some noise and suspicion. Well, that's how I would see it, anyway. Also, the warrior that can't see or hear his opponent is probably the first to die. Just my thoughts.
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Old 04-19-2003, 01:55 PM   #53
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hmmm.. i see, about the endurence thing, if both warriors have been doing this fr awhile then it would be even, for the western warrior has built up more muscle and endurance, he is bulkier because of that....

anyways, in a camp of uruks or something like that, a dagger is best, because you'd need a close-range, highly manuverable weapon for quickly and silently killing a foe, such as a sleeping uruk-hai [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

i say dagger because it is so small that it makes it easy to use for sneaking up on enemies and such, for a katana, it would be too large and it's sweeping slash would be too wide. a dagger relies mainly on being able to sneak up on the enemy and kill them while they are unaware of what's going on.

it would still be didgent to keep a katana or longsword handy if you are detected and stealth is no longer useful, then you could ude a katana or longsword because then you would aslo have to defend yourself, something a dagger isn't very good at...
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Old 04-19-2003, 02:12 PM   #54
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Again, this is where you could use a dirk. It is short enough to be used like a daggar for back stabing/throat cutting, but long enough for a goo fight incase something goes wrong.
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Old 04-19-2003, 02:31 PM   #55
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why does everybody come back to the dirk!?!?!

it's called a short sword!!!!

but still, i understand your point
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Old 04-19-2003, 02:39 PM   #56
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Its a dirk. A short sword is shapped different, used in a different part of the world, different size, and not balanced well. Anyways I think I am the only one who has mentioned dirks in this topic.

[ April 19, 2003: Message edited by: Salocin ]
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Old 04-19-2003, 03:28 PM   #57
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Shield

heheh, this sounds like a debate I had with my friend Josh. Gald people on the downs like swords. (I'm not totally nuts,yay [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] ) In terms of who wins in a one on one *fair* fight, my vote goes to the longswordman, so I guess that would mean west. I love the look and balance of katana's, but for the love of god I can't handle them. [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img] However, in a real life situation, my vote goes for the loyal samurai, simply because western armor has a lot of exsplotable openings.
Nothing, in my humble opinion beats a good scimitar, though. Balance, speed, hack and slash ability, what else do you need? [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 04-20-2003, 09:53 AM   #58
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Some protection? And maybe a little aptitude?
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Old 04-20-2003, 10:10 AM   #59
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Shield

Ok, ok. Aptitude I have not, but if you have the skills get some light leather armor and keep the sword in motion, and tada! Protection [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 04-20-2003, 11:41 AM   #60
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Western swords are not heavy or clumsy or slow, and they are fully as efficient as a katana. Most western swords if intended for combat seldom weighed more than 3lbs (even the large two handed swords popularized by the landsknechts in the 1500's seldom weighed more than about 6 lbs, if intended for combat). These weights are comparable to that of a katana.
Rapiers, on average, tended to weigh a little more than swords.
It is highly improbable that a western sword would break a katana in combat, no more so than it would break another western sword (and just as improbale that a katana would cut through a western sword).
The thrust with the rapier is no more an assurance of fatality than the 'hack' with the sword will only result in a 'flesh wound', for example George Silver writes in his treatise, The Paradoxes of Defence (this is from about 1595):
Quote:
And again, the thrust being made through the hand, arm, or leg, or in many places of the body and face, are not deadly, neither are they maims, or loss of limbs or life, neither is he much hindered for the time in his fight, as long as the blood is hot. For example:
I have known a gentleman hurt in rapier fight, in nine or ten places through the body, arms, and legs, and yet has continued in his fight, & afterward has slain the other, and come home and has been cured of all his wounds without maim, & is yet living. But the blow being strongly made, takes sometimes clean away the hand from the arm, has many times been seen. Again, a ful blow upon the head or face with a short sharp sword, is most commonly death. A full blow upon the neck, shoulder, arm, or leg, endangers life, cuts off the veins, muscles, and sinews, perishes the bones. These wounds made by the blow, in respect of perfect healing, are the loss of limbs, or maims incurable forever.
And yet more for the blow. A full blow upon the head, face, arm, leg, or legs, is death, or the party so wounded in the mercy of him that shall so wound him. For what man shall be able long in fight to stand up, either to revenge, or defend himself, having the veins, muscles, sinews of his hand, arm, or leg clean cut asunder? Or being dismembered by such wound upon the face or head, but shall be enforced thereby, and through the loss of blood, the other a little dallying with him, to yield himself, or leave his life in his mercy?
Of course most swords and longswords could be used to thrust as well. Indeed George Silver notes that 'there is no true fight without both the blow and the thrust'.

Western armour is, comparitively, little if any heavier than Japanese armour, nor is agility so greatly restricted, knights could run, fall and rise, vault onto horseback and fight with relative ease in while armoured (needing winches to mount a horse not being able to get up if knocked over are myths). Modern soldiers often carry as much weight in the field and it is less well distributed.

As far as techniques go, the historical western schools of fence were fully as developed as anything in the east from a comparable time period. Longswords could, for example, be wielded in one hand or two, thrust, cut, or used at the halfsword (where the blade is grasped with one hand, the other on the hilt, in fact some techniques are shown where the sword blade is grasped with both hands and the opponent struck with the pommel or gaurd).
Even historical western unnarmed combat was no less developed than the east and was integrated into armed combat.
To go back to George Silver, he writes of:
Quote:
the old ancient teaching, that is, first their quarters, then their wards, blows, thrusts, and breaking of thrusts, then their closes and grips, striking with the hilts, daggers, bucklers, wrestlings, striking with the foot or knee in the cods, and all these are safely defended in learning perfectly of the grips.
In the end it would come down to who the better individual fighter is.

[ April 20, 2003: Message edited by: Tar Elenion ]
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Old 04-20-2003, 12:06 PM   #61
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Awww, thanks for ruining all our steriotypes [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]
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Old 04-21-2003, 09:28 AM   #62
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Yes, but as they say "Ignorance is Bliss"

and we'll recover in time....
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Old 04-25-2003, 10:16 AM   #63
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Excellent post Tar Elenion. There are simply too many misconceptions about western medieval combat out there. An excellent author, in my opinion the best on the subject, is R. Ewart Oakeshott. His series on medieval combat is especially good:

A Knight and His Horse, Publishers' Group West; 2nd edition (November 1998)

A Knight and His Weapons, Editions; 2nd edition (January 1, 1997)

A Knight and His Armor, Dufour Editions; 2nd Revision edition (August 1999)

A Knight and His Castle, Dufour Editions; 2nd edition (January 1, 1997)

A Knight in Battle, Dufour Editions; 2nd edition (January 1, 1998)

Quote:
Modern soldiers often carry as much weight in the field and it is less well distributed.
Those of us who have worn an LCE over a flak jacket, along with a rucksack full of SAW ammo, know what drudgery is. I really felt sorry for those mortar guys. Modern soldiers carry more weight into combat than the medieval peasant or knight did.

As far as “fighting style” goes, its hard to piece together a “western” style. The German fight books of the 15th and 16th centuries belie an already pre-existing set of combat methods. However, archeology tells us there were a plethora of technical innovations throughout the period of history we call medieval, as well as an equally great number of culturally distinct peoples. To search for a distinctive style of combat that one can universally apply to medieval Europe would be impossible. For example, the fighting methods of the Anglo-Saxon warrior of AD 900 would be considerably different from those employed by a French knight on crusade in the 13th century. The basic skills involved by the Anglo-Saxon warrior would be those of a boxer; the basic skills of the French knight would be equestrian.

This brings up a related point about medieval combat, particularly post-Norman: the horse. No matter what weapon the knight held in his hand, the primary weapon employed by the post-Norman medieval knight was the horse, and his most important combat skill was horsemanship. Most post-Norman technical innovations and tactics focussed on neutralizing the mounted warrior or keeping the mounted warrior mounted (i.e. the evolving use of walled fortifications, crossbows, the English longbow, plate armor, etc…).

Swords that can slice through watermelons? The medieval knight could slice through iron maille with his sword.
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Old 04-25-2003, 01:27 PM   #64
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yay, more people that know way more about this than i do!

now let's not get into crossbows and bows and such, please?

so let's say a feudal japanese warrior with a Katana, a Wakizashi, and a suit if splint mail vs. a 15th century german warrior with a suit of full plate mail, a medium kite shield, and a long sword or flanged mace

is that exact enough for you?
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Old 04-25-2003, 03:33 PM   #65
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A fifteenth century German knight in full plate wouldn’t have a shield. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 04-25-2003, 03:57 PM   #66
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sorry about the shield thing, i lost my train of thought after i was attacked by my sister
[img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 04-25-2003, 04:22 PM   #67
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Sting

Thank you Bill Ferny.
Another book by Mr. Oakeshott (who recently passed away) to be recommended is:
Records of the Medieval Sword, Boydell & Brewer LTD (1991) (expensive)
also:
The Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe, by Professor Sydney Anglo, Yale University Press (2000)
Quote:
Bill Ferny wrote:
To search for a distinctive style of combat that one can universally apply to medieval Europe would be impossible. For example, the fighting methods of the Anglo-Saxon warrior of AD 900 would be considerably different from those employed by a French knight on crusade in the 13th century.
Quite, even in the same general time periods, though similarities naturally existed various European fighting styles were distinct from each other (German from Italian from English from Spanish).
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One Axe wrote:
so let's say a feudal japanese warrior with a Katana, a Wakizashi, and a suit if splint mail vs. a 15th century german warrior with a suit of full plate mail, a medium kite shield, and a long sword or flanged mace
NOI, but 'plate mail' does not exist (except in some roleplaying games), similarly for 'splint mail'.
If what you are asking above is 'who would win', then the best answer is which ever one was better trained and more experienced (or less unlucky [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]).
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Old 04-25-2003, 04:29 PM   #68
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When i said that, i meant a generalized suit of armor....

so stop putting me down about it please [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]
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Old 04-25-2003, 04:40 PM   #69
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Quote:
sorry about the shield thing, i lost my train of thought after i was attacked by my sister
I know what you mean. I'm often assailed by four children while attempting to read the B'Downs. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

I don't know who would win. However, if I was one of the combatants, no matter which equipment, I would win. [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img]

Edit:

Quote:
so stop putting me down about it please
We B'Downers don't put people down. We nit-pick. There's a very subtle difference. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

[ April 25, 2003: Message edited by: Bill Ferny ]
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Old 04-25-2003, 05:44 PM   #70
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It was not intended to be a 'put down' (please note that I included an 'NOI' ('no offence intended')). [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
As Bill Ferny noted it may be considered 'nitpicking' (or just an attempt to correct a commonly held mis-perception).
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Old 04-25-2003, 05:49 PM   #71
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Nit-picking on the Downs? Surely not! [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 04-26-2003, 10:40 AM   #72
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Yes, PanMan, I think it comes from exhausting all possible angles of a given subject… for example, The Lord of the Rings. Ooops, was that blasphemy?

Tar Elenion, thanks for clarifying NOI. Being somewhat internet forum illiterate, I was wondering what that meant.

Records of the Medieval Sword is on my bookshelf as well, along with Sword in The Age of Chivalry. These are important books for those who collect swords (or like me, collect historical re-constructions) or are just interested in the history of the sword. Oakeshott takes up the discussion where Jan Peterson’s typology of the Viking sword left off. Most useful is Mr. Oakeshott’s typology of the European medieval sword, a rough guide designed to help the collector and historian identify a sword according to time and place. The typology, in a woefully abridged manner, can be found at the Oakeshott Institute's webpage.

Your enthusiasm, One Axe, is commendable, and I’m always delighted to share with those who have this particular enthusiasm.

Quote:
Tch... I find your view a touch romantic. For the most part, swords are just great big knives that you can stab people with. *sniff* Weapons of war. If they'd had guns, they'd have used them instead.
True, if they did, they would, but they didn’t. That really misses the point, anyway. The sword will always be an indelible symbol of something for which our modern world strives, something that on the surface is a weapon of war, but contains layers of meaning built upon by generations of men and women who envisioned a set of ideals that were both utilitarian and transcendental.

It’s so interesting how many of my students have come to be interested in European medieval history via JRR Tolkien, a path I had taken myself a long time ago. The enthusiasm for Tolkien’s vision of a world governed by principles of chivalry embodied by characters such as Aragorn and Boromir, and an otherworldly wisdom embodied by characters such as Gandalf inevitably draws people to that mysterious world of medieval Europe. It was no accident that Tolkien placed his mythology in a quasi-medieval world.

Norman F. Cantor, in his The Making of the Middle Ages devotes many pages to the Oxford Fantasist, such as CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. They were inspired by the work of a previous generation of medievalists, such as the groundbreaker of Harvard, Charles H. Haskins, who were beginning to dispel the myth that the medieval world was simply a middle time between the two great ages of western progress, the Classical and the Italian Renaissance and “Enlightenment”. Instead of Gibbon’s vision of drudgery and stagnation, the Oxford Fantasists were able to appreciate medieval man’s noble visions, his technological marvels, and a continuity of enlightenment and progress from the Classical period that was now being analyzed more critically and honestly. The Oxford Fantasists, instead of former opinions of darkness, superstition and bent backs over plows before the feudal lord with whip in hand, read depictions of May Day festivals, the carnival atmosphere of the fairs, the pageantry of the tournament, the erudite and exhaustive accomplishments of medieval philosophers and theologians, the cross-cultural diffusion of ideas and trade, and the dignity medieval people instinctively gave to both men and women. In other words, the Dark Ages were much less dark.

Tolkien’s depiction of the Shire, while no doubt inspired in large part by his own rustic roots, contains more than a little appreciation for turn of the century medievalists who were delving enthusiastically into the daily lives of medieval peasants, discovering that they, far from being mere chattel, were men and women living, working, playing and loving with as much contentment and suffering as peoples of other times and places.

More poignant, is Tolkien’s portrayal of Aragorn. He is the embodiment of, to use the words of William Caxton in his preface to the Le Morte D’Arthur: “Doo after the good and leve the evyl, and it shal bryng you to good fame and renommee.” Doing after the good was the principle precept of the man of arms according to a code that made the ideal of honor from below reciprocated by benevolence from above.

This principle precept, most of the time called chivalry, is portrayed by moderns as a comedic relic of a backward past, a minstrel’s fancy. This is unfortunate. Medieval chivalry, the actual notion as espoused by those who attempted to live by it, hinges on the notion that the welfare of man is man’s responsibility, especially those of means, who lived with sword in hand, not poor houses, church charities or systems of institutional welfare. So indelibly is the mark of our western heritage hinged on medieval Europe, that the symbol for this lofty vision will always be the sword.

So, how about them swords? An enthusiasm for swords and medieval martial arts, inspired by Tolkien or Lewis, is more than just whimsical romanticism. It’s a symbol of taking up one’s responsibilities to one’s fellows in a dangerous world. Like many medieval men and women, no doubt, we will fail in many ways to live up to this notion, but at least we can strive for a life of doing after the good.
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Old 04-26-2003, 03:59 PM   #73
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yay, people with intelligence, *i'm jumping up and down with joy*
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Old 04-28-2003, 09:36 AM   #74
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nad to deal with the knight vs. samurai thing, here is an article i found a while ago

The Medieval European Knight vs.
The Feudal Japanese Samurai

John Clements

From time to time it is interesting to ponder the outcome of an encounter between two of histories most formidable and highly skilled warriors: the medieval European knight and the feudal Japanese samurai. The thought of "who would win" in an actual fight between these martial experts of such dissimilar methods is intriguing. But who would emerge victorious or who was historically the better fighter is a question occasionally raised, but it is really a moot question. In the case of comparing a knight to a samurai, each warrior used armor, weapons, and methods oriented towards the particular opponents of their day and age. Therefore, neither can be looked upon as being universally more effective under all conditions against all manner of opponent. In one sense, it is like asking who are better soldiers, jungle fighters or ski troops. It depends upon the situation and the environment. Still, it's interesting to consider. Having some small experience in the methods and weaponry of each as well as cross-training opportunities, I offer my humble thoughts.

First of all, if we are supposing a clash between two "typical warriors", we must asked exactly what will be considered typical? The samurai of 1200 and the knights of 1100 were roughly evenly matched in equipment. But the same comparative warriors during the 1400's for instance, were quite dissimilar. Each of the two historical warriors in question did fight with equivalent technologies, under fairly similar climates and terrain, and for similar reasons. But, it's difficult to think in terms of a "generic" medieval knight or a "standard" samurai warrior. With respect to a European knight, it's not easy to choose what nationality, and what type of warrior from which portion of the overall Middle Ages. With the samurai though, we are dealing with a single, homogenous culture and one in which historical martial traditions have survived fairly intact. Thus we have a much better idea of the average samurai's training and ability through the centuries. We also have very active modern proponents to serve as examples.

Are we assuming the knight will be a mail clad Norman with sword and kite shield from circa 1200? An English or French chevalier of 1350 in partial plate with arming sword? Or will it be a Teutonic knight of circa 1400 in a full head-to-toe suit of articulated plate armor with bastard sword? Will the samurai be wearing the older box-like Muromachi armor and armed with a tachi blade? Or will he wear the later Kamakura close fitting do-maru armor and use the more familiar katana? These are significant matters that get at the heart of why such a question as who would win or who is the "better" fighter really is unanswerable. Of course, for the sake of engaging discourse let us hypothesize just what would happen if these two comparable individuals, each highly trained in the respective fighting skills of their age, were to meet on the battlefield in single combat to the death (!). As an amusing historical diversion we can at least make an educated guess to what would possibly be some of the key decisive elements of such an encounter.

We can reasonably assume that the personal attributes such as individual strength, speed, stamina, and courage, are fairly consistent between such professional warriors. Assuming we can somehow control for these attributes, we could match combatants with some equality. It would not be unrealistic to believe on a whole that neither was decisively stronger or faster (or significantly larger) than the other. If must be stated however, that we do know more about the training and skills of samurai than we do of their European counterparts.

Since conditions could play a major factor, it can be proposed that such an imaginary encounter would best take place on a flat, open field with no cover and plenty of room to maneuver. Interestingly, the same climate and weather for each would be just about right. It would also be conducive to have the fight occur dismounted, on foot and without use of missile weapons. The ability of each to read or size up their opponent and the threat posed would be an important consideration. Are both to be briefed on the nature of their opponent and his armaments, or will the encounter be a blind one in which neither knows anything about the adversary? We might want to just assume that each of our ideal combatants has been briefed on the other and so is therefore mentally prepared and composed.

We cannot overlook the role that cultural might play in this contest. We must consider what effect might be played by the quality of fatalism within the samurai code of bushido, or rather the resolute acceptance of death that motivated the fiercest samurai. But then, we cannot overlook the quality of piety and faith that could motivate a Knight to great feats, or of the ideals of chivalry that he might uphold to death. It's possible a medieval European Knight would have a certain disdain and scorn for his foreign, "pagan" adversary as Europeans did towards Arabs during the Crusades. Of course, the Japanese warrior's well known attitude of invincibility and readiness to die could equally make him vulnerable to an unfamiliar foe. Contempt for life and contempt for a dangerous, unknown opponent can be a disastrous combination. Of course, fighting spirit alone is insufficient. These are surely intangibles that cannot be measured with any reliability. These and other non-quantifiable, psychological factors aside, we are left with weapons, armor, and training.

It is a myth that every individual Japanese samurai was himself an expert swordsman (no more true than every wild West cowboy was an expert gunfighter). But for sake of discussion, let us assume so in this case. For the samurai, the sword was one of three major weapons, along with the bow and the yari (spear). In major battles, the sword was typically wielded in two-hands and a suit of armor worn. The better Japanese armor was constructed of overlapping lacquered metal scales tied together with silk cords in order to specifically resist the slicing cut of the katana. It was intended primarily to be used by and against similarly equipped swordsmen and was well-designed to absorb and lessen the tremendous cutting capacity of Japanese swords. It was durable, effective, and provided for ample movement.

Medieval European armor was designed more to deflect strikes and absorb blows. A knight's armor varied from simple byrnies of mail ("chainmail") that could absorb cuts and slices, to padded coats-of-plates which were designed equally to protect from concussion weapons. Complete suits of fully articulated plate armor were difficult or impossible to cut through. They were just invulnerable to sword cuts -even it can be surmised, those of the exceptional katana. Plate armor required different weapons to effectively penetrate or defeat it. Plate-armor was also well-suited for fighting in and is far from the lumbering, awkward cliché' presented by Hollywood. It has been said that while Europeans designed their armor to defeat swords, the Japanese designed their swords to defeat armor. There is a certain truth to this, but it's a simplistic view.

As a sword, the Japanese katana is unmatched in its sharpness and cutting power. Furthermore, it is particularly good at cutting metal. However, Medieval plate armor is well known for its resistance to cutting, and cutting at a moving target hidden by a shield is not easy. While the edge of a katana is very strong with a sharp cutting bevel, it is a thick wedge shape and still has to move aside material as it cuts. Though this is devastating on a draw slice against flesh and bone, it is much less effective against armors. Realizing this, several styles of Japanese swordsmanship devised specific techniques to stab and thrust at armor as well as attack the gaps and joints. The katana is also wielded in a quick flowing manner with a torque of the grip as well as a push of the hips. Pulling the blade in this way makes it slice as it shears.

We must also consider then whether the knight will be equipped in the standard shield & sword style or will use only a single long-sword. A knight's sword was typically a one-handed weapon intended specifically for use with a shield. Their blades are wide and fairly thin, with chisel-like edges intentionally designed for cutting through mail armor and deep into flesh and bone with a quick, forceful blow. They were light, agile, and stiff, yet very flexible. They too varied with time from the wider, flatter kind to the rigid, tapering, and sharply pointed well suited for both plate and laminated armor. The medieval style of sword & shield fighting is distinctly different from the two-hand grip and quick full-arm slashing cuts of Kenjutsu. Medieval swords are properly wielded with more of a throw of the arm and a twist of the hips while making passing steps forward or back. There is generally more blade-on-blade contact and the hilt is used for a greater number of offensive and defensive techniques. A sword & shield is a great asset over a single sword alone. Fighting with sword & shield offers a well-rounded and strong defense that safely permits a wide range of both direct and combination attacks. So, if armed with a shield, will the knight employ a center-gripped type with front umbo or one worn by enarme straps? Will the shield be the highly effective "kite" shape with its superb defense or one of the smaller, more maneuverable convex "heater" styles?

Kenjutsu (Japanese swordsmanship), though consisting of very effective counter-cutting actions, also has no real provisions for fighting shields. Although a skilled warrior could certainly improvise some, those unfamiliar with the formidable effectiveness and versatility of a sword & shield combination will have a hard time. It is not used the way it's typically shown in theatrical stage-combat or the SCA. Fighting against a medieval shield is not simply a matter of maneuvering around it or aiming blows elsewhere. Katanas are powerful swords used with strong techniques. But thinking they could simply cleave through a stout medieval shield is absurd. Eve n with a katana a shield cannot simply be sliced through.

Medieval shields were fairly thick wood covered in leather and usually trimmed in metal. Not only that, but they highly maneuverable, making solid, shearing blows difficult. More likely, a blade would be momentarily stuck if it struck too forcefully. Unlike what is seen in the movies, chopping into a shield's edge can temporarily cause the sword blade to wedge into the shield for just an instant and thereby be delayed in recovering or renewing an attack (and exposing the arms to a counter-cut). Shields without metal rims were even favored for this very reason.

Although the medieval sword & shield combination was fairly common, longer blades useable in two hands came into use from about 1250 to 1525. When we talk about medieval European long-swords or war-swords (or even great-swords), we are not dealing with a single uniform style. There were wide, flat blades with parallel edges well suited to powerful cuts. Later swords specifically designed for facing heavier armor had narrower, much more rigid diamond or hexagonal shaped blades tapering to acute points. They were used to whack and bash at armor before stabbing and thrusting into joints and gaps. They were still capable of cutting at more lightly armored opponents.

The difference between these two blade forms is significant and once more underscores the distinction between the manner of using a katana and a mediaeval sword. The tapering blade form has a different center of balance and is often a lighter blade. Its point of percussion is located farther down the blade and its slender, sharp point is capable of making quick, accurate, and strong thrusts. The earlier form can make a somewhat greater variety of strikes and delivers more effective cuts overall. But the later is more agile and easier to guard and parry with. It can also more easily employ its versatile hilt in binding, trapping, and striking. It's proper techniques and style of use is rarely depicted with any accuracy in movies and stage performance fights. Almost never is its proper or historical usage shown with its tighter movements, various thrusts, and infighting with the hilt.

It can be difficult for those not familiar with the nature of a medieval longsword to understand its true manner of use, since the general public as well as martial artists of Asian styles are far more familiar with the katana's style. So, if we match a knight with a long-sword against the katana armed samurai this can make a significant difference. But, we must not fall into the mistake of judging the medieval long-sword in terms of what we know about classical Japanese kenjutsu. It is a mistake to think the straight, double-edged medieval sword with cruciform-hilt is handled like a curved katana. While there are certainly similarities and universal commonalties between two styles of swordsmanship the (such as in stances and cuts), there are also significant and fundamental differences. In contrast to the slicing slash of a curved, single-edged, Japanese katana, medieval swords were made for hacking, shearing cuts delivered primarily from the elbow and shoulder. It strikes more with a point-of-percussion on the first 6-8 inches of blade. It has two edges to work with and can "back-edge" cut or reverse upwards). If we bring into the equation the bastard-sword with compound-hilt and half-handle using the fingering method of grip, this could also be a significant factor. Such hilts allow for a variety of one or two-hand gripping options and gives superior tip control for thrusting.

Even though Japanese armor for the most part was made up of the same quality steel as went into their weapons, European blades would likely not encounter anything especially difficult with it that they didn't already face. Medieval blades themselves could be excellent swords. European blades are often denigrated as mere crude hunks of iron while samurai swords are venerated and exalted sometimes to the point of absurdity by collectors and enthusiasts (something the Japanese themselves do little to curb). Bad films and poorly trained martial artists reinforce this myth.

Thus, as our hypothetical fight ensued, any number of things might happen. In the course of striking at one another, a chance blow by either side could possibly end the fight. The katana may or may not be able to make a lethal or incapacitating cut (something difficult to do against plate armor, let alone a shield). But the knight, unfamiliar with the movements of Kenjutsu, may throw out a strike that makes him vulnerable to a well-timed counter-attack. Of course, the samurai might also underestimate the power of the medieval sword's hacking blows against his own armor. The long-sword can have more reach and has a versatile hilt, but the katana is a faster weapon. Despite its reach though, there are numerous techniques for infighting using the long-sword's guard. But then the katana is very good at close-in slices and draw-cuts, which a straight blade cannot effectively do well. Of course, against, good armor such actions can be negligible.

It could be justifiably argued that the samurai by nature could have a tactical advantage in attitude and fortitude as a result of the psychological elements of his training and fighting methods. He is well known to have integrated unarmed techniques into his repertoire as well as having a keen sense of an opponents strengths and weaknesses. Still, much of this is intangible and subjective. Besides, although not generally known, it is well documented from medieval Italian and German fighting manuals that European knights and men-at-arms fully integrated grappling, wrestling, and disarming techniques into their fighting skills. There is no evidence to the myth that medieval martial culture was any less sophisticated or highly develop than its Asian counterparts, its tradition only fell out of use with the social and technological changes brought about by firearms and cannon.

While it is known that the average samurai had a large inventory of unarmed fighting techniques at his disposal, these too would be unlikely to play a part against a shield wielding warrior or one in full plate armor. With out the necessary weapons designed intentionally to face and defeat plate armor, any fighter armed with a sword alone would have difficulty (katana or not). Indeed, full plate armor with mail might very well damage the keen edge on particularly fine katanas. If we there fore assume the armors to be more evenly matched, say mail and partial plate for the knight as used about 1250 AD, things would get more interesting. However, the samurai did often carry a
thick, armor-piercing dagger of his own which would have been quite useful. Some could suggest that the samurai was simply a better swordsman and more tenacious warrior and would likely out-fight his European counterpart. Others could say no way and that a skilled knight in armor using the sword & shield combination would be invulnerable and brutally overpowering. Still others
could argue that such over-generalized statements as either of these are unprovable conjecture. There are so many elements to address and practitioners who are experienced in one form of art sword and not another will tend to favor what they're familiar with. It is rare to find individuals with a deep grasp of the attributes of each method and the arms involved.

While there is today an active subculture promoting and preserving historical Japanese bujutsu (war skills) or practicing modern budo and a great deal is also known about their practice, the equivalent can not yet be said for "lost" medieval fighting arts. Medieval sword fighting is often viewed as a wholly subjective matter either consisting of merely brute force and ferocity, or
else incapable of reasoned analysis and discernable principles. Both are equally inaccurate. It is sad when leading fencing maestros (experienced only with light foils, epees, and sabers) will issue naïve, unschooled statements about how "medieval swords weighed 10 pounds" or could only be used for "clumsy bashing and chopping". There is a definite prejudice that the modern refined fencing sport is "superior" to earlier, more brutal methods. Without going into the history of warfare, it's important to state it is a myth that fighting in medieval Europe was entirely crude, cumbersome, and never a science. It may perhaps be true that only in a cultural context it cannot compare to the systematized traditions of feudal Japanese sword arts. However, there is sufficient evidence surviving that when paired with contemporary research has given us a much better under-standing of the function and use of medieval European arms and armors to confirm that they were highly effective and dynamic skills.

Those who think the medieval sword & shield was and is just a "wham-bam, whack-whack" fight are greatly misinformed. Those who think the use of medieval long-sword merely involves a brutish hacking are also under a tremendous delusion. It is a mystery how such beliefs can be held independently of those who today assiduously study and train in the subject as a true martial art, and spend years in practice with the actual weapons. Perhaps this ignorance is due to watching too many movies or the influence of fantasy-historical societies with their costumed role-playing.

Considering the many issues brought out in describing the modern replication of medieval fighting skills, contrasting them with the practice of Asian martial arts is a legitimate area of speculation. If we had a time machine and for depraved research wanted to go back, grab a hundred random medieval knights and an equal number of samurai and throw them at each other, we might be able to come up some statistical averages (and some serious ethical problems, as well). In one sense we are talking about very different approaches to armed combat in this comparison. But, then again its all the same when reduced to two armed combatants fighting each other antagonistic combat.

As can be seen, there are just far too many variables and unknowns to make a judgment either way for such a hypothetical question as who could defeat whom. The fight cannot be reduced to any generalized statements about who had the overall historical advantage in skill or who had the superior array of arms & armor. It is an interesting comparison to ponder objectively. All we can do is give an opinion of questionable value. Keeping in mind that live demonstrations speak louder than any words, hopefully this writing has cleared away some of the prejudice on behalf of both Kenjutsu students and Medievalists. I personally give only limited credit to occasions of cross-sparring by modern students of each respective art, as they seldom can meet under mutually agreeable or equally advantageous conditions for very long. Personally, while I admire the techniques and principles of Kenjutsu as being generally highly effective (but not specifically its modern methods of instruction), I cannot disregard the proven efficacy of the sword & shield method combined with superior European armor. Nor can I ignore the difficulty it offers the single sword. But a fine katana can be a truly awesome sword. However, the quality and utility of European blades is typically and erroneously denigrated and dismissed. Also, my own understanding of the German and Italian long-sword and great sword methods of fence gives be considerable doubt that a knight would encounter anything too unfamiliar. 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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Old 04-28-2003, 09:37 AM   #75
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and here's one for Katane vs. Rapier Katana vs. Rapier:
A Fantasy Worth Considering

John Clements, ARMA Director

Every once in awhile it's not uncommon to hear people speculate on what result might occur in a duel between a Japanese samurai armed with his katana and a European Renaissance swordsman with a rapier. It's a worthwhile question to consider.

As someone who has some small experience in both traditional Japanese swordsmanship and fencing (Kenjutsu & Kendo) and who has been a long-time renaissance swordsman and Western fencer, I can offer an opinion on this question. From my own experience sparring with cutting against thrusting swords, I have a few insights. While there are certainly no historically recorded accounts (other than unsubstantiated myth and rumor) as to encounters between European swordsmen and Japanese samurai, I think we can make a few very general suppositions about such a fight.

First, while typical samurai warriors were highly trained soldiers, the average samurai was not an expert swordsman, perhaps only 5% or so were its been suggested. Of this 5%, maybe 5% of those were "master" level swordsmen. Whereas the average European rapier swordsman, would more or less be an ordinary urban citizen with or without military experience. He would likely have received some (if any) professional instruction from a master in a private school of fence and then would of course have some degree of street fighting experience. The weapon he is using would be one of personal self-defence and duel as opposed to a battlefield sword.

For sake of argument though, let's assume mastery level by each hypothetical fighter. Let us also assume armor is a non-factor in the encounter, as are any missile weapons or terrain factors. Further, lets assume that each swordsman is equally ignorant of the other's style of fight.

An immediate question that occurs then, is would the samurai's notorious resolute contempt for death and self-disregard lead to an audacious and immediate offensive attack? Would the rapier fighter's presumably cautious, cool-headed counter-thrusting style of fight provoke a simple stop-thrust? The samurai might well hold disdain for his "barbarian" foreigner's seemingly "flimsy" blade. This could prove fatal against a weapon with the speed and reach of a rapier. The rapier fighter himself may also erroneously hold his "pagan" adversary's cutting style equally in contempt. Underestimating both the speed and the force of a katana's deflecting counter-cuts can be disastrous. Even a small snipping cut could often dismember an arm. Simply stepping to evade an initial cut can even place you in the path of a powerful second and third one. For the most part though, since all the psychological factors, although important, are notoriously hard to quantify, we'll have to avoid them for now.

Personally, from my own experience, I think the outcome of such a fight would fall in one of either two directions. The samurai would move directly to make a devastating cut, becoming punctured through the head or lung as a result, but still having his cut cleave through the rapier fighter's head and torso (or at least his arm). Else, the rapier fighter would over time, make multiple shallow punctures to the samurai's hands, arms, and face until able to deliver an incapacitating thrust. But at this same time, the samurai would be carefully closing the distance and waiting until the split second he could dash the rapier aside and step in with a slice clean across his opponent's abdomen or face. Typically, the sword user won't risk stepping into a stop-thrust and the rapier fighter won't risk taking a swiping cut. The heavier blade can usually beat the rapier aside but can't respond in time. While the rapier, often could attack but afterwards couldn't recover or parry once it connects. I have seen both forms of outcomes in my mock-fighting practices, but more often the Japanese stylist underestimates the rapier rather than vice-versa.

As is becoming increasing well known, the rapier is not the flimsy tool of the modern sport version, nor is it used in the same flicking manner. It is longer, stronger, heavier, and involves a greater range of techniques and moves. The rapier's penetrating stabs have great reach and are very quick, particularly on the disengage. But it can still be grabbed and lacks cutting offense. The katana has a well-rounded offence to defence, and is much more symmetrical in its handling. It can make great close-in draw cuts and is an agile weapon with quick footwork of its own. It can be wielded well enough one-handed if need be, too. Obviously, a katana can't match the rapier thrust for thrust. What a rapier does best is fight point-on with linear stabs, and no heavier, wider blade will possibly out maneuver it. Playing to the rapier's strength by using a katana horizontally is a losing game.

The katana itself s not a slow sword. It has a good deal of agility as well as being able to thrust some. Kenjutsu cuts are delivered in quick succession using a flowing manner. Its two-hand grip can generate great power by using a sort of "torqueing" method with additional force added from the hips. The katana's cutting power and edge sharpness is also legendary (although often the subject of exaggeration). It is a sword of war after all, and faced a variety of arms and armors. While not every puncture with a rapier would be lethal, to be sure, virtually every cut by a katana was intended to kill instantly.

Although occasionally argued by some, I do not believe for an instant that the rapier would be "cut" or broken by a katana. Although katanas were (more or less) capable of cutting through metal, slicing an adversary's very sword, especially one as agile as a rapier, is improbable at best. The rapier really just doesn't offer the opportunity or the necessary resistance to even attempt it.

In thinking about all this, I have to admit to a certain bias. Being somewhat familiar with both Eastern and Western systems, I have a good feel I think for the strengths and weaknesses of each. So I may have a slightly skewed opinion. When I have sparred with each weapon against each style of fighter, I know generally what they can and can't do and adjust myself accordingly. Then again, maybe that makes me more objective than biased. My own experiences contrasting the two forms has been in using a variety of implements, including: non-contact steel blunts, semi-contact bokken (wooden sword) vs. replica rapier, and full-contact padded sword vs. schlager (rapier simulator). Attempting a simulation of sport epee vs. bokken though, is a futile exercise as the super light epee, more often than it can flash in with a poke, can be easily knocked around and even end up being bent. As well, shinai vs. a foil or epee is just as futile. The virtually weightless bamboo shinai distorts a katana's handling far more so than even a foil or epee misrepresents the performance of a rapier or small-sword.

Very often it has seemed to me, that sport fencers are quite often much too quick to assume that their own speedy feints, disengages, and long reach will easily overwhelm a cutting sword. Frequently, what passes for the kenjutsu that Western fencers have previously encountered was far from competent. Thus, they are habitually unprepared for a katana's agile strength and defensive counter-cuts. The worst thing the rapier fighter can do is to allow his weapon to be bound up with the point off to the side. He must avoid fighting close-in where the katana's force and slicing ability will instantly dominate. On the other hand, Asian stylists unfamiliar with what a rapier really is and what it can do, severely underestimate it. They too readily believe what they see in sport epee and foil is the "real thing". The rapier's deceptive speed combined with its excellent reach and fast, efficient footwork make it a formidable weapon to face in single (unarmored) combat. Essentially, underestimating either weapon is a fatal misperception.*

It is worth mentioning that the rapier was used more often with a companion dagger. But employing a dagger against a fast katana is extremely challenging as well as possibly self-defeating. Trying to trap or block a sword held in two-hands with a light dagger held in one is not advisable. The samurai might always release one hand from his weapon and grab his opponent's blade. However, some dagger techniques against a sword actually resemble those effectively used with the Okinawan sai. Also, the respected two-sword Nito-ryu style of Musashi seems to be much less relevant against the rapier. In this case, using one hand on two separate swords reduces the katana's own speed and strength advantages while playing to the rapier's. The two swords end up being too slow to employ their combination parry/cut against the rapier's greater speed and stabbing reach.

So, after all this I am reluctant to form an opinion of one over another, but I have to say I really don't know one way or the other. I have tremendous respect for kenjutsu's excellent technique and its ferocious cutting ability, yet I favor the rapier's innovative fence and vicious mechanics. Though it's very fun to speculate on, I think "who would win" between a rapier swordsman and a samurai is a moot question and unanswerable. Thus, what it eventually gets down to is not the weapon or even the art, but the individual (their conditioning and attitude) and the circumstances. Bottom line, it's about personal skill.

*Footnote: Interestingly, the Renaissance cut & thrust method (as practiced by the Elizabethan master George Silver or described in various early Italian manuals) naturally has qualities of each weapon. It's not unlike that of Kenjutsu with many fundamental principles being the same. It differs significantly of course, in its footwork and in the application of certain techniques and moves (particularly thrusts) which were later adapted to its similar "cousin", the rapier. Cut & thrust swords were also commonly used along with a buckler or dagger and the flexibility of this two-weapon combination can have some advantages against a single sword in held two hands.
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Old 05-01-2003, 12:13 AM   #76
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ARMA, formerly known as HACA, is a great organization for those interested in historical re-enactment, particularly late medieval and Renaissance. The first article by John Clements was very interesting, but as he notes himself, the comparison is very unfair.

I would love to sit down with a cup of coffee and one of Havana’s best and discuss a couple of issues with Mr. Clements.

Quote:
There is no evidence to the myth that medieval martial culture was any less sophisticated or highly develop than its Asian counterparts, its tradition only fell out of use with the social and technological changes brought about by firearms and cannon.
I disagree with the later portion of this sentence. Social changes, rather than firearms and cannon that were not absent in oriental culture, were the primary catalysts of the disintegration of sophisticated marital arts in Europe, and this is evidenced by the very Italian and German fight books he mentions in the same paragraph. One of the most striking features of Hans Talhoffer’s fechtbücher, drawn by the master in the 15th century, is that the majority of his techniques are for foot soldiers, not the traditional mounted warrior. Emphasis was already sufficiently shifting from the equestrian to the infantry, heralding the era of the disciplined soldiers, on foot, recruited from common families, who were to become the backbone of the new European national armies. The days of chivalry, which literally means “what the horse soldiers did,” the days of the warrior-landed-noble, was already waning, sinking under the economic revolutions of the 15th century. Another striking aspect of Talhoffer’s fechtbücher is a demonstration of a judicial combat between a man and woman, evidence that the sensibilities of a former age were eroding.

Another more subtle reason for the preservation of martial arts in the east, surprisingly, is the relative social stability of eastern cultures. A more war-like Europe was forced to take advantage of new technology (that was ironically enough being diffused from the east) and tactics, and took a less romantic view of traditional methodologies. Thus, combat innovation in Europe eventually caught up with eastern technology, and then surpassed it due to necessity, while at the same time, the non-evolving combat methodologies of the east were becoming culturally ingrained.

Mr. Clements is quite correct when he says:

Quote:
Those who think the medieval sword & shield was and is just a "wham-bam, whack-whack" fight are greatly misinformed. Those who think the use of medieval long-sword merely involves a brutish hacking are also under a tremendous delusion. It is a mystery how such beliefs can be held independently of those who today assiduously study and train in the subject as a true martial art, and spend years in practice with the actual weapons. Perhaps this ignorance is due to watching too many movies or the influence of fantasy-historical societies with their costumed role-playing.
However, Mr. Clements ignores the most important aspect of the European medieval knight: horsemanship. Continued emphasis on hand weapons and armor, probably due to our prejudice toward eastern martial arts, is one of those misconceptions or delusions that Mr. Clements otherwise is so adamantly against. While weapons and armor are to a certain degree important for our understanding of combat methodology, they are secondary to the consideration of the medieval knight’s abilities on horseback. The medieval European knight fought and thought of himself as a mounted warrior.

This fact is born out over and over again, from romances such as the Chanson d'Geste and the writings of Chretien De Troyes, to the histories of Jean De Joinville and Geoffroy De Villehardouin. The horse was the primary weapon of the knight. When a knight’s horse was killed from under him, his first priority was to find another, and a true friend or servant was he who provided the fallen knight with another mount.

As the chronicler, Jean de Tours (12th century) points out, a young man aspiring to become a knight, spends the majority of his time in caring for the horse and learning the art of horsemanship. The Histoire de Guillaume le Maréchal, the romantic eulogy to the most fascinating of medieval men, devotes much praise for William Marshal as a horseman “like none other.” Considering how important the horse was to the medieval knight, and the amount of time spent in training, the typical knight’s abilities would have rivaled, and probably surpassed, those of any modern Olympic equestrian competitor. Without a doubt, they were far better horseman than any of today’s rodeo cowboys or cowgirls.

Mr. Clements omission is excusable, though. He’s in good company. This facet of medieval combat is utterly ignored by Tolkien as well. His depiction of the masters of mounted combat, the Rohirrim, is so banal and boorish, that it doesn’t fit logically into his quasi-medieval setting. The thought that a horde of people in wagons (i.e. Wainriders) could be equal adversaries against calvary is ludicrous, unless, of course, said wagons had suspensions and tires rivaling those of an SUV. Considering Tolkien’s Middle Earth in tota, its level of technology, its sociopolitical structures, its general combat methodologies, the Rohirrim, not the Men of Gondor, should have been the political masters of the “World of Men.” Or at least, the Men of Gondor should have realized the distinct benefits of the mounted warrior and applied the principle to greater advantage.

[ May 03, 2003: Message edited by: Bill Ferny ]
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Old 05-05-2003, 11:18 PM   #77
Bill Ferny
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I’ve really gotten into this drawing thing. Amazing how well it can serve to drown out the noise of domestic life. I drew my favorite sword the other day. Its modeled more or less on the sword you can barely make out in my avatar, but could serve as a model for what the Men of Gondor could have used.

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Old 05-07-2003, 03:28 PM   #78
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Are we talking opinions of the swords or what they were to the person who carried it?
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Old 05-14-2003, 12:41 PM   #79
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Sting

*sighs happily* A thread after my own heart!

Quote:
As is becoming increasing well known, the rapier is not the flimsy tool of the modern sport version, nor is it used in the same flicking manner. It is longer, stronger, heavier, and involves a greater range of techniques and moves. The rapier's penetrating stabs have great reach and are very quick, particularly on the disengage. But it can still be grabbed and lacks cutting offense.
Yup. Being part of a Medieval-Renaissance re-enactment company (and having a boyfriend and a friend in the weapons selling business), I've seen enough rapiers to last me a lifetime. Not that that's a bad thing. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

Rapiers are beautiful weapons. I myself prefer broadsword, but that's just me.

I can't really contribute anything else to this incredibly intelligent discussion (jeez Mr. Ferny & One Axe - such long posts! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] ) except to say that love of Tolkien's works has indeed taught me to love the art of swordfighting.

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Old 05-14-2003, 07:23 PM   #80
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Previous posters have mentioned that one weapon is "mightier" than another. I was wondering what makes a weapon "mightier" or moe powerful than another. Isn't the person weilding the sword that gives it its power? Except in the case that the sword had magic like Sting and Glamdring. In that case, they would be more powerful than a "normal" sword.
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