View Poll Results: Samurai vs Medieval Knight

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Thread: Samurai against knight

  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers
    1 against 1, the samuari. Openned battle, the knights.
    if you think about battle you could consider another point. Japanese armies were usually a lot larger than european ones. Just due to the fact that e.g. in the 17th century (that's the only fact I have, but I think it reflects the whole thing) the japanese population was bigger than the population of whole Europe!
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  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Chap
    Good points. I'd like to know if we're talking mounted or foot. Mounted, a knight on a destrier (closest modern equiv. a shire or plough horse 7' at the shoulder) and in plate with pony in plate barding would smash our unfortunate nihonjin to shite. Destrier were only employed when stalion and trained to attack on their own account, being shod forword with sharpenned shoe. A Katana, a No Dachi, a Naginata or indeed any of the Japanese pole arms would not cut plate mail. Katana aren't meant for thrusting attack anyway. For the knight think of these possibilities: heavy lance, sword, broadsword, bastardsword, SHIELD, mace, flail, Irish flail, pick, morning star, halberd, axe, double headed axe, poleaxe. For starters. In the time period under discusion most chivalric fatalities in western battles were caused by internal rupture as opposed to bladed penetration of armour. For those that were, see above list. The plate on Knights was THICK. Samurai's only chance might be an asymetric bow. Besides at the time Western knights were well fed and, due to training, built like WWF wrestlers. Samurai, despite martial prowess were still short arsed. And only wearing shit armour.
    yes, many european nights were very well fed! maybe too well. Whereas in Japan it was regarded as a virtue to eat only as much as necessary.

    concerning the training, I think both did hard training. the euros had their priorities in force whereas the Samurais had theirs in agility.
    No matter how the next war ends, the following one will be fought with sticks and stones.
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  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by bodybag
    If samuraii were to meet those few well?
    Great picture!

  4. #94
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    Meh, nothing could stop a charge by kights. If the samurai could survive the initial charge, it'd be even stevens I think.

    This sortof thing comes up a lot when you have the 'small asian kung-fu dude vs big white rugby player' argument. People say that the Martial artist with all his kicks and leaps will win... I dunno. if you get hit by a half-decent tackle and get put onto the pavement, you've in trouble.

    And I'm not sure how much training a samurai would have against guys swinging big things. Try blocking a claymore. Or a battle axe. Or a mace. Its bloody hard.

    anyway. The whole thing has always emphasised different styles to me. The japanese put in a lot of training. The europeans go for size and commitment.
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  5. #95
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    I believe the knight would win if he lost some of his non essential armour. He has a shield, something samurais generally do not carry and therefore has the ability to block and parry.

  6. #96
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    What about Roman Legionars vs. Knight?
    Last edited by Praxus; 30 Sep 04, at 03:59.

  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Chap
    Nothing to do with scimitars (not sabres - a european cavalry sword) but heat exaustion in heavy armour and piss poor logistics.

    European cavalry sabers were based on middle eastern curved swords, particularly the persian shamshir.

  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by roshan
    European cavalry sabers were based on middle eastern curved swords, particularly the persian shamshir.
    I'm tempted to defer, but ...
    It was a much heavier weapon and I gather that the cutlass developrd in parallel.

    Perhaps we have a case of convergent evolution ie. a curved blade is simply better for a slashing attack? Although having said that there are straight bladed napoleonic heavy cav. swords, but they are more of a piecicing weapon and better used to wound/stun/disable after an initial charge and overrun.
    Where's the bloody gin? An army marches on its liver, not its ruddy stomach.

  9. #99
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    Well, here are several missconceptions, far too many actually. From both sides, but worse from the "samurai side".

    1. A samurai is more mobile than a knight
    No, he isn't. A knight, even in plate armor, was still highly mobile (sure, not as much as an unarmored guy, but suprisingly agil), as the armor was designed for both protection and agility.

    The myth about knights unable to mount a horse without help or to get up after falling down are exaclty this: myth

    A battle field plate armor was no way near 70 pounds and more. The source of all the missconceptions mostly originates from special parade and jousting armor, which could indeed reach up to 80 pounds, but was never meant to be worn in real battle


    2. A samurai is better trained and fights better than a knight
    Well, here it's important to note the time period, as the european knights "decayed" a lot as during late times anyone with enough money could buy the title of knight, whether he knew which end of a sword is the tip

    Note that not all samurai were master swordsmen either, but the discipline among them was better than during the knights (at least if we take the sad last period of medieval knights)

    Knights, for centuries, were elite warriors. They trained for battle all their lives, from early childhood.

    European martial arts were as highly devoloped as their eastern counterparts. Masters and schools of european (sword) fighting emerged and developed for centuries, only the be cast aside and become all but forgotten as europeans proceeded into the next age (that's why the eastern arts are better known, since people keept them alive, while no one bothered to do the same with european martial arts)

    After all, Elton John is a knight, and to set him against a japanese samurai would meet the "samurai vs. knight" criteria, but hardly be fair, and a lot different of setting a highly trained knight templar (from the height of the fighting order) against the same samuai

    Setting The Record Straight: The Art of the Sword in Medieval Europe

    A Short Introduction to Historical European Martial Arts


    3. Katanas were the best swords in the world
    Katanas were nice swords, they had their strenghts and their weaknesses. They were not the uber swords they often said to be today. They were far from this.

    Katanas were neither faster nor lighter than similar european swords. Katanas were indeed a little harder, but this was not only an advantage.

    Most important: folding steel is no secret to create "uber swords", it's a way to get bad ore into a useable sword, when easier ways don't work (as the ore is to bad). The end result is a blade just as strong, not amazingly stronger but just as strong, as a sword made with working the iron with easier ways (and better ore avaible)

    Europeans knew how to fold steel and they did it, just not as much as the japanese. But not because they were not able, but because they had better ore avaible and did not need it to the same extend but could use easier ways to work their iron.

    Katanas were harder, but that doesn't equal being stronger. In fact, the differences in hardness are a deliberate choice.

    With the harder blades, a katana did hold an edge better, but was more prone to breaking.

    Yes! A katana breaks more often than an european blade !!!

    A blow which a softer european blade can survive, will shatter a katana.

    On the other side, being harder and sharper gives the katana a better cutting power -> as far as soft targets are concerned

    Against hard targest, e.g. metal armor, an european blade is actually superior to a katana!

    A katana won't cut plate armor (that's a myth, it won't happen, but neither would an european sword, at least one handed swords), and while it would cut chainmail, an european sword would cut the same chainmail better.

    A katana can thrust, but because of it's curved blade, it doesn't thrust as well as an straight european blade.

    Here's a nive article about katanas and the myths around them: Hype ... As Ancient An Art As Sword Making



    Anyway, a nice article about this very topic: The Medieval European Knight vs. The Feudal Japanese Samurai?

  10. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by M21Sniper
    "You cannot compare vests strapped to iron men with vest on a real person. A real person would move back if hit thus decreasing force on the armor, with an iron man, the full force is concentrated on one point. There have been lots of such tests, Ive seen pictures of a katana cutting 2 inches into a european helmet. However this study, like your iron man study, was done with the helmet fixed on a table. Had the helmet been on a real person the katana might not have cut deep enough."

    The vest on the iron man moved several inches from the thrust. It was strapped to the iron man, but it still moved within the limits of the straps. It's not like it was glued right to the frame of the thing.

    "Who said samurais were fast and unencumbered?"

    I did.

    "Samurai armor was 6 pounds heavier than European full plate(and designed to be worn by smaller people)."

    Ummm, full plate armor weighed up to 80lbs. There is no way in hell wooden armor weighs that much. Got links to back your claims?


    "It was huge and bulky unlike the sleek and body fitting armors of the europeans, and did not provide as much protection."

    I will agree with 'not as much protection', but it was definitely less restrictive to movement. How many spinning kicks or sword attacks did European knights have in their repitoire? LOL.

    "Bastard swords were made heavy in order to cut through full plate. An authentic medieval katana weighs just about the same as a bastard sword."

    Thunar: Hi, I'm a newbie and I was doing research on the hype of the katana. Bastard swords were not made to cut mail, no sword was thats why other weapons were made or used such as an axe, hammer, pole axe

    Dude, it's not even close. What are you smoking? I have a bastard sword. It weighs over 30 pounds. A genuine Katana weighs about 1/6 that amount.

    Thunar: so where did you get the bastard sword? which museum? auction? how much did it cost? either case what are you smoking a bastard sword doesn't weigh that much more like 2-3 pounds. Sounds like you got a arming or parade sword which is not use for war. I've been reading your post and you are way mistaken on european weapons and armor and fighting techniques. In recent news the Wallace Claymore is on the way to the states for a exibit and the article said it weighed at 6 pounds in which remember its 5 feet long and well balanced so the weight wouldn't be promblem for a trained swordsman to wield.

    "Boh katanas and bastard swords were designed to be used either with 1 or 2 hands."

    Thunar: This is true about the bastard sword

    Yeah, if you're arnold schwarzenegger...maybe.
    Thunar: Not true.

  11. #101
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    "And I'm not sure how much training a samurai would have against guys swinging big things. Try blocking a claymore. Or a battle axe. Or a mace. Its bloody hard."

    Try blocking a Naganata.

  12. #102
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    I have a bastard sword.

    It weighs about 30lbs.

    Using that effectively one handed would be neigh on impossible.

  13. #103
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    I now this isn't about knights but I found this quite interesting:
    [qoute]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 headand 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 is 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[/qoute]

  14. #104
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    "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."

    Ever heard of Marco Polo?

  15. #105
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    Then I think you got taken because I real bastard sword wouldn't weigh that much. Why make a weapon that weighs that much and wouldn't be good in combat and tire the warrior using it before the fight is even half way done? Both sides of the thread have great comments but really comes down like everything in life 50/50 chance. I think you need to read Hank Rheinharts and Jim Hrhoulis (sp?) comments on swords and haca and Arma comments of such fighting techniques of Knight vs Samurai.

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