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John A. Brown





Joined: 19 Feb 2015

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PostPosted: Thu 19 Feb, 2015 10:33 pm    Post subject: Katana literally bounce of someone in plate armor no impact?         Reply with quote

I can't tell you how in so many "Knights VS Samurai" discussions, the first thing the knight side brings is that knights wore plate armor than Katanas were made out of primitive metals so it won't be able to crack the plate and in fact will chip.

I definitely believe Katanas weren't designed to fight plate armor and they won't be able to cut off what Knights wore.

But the assumptions many people have in the knight vs samurai discussion is that the katana will literally bounce off the plate armor the moment it impacts and that someone in plate padddings is so well protected they won't feel any pain. Hell they assume that knights armor is so much stronger that if a Katana hits hurt, no effect will happen to the plate armor wearer. The plate armor wearer won't even feel the kinetic force of swinging katana, they won't even hear the "ringing vibration" often shown in Hanabara cartoons when you hit an empty suit on display.

There is an assumption plate armor is so advanced that a sword as light as katanas will just feel like a tickle towards the wearer at best with the blade resulting with chipped off pieces and at worst caused the sword to shatter.

However I seriously doubt this. I definitely can see the Katana being damaged by hitting plate and the plate armor being undented.

Thing is I remember reading in battles and sword duels about Samurais getting knocked on the ground by Katanas.

The remarkable thing is in some experiments replicating these duels and battles, the Samurai armor was NOT damaged at all, not even a scratched. But despite the armor being unharmed, the participants in the experiments stated not only did they feel such force from being knocked down, they even admitted the area ******* hurts and there were bruises on the hit area (which were some of the areas the Samurai armor defended the most like the chestplate,etc).
Update 2: Now I know Samurai armor is a different beast from European armor and often was made out of inferior metal compared to the stereotypical knights armor.

But the fact the Katana swings (executed by an Iado expert) were able to make FULL GROWN physically strong men knocked down on the ground in full body armor (not just the Samurai armor but modern layers of padding and some participants even wore chanmail) and the knocked down participants had bruises made me doubt many knights vs samura claims

Nevermind the fact that REAL SAMURAIS who were hardened killers and war veterans were knocked down when hit by Katanas in historical battles and duels. Who were likely more physically conditioned than real Samurais.

So it makes me doubt the claim that a knight will literally go just laugh at the Samurai after getting hit by a katana because the katana simply bounced off in a hypothetical duel as theorized in these knight VS samurai debates.

If its saying something even the richest Samurais were ABLE to purchase the metals used to make European armor or even actual plate armor imported from Europe during the late feudal period yet they feared getting hit by a katana because of possibility of death!

I mean peasants using light wooden farm weapons like a stick or a pitchforker were ABLE to hurt knights in plate armor and even kill them. Some of these farm tools were even lighter and more fragile than Katanas like a scythe or a branched picked off from the ground just moment before battles were able to SERIOUSLY cause knights bruisings and there are incidents of peasants killing knights with these weapons that were much weaker than Katanas.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Feb, 2015 10:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The chances of a sword cutting through armour far enough to injuire the person wearing it is so low as to be statistically negligible. It doesn't matter which sword you use or which armour. Even cloth and leather armour are virtually proof against sword cuts. The katana is just fairly heavy and awkward sabre; it is nothing special. It seems to be pretty fragile too considering how much focus the Japanese had to place on proper technique so as not to damage it.
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John A. Brown





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PostPosted: Thu 19 Feb, 2015 11:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
The chances of a sword cutting through armour far enough to injuire the person wearing it is so low as to be statistically negligible. It doesn't matter which sword you use or which armour. Even cloth and leather armour are virtually proof against sword cuts. The katana is just fairly heavy and awkward sabre; it is nothing special. It seems to be pretty fragile too considering how much focus the Japanese had to place on proper technique so as not to damage it.


I'm curious though would someone in plate armor simply feel nothing? Not even the kinetic force of the sword hitting the armor that would typically cause pain? Not even a shaky vibration or ringy sounds that dizzles you (which you see in old Hanabarbara cartoons whens omeone in plate armor gets whacked by a violin or club)?

Thats what many knights vs samurai debates assume.

That you are so protected by plate armor that if someone well-trained in swordsmanship whack in across the face while you are wearing a helm you have nothing to fear and in fact you can literally laugh at your samurai opponent's failed attempt to hurt you because you literally feel nothing no pain no vibration no kinetic force not even hearing sound as the result of your helm's hollow design.

Its off-topic and I intend to make a thread about this another time but it not just katana but people assume even other weapons like a small club, a knife, and any weapon not as heavy as a double handed claymor or huge 100 pound warhammer or battle axe more than 12 inches long would give away any impact to someone wearing an armor not even a sound and it will merely bounce off.

I can understand no internal injuries but shouldn't you at least feel vibration from being hit by a katana that hurts or at least feel "impacting" because of the kinetic force and skill of someone who knows Japanese swordsmanship?

At least the Katana should bring such impact to make a sound if you get hit on the head by it while wearing a plate helm, not simply bouncing off like it tickles with not even a sound effect that will make you laugh because the swords attempt to hurt you was so pathetic.
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Harri Kyllönen




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Feb, 2015 11:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Why would you even intentionally try to cut plate armor with a sword in the first place? When you know it's not going to do much damage and propably break your blade?

A swordsman would try to thrust at the weak points of armor like joints and helmet slits. In most medieval pictures where fully armored men-at-arms fight with swords, they are using the blade as a thrusting polearm. Because that's propably the only way you're going to get anything done.

I think the whole idea that a katana wielder would try to cut plate is wrong and risks losing your weapon. He would likely try thrusting his sword through the opponents armpits that was a known samurai technique i believe.

When fully armored samurais fought their main weapon wasn't the katana but yari and naginata that are much more useful against armor as long thrusting weapons.





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John A. Brown





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PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2015 12:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Harri Kyllönen wrote:
Why would you even intentionally try to cut plate armor with a sword in the first place? When you know it's not going to do much damage and propably break your blade?


Thats how many of the Samura VS Knight debates often end up.

The side rooting for the knights often boast that when the Samurai tries to whack the knight with his katana, the knight will laugh as it shatters into pieces and will simply start boasting "your sword feels like a tickle!"

To see an example of what I mean, watch the Samurai VS Viking episode of Deadliest Warrior where the people tested a Katana against a chainmail and the Katana was automatically deemed as a far inferior weapon because it couldn't even leave a dent against Viking Chainmail whereas the Viking longsword already cut the chainmail in one slice leaving a hole.

But a question related.

People assume that just because a katana (and any other sword hell any other weapons for that matter) doesn't leave a scratch on plate that means the wearer of the armor won't get any injuries hell won't even feel pain.

But I have a friend who participates in historical reenacting and he said getting hit by replicas of swords (modified for safety purposes) while in plate armor still hurts a lot and he even got bruises despite the weapons receiving safety modification. He said even getting a direct stab on the chestplate by a light dagger hurt like hell despite the dagger not leaving a dent and that its kinetic energy from thrusting or swinging a weapon that will enable someone using a sword or other weapons that plate can protect to seriously injure or even kill a knight in plate armor.

Which is why he said even though English longbows didn't always pierce plate with its arrows, it will still hurt knights and with gradual barrages knock them out or even kill them despite wearing plate. Because of the kinetic energy that shoots out the arrows is damn forceful its guaranteed to leave an impact armor or none.

Hell in one documentary I saw knights were already getting nasty bruises and bumps on the head area during Agrincourt despite the plate armor protecting them and the knights surviving the initial encounters and running back to camp.

This is where my question about the katana came from. Wouldn't a well-trained fighter bring such techniques and blows that you'd at least still feel impressive force even if you did not get hurt? So many pro-knight debaters picture the katana bouncing off the knight's armor multiple times and the kngihts laughing because its doing nothing.

But as some historical accounts and the documentary I saw shows, Samurais were knocked down despite wearing full armors from Katana swings. Granted Samurai armor is far inferior to plate but it simply puts the notion that the knight can just stand still and take his time laughing while the Samurai whacks him as ludicrous.. Even if it doesn't hurt at all, the fact it brings some force, even if not so great, should be enough to alert anyone and keep you on full adrenaline because you felt force or at last heard loud sounds as the result of being hit.

This also leads to the question of a separate topic....

Can a knight simply whack a Samurai to death or even shatter his armor to pieces with a double-handed 6 feet tall claymore?Common reason the pro-knight side argues why the Samurai will lose easily because European swords are much larger and strong that they can be swung like they're 100 lbs war hammers or giant axes that chop thick 100 year old trees.
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2015 12:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good armor doesn't keep you from getting hurt, it keeps you from getting killed.
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Mike Jia
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PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2015 1:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't usually participate in these kind of discussions but here's a nice video that demonstrates the strength of full plate. Relevant part at 0:35.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hlIUrd7d1Q

The blow delivered by the longsword in the video barely even registered a reaction from the man in plate. As a longsword and a katana weigh a similar amount, the kinetic force imparted by the blow of either sword should be very similar.
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Johannes Zenker





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PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2015 3:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just a small anecdote: On one of the medieval fairs I visited with my reenactment group, our leader found some old friends and they jokingly asked if they might smack his plate cuirass (Czech made, decent quality) with their mace (all steel construction, had seen quite a bit of use for stage fights). He found that agreeable and thus the other guy took a proper swing at his solar plexus.

The armor got slightly dented from the blow (movement was unimpaired, though) and my group's boss moved back a few inches, but there was no pain on his part.

The flanged mace broke, the head falling off of the steel shaft, probably due to being abused a lot in the past.

Yes, steel plate armor protects you from pretty much any impact melee weapons could impart as long as it's the plate that gets hit. You won't even feel pain. Exceptions might be poleaxes and lucerne hammers (etc.), two handed weapons which concentrate a lot of force in one hard pointed spike. It is still unlikely that a direct hit from those on a plate would be harmful, but the spike could pierce a few centimeters into the plate, which might cause discomfort for the wearer, bruises or small surface lacerations would be the most injury I'd expect, though.

General rule for sword vs armor: you can't cut metal armor, you won't cut leather armor, you'll have a hard time cutting through cloth armor (Gambesons). Go for the gaps.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2015 4:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
The side rooting for the knights often boast that when the Samurai tries to whack the knight with his katana, the knight will laugh as it shatters into pieces and will simply start boasting "your sword feels like a tickle!"


So they have two broadly specialized (mostly) mounted noble soldiers fight it out on foot with sidearms? I know that's the popular way to compare these two soldiers but wouldn't it be like having two tank commanders fight with bowie knifes to determine whether an Abraham tank or T-90 is better. It's a weird way to compare them.

Quote:
To see an example of what I mean, watch the Samurai VS Viking episode of Deadliest Warrior where the people tested a Katana against a chainmail and the Katana was automatically deemed as a far inferior weapon because it couldn't even leave a dent against Viking Chainmail whereas the Viking longsword already cut the chainmail in one slice leaving a hole.


Disregard everything you see on Deadliest Warrior and forget it.



Quote:
People assume that just because a katana (and any other sword hell any other weapons for that matter) doesn't leave a scratch on plate that means the wearer of the armor won't get any injuries hell won't even feel pain.


If you don't penetrate the plate armor than anything you will feel is the force of getting wacked with a 2-4 pound bar of steel. Whether this hurts is determined by the force of the blow, area where the force was concentrated, strength of the plate armor, shape/form of the plate armor and padding.

Quote:
But I have a friend who participates in historical reenacting and he said getting hit by replicas of swords (modified for safety purposes) while in plate armor still hurts a lot and he even got bruises despite the weapons receiving safety modification. He said even getting a direct stab on the chestplate by a light dagger hurt like hell despite the dagger not leaving a dent and that its kinetic energy from thrusting or swinging a weapon that will enable someone using a sword or other weapons that plate can protect to seriously injure or even kill a knight in plate armor.


While historical reenactment is of great help for us it is not scientific research (most of the time anyways). If a person in replica armor gets hit by a person with a replica weapon with safety modifications than what does that tell us about original swords vs. original armor wielded by a professional? Going by chronicles and other historical documents it seems like people wearing armor were mostly killed by wounds around the head. Like the neck and throat etc.




Quote:
This is where my question about the katana came from. Wouldn't a well-trained fighter bring such techniques and blows that you'd at least still feel impressive force even if you did not get hurt? So many pro-knight debaters picture the katana bouncing off the knight's armor multiple times and the kngihts laughing because its doing nothing.


A well-trained fighter would bring his Yari and possible a firearm and hopefully 50 men behind him. That said I don't think the Knight or men-at-arms would stand laughing, he's still in a combat situation so the most likely course of action would be attacking.



Quote:
Can a knight simply whack a Samurai to death or even shatter his armor to pieces with a double-handed 6 feet tall claymore?Common reason the pro-knight side argues why the Samurai will lose easily because European swords are much larger and strong that they can be swung like they're 100 lbs war hammers or giant axes that chop thick 100 year old trees.


In terms of weight their swords are rather similar if we are talking about the swords from the plate armor period. But keep in mind that both samurai and 'knights' were around for the better part of a millennium so comparing them in general seems like a pointless exercise. In a similar time frame you could have the duke of Wellington with a few redcoats fight against Godfrey de Bouillon.

Comparing two different social classes which happen to be warriors in general is rather pointless. If you want anything resembling something reasonable you would have to pick a time period of around 50-100 years and have them fight with swords in civilian clothing or as soldiers in a bigger army.
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Johannes Zenker





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PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2015 5:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

By the way, hitting samurai armor with a sword is about as ineffective as hitting a european knight's armor with a sword. It bounces off in both cases, leaving a scratch or very slight dent at worst. Going for the gaps is the only way here, either.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2015 5:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pieter's point about tank commanders is a very good one. I may have to use this anmalogy some time.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2015 6:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While wearing a Merc Tailor sallet, I have been struck to the head with a sword hard enough to dent the helmet. The sword in question was an Albion Liechtenauer, and I suspect that the rounded edge on it means it can cause significantly more blunt force trauma than either a sharp European long sword or katana. The impact was a bit jarring, but caused no real pain; had it been a fight, I could have easily kept going. My suspicion is that a katana would have a fairly similar effect. Will the katana simply bounce off and not even dent the plate? I'm not sure. Would it cause any real pain? I doubt it.
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Jeffrey Faulk




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2015 8:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To sum up: You would feel getting hit by any sword in plate armour. Depending on the sword and how hard it was swung and where it hits you, you might get stung somewhat. So you would definitely know you got hit.

It's highly unlikely it would do anything beyond denting the armour, however, unless it's a crowbar like a type XVII, and even those are mostly engineered for prying armour apart and thrusting through gaps than actually penetrating plate itself. There are other weapons out there for a reason.

Is that clear enough?
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John A. Brown





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PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2015 9:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some of my related questions are so off topic that I'll post them another time because they'd make separate discussions.

But I am curious about one thing. One of the biggest BS I ever heard in these knights vs Samurai debates is that a knight will be able to fight another knight because even if the European longsword was not strong enough to slash plate armor, they would often be sharp enough to thrust through plate armor.

I seen historical pictures of plated knights killing one another by thrusting





The two above pictures are often used as proof European swords could at least thrust through plate armor in online debates of whether a longsword was useful against plate and Samurai vs knights.

However the pro-knight sides simply assumes the all the Samurai knows about is slashing attacks and thus they will never pierce plate because they are ignorant the proper way to fight plate with a sword is to thrust your sword and pierce through the armor with such attack.

I actually used to buy this BS until I observed Japanese sword techniques last weekend and saw the amount of thrusting techniques used in a single kata.

Further research yesterday I found this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDkoj932YFo

Its definitely a flawed experiment but it simply blasts the notion that all a Samurai would do is whack a plate armor and not resort to other techniques assuming the plate comes out unschated.

So many pro-knight people assume that the Samurai would be a dunce who'd repeat slashing techniques towards the knight despite not able to pierce plate armor and the knight stands there like its nothing and yawning out of boredom.

They ignore things like thrusting techniques, grappling, and hitting weak chinks in the plate (and the Samurais were familiar with weak points because their own armor had chinks to in many cases similar to where knight armor gaps).

But just leave it to one question-was the katana so inferior that not even with thrusting techniques can it pierce plate? Is it true those manuscripts an photos shows knights using far superior swords than anything Samurai ever wielded?

Because when I brought up that Samurai knew thrusting techniques in some debates, I was blasted down by the knight side because they believe the katana was so inferior that even the thrusting techniques knights used n war won't do any effect if used with katanas.
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T. Kew




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2015 9:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Neither the longsword nor the katana can reliably thrust through quality plate armour. Pretty much no hand weapon can - it's unclear for the pollaxe and similar items, and swords, daggers and so on are all close to hopeless.

The tip geometry of the longsword is generally* a bit more suited to thrusting through fine gaps, and particularly light mail. A katana point is a demon at thrusting through flesh and fabric, because it cuts effectively for those thrusts (basically), but will be turned more easily by mail voiders and so on.

This is mostly made of gross generalisations, but is roughly accurate.

*Depends on type. But look at particularly XVIIs, XVas, etc.
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Mike Ruhala




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2015 1:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've been fighting in open steel HEMA tournaments for years. The swords we use are typically stiff and heavy, our main defense is a moderate amount of padding and plenty of guys are out there swinging for the fences. Sure, you get a few bruises but it's not too bad. Steel armor is much more protective than a bit of padded cloth, the hands and head would be a bit more susceptible but body and limb shots aren't going to do much.
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Rim Andries




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2015 1:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
The chances of a sword cutting through armour far enough to injuire the person wearing it is so low as to be statistically negligible. It doesn't matter which sword you use or which armour. Even cloth and leather armour are virtually proof against sword cuts. The katana is just fairly heavy and awkward sabre; it is nothing special. It seems to be pretty fragile too considering how much focus the Japanese had to place on proper technique so as not to damage it.


Is it really that awkward though? I know it isn't nearly as tank splitting as many people would like us to believe, but every time I see JSA student cutting tatami it looks pretty fast and nimble. Even Stefan Roth in his questionable"katana vs longsword" video is faster with the katana.

I have tried to explain this to myself but I can't figure it out. All things considered (POB, length, weight, handle to blade ratio) the katana should be slower. But most of the time it seems a little bit faster. There is probably a very simple explanation for this, but I am struggling to find it.

I mean I tried to look at general physics: a tennis ball attached to a string, swirling around a stick, in circles that become increasingly smaller. A figure skater making a pirouette, while crossing or uncrossing his arms. But it always comes down to this: I don't know.

Anybody care to enlighten me? Cheers!

Sir Dreamin'
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2015 2:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's slower one handed, but much faster two handed because when used two handed it's a short, light hand and a half sword.
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Rim Andries




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2015 2:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
It's slower one handed, but much faster two handed because when used two handed it's a short, light hand and a half sword.


Short and light compared to what? Because if you compare it to a bastard sword of equal length it would most likely be a bit heavier. It also doesn't chance the fact that it is more "blade heavy". Which means it could be faster once it gains momentum. But that is not what I am seeing: as matter of fact the katana seems to really shine in the transition from one cut to a completely different cut. Quite the opposite of momentum. And isn't the grip too big to call it a hand and a half sword?

Sir Dreamin'
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2015 3:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rim Andries wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
The chances of a sword cutting through armour far enough to injuire the person wearing it is so low as to be statistically negligible. It doesn't matter which sword you use or which armour. Even cloth and leather armour are virtually proof against sword cuts. The katana is just fairly heavy and awkward sabre; it is nothing special. It seems to be pretty fragile too considering how much focus the Japanese had to place on proper technique so as not to damage it.


Is it really that awkward though? I know it isn't nearly as tank splitting as many people would like us to believe, but every time I see JSA student cutting tatami it looks pretty fast and nimble. Even Stefan Roth in his questionable"katana vs longsword" video is faster with the katana.

I have tried to explain this to myself but I can't figure it out. All things considered (POB, length, weight, handle to blade ratio) the katana should be slower. But most of the time it seems a little bit faster. There is probably a very simple explanation for this, but I am struggling to find it.


Why should the katana be slower?

Typical longsword: 1.5kg, 36" blade
Typical katana: 1kg, 28" blade+habaki (a little heavy and big, compared to typical antiques)

Putting a katana side-by-side with a longsword, I find that the longsword blade is wider and as thick or thicker compared to the katana, until one gets to the last 6" or so (your results might vary, depending on your choice of longsword and katana). But then the longsword blade continues past where the katana blade stops.

The longsword is heavier and longer - the katana should be faster. The longsword is "better" balanced - this should give it superb point control - and this is partly because it needs it, being so much bigger and heavier.

But compare a katana to other sabres: not hard to find sabres of, say 33" blade, 900g, well-balanced for one-handed cutting. That's katana weight, on a longer blade with more thickness near the hilt, and less thickness near the tip. One can even find nice sabres of 700g or so, with 30" or longer blades.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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