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Old June 15, 2000, 08:31 AM   #26
Skorzeny
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Many of Mas Oyama's exploits were largely mythical. Oyama was something of a self-promoter and, at least, one biographer has confessed that he was "told" by Oyama to include events that never occurred.

No doubt Oyama was a tough fighter and Karateka, but he was also something of a bull horn.

As for my writing style that seems to so infuriate some folks, all I can say is that I do inject some ribbing in my posts to make them interesting and to get some reactions. However, content-wise, I do not BS. I could be wrong or subscribe to mistaken beliefs, but I do not make things up.

As is said "you've already made up your mind. Don't let me try to confuse you with facts."

Cheers! This is a fun topic!

Skorzeny

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For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu
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Old June 15, 2000, 10:16 AM   #27
hawkgt
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The divergence is because of the different philosophies in how to use a sword. Japanese swordsman preferred cutting, while European swordsman preferred stabbing and/or crushing blows ( Two handed swords,etc )

Japan didn;t use metal armor to the extent that Europeans did, so cutting/slashing worked well. Slashing/cutting on armored knights did not work so well, so two-handed swords were developed to bash through the armor, etc. Also its easier to stab through the armor chinks,etc.

As with all things some people just prefer a certain way to fight. Quick in and out ( rapier ), hold ground and deliver crushing blows ( claymores ).

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Old June 15, 2000, 11:09 AM   #28
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My copy of "The Book Of Five Rings" is a Cleary translation. In my edition Musashi chose to retire from dueling undefeated. He did use an assortment of weapons, including the short and long swords. He also seems to have forsaken the swords at some time in his active career yet continued to inflict mortal blows.

While being paid to attend a school of serious non conventional combat, I had the pleasure of learning to defend against well wielded crutch and cast. Moral, if you break instructors leg he may try to break your head later.

If you are old, a staff is not all that out of place in public. A well fashioned cane is quite proper anywhere and with a bit of practice becomes an effective and deadly arm.

Sam
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Old June 15, 2000, 11:22 AM   #29
Danger Dave
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Skorzeny, I agree, it is a fun topic!

I would add that self-promotion is probably as old as martial arts schools themselves. If you've heard of someone in martial arts, odds are it's because they stood up on a podium and said "Look at me! See what I've done?". Take what you hear with a grain of salt. Even Sun Tzu's famous treatise was a resume/job application.
As for Oyama, his accomplishments speak for themselves.

As far as the question of the Greeks/Romans vs. Japanese, I think you're comparing apples and oranges. The Samurai armies you seem to be describing represent the ultimate refinement of Japanese feudal warfare, at a time when the Greek/Roman armies were already ancient history. I think a better comparison would be the medieval European knight vs. the Samurai.

Or, even more interesting "What if the Mongol fleet hadn't been wiped out by the Kamikazi?"
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Old July 24, 2000, 04:27 PM   #30
Hard Ball
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The name of the samurai who defeated Miamoto Mushshi using a jo (A 40 t0 45 inch hardwood staff) in a registered duel was Muso Gozen. Considering that Miamoto Mushshi fought 67 registered duels and won 66 of them, Moso Gozen and hi jo were a formidable combination.
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Old July 24, 2000, 05:15 PM   #31
Spectre
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RMS,

In regards to: with the meji restoration, the police were tasked with disarming the samurai, the most sucsessful weapon was the
manriki-gusari(sp?) an @3' chain with iron handles
...

I actually just finished a seminar where yari and jutte were taught. We were advised that the jutte (or jitte) was the most traditional police weapon. I have done a fair amount of training with the kusarifundo/manriki chain, but none of the training was vs sword- it was most often a "low observability" attack from someone who might have appeared unarmed.
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Old July 24, 2000, 07:36 PM   #32
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Spectre:
RMS,

In regards to: with the meji restoration, the police were tasked with disarming the samurai, the most sucsessful weapon was the
manriki-gusari(sp?) an @3' chain with iron handles
...

I actually just finished a seminar where yari and jutte were taught. We were advised that the jutte (or jitte) was the most traditional police weapon. I have done a fair amount of training with the kusarifundo/manriki chain, but none of the training was vs sword- it was most often a "low observability" attack from someone who might have appeared unarmed.
[/quote]

i can only conjecture, perhaps after the samurai were disarmed the techniques fell into disuse?

rms/pa

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Old July 24, 2000, 07:43 PM   #33
George Hill
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This is an interesting thread I wish I observed earlier.

Not to change the subject from this interesting lesson we are getting on japanese dueling... I have put some thought to this subject "which sword" and have come to a suprising conclusion on my own choice.
My first choice was a Katana as mentioned prior... but that would be advertising skill with the sword I do not have... that and Samuri pants look lame on me - rather like an middle-aged white MC Hammer. I still like the longer single edged sword... Much like a Cavalry Saber. Its long curved blade is very deadly and has a good line to it. But hefting the Saber is a different matter.
I have a Saber - a WWII German Officer's sword actually. Its quite eligant and would look dashing worn with a black suit to work... But it's short handle is one hand only... and its guard prevents the use of two if you tried.
Should I get caught in a mele I would use only one hand anyway - maybe two swords or a sword and a hatchet or dirk... either way. I feel the Saber doesnt have a very good balance for that type of fighting so my choice is again altered...
To the lowly Cutlas. Has a better balance for one hand use - but has some good blade mass for deeper penetrating slashes... since its also shorter and the point remains close to the centerline it is also great for jabbing and stabbing like a Gladius. The Cutlas has a little longer of a grip than the Saber I have, and a roomier guard so that two hands usage is an option.

Besides - the Cutlas was the sword of choice for the maritime fighters... Pirates.
To me - Nothing is cooler than the lor eof the pirates... evading tyranical justice - smuggling goods, boarding ships laden with treasure and taking them to secret hideaways... Big time adventure. A Samuri may have been a fantastic warrior - But a Pirate had much more fun... Looting and pilaging... The Samuri had his little cup of saki and his Gashia - but the Pirate had is bottles of ale and rum and a plethora of wenches for his taking... and he had a 26 gun frigate to back him up!

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Old July 24, 2000, 09:30 PM   #34
shiroikuma, Anchorage AK
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Just my 2 cents about the manriki-gusari and the Jo or Jutte. I've read that the jutte was a tradional police weapon, but not for disarming samurai. When doing that, because they were on a druken spree usually, the fuedal police would surround a sword carrying samurai and use special pole arms designed to entangle his cloths and limbs. The pictures I saw had lots of jagged spikes on them. Remember police were commoners and not allowed to carry swords in the late feudal period and could get in serious trouble for killing a samurai caste member, so they were under severe disadvatages due to the powere structure of the time. As for the manriki, I suspect it would not be a good choice against the sword, having less killing and maiming power, little blocking ability and no reach advantage.

that may have been 4 cents not 2

shiro
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Old July 25, 2000, 08:24 AM   #35
Skorzeny
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I'll tell you the best way of "disarming a [drunken] Samurai."

Try the SAS method - shoot him and move on...

That's practically what the peasant conscript "Imperial" army of the Meiji Restoration did to the Samurai army of the Tokugawa Shogunate.

Skorzeny

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For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu
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Old July 25, 2000, 11:50 AM   #36
Danger Dave
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Well, I won't say it's impossible to disarm someone armed with a sword, but I wouldn't be real anxious to try. I think a net or weighted ropes/chains, big sticks, and plenty of help would be the order of the day.

George, the problem I see with all of those swords is finding the opportunity to bring it to bear defensively. Your opponent (e.g. mugger) is going to have the first move at hand-to-hand range, you have to react. I'd rather have something, even just a good walking cane, in my hand to help deflect the initial blow. Just my thoughts...

And I think, like any other fighter of great reputation, we have to take the Musashi stories with a grain of salt. Legends grow in their retelling, and often become larger than life.

And to add something about the Okinawan weapons - remember, the bo staff, nunchaku, kama sickles, and sai were primarily farm implements, not weapons. They were only adapted as weapons when the Japanese occupiers outlawed swords. So, on average, I think that they would not fare too well against a swordsman, barring mitigating circumstances (e.g. numbers, surprise, etc.).

[This message has been edited by Danger Dave (edited July 25, 2000).]
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Old July 25, 2000, 05:52 PM   #37
Spectre
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Larger weapons were preferred, and there was mention that poles between officers was a favored technique. The thing was, police couldn't well walk around all the time with 11' poles! They could, on the other hand, carry something in-between the 16 and 21" ASP length. The jutte had a guard designed to catch a sword blade, and was also used as badge of office.
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Old July 26, 2000, 04:27 AM   #38
fubsy
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Ya'll are forgetting Kama's....as a personal weapon.....one I would choose.....unfortunately Id probably hurt myself anymore...lol...fubsy.
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Old July 26, 2000, 05:13 AM   #39
45King
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Some months ago, TLC ran an hour show of the Arms and Armor series on swords, both European and Japanese. The most interesting part to me was where they had some Royal Marines dress in period clothing and engage in a carefully choreographed mock battle using two-handed broadswords. It seems they had discovered an old training manuscript dating back to the 1400's or 1500's, one of the few known to exist. They used this as their guide for the mock battle. It was truly amazing how versatile that big sword was. That shagreen blade cover in front of the guard serves a definite purpose, too. It could be used as a second hand grip in which the user brings the grip of the sword overhand in a skull-crushing maneuver using the guard. Lightning fast; you'd think the guys were using rapiers instead of broadswords.

Should one stab or cut? That's the basic difference. It seems that no one has been able to design a sword that can be as lightly handled and stabs like a rapier while at the same time being able to slash easily.

Personally, even though I'm not trained for it, I'd prefer a wakizashi backed with a Cold Steel Magnum Tanto. I've got the Tanto, just need the wakizashi.

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Shoot straight & make big holes, regards, Richard at The Shottist's Center
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Old July 26, 2000, 11:15 AM   #40
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As was mentioned previously, different cultures used different weapons due to availability and fighting technique. Filipino and Indonesian martial arts use swords that I would call "short swords" or "large knives". The kampilan was probably the only long sword that was carried and even that isn't that long. These arts rely heavily on close-quarters fighting, a long sword wouldn't be too effective in such a tight situation.

As far as which style of sword is better or which would be better it's like saying which style is better. I think it's the individual that is wielding the weapon be it a sword or staff or baston. Each weapon has to be used in the proper range to be effective so whoever can control that range for their particular weapon will have an advantage.

As for daily carry, I'd take a barong or a kris as they're small enough to use in a hallway or other tight spaces and for utility purposes. Lack in long range, but they aren't used for long range. If it were between a Euro sword and Japanese sword, I'd lean towards a wakizaki or a lighter Euro sword.
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Old July 26, 2000, 02:48 PM   #41
MAD DOG
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I can not resist this opportunity to get in a shameless plug for my personal favorite.

My Panther fighter fulfills many of the relevant requirements. It is fast, concealable, and can stab or cut with amazing efficacy.
Witness the goat mauling we did at EWC 2000.
Two deceased goats were hung in the dojo, and myself and the attendees were allowed to make cuts or stabs on the carcasses.
The 10" Panther was easily capable of severing both arm and leg bones while they still had the flesh on. It was disconcerting to some to witness 7-10 pound chunks of meat hitting the floor after the cuts were made.
One cut even severed the spine in the lower pelvic region, dropping the entire lower end. Another cut went through six ribs on one side, and four on the other, after passing through the sternum at a depth of seven inches.

Photo of the Panther at link below:
http://www.mdenterprise.com/panther.htm
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Old July 26, 2000, 03:27 PM   #42
George Hill
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Old August 1, 2000, 12:38 PM   #43
George Hill
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I recieved an email from an unregistered member. There is a great deal of information here and while I am a greedy SOB - I feel other TFL members could glean some good info here as well:
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>
Dear Mr. Hill; I discovered The Firing Line a few days ago. I've been reading the posts on it and since I am traveling now I did not wish to register just yet. However I wanted to add bring a few things to the attention of the people commenting on the European vs Japanese sword forum. Since you are an administrator I wished to bring it to your attention; whether you choose to act on it or not in any form is of course your choice entirely. (1) I find it strange that the discussion drifted off to "formation warfare" and insistence on a European pedigree for it. Japanese armies had over 40 formations to choose from (I have with me military manuals of the Warring States period) and use them they did ... considering the backbone of the feudal armies was non-samurai ashigaru (lit. "light-foots") the argument for Japanese formations as mobs of skilled warriors is unsupported. The Takeda clan used a 4-line manipular formation consisting of infantry and cavalry that was tightly packed, for which they suffered at the hands of Oda clan musketeers at the Battle of Nagashino in 1575. Most troops by far were not "expert warriors" with the katana ... they were spearmen and musketeers. (2) In response to your "pirates had more fun" post ... after the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 large numbers of samurai within the defeated Army of the West fled Japan and became pirates. These battle-hardened ronin (lit. "wolf-warriors") even took over ports in Southeast Asia and fought pitched battles with Thai and Chinese pirates ... it's a rather exciting part of history that doesn't get much play in the Western world, probably due to the lack of translated accounts. (3) The Japanese ronin pirates called wako ("wa bandits" in which wa is the Chinese term for Japan) established a reputation for ferocity in combat, and their katana, renowned in Chinese accounts for their ability to cut through armor and torsos, were by imperial order captured, replicated, and a gung-fu weapon style for the watoh (lit. "Japan-blade") was developed. It is still taught today, albeit rare in comparison to the traditional forms. (4) The polearm used by the police to restrain katana-armed samurai is called a sode-garami (lit. "sleeve-entangler") ... as the name implies it was meant to catch the sword-arm of samurai and drag them to the ground. jutte (lit. "ten-hands") are brutally effective tools for bringing a katana down ... they are not taught in Japanese police academies because either kendo or judo are required. Police by the way were not at all commoners; in the Tokugawa era, samurai were assigned from their han (province) to local security; in the Meiji era the National Police was founded on a cadre of demobilized samurai. Hence, they did carry swords ... right up to the end of WW2. (5) By the way the full traditional form of jutte is taught, to the best of my knowledge, by one elderly gentleman in the Edogawa ward of Tokyo ... he only takes students who have multiple dan in their chosen martial art. At the moment by last count he has less than a dozen students. (6) Finally ... as for the katana ... they were built to stronge tolerances, tested on convicts for good measure, and prized for lightness, resilience, and above all, sharpness ... but the problem with katana is that used in a slashing role they tended to fracture without constant, extended care. The problem is called ha-koboreh (lit. "teeth falling out") and that term might give you an insight on the extent of it ... hence, kendo's emphasis on thrusts. hence, the wakizashi (lit. "side-insert") to back up the katana. The nodachi, also known as zanbatoh (lit. "horse-chopper") required less constant maintenance due to its larger dimensions; but compared to say a Roman gladius, edge-retention is a much more serious issue with katana. My recommendation for anyone interested in a katana is to understand that the weapon itself requires quite a bit of maintenance. Several styles exist throughout Northeast Asia for combat with the weapon, and they are not easy to master. If you insist on a cheap factory-made weapon you might as well not carry one; it takes an expert swordsmith to bring out the proper balance characteristics and tensile strength. I've seen too many crappy weapons out there that ring like tuning forks and handle like logs. For staff aficionados, shortened variants of the naginata halbred exist, such as the kwan. They offer 2-handed control, a substantial blade as well as the handling characteristics of a short polearm. Having 2-piece screw-on versions or foldout variants a la ASP baton solve much of the mobility problem. My choice for everyday personal defense would be a straight-edge katana hidden in a walking stick. (I grew up on the story of Zatoichi, the blind swordsman it's easier to carry it around in public, sheathed it serves as a short staff, and the blade offers all the armor-punching advantages of the "toothed" point most commonly called a "tanto edge" (tanto means "short-blade" so it's kind of a misnomer") ... kris blades can also be set in hollowed staffs. If I had to walk in nature at all or I didn't have to worry about concealment I'd ask for a dao or barong. Great turning speed, stable in the hand, and works for anyone who's done escrima training. In a pinch a machete will do. I don't think rapiers are good for engaging multiple targets; I'd want something with a short turning radius ... of course I'll have to discuss this with a fencer but from my observation and from talking to friends, this is what I've found. As for a katana? There's too much mystique associated with the weapon. It's effective. It's beautiful. It's also hell to maintain and really expensive. I was born in Japan, and if I had to live outside of the country I'd never try to maintain one for everyday use. It's just not realistic.
[/quote]


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You might laugh in the face of FEAR... but unless your armed, its a nervous, unconvincing, little laugh.
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Old August 1, 2000, 04:20 PM   #44
Skorzeny
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Fantastic post!

Thanks for sharing it with us. It is definitely consistent with what I know and then some!

The Battle of Nagashino was, by the way, portrayed in one of Akira Kurosawa's movies ( I think it was Kagemusha - the Shadow Warrior).

Some historians say that the Japanese were the first in the world to utilize firearms in volley fire by line. They speculate that such tactics might have been transmitted to the Dutch, who came up with a similar system a few decades later (to be used against the Spanish-Austrians).

Skorzeny

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For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu
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