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Old August 4, 2000, 03:13 AM   #26
dragontooth73
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oh shoot ... i forgot to mention this

Matt VDW, samurai did make use of shields. shields are called "tateh" ... they used them during castle sieges (kind of like how swat teams use them today) ... they were also used by musketeers in open battle (non-samurai) and occasionally around command posts (camping furniture? )
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Old August 4, 2000, 06:42 AM   #27
Danger Dave
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Like I said, great topic!

Thanks Skorzeny, I learned quite a bit on that one. I knew that the mounted archery skills of the Mongols gave them a big advantage, but I didn't know about the power of their bows! That's impressive! I wonder how it would compare in penetrating power vs. the longbow - a clothyard shaft would probably be heavier and pack more momentum and be better for punching through plate armor & shields, but I don't know for sure. But since most armored soldiers of the time were equipped with chain mail, the extra penetrating power may have been meaningless. If only I had a longbow, a Mongolian composite bow, and some sheet metal I'd find out for myself

Opinion of the assegai - it seems to me to be sort of a "gladius on a stick" and well suited to it's purpose of close quarters massed combat. Short weapons are infinitely more useful than pole arms (spears, lances, etc.) once the enemy is engaged at close range. While the assegai lacked the armour-cleaving power of a bastard sword or katana, I think it would be a very effective weapon against an unarmored foe, like say, another African tribal warrior. Another case of the weapon being built for its' environment.

I forgot about the shields the Japanese used! I was thinking about shields being used in mass close quarters warfare or single combat. The Japanese used shields much like the longbowmen/crossbowmen/musketeers of Europe did - stand up rectangular shields for cover while reloading/firing. I don't know of any shields that were used for Greek-style assaults or close quarters combat, though. Good point about European shields being used for identification! Fully armored knights often wore a cloth that looks like a poncho over their armor to identify which forces they were with (I can't think of the name of it - need more coffee!), but the shield identified the individual knight. I think the heraldry was built more around the shield, than the shield around the heraldry, though. Decoration was important, as long as it didn't interfere with function.

Oh yeah, Skorzeny mentioned one other thing in his post - a secret weapon that allowed the nomadic tribes of the Russian steppes & Mongolia to wreak havoc in the civilized world before other cultures understood it's power and adopted it - the stirrup.



[This message has been edited by Danger Dave (edited August 04, 2000).]
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Old August 4, 2000, 07:14 AM   #28
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Man, I forgot, I wanted to touch on Dragontooth's comments/questions...

(1) No, I don't think edged weapons or more than a foot long are of much real use in self-defense, at least in a society where you're not allowed to carry weapons openly. I have to qualify that, because if you worked with cane knives or machetes all day, they would be very useful self-defense weapons. If you're carrying a gladius on your hip in America, however, I don't think a "self-defense" situation would apply - they're either going to pick another target, or just shoot you. BTW, I noticed you used the English spelling "defence" - Were you taught the King's English in Japan?


(2) If we're talking non-firearms here, I would choose a cane. It would conceal a short rapier style sword if in a society that allowed edged weapons for self-defense. The cane/scabbard can be used for deflecting blows as well as delivering them, and if caught by surprise, your weapon is already at hand, whether you have time to draw the sword or not.

(3) Advantages - surprise. It doesn't draw a lot of attention to itself, nor does it require preparation to be used. And yes, I would consider dedicated training a must. For CQB, you must be better than your adversary in order to have a reasonable chance of victory. With firearms, things like strength and endurance don't matter much, at hand to hand range, they become very important (and I'm not that big of a guy).
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Old August 4, 2000, 12:28 PM   #29
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Interesting discussion. I wonder if the Zulu prefered spears because metalurgy wasn't as available to them as in other countries? African bladed weapons I've seen look more like machetes at best and not "swords" as seen in Euro or Japan, so I'm wondering if they chose a spear for lack of forging technology and resources.

As stated before, I think a rapier is good for dueling but wouldn't be too battle hardy especially against armor. Each weapon has it's pluses and minuses and one must take into account the techniques that go specifically with each weapon as well as the individual fighter.

Also, the katana blade was heat treated with clay on the entire blade, more on the spine to keep it softer than the edge which would cool faster when plunged; thus, allowing for the hamon, or the wavy tempered edge that's so pretty on real swords and so poorly imitated on cheap knock-off swords. I don't think the blade was allowed to warp as that's something you don't want and it's hard to control the direction.


For Dragontooth73's questions, I agree with DangerDave. While in many places in the USA it's legal to carry a blade over a foot long, it would be clumsy and you'd attract much unneeded attention.

For a non-firearm weapon to carry, I too would carry a rattan cane, the shortest I could legally carry and a folding knife. This is taking into consideration the laws around here.

I could use both for espada y daga and they're not going to attract too much attention. I usually carry a cane when walking the dogs to keep other dogs away. Otherwise, I'd carry a barong, basically a large machete/bowie knife if you will.

I think training is necessary if you want to become more proficient at whatever weapon it is. True, one could get lucky and just whack and hack away but your odds are hopefully better if you train. I don't see how training can hurt as long as it's realistic and you keep things in perspective.

[This message has been edited by KOG (edited August 04, 2000).]
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Old August 4, 2000, 12:39 PM   #30
George Hill
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Dragontooth - Welcome! I was wondering how long it would take for you to register.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by ctdonath:
George-
On that thought, you might want to watch the latest & modernized version of "Hamlet".
[/quote]

I think you may want to observe the fighting from the modern version of Richard the Third.


The African spin seems to be more polearms and spears do to the hunting of clawed animals... I would not want to try hunting a lion with a sword - not even a Claymore. These hunting weapons naturally fell into military service. Initial military operations in Africa where mostly posturing until Shaka Zulu took over and things got bloody. Now days I understand they are very skilled with the FAL instead of the Spear.


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Old August 4, 2000, 10:56 PM   #31
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thank you Messers George Hill, DangerDave, Skorzeny, LawDog and KOG it's nice to see "long beards" on this forum ... lol

DangerDave, that poncho the knights wore over their chainmail is a "surcoat". you can get a nice composite horn bow from korea. i'm not certain on details but i know the craft is still alive. i'd be willing to look it up if you required it. oya btw i went to international school so most of my teachers ended up being europeans. hence, my spelling quirks

i see that both DangerDave and KOG state that a cane, perhaps with a blade, is the best option ... that or something like a barong ... i'd said much the same in part 1 of this thread. i'd get something along these lines for myself http://www.by-the-sword.com/w1014gt.jpg

by whether training would be necessary, i should have been more clear on it ... i meant advanced techniques such as iaijutsu or two-weapon use. would it be better not to carry a weapon until such mastery to that point? or would basic "garoh" training (lit. "hungry wolf", it means self-taight) done on trees and tires suffice?

i'm thinking there's a general agreement in this thread that a multi-purpose sword with expanded training is better than a niche weapon ... also that closing with the enemy is much more important than attaining superior weapon length or mass ... but for all the virtues of a katana or a rapier, i believe the pinnacle of dueling is in the gunslinger. it's always been about having the latest weapon and being the fastest hands to use it, hasn't it?

speaking of which has anyone commented that lightsabers are used as katana are? and as for ray park, aka darth maul, his training was in the chinese broadsword and staff? i wonder ... now that east and west have met, can there be such a thing as a perfect sword, a perfect body of techniques from the synthesis? thoughts please.

everyone have a good night

[This message has been edited by dragontooth73 (edited August 05, 2000).]
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Old August 4, 2000, 11:31 PM   #32
Skorzeny
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Dragontooth:

You are absolutely right! The Koreans did use composite bows made of horn! In fact, the Koreans used to make some number of those to supply the Chinese emperors and their military forces as a tribute. The Chinese thought very highly of Korean bows (and their horses from, let's see, Che-Ju Island, I think).

I believe the craft is still alive in Korea, though it must certainly be very expensive to purchase such an item.

BTW, Koreans are ethnically and linguistically more related to the Mongols than the Chinese.

It's also interesting that the early Samurai weapon of choice was the bow, used mounted, not the sword. Similar, possibly same, ethnic and tribal nomadic migration pattern from Mongolia to Manchuria to Korea to Japan. The nomadic warriors must've carried similar gear across the path, then developed differently as local environment dictated.

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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 August 4, 2000, 11:31 PM   #33
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shootz ... forgot ... Skorzeny, DangerDave, since you're on that tangent on bows and arrows, i'd like to remind you that the mongols wore thick silk shirts in lieu of heavy armor ... they weren't worn as protection; arrowheads would push the silk into the wound rather than puncture it, so that bleeding was staunched; and just tugging on the shirt would release the arrowhead from the body. assuming the recepient of the arrow was alive to make the proceedure worthwhile, that is
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Old August 5, 2000, 10:46 AM   #34
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I had no idea anybody still made a classical composite bow. I don't think I'd have the money to buy one, or a proper longbow for that matter, but donations would be graciously accepted. I do have an old recurve bow (wood & fiberglass - 75 lb. draw) - hardly the same, but it might be good enough for comparison. I remember years ago I tripped across a publication where the author tested various bows and arrows for their penetrating power using, I believe, a cow liver as the target. The results amazed me - while armor & flesh are two different things, the bow/arrow combo that worked the best was a native american design using obsidian-tipped arrows! I guess if you can bring down buffalo with those things, I shouldn't have been so shocked...

Dragontooth, that sword was pretty neat! What's the overall length?

As far as self-taught vs. specialized training, I would absolutely go with specialized training. There's something to be said for having an experienced instructor to learn from, and fellow students to learn with. Besides, you train harder (most people, anyway) when you have a group to "compete" with - it's motivating. Now, waiting to achieve mastery, no, I wouldn't wait that long. 3-6 months of hard training should be adequate - I'd use that as sort of the mark when your skills should be more dangerous for your opponent than for you.

If I recall, the original martial arts of the Samurai were referred to as the "art of the horse and bow" in at least one text. How they fired those monstrous bows from horseback is beyond me! But they didn't have yew trees or develop the skills of making Mongolian-style composite bows, so they did the best they could with what they had. Of course, the size of the bow and corresponding size of the arrows meant that the arrows had tremendous potential for penetrating armour (I know that's the British spelling - I just like it better ).

I had heard about the silk shirts before - I guess it's the best they could do, since their horses couldn't have carried heavy armour even if they wanted to, or could make in any significant quantities. Since their bows, if anywhere near as powerful as described, could easily punch through mail or leather armor, it may have just been their best option. Me, I'm kinda taken with the idea of stopping it before it sticks into me!

[This message has been edited by Danger Dave (edited August 05, 2000).]
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Old August 5, 2000, 05:50 PM   #35
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In reference to carrying a cane, for me, that's a cane with or without a blade on the inside. The barong would make a good weapon as well as knife to use in the field.

George Hill makes a good point about the use of spears and wild animals, I too, would prefer a spear to a long sword if faced with an animal. Much easier to point and thrust and can be hurled if need be.

I feel training is important but there are plenty of people out there who can be deadly without any training whatsoever. Call it natural, beginners luck, Murphy's Law, whatever. However, training hopefully gives a person an edge and gives some practice as close as possible to real-life situations.

I don't think you ever master a weapon or art. No matter how good someone is, there's always someone else that can come along and beat them. With Filipino martial arts training, it's basically simple and the techniques can be taught to someone very quickly. They may or may not be real good at it, but the knowledge aspect can be quickly learned.

I wouldn't wait to "master" a weapon before carrying. I believe you are always better with a weapon than without and using such weapon is more natural. As a demonstration, I've told new students to hit me and they have no idea how. I then put a stick in their hand and tell them to hit me and they all of a sudden have at least some semblance of how to hit.

Self-training is good to a point. Let's face it, everyone with practically everything is self-taught. The teacher is mainly there to guide you but he/she can't be with you 24/7. It's up to you to practice what was taught in the last lesson.

You do need interaction with others to get used to sparring and working with people of different heights, builds, etc and a teacher is good for pointing out things you are doing wrong that maybe you don't see.

I think it's really hard to come up with a multi-purpose weapon. I think it's more important to understand what each weapon is capable of and you use it in it's most effective capacity and try to get the fight to follow your rules rather than being dictated by the opponent.

In reference to lightsabers, it did appear to be similar to katana techniques. However, with a lightsaber, cutting ability doesn't seem to be dependent on technique as the tool itself is a good cutter. Whether you swing it slow or fast, I think it will cut a metal pipe in two. It's probably light and would allow for single and two-handed movements as well as fencing-type thrusts and even jabs, abaniko movements, etc.
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Old August 5, 2000, 09:55 PM   #36
dragontooth73
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DangerDave here's the original url: http://www.by-the-sword.com/orient3.html

as it says, 29" blade, 41.5" length ... definitely factory-made but for 90 bucks what can you expect ... still neat though ... as for how the samurai fired their bows, remember that the grip is centered roughly two-thirds of the way down the length, so the lower part doesn't bang against the legs. you can find examples here: http://www.negia.net/~pdarden/kyudo/yumi.html

KOG, i'm glad you gave me a serious reply. my future brother-in-law is filipino and has done escrima for years ... i've done aikido and rudimentary knife-training. i haven't had the time to get his opinions lately; i was thinking of the differences in training needs between having a katana and, say, a machete. tradition pulls me towards getting the "right" instructor and the "right" school of techniques. with a machete i'd just feel more comfortable working on instinct.

i'm glad i got an honest answer on the validity of a "multi-purpose" weapon. i was thinking of some chinese weapons (and the chinese have some truly complicated weapons) that tried to bridge all the gaps and the techniques for use became very, very complicated to the point where an amateur was more at risk of self-injury than anything else. self-training with weapons like those is reckless, and outright stupid. even simpler weapons like the gurkha knife become excellent thigh-choppers in unpracticed hands.

i am guessing it is more about finding a well-crafted weapon and recognizing what it CAN'T do as much as what it can ... swords work terribly on wild animals, true ... flint spears, anyone? better yet, a 7.62x51mm rifle?


[This message has been edited by dragontooth73 (edited August 05, 2000).]
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Old August 6, 2000, 09:31 AM   #37
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I've always heard that the katana is one of the most dangerous weapons to learn. I have heard of several instances of experienced swordsmen with years of intense training and quality instruction injuring themselves severely. One of the more common is cutting through the meat between the thumb and forefinger when drawing or sheathing the sword. A friend of mine saw Dale Kirby (a one time nationally ranked forms competitor who used the katana) stick a katana through his thigh during a forms competition - my friend said Kirby pulled it out of his thigh and finished the form. And I've read of a baby in the audience being killed when the pin holding the blade to the handle broke, sending the blade flying (demo in Japan). I would think about incidents like this if trying to tackle learning a bladed weapon on your own.

I agree with Dragontooth about the Chinese weapons - while I don't question the effectiveness of the Chinese martial arts, but sometimes I think some of their weapons were thought up on rainy days by somebody who just said "What the hell, I'll see if I can figure out to beat somebody up with that thing over there" or some sort of "come up with a weird weapon" contest between masters.

There were swords used for hunting - boars, mostly IIRC. But they were more like metal spears than dueling/fighting swords. Not to mention that the wielder, a wealthy nobleman, was backed up by a bunch of guys with spears, crossbows, etc. while he delivered the fatal blow.

As far as the "right" weapon and "right" technique goes, that's dictated by circumstances. I think the first thing would be to determine what kind of foe are you expecting to face, then what kind of weapon you can use to counter. We, in the 20th century, have the ability to do something our predecessors could not - the ability to choose from several schools from several cultures around the world...Choose Wisely!
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Old August 6, 2000, 03:59 PM   #38
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DangerDave ... amen ... yagyu-shinkageryu (sort of like "the new shadow school of the clan of branches bending in the wind") teaches iaijutsu in tokyo. LOTS of left hand injuries, fingers chopped up etc.

the weird thing about martial arts in japan is that they have an "omote" (surface) and "ura" (hidden) body of techniques ... the difference is also called "yoh" (sun) and "kage" (shadow). basically the omote/ura techniques were taught as the "standard curriculum, and used for public demonstration and dueling tournaments. the kage/ura was taught to a very limited number of students, who were not allowed to engage un public duels, and who were essentially expected to do assassination work.

in case an omote/ura practitioner was defeated in some public event, the clan in question would send an ura/kage duelist who'd use a variety of "alternate" (very direct, lethal, and downright nasty) techniques to ensure that the other side didn't enjoy victory for long. shinkageryu is a rare instance of a ura/kage school being sanctioned by the daimyos (lit. "big names", aka "lords") of the day and aired to the public eye.

i guess the discussion over european vs asian and other weapons is an extension of which unarmed combat style is the best ... that endless argument LOL ... seriously seen as an extension of the context, what KOG and DangerDave said makes perfect sense. i think it boils down to

(1) there is no "super" weapon or martial art
(2) no weapon fills all niches, best to choose for the situation
(3) training/aptitude of the user makes all the difference

there ... i'm not much of a thinker but does 2 threads worth of discussion and multiple tangents come down to this?

everyone have a good day
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