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I could be mistaken, but most heron marked blades and other weapons used by their respective masters were power-wrought. Therefore any type of sword (katana, broad, etc.) could deflect a blow from any other.

 

 

A power wrought blade would not break, but there is more to parrying than just having your weapon remain intact. A whole lot more. If your weapon is so light that I can simply brush it aside, then you'll just be a dead man with a very intact weapon.

 

As for this ...

 

It might take some effort but parrying is supposed to be relatively effortless (in terms of muscle required) if done properly. Blocking straight up would be more difficult with a light weapon but if it's power-wrought there is no chance of breaking so it isn't terrible challenging even to block.

 

We should spar sometime so I can educate you on how "relatively effortless" feels. Twenty minutes of "relatively effortless" parrying will likely leave you feeling like I took a baseball bat to your arms.

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Robert...think

 

All of my comments are assuming that the combatant is a blademaster. And they are correct assuming that. Parrying requires much less effort than blocking. My point is that the size and style of the blade (in respect to structural soundness) means nothing with a power-wrought blade.

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My point is that the size and style of the blade (in respect to structural soundness) means nothing with a power-wrought blade.

 

My point is that structural soundness is not the only concern. You said:

 

Therefore any type of sword (katana, broad, etc.) could deflect a blow from any other.

 

Even to a blademaster, having the right type of blade is a factor. Why do you think that every description we have for a heron-mark blade describes a katana-like sword? Because for use by a single warrior, the katana is the most useful, versatile, and effort-saving design. The type of sword is sometimes as important as how "structurally sound" it is.

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The sword that Tam gave Rand, I think an experienced swordsman could beat even Tam...the guy would need a sheild and a similiar sword but he could beat him. Why? Tam's sword so far is a hand and a half and is not very heavy as concluded in this topic, so the sheild man would win.

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Design is more than just weight. The katana's slight curve allows for deflection without having to meet the full weight of a blow squarely (as with a straight blade) or creating awkward angles (as with a more distinctly curved scimitar). The hand-and-a-half grip and length allow for body angles using either one or two hands, for greater versatility. A fighter with a katana will trounce a one with a broadsword and shield combo nine times in ten, because the katana's cutting power (which depends on speed more than weight) renders anything but a full steel shield useless, and unless you're an 800 pound gorilla, trying to keep up with an unencumbered opponent while you have a 25-40 pound shield on your arm is a death sentence. Full metal armor and shields flourished mainly in medieval Europe, because the well equipped nobility rarely had to fight anything other than pitchfork wielding illiterate serfs. Either that or someone similarly encumbered. Trained foreign armies regularly butchered European heavy cavalry.

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Um ... no. The trollocs are built for the same style of war that the European knights were built for. Mass trampling enemies. It is that reason that smaller armies, using the right tactics, could defeat larger Trolloc armies in the Trolloc Wars. For the same reason, a katana-wielding human would be able to, if trained, work a Trolloc. The sword design will aid in taking on a heavier, stronger, but not necessarily faster opponent. Even a Trolloc is not an 800 pound gorilla.

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I know you are thinking about Lord of the Rings styled fighting when you posted the one. Trollocs outnumber people in Randland. The skill of swordsmen in movies, books, and video games have been over overexaggerated. The life expectancy was never long in a foot soldiers, why should anybody else?

 

Yes, Rand is ta'vern and has saidin. That is mostly why he is still alive.

 

I need to edit this post later so dont take it as gospel.

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Thats a given you know. But that doesn't just affect the humans, That also affects the Trollocs. Infact, parrallels between orcs and trollocs is that A) they are massed produced 5 orc/trollocs per human or more. *20per ect ect* but because of there shere numbers, and only so much resources, Compared to the humans they are

B) undergeared, undertrained, underfed.

So here you have a massive, and I mean MASSIVE army, of basically 'zerglings' *starcraft term* they have only enough skill with a weapon to not stab them selves, and barely the people infront of them.

the only things they have going for them are.

There Numbers

There Strength

And Intimidation.

All 3 of those are pretty large factors.

 

But why have the borderlanders been able to hold them off for so long?

The trollocs only occasionally raided with not to many numbers.

They weren't well armed.

They weren't well trained.

But the humans may not have been 'super well trained' but they were probably much better armed.

 

Then give this for a fun factor.

The Myrdraal would be like there General There Uber Soldier. Even a mydraal can take down 20 humans before it gets killed, maybe more.

But I'm willing to bet, on a shere percentage, that humans have a higehr % of skilled fighters, then the mydraal/trolloc armies.

Now given enough trollocs, outnumbering humans, they'll get owned fast. But if they aren't copmletely overwelmed, the humans will win the battle, many cassualties but they'll win.

 

Skill with weapons can be trumped by better weapons. The crossbow is a shining example of this.

That, and you can train more people to use a cross bow, for a far cheaper price then you can train someone to use a welsh longbow. They may suck at shooting, but in large scale warfare, that hardly matters..

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Hmm...hate to have my first post be kind of "negative" (so much as that is), but...

 

1. The term "broadsword". Historically speaking, there's really no such thing. If you're speaking in a fantasy manner - a "literary" one, you might say - discussing a particular type of fantasy weapon that authors take with things, then no worries, and I'll maintain that mindset. :-)

 

2. RobertAlexWillis - hate to tell you, but the katana was *not* the finest weapon ever made, as it seems you believe. If it was, then no warrior in Japan would have used the yari, naginata, bow, lance, wakizashi, tanto, firearms, or any other weapon. As we have ample historical evidence of Japanese warriors using weapons *other* than the katana, I believe it rather safe to assume it was not some kind of "uber" weapon. I apologize if I'm off base, but I distinctly get this vibe from your posts.

 

Okay, now time for individual quotes.

 

A bit too big, it's almost close to a European 2-hand, or at least a 1½-hand sword, and those were used more for chopping than the kind of fighting blademasters do. If Rand's sword had been that big, he wouldn't be able to lift the sword after 10 minutes, which is kinda bad if you're in the middle of a battle.

 

Not all European two-handers or longswords (hand-and-a-half swords) were used for cutting. There are quite a few - or, rather, a *lot*, actually - that were designed specifically for the thrust. This is discussed in fechtbuchs by Talhoffer and Ringeck, as I recall (although it's late, so I may be a bit off; I can double-check if you like).

 

Also, European swords are not as heavy as you think; again, I can provide a link for historically accurate weights if you like.

 

1. If ur hefting a sword, and say a trolloc comes by with a axe or spear, he'll take you down.

 

If that trolloc has a spear, possibly. Spears are incredibly difficult to get past with a sword, if the spear-wielder is even remotely skilled. The axe...that's more open to individual skill, etc.

 

2. The sword has to be somewhat heavier so it can pierce armor. Otherwise u are relying too much on strength and that would make you more tired that lifting a heavy sword.

 

I hope you're not talking about some sort of plate armour here, as swords do not reliably pierce plate in the least. Less-protective forms of armour...perhaps, but even so, swords are hardly the best weapons when attacking an armoured man. There's a reason the folks that did this for life-and-death reasons invented such things as the mace and axe... ;-)

 

3. Your sword needs to be able to parry a spear. Maj, try parrying sometime. Its okay to parry of your enemy who has another sword in eqaul or lesser length, but come a bigger sword, spear, axe, or a halbeard, you need something of weight to punch that metal out of your face.

 

I'd disagree that you particularly *need* a heavier weapon to parry a spear. As a spear is a thrusting weapon, and all you'd need to do would be to get the spear point off "line", the weight of the parrying weapon would be less of a factor, I'd wager, than anything else - your ability to also move, say. However, it's possible I'm wrong. I haven't fought sword vs. spear much - and not at all in years.

 

Trust me, warefare is my life.

 

If your forum avatar is any indication, that's true (and thank you for what you do for this country, by the way) - but it isn't exactly with sword and shield, now is it? :-)

 

The Japanese perfected metal folding techniques that allowed them to make superior weapons out of lower grade materials. European steel of the LATE Middle Ages and Renaissance was generally of higher innate quality.

 

True, Japan had lower-grade iron ore than European ore. However, that does not necessarily mean that the final product of Japananese smithy work was superior to European work. In fact, I'd say that it would be far more difficult to obtain a final product that was of such mythical "superior weapon" status, because the smith is already at a disadvantage with the raw material.

 

That and the Japanese cooled there steel much slower then eurpeans. Cooling it so fast, made there swords really hard, but brittle. The japanese steel swords, being cooled slower, allowed them to be more flexiable.. Infact, there swords even the edge as cooled faster then the middle part of the blade. Allowing the edge to keep its edge, and the main part of the blade to be flexible.. Both crucial in combat.. I'd rather have a blade that flexes a bit, over one that shatters on a heavy blow!

 

From my understanding (which, I'll admit, is imperfect, as I don't currently have the capability of constructing a forge and learning the art), the inner "core" of a katana is a softer metal, while the exterior of the blade is quite hard. Of course, this hardness does come with a commiserate amount of brittleness, leading the the possibility of breakage. There's more than one reason why "hard parries" (or "blocks" as some may call them) aren't found too much in kenjutsu! ;-)

 

As for the flexibility issue, it's been my experience that katana are largely *less* flexible than most European blades. Surely no katana I've ever held (including several Paul Chen blades) flexes nearly as much as my rapier. Flexibility in *any* sword is advantageous to one degree or another - if the sword isn't flexible, it'll shatter, as you noted. Please don't presume that the Europeans were too stupid to have figured that out after centuries of warfare.

 

Ana a 2-hand sword is virtually impossible to use in man-to-man combat, it's purpose is to strike down on enemies from a horseback.

 

Incorrect. Read Talhoffer, Ringeck, or Liechtenauer. You'll find that not to be the case.

 

I didn't say a really light one. There are however quite a few kilos difference between a large katana and a European great sword. And it is still very possible to parry a Euroean sword with a katana, since the katana offers more options than just holding the sword out and hope for the best when parrying.

 

Frankly, I'm rather astounded at the apparent mindset that European warriors had little skill, no training, and apparently just would hold "the sword out and hope for the best when parrying".

 

Are you aware that the European longsword has *more* options available to it than the katana? Every part of the weapon can be used to seriously injure or kill another man, which cannot be said for the katana at all. Read up on the authors I mentioned above, or go check out some very good articles done by the ARMA. They can be found at:

 

http://www.thearma.org

 

We should spar sometime so I can educate you on how "relatively effortless" feels. Twenty minutes of "relatively effortless" parrying will likely leave you feeling like I took a baseball bat to your arms.

 

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you study katana and little (or nothing) else, weapon-wise. If I'm wrong, I apologize, but your apparent mindset of the superiority of the katana leads me to believe this. So...what do you study?

 

Because for use by a single warrior, the katana is the most useful, versatile, and effort-saving design.

 

I can't think of a single reputable scholar that would agree with that statement. I really don't see how much more versatile, or useful, a katana is over, say....a spear (a weapon used by almost every culture in the history of the world, mind). If you could please educate me, that would be wonderful.

 

A fighter with a katana will trounce a one with a broadsword and shield combo nine times in ten, because the katana's cutting power (which depends on speed more than weight) renders anything but a full steel shield useless, (snip)

 

Um...no. First of all, "cutting power" that relies more on speed than weight isn't going to do all that much against any resistant material (although against unarmoured, conscripted peasants it does wonderfully!), whether it be steel or leather. I can poke around and find someone to provide me with the math to back that up - like a moron, I took Chem II instead of Physics back in high school.

 

Otherwise, I'll direct you to this article, written by the directer of the ARMA, John Clements:

 

http://www.thearma.org/essays/knightvs.htm

 

 

In short...I'm seeing a lot of (apparent) thought here that European fighters were poorly-trained, heavily-armoured turtles wandering around battlefields, lucky to have not been cut down by a hypothetically faster, highly-trained, steel-slicing, katana-wielding, force of samurai. Is that about right, or did I take the hyperbole too far? ;-)

 

In any event, some other good articles at the ARMA:

 

On parrying - http://www.thearma.org/essays/parry.htm

 

On Ringeck's art of the longsword - http://www.thearma.org/essays/dlring.htm

 

On Sword Weights (*very* interesting!) - http://www.thearma.org/essays/weights.htm

 

An introduction to armoured longsword combat (note the first sentence of the second paragraph!) - http://www.thearma.org/essays/armoredlongsword.html

 

 

And, in general, the link of the essays page on that site - http://www.thearma.org/essays.htm

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I agree...the picture doesn't fit the sword. While we are on the topic, a lot of the pictures don't match the book. For instance, the picture of Loyal on the cover of soft cover book 2.(The Great Hunt) He looks like an elf instead of an Ogeir!!!

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RobertAlexWillis - hate to tell you, but the katana was *not* the finest weapon ever made, as it seems you believe. If it was, then no warrior in Japan would have used the yari, naginata, bow, lance, wakizashi, tanto, firearms, or any other weapon. As we have ample historical evidence of Japanese warriors using weapons *other* than the katana, I believe it rather safe to assume it was not some kind of "uber" weapon. I apologize if I'm off base, but I distinctly get this vibe from your posts.

 

What I am saying is that the katana is the most verstatile weapon, that if you had to pick one and only one, that would be it. By your reasoning, if the others were better, then no one would have kept using the katana. The yari, tanto, naginata, bow, lance, etc. were designed for specific purposes and types of warfare. The katana was the single professional warrior's staple weapon, until the advent of firearms, which I expicitly excluded from consideration, since they obviously kick the crap out of other hand weapons. The katana is not an "uber"weapon, but it is the most versatile design. Its not perfect for every situation, but it is the most beneficial in the largest number of situations.

 

Not all European two-handers or longswords (hand-and-a-half swords) were used for cutting. There are quite a few - or, rather, a *lot*, actually - that were designed specifically for the thrust. This is discussed in fechtbuchs by Talhoffer and Ringeck, as I recall (although it's late, so I may be a bit off; I can double-check if you like).

 

Thrusting is still not the usual type of fighting described by the forms, with the exception of Sheathing the Sword.

 

Also, European swords are not as heavy as you think; again, I can provide a link for historically accurate weights if you like.

 

I think I'll go with the ones I've personally picked up and used. Not all of which are of modern manufacture.

 

There's a reason the folks that did this for life-and-death reasons invented such things as the mace and axe...

 

Now that is entirely true. Against a mounted man in full plate, a spiked chain mace is about the most effective thing around. Other than a lance. Or a .50 caliber.

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What I am saying is that the katana is the most verstatile weapon, that if you had to pick one and only one, that would be it.

 

Well I for one certainly wouldn't, as I rather disagree with the opinion that the katana is "the most versatile weapon" that you espouse. See below.

 

By your reasoning, if the others were better, then no one would have kept using the katana.

 

What I don't get is that you directly contradict yourself in your very next sentence. I'm not trying to say that -any- weapon is "better". It's a false description. What I was trying to say was that the katana is -not- a "better" weapon, and that it cannot be used in all situations - hence the existance of those other weapons, which you accede to in your very next sentence!

 

The katana was the single professional warrior's staple weapon, until the advent of firearms, which I expicitly excluded from consideration, since they obviously kick the crap out of other hand weapons.

 

As do bows, incidentally. I'd disagree with the katana being a "staple" weapon of the professional warrior - although the samurai certainly did favor them. Perhaps an explanation of what precisely you mean by that would be helpful.

 

The katana is not an "uber"weapon, but it is the most versatile design. Its not perfect for every situation, but it is the most beneficial in the largest number of situations.

 

I just don't see where you're coming from here. The katana cuts - poorly against armoured combatants, at that. It's difficult to thrust with it, due to the curve. The tsuba is small and oval-shaped - no grasping the blade and using the guard/pommel to cave in someone's skull with a katana, that's for sure. So how, exactly, is a katana "the most beneficial in the largest number of situations"?

 

Thrusting is still not the usual type of fighting described by the forms, with the exception of Sheathing the Sword.

 

Agreed, as the swords in Wheel of Time are more katana-shaped. They aren't shaped like European longswords, which is what I was discussing. So I'm not sure where your argument is aiming for, here.

 

I think I'll go with the ones I've personally picked up and used. Not all of which are of modern manufacture.

 

And I believe I'll go with the scholars at the ARMA, the folks at Sword Forum, and Ewart Oakeshott (deceased), possibly the greatest modern scholar on the topic of the sword, over some random guy on "the internets". ;-)

 

That being said - what kinds of swords did you pick up? Also, what does "used" mean? I certainly hope that nobody was stupid enough to allow *anyone* to have any kind of combat-worthy contact between a historical weapon and anything else. Are you sure you aren't talking about bearing swords, or any of the 19th-century counterfeit blades? Not all "overly heavy" swords are of modern manufacture, you know.

 

 

Now that is entirely true. Against a mounted man in full plate, a spiked chain mace is about the most effective thing around. Other than a lance. Or a .50 caliber.

 

You mean a flail? Also, by the rules of the Geneva Convention, it's illegal to use a .50 caliber against personnel. Now, if you happen to be aiming for their equipment, which fails to keep the round from hitting the person, you're fine, but still... ;-)

 

Look, dude - I'm not saying the katana is junk. I think it's a fine sword, for what is was designed for. What I do rail against are the following two things that seem to be in abundance in this thread:

 

1. Katana are the bestest swords EVAR!

 

-and-

 

2. Europeans were stupid, slow, and their martial traditions were inferior to anything the Japanese ever did.

 

 

Both assertations are, in my opinion, quite silly.

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My entire point is that if you have to choose one, and only one, type of sword, in my opinion, the katana offers the best design for being able to deal with a variety of situations. And yes, that is only my opinion. Its simplicity prevents it from being overspecialized, as some of the weapons you mentioned are. It has a good balance of reach, controllability, and cutting power. It's not made for trusting, but it can. It's not perfect, but it is versatile. That is why, in the story, it seems to be the preferred design of the best swordsmen.

 

What I was trying to say was that the katana is -not- a "better" weapon, and that it cannot be used in all situations - hence the existance of those other weapons, which you accede to in your very next sentence!

 

Of course I "accede" to the existence of other weapons. There are a plethora of weapons designed for and used in specific situations. And no single weapon can be used in all situations. Your argument seems to be that there is no "best" weapon.

 

And in stating that the katana was the "professional warrior's staple weapon", I should have inserted the word "Japanese". Obviously the katana was geographically specific for a long time.

 

As do bows, incidentally.

 

I'm sorry, there are lots of situations in which bows do not kick the crap out of hand weapons. For example, against a phalanx. Or if I'm within 10 feet of you with a katana. Or my hands for that matter.

 

The katana cuts - poorly against armoured combatants, at that.

 

Odd that the ARMA fellows you praise later say this about the katana:

 

As a sword, the Japanese katana is unmatched in its sharpness and cutting power. Furthermore, it is particularly good at cutting against metal

 

http://www.thearma.org/essays/knightvs.htm

 

Hmmmm ... unmatched ... sounds like "the best".

 

Agreed, as the swords in Wheel of Time are more katana-shaped. They aren't shaped like European longswords, which is what I was discussing. So I'm not sure where your argument is aiming for, here.

 

Your statement was a refutation of mine, which WAS discussing the swords in the Wheel of Time. I was pointing out that your refutation was meaningless, since my original point remained true. The style of fighting described in the Wheel of Time does not match European styles, whether "chopping" (as in the statement you were refuting) or "thrusting".

 

And I believe I'll go with the scholars at the ARMA, the folks at Sword Forum, and Ewart Oakeshott (deceased), possibly the greatest modern scholar on the topic of the sword, over some random guy on "the internets".

 

OK, I'll still go with what I have felt in my hand.

 

That being said - what kinds of swords did you pick up? Also, what does "used" mean? I certainly hope that nobody was stupid enough to allow *anyone* to have any kind of combat-worthy contact between a historical weapon and anything else. Are you sure you aren't talking about bearing swords, or any of the 19th-century counterfeit blades? Not all "overly heavy" swords are of modern manufacture, you know.

 

Obviously the "using" part referred to my own swords, all of modern manufacture. My interaction with actual historical pieces is limited to simply handling a few.

 

By using I mean sparring with dulled blades, doing forms and cutting target posts (including metal plated ones) with sharpened blades. My katana cut through the "armored" post quite well thank you. And no, obviously I haven't tried it on a person in plate armor, and I hope you haven't either. It performed well in the best battle condition simulations I've been able to participate in.

 

I have "used", in no particular order, a katana, european longswords (one with a slightly curved crosspiece, modeled c. 15th century, and another with a smaller, straight crosspiece, modeled c. 12th century), something close to a gladius, a broad blade scimitar (which, not having been trained with, I found quite awkward), knives and daggers of varying lengths and styles, fencing foils, a spanish espada ropera (rapier) with a bell-guard. The actual historical pieces I've handled are another spanish rapier, 15th century, and a great bloody German two-hander, dated to the 13th century, weighing almost 10 pounds, which probably was a showpiece when it was made. Four pounds is "heavy" for a sword, as you have quite properly pointed out.

But if you swing a four pound sword for more than about 10 minutes, that four pounds gets very heavy.

 

You mean a flail?

 

The term "flail" covers a wide variety of weapons, not all of which are effective against heavily armored opponents. A "spiked chain mace" is my description of a specific kind of flail, with a single, heavy, spiked head. Multiple headed flails for use against more lightly armored opponents would not be as effective.

 

I think it's a fine sword, for what is was designed for.

 

Incidentally, in your understanding, what is the katana designed for? You seem to have ruled out alot ... (no armored opponents, no one with ranged weapons, or a spear, no one who uses another weapon ... )

 

Katana are the bestest swords EVAR!

 

Typical meaningless refutation. Mock the opponent in an attempt to make him/her appear infantile.

 

Europeans were stupid, slow, and their martial traditions were inferior to anything the Japanese ever did.

 

Another exaggeration of my arguments. I argued that European tactics were based on their total equipment package, with more emphasis on armor, while many Japanese samurai studied and practiced aggressive swordsmanship specifically, thereby developing their sword design/skills more fully. The European tactics accomplished what they set out to: they kept a serf population under control, and were sufficient for fighting people armed and armored the same way.

 

All that said, the katana is not an uber-weapon. It is a sword. A well trained European with a longsword would trounce a tyro with a katana, and vice versa. But given the choice of one, and only one non-firearm weapon, it is nevertheless the one I would choose.

 

Out of curiousity again, which would you choose, and why?

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My entire point is that if you have to choose one, and only one, type of sword, in my opinion, the katana offers the best design for being able to deal with a variety of situations. And yes, that is only my opinion. Its simplicity prevents it from being overspecialized, as some of the weapons you mentioned are. It has a good balance of reach, controllability, and cutting power. It's not made for trusting, but it can. It's not perfect, but it is versatile. That is why, in the story, it seems to be the preferred design of the best swordsmen.

 

In my opinion, I'd suggest that perhaps that style was chosen as a blade shape for aesthetic purposes. But we may have to agree to disagree on this one, as neither of us is Robert Jordan (right?). ;-)

 

Of course I "accede" to the existence of other weapons. There are a plethora of weapons designed for and used in specific situations. And no single weapon can be used in all situations. Your argument seems to be that there is no "best" weapon.

 

OF COURSE that's my argument. In fact, I actually said that, here:

 

I'm not trying to say that -any- weapon is "better". It's a false description.

 

So what's the argument?

 

I'm sorry, there are lots of situations in which bows do not kick the crap out of hand weapons. For example, against a phalanx. Or if I'm within 10 feet of you with a katana. Or my hands for that matter.

 

My apologies for not being clearer - although even a gun might not be the best weapon when your opponent is within close distance.

 

What I mean to say by that is that ranged weapons - when your opponent has only melee weapons - are superior, regardless of whether or not they are guns, or bows, or thrown spears, for that matter.

 

Odd that the ARMA fellows you praise later say this about the katana:

 

Quote:

As a sword, the Japanese katana is unmatched in its sharpness and cutting power. Furthermore, it is particularly good at cutting against metal

 

 

http://www.thearma.org/essays/knightvs.htm

 

Hmmmm ... unmatched ... sounds like "the best".

 

Ah, good sir - do not misquote (or fail to quote the entirety of the relevant material!) for your own ends. It casts a poor light on you, to be sure.

 

To continue from that very same essay:

 

As a sword, the Japanese katana is unmatched in its sharpness and cutting power. Furthermore, it is particularly good at cutting against metal (–but no, it only cuts through other swords in movies and video games!). However, Medieval plate armor is well known for its resistance to cutting, and cutting at a moving target hidden by a shield or a greatsword is not easy. While the edge of a katana is very strong with a sharp cutting bevel, it is a thick wedge shape and still has to move aside material as it cuts. Though this is devastating on a draw slice against flesh and bone, it is much less effective against armors. Realizing this, several styles of Japanese swordsmanship devised specific techniques not to cut at armor, but to stab and thrust at the gaps and joints of it just as the Europeans did against their own plate armor. The primary technique for fighting nearly any kind of armor with most any kind of sword is not to cut but to thrust at the gaps and joints.

 

Funny how that's *exactly* what I've been saying in this thread.

 

Your statement was a refutation of mine, which WAS discussing the swords in the Wheel of Time. I was pointing out that your refutation was meaningless, since my original point remained true. The style of fighting described in the Wheel of Time does not match European styles, whether "chopping" (as in the statement you were refuting) or "thrusting".

 

I went back and re-read that...and you're quite right. I did go off on a bit of a tangent, there.

 

OK, I'll still go with what I have felt in my hand.

 

You do that. You'll have to forgive me if I respectfully disagree with you in favor of learned scholars of the subject.

 

Obviously the "using" part referred to my own swords, all of modern manufacture. My interaction with actual historical pieces is limited to simply handling a few.

 

It didn't seem that way from your original post. My apologies for misinterpretation.

 

By using I mean sparring with dulled blades, doing forms and cutting target posts (including metal plated ones) with sharpened blades. My katana cut through the "armored" post quite well thank you. And no, obviously I haven't tried it on a person in plate armor, and I hope you haven't either. It performed well in the best battle condition simulations I've been able to participate in.

 

I haven't, but to be honest, I wouldn't personally be adverse to trying it out, with someone that I trust implicitly, under controlled situations. At the very least, work the force of the strikes up slightly (and slowly) until we see how much damage (if any) the armour would actually take. Of course, even that doesn't necessarily indicate anything, on a historical basis, as to be frank, most pieces of modern manufacture are not of the same quality as the originals (with no offence meant to modern smiths at all!).

 

I have "used", in no particular order, a katana, european longswords (one with a slightly curved crosspiece, modeled c. 15th century, and another with a smaller, straight crosspiece, modeled c. 12th century), something close to a gladius, a broad blade scimitar (which, not having been trained with, I found quite awkward), knives and daggers of varying lengths and styles, fencing foils, a spanish espada ropera (rapier) with a bell-guard. The actual historical pieces I've handled are another spanish rapier, 15th century, and a great bloody German two-hander, dated to the 13th century, weighing almost 10 pounds, which probably was a showpiece when it was made. Four pounds is "heavy" for a sword, as you have quite properly pointed out.

 

For "used" here, are we talking actual weapons, in (for lack of a better term) "kata"s, or simulators for combat usage? I'm just curious, so that I could share my list as well.

 

As for that German two hander - I'd be inclined to suggest that it very well may be a "bearing sword" rather than a weapon designed for combat, but without seeing it, I wouldn't know. As you've agreed with, that is quite heavy, although not *too* much heavier than some two-handers I've seen (in the 8 pound range at max) - although 2 pounds can make a difference in weapon characteristics.

 

But if you swing a four pound sword for more than about 10 minutes, that four pounds gets very heavy.

 

And yet, the men that used these weapons in life-and-death struggles did just that and more, whereas we poor scholars and "weekend warriors" of the art simply don't have the stamina, I suppose. Chalk that up to "hobby" rather than "profession". :-)

 

The term "flail" covers a wide variety of weapons, not all of which are effective against armored opponents. A "spiked chain mace" is my description of a specific kind of flail, with a single, heavy, spiked head. Multiple headed flails for use against more lightly armored opponents would not be as effective.

 

Fair enough. I do tend to lump quite a few weapons - including the one you describe - under the canopy of "flail". But then, differences in terminology and classifications do tend to rule most arguments of historical weapons that I've seen or participated in! ;-)

 

 

Incidentally, in your understanding, what is the katana designed for? You seem to have ruled out everything but slaughtering unarmed sleeping children ... (no armored opponents, no one with ranged weapons, or a spear, no one who uses another weapon ... )

 

At least when I use hyperbole, I label it as such... ;-)

 

No, not at all. The katana is designed to kill people - oftentimes those who are seeking to kill the katana-wielder. Go back and read that essay we're bandying about above - you'll notice the mention that samurai typically used the yari and bow well before the katana. There's a reason for that - those weapons were simply more effective for the type of combat that they were engaged in. On both sides - European and Japanese - spears and bows were used well before the sword. Does that mean that the sword is diminished to a mere sidearm? Hardly. It does mean that, due to the environment and methodology of warfare at the time, it was not the *first* weapon used.

 

As for what the katana was *not* designed to do - something that's relevant to this topic, mind - is to cut through heavier plate armour. Why? Simply put - it didn't have to. Even the Japanese o-yoroi (sp?) armour was not as heavy or thick as, say, French or Italian full harness. Go back and read the *entirety* of that essay again. ;-) (Sorry, that was a bit of a cheap shot - albeit a tongue-in-cheek one...)

 

Typical meaningless refutation. Mock the opponent in an attempt to make him/her appear infantile.

 

*sigh*

 

1. I was speaking of the *entire thread*, in general, not your posts, specifically. Unless you've been masquerading under a number of login names?

 

2. Does that somehow invalidate all the rest of my posts? If all I'd done was say something to the effect of "This thread is stupid because you all think katana are the bestest swords EVAR!", then I'd say that you have a leg to stand on here. As I didn't...I'm a bit at a loss on this one, really.

 

Another exaggeration of my arguments.

 

Again, I was speaking of the *thread as a whole*, not your posts specifically. You're just the one responding so far.

 

I argued that European tactics were based on their total equipment package, with more emphasis on armor, while many Japanese samurai studied and practiced aggressive swordsmanship specifically, thereby developing their sword design/skills more fully.

 

Except the samurai weren't, by and large, "swordmasters". Go back to that essay yet again, to find the following passage:

 

It is something of a myth that every individual Japanese samurai was himself an expert swordsman (no more true than every wild West cowboy was an expert gunfighter). After all, the expression so associated with bushido is "the Way of the horse and bow", not "the Way of the sword." Besides, unlike knightly chivalric tales and combat accounts, the majority of single combats between samurai described in feudal Japanese literature took place with daggers not swords.

 

All that said, the katana is not an uber-weapon. It is a sword.

 

Precisely what I've been saying the whole time. Your earlier posts didn't seem to bring that across - and, indeed, *seemed* to say something quite different, which I've stated numerous times.

 

But given the choice of one, and only one non-firearm weapon, it is nevertheless the one I would choose.

 

Fair enough. I was just trying to figure out what you meant by "versatile". Honestly, I'm still not sure, but hey, to each their own, I suppose.

 

Out of curiousity again, which would you choose, and why?

 

Honestly, it's a tough question. I'd certainly consider a rapier, as it's the weapon that I'm most familiar with. The spear would get some consideration as well - not because I'm particularly good with it, but rather due to the fact that it keeps enemies away from my person, and can be difficult to get within the reach of.

 

However, I believe that I'd settle on a longsword. Approximately 48" long, with a nice cross guard and scent stopper pommel. (If I remembered Oakeshott's classifications better, I'd use those, but I don't.) The weapon is long enough to reach out and touch somebody, but can also be used in a "halfswording" grip, or the guard and pommel can be used as a makeshift axe/mace affair, by grasping the blade. An all-around good, and versatile weapon, and that's what I'd pick.

 

Listen - I didn't come here to pick a fight. I just wanted to shed a little light on the presumption that European warriors didn't have any methodology of their combat styles. This was from the -entire thread-, not just your posts (and, in fact, in my initial post, I quoted several people that weren't you). The difficulty is in what has and has not been translated yet. I understand that there is still a large project going on on the I.33 (although that information is bit out of date, sadly - back to more research!), and when that's complete, we should hopefully have more useful, practical information on European combat.

 

In any event - if this is going to ruffle feathers and get folks (including myself!) upset, then we can agree to disagree, I suppose. I've done my best to avoid any outright insults (and what was there was mostly tongue-in-cheek, I assure you), but if anything offended, I apologize. I'm much more interested in an intelligent, informed debate on the subject than anything else - if you want to continue that, cool. If not, fair thee well, and I'm sure we can all just talk about other aspects of the WoT. :-)

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hate to tell you, but the katana was *not* the finest weapon ever made, as it seems you believe. If it was, then no warrior in Japan would have used the yari, naginata, bow, lance, wakizashi, tanto, firearms, or any other weapon. As we have ample historical evidence of Japanese warriors using weapons *other* than the katana, I believe it rather safe to assume it was not some kind of "uber" weapon. I apologize if I'm off base, but I distinctly get this vibe from your posts.

 

In japan, they used a very common practice in open combat.

 

First you shot your arrows at your opponents. When both sides go 'ok, enough arrows' or 'we ran out' Now you send in you infantry/calvarly.

IN which case the opposing side hefts there spears/lances/ect.

Takes down calvarly pretty decently. Probably tossing some arrows in at the same time at the infantry.

Its really common sense. Are you going to throw any sword 300 yard at your enemy? Are you going to plant a sword in the ground and hope the guy on the horse runs into it? No, your going to use the most effective weapon for the situation in war.

The reason a katana was the LEAST used weapon in japanese warfare, is because. A Katana is the last resort weapon. When bows become ineffective. When spears are to large to use *though short spears are pretty effective*, and basically your left with close combat. A sword then becomes effective. Hence the katana. And japanese armies were just so good at the time, katana's played a very minor part in wars, simply because they didn't go much beyond using bows/spears, by that time the enemy already is finished off. Hence why the Katana become a ceramonial weapon, as well as the smaller counterparts... You know, the opposing general would stab them selves in the gut with there shortest sword. Then your general would decapitate him with his Katana, or Tanto.

The Katana, Tanto, and other weapons are the same blade. The only difference is Length. The blade shape is exactly the same, but the total length determined how it was classed. A short sword would be there tanto. A 'long' sword would be there katana. ect ect. I think they have a total of 4 standard 'sizes'. As well as some that are above and inbetween them...

 

 

I hope you're not talking about some sort of plate armour here, as swords do not reliably pierce plate in the least. Less-protective forms of armour...perhaps, but even so, swords are hardly the best weapons when attacking an armoured man. There's a reason the folks that did this for life-and-death reasons invented such things as the mace and axe...

 

Its all subjective really.

It depends on the type of armor, what its made out of, and of course how skilled the smith was.

If it was a full plate armor, made out of pretty thick steel, say, 1/4" would be pretty heavy i'd imagine. Piercing 1/4" with a sword would be a bit challanging and require your sword tip to be mighty pointy! As well as putting your body weight behind it. But it also really depends on how Curved the armor is. If its flat, that swords gonna go through that like a knife in a can.. If its curved, its gonna help stop a piercing blow.. As well as arrows.

However, that doesn't make them invincible to swords.

Get em on there back in turtle mode, and you can stab through there armor pretty easislly. *only problem is you open your self up pretty well to.*

THen of course theres all the gaps in the armor where theres only chainmail or leather protecting them.. And if your skilled enough to get through that...

Now, anything like a heavy hammer, axe, spear is gonna go through plate armor pretty effectively.. Its just gonna crush and cut through, pierce it.

But the same can be said of chain mail & leather armors.

Chainmail offers superior 'cutting' protection against things like swords, over things like leather. and somewhat on the 'piercing'. Not as good as plate, but better then leather.

Leather, its gonna be a bit difficult to cut through it, but arrows and any 'piercing' or 'thrusting' attacks go through it pretty effectively. Another thing in common with Chain is that escentially things like axes, hammers, big bulky blunt objects just pulverize people in chain/leather. compared to people in plate.. But then, in chain/leather you can move alot faster then in plate. *and move longer*..

 

If i were in mideval combat I'd probably wear chain mail if I had it, Or at least, leather armor of some type.

 

True, Japan had lower-grade iron ore than European ore. However, that does not necessarily mean that the final product of Japananese smithy work was superior to European work. In fact, I'd say that it would be far more difficult to obtain a final product that was of such mythical "superior weapon" status, because the smith is already at a disadvantage with the raw material.
From my understanding (which, I'll admit, is imperfect, as I don't currently have the capability of constructing a forge and learning the art), the inner "core" of a katana is a softer metal, while the exterior of the blade is quite hard. Of course, this hardness does come with a commiserate amount of brittleness, leading the the possibility of breakage. There's more than one reason why "hard parries" (or "blocks" as some may call them) aren't found too much in kenjutsu!

 

Well, if you compare the same time period to the same time period the japanese katana say, in the year 1400, was probably alot better then anything europeans had.

Katanas had basically Carbon Steel.

There folding technique allowed them to basically take there lowgrade ore, and get rid of the impureties. Every fold reduces the impurties of the metal. They did this anywhere from 5-20 times. The catch is, every time you fold it, you lose more carbon.

Now the reason they had a soft metal core, and a hard metal exterior was this.

If you have a soft exterior. Your blades not going to keep an edge at all. However if you have a hard exterior, your edge is gonna keep pretty well.

However if yoru entire blade is a 'hard metal' Its gonna shatter.

So what they did was this.

They made the exterior a hard metal, so it can keep an edge, and a soft metal core, so the Main part of the blade is Flexiable enough its not gonna shatter.. It'll bend, probably not as good as some other blades, but it'll bend enough to prevent it from being obliterated by another katana, or even european sword.. But then, there 'fighting techniques' also compinsated for the 'lack' of bending, to help it from shattering..

 

As for the flexibility issue, it's been my experience that katana are largely *less* flexible than most European blades. Surely no katana I've ever held (including several Paul Chen blades) flexes nearly as much as my rapier. Flexibility in *any* sword is advantageous to one degree or another - if the sword isn't flexible, it'll shatter, as you noted. Please don't presume that the Europeans were too stupid to have figured that out after centuries of warfare.

 

Now your talking about two different eras.

The Katana was made during the 1400's.

The Rapier was made during the 1500's.

Theres one thing that happend during the 16th century *IE 1500's* Guns..

Guns phased out armor completely. Katanas, samuria were already being phased out. They still there, but they were slowly being put out of commision.

When Europe got guns, You didn't see many 'knights'...

Back to the Rapier, they were made as sharp, tiny blades, because armor was phased out. you don't need the 'mega strong heavy blades to pierce armor' you want, Sharp, fast moving blades, pretty flexiable to counter other blades. As well as basically pierce through conventional 'leather' and clothing through 3 people.. Katanas were used even up to ww2... But they were pretty much phased out when swords were banned like 2 times in japan?

Rapier used for close combat when you ran out of bullets or the enemy was to close, of course that was before they had that nice lil attachment...

 

Um...no. First of all, "cutting power" that relies more on speed than weight isn't going to do all that much against any resistant material (although against unarmoured, conscripted peasants it does wonderfully!), whether it be steel or leather. I can poke around and find someone to provide me with the math to back that up - like a moron, I took Chem II instead of Physics back in high school.

 

"cutting" power relies on both really. Speed and Weight are both equal factors.

To move a heavy blade at the same speed as a light blade is going to deal MORE damage then the light blade. However movign a heavy blade that fast means little control. Now Since the light blade is easier more controllable at high speeds, it reaches probably better cutting speeds then heavy blades. But if you could move a heavy blade that fast, it would be deadly.. But heavy blades weren't really ment for slashing, more or less Piercing a foes armor. Or Wacking them with the flat end like a club. :P Though that can break the blade..

 

 

 

In short...I'm seeing a lot of (apparent) thought here that European fighters were poorly-trained, heavily-armoured turtles wandering around battlefields, lucky to have not been cut down by a hypothetically faster, highly-trained, steel-slicing, katana-wielding, force of samurai. Is that about right, or did I take the hyperbole too far?

 

Well, really you have to ask, who are we talking about? European peaseants, and japanese peasants were poorly trained, poorly armed people. They were basically trained enough to not kill them selves in using the weapon, and which way to point the bow. :P

 

Then you have your Elite troops. European Knights were the 'elite' They knew there weapons, and were fairly good fighters. You don't see any 'peasents' in heavy armor for a reason.. They arent rich, and they aren't trained very well.. Though if you live long enough in the 'army' you might get chainmail. :P

 

Japanese 'knights' were samruii. who Are probably more trained the European Knights. And what appears to be trained in several weapons, They were both the calvarly, and the infantry. You do see Samruii using spears, bows, and Katana. But it all depends on the situation, and if you have any meatshields called peasants lying around. Let them use the spears, while you use a bow and pick people off and then use your sword, or spear...

 

Though both areas had there 'other' weapons.

Flails, Halberds, the japaense megahalberdofflexydeath. Staves. And boy o boy do the JAPANESE HAVE STAVES! They reinvented it a few times. :P

 

Why can't we just agree, Katana's are a decent sword. And the best weapon all around is a Staff.

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In japan, they used a very common practice in open combat.

 

Sounds remarkably similar to European massed combat. I've always found it interesting the similarities in "Western" and "Eastern" combat - especially when those folks who tout one over the other come out. Of course, there is only so many ways one can use a long piece of sharpened steel to kill a man, but I digress. ;)

 

If its flat, that swords gonna go through that like a knife in a can.. If its curved, its gonna help stop a piercing blow.. As well as arrows.

 

I would hope that any armour designed for a human form would be curved, unless you're suggesting that one goes around in a metal box, essentially. ;-) I know, that's a bit of exaggeration on my part, but honestly, on well made harness, there just isn't -too much- "flat" to be found.

 

However, that doesn't make them invincible to swords.

 

Near enough for my purposes, really. Swords do not cut through plate in any degree of reliability. They *do*, however, have a much easier time of it attempting to pierce weak points in the armour (joints and such). This is why you'll see sword blades getting *thinner* during the same time period in which plate was ascendant - they were used for thrusting rather than cutting.

 

Get em on there back in turtle mode, and you can stab through there armor pretty easislly. *only problem is you open your self up pretty well to.*

 

Yes, you do open yourself up rather well - as this "turtle mode" is a myth, by and large. I'm sure there were some armours that did in fact, do that, but I haven't seen anything that suggest such armour was worn on the battlefield. So, knock a knight on his back - he should be able to get your weapon out of the way (presumably with his sheild, if he hasn't lost it), and kill you.

 

THen of course theres all the gaps in the armor where theres only chainmail or leather protecting them.. And if your skilled enough to get through that...

 

True - and that was the target of many thrusts, to be sure. It apparently wasn't foolproof, though, as a duel between the Lord of Ternant and Galiot de Balthasin in 1445 (source: The Sword and the Centuries, by Alfred Hutton, F.S.A.) would attest. In that duel, as Ternant fails to get through the underlying maille with the point of his sword near the end of the duel.

 

But then, in chain/leather you can move alot faster then in plate. *and move longer*..

 

Plate actually fits better, and wears easier, than chain, because the weight is distributed across your body, whereas maille tends to hang from your shoulders, increasing fatigue. And it's a myth that plate slows you down that much - there are modern hobbyists that can move quite well in plate, and they do not wear it for life-and-death situations.

 

Well, if you compare the same time period to the same time period the japanese katana say, in the year 1400, was probably alot better then anything europeans had.

 

Again, I'm no metallurgist, but everything I've seen has merely mentioned Japan's poor quality of ore, without assigning dates to it. So, from that basis, I think it's a safe conclusion to say that was not the case. If you have documentation to the contrary, I'd be happy to learn more.

 

Katanas had basically Carbon Steel.

 

(snip)

 

By my understanding, most (all?) steel has carbon in it. As for the rest - I'd suggest that European blades operate under the same rules of science, ergo they likely had the same composition. Again, I don't know (no metallurgist, remember), but that's my conclusion, barring further evidence.

 

Now your talking about two different eras.

The Katana was made during the 1400's.

The Rapier was made during the 1500's.

 

Well, I don't yet own a longsword with which to compare, so I went with what I actually possess. ;)

 

That said - I'm fairly sure that katana were made during more than just the 1400's, just as rapiers weren't confined to the 1500's. To be sure, it's folly to assign such concrete dates to weapon development, as it was such a fluid process. As an aside, what one person may call a "rapier" another may call a "cut and thrust sword", an "estoc" (or "tuck"), or even a "smallsword"! I believe I already mentioned the vicissitudes of terminology. :-)

 

Theres one thing that happend during the 16th century *IE 1500's* Guns..

Guns phased out armor completely. Katanas, samuria were already being phased out. They still there, but they were slowly being put out of commision.

When Europe got guns, You didn't see many 'knights'...

 

Again, with the fluidity of weapon/armor development, it's difficult to identify a cause/effect situation like that effectively.

 

Back to the Rapier, they were made as sharp, tiny blades, because armor was phased out. you don't need the 'mega strong heavy blades to pierce armor' you want, Sharp, fast moving blades, pretty flexiable to counter other blades.

 

What you may be describing here is something that I would more properly term a smallsword. A "true" rapier, as I've seen defined, is a 40+ inch weapon, with an elaborate guard and hilt design, one handed, and a poor cutting implement. That said:

 

1. The rapier was *not* fast. In fact, it was rather slow (and I could get into a discussion of "fencing time" to describe this, if you really care to know).

 

2. Flexible doesn't counter other blades - it's actually worse, because it doesn't allow you to provied proper force against an opposing blade. Rapier combat has a *lot* of blade engagement - much more so than any other sword style I've studied or even read about.

 

"cutting" power relies on both really. Speed and Weight are both equal factors.

To move a heavy blade at the same speed as a light blade is going to deal MORE damage then the light blade. However movign a heavy blade that fast means little control. Now Since the light blade is easier more controllable at high speeds, it reaches probably better cutting speeds then heavy blades. But if you could move a heavy blade that fast, it would be deadly.. But heavy blades weren't really ment for slashing, more or less Piercing a foes armor. Or Wacking them with the flat end like a club. Razz Though that can break the blade..

 

Again, I'll leave the math to those much better suited to it than I. However, you don't use the flat to "club" people with - that's what you grab the blade and use the pommel for! ;-)

 

You don't see any 'peasents' in heavy armor for a reason.. They arent rich, and they aren't trained very well.. Though if you live long enough in the 'army' you might get chainmail.

 

Actually, the feudal lord was expected to fund his army, not the peasants that made it up. After all, serfs rarely had any kind of disposable income - certainly not enough to outfit themselves for combat! So, really, you didn't see peasants in heavier armour for a number of reasons, including "they're expendable", and "it's too bloody expensive". ;-)

 

Why can't we just agree, Katana's are a decent sword. And the best weapon all around is a Staff.

 

I've never said the katana was junk. And I believe Mat Cauthon would agree with you about the staff! ;-)

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Actually, the feudal lord was expected to fund his army, not the peasants that made it up. After all, serfs rarely had any kind of disposable income - certainly not enough to outfit themselves for combat! So, really, you didn't see peasants in heavier armour for a number of reasons, including "they're expendable", and "it's too bloody expensive". :wink:

 

Some how when I read this, I was almost forcibly reminded of the peasants diatribe against King Arthur from Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail. Don't know why it reminded me of that, but I laughed...

 

Well Done!

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Actually' date=' the feudal lord was expected to fund his army, not the peasants that made it up. After all, serfs rarely had any kind of disposable income - certainly not enough to outfit themselves for combat! So, really, you didn't see peasants in heavier armour for a number of reasons, including "they're expendable", and "it's too bloody expensive". :wink: [/quote']

 

Some how when I read this, I was almost forcibly reminded of the peasants diatribe against King Arthur from Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail. Don't know why it reminded me of that, but I laughed...

 

Well Done!

 

Help, help - I'm being repressed! Come see the violence inherent in the system! You saw him repressing me, didn't you?

 

:-)

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I can agree to disagree ... and I think there has been a little misinterpretation on both sides. I ignored the rest of the passage which I quoted and you completed about a katana's cutting power vs. european armor, because from my perspective we were talking about weapons, not armor. The sword doesn't exist that can reliably cut through properly made rigid full plate (the "armor" on the practice posts I have cut through was much thinner) unless the wearer stands there and waits. My point was, if any sword can, in this instance, its a katana.

 

I suppose my preference has a great deal to do with my own experience as well. I'd pick a katana, and a katana would serve me best in a variety of situations, because it is what I have the most training/practice with. So I'm biased. But there are definitely specific situations in which I would trade my katana for any variety of weapons, from a gastraphetes to piano wire. Or even the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

 

That's right Maj! Bring it on! I'm not afraid to say that strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. I mean, if I went 'round sayin' I was Moderator, just because some moistened bint lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away.

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I can agree to disagree ... and I think there has been a little misinterpretation on both sides. I ignored the rest of the passage which I quoted and you completed about a katana's cutting power vs. european armor, because from my perspective we were talking about weapons, not armor. The sword doesn't exist that can reliably cut through properly made rigid full plate (the "armor" on the practice posts I have cut through was much thinner) unless the wearer stands there and waits. My point was, if any sword can, in this instance, its a katana.

 

I can agree to disagree as well, although to be honest, I fail to see how one couldn't follow that we were talking about a sword's capability to cut through armour. I had thought that was the entire point of the argument. *shrug*

 

Of course, we all know that the Holy Hand Grenade is the only weapon that is nearly foolproof against armour, soiled or not. ;-)

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Guest Majsju
I can agree to disagree as well, although to be honest, I fail to see how one couldn't follow that we were talking about a sword's capability to cut through armour. I had thought that was the entire point of the argument. *shrug*

 

A rather pointless arguement, since we do not have a complete knowledge regarding just what kind of armour that is commonly used. If I remember correctly, at least the whitecloaks have been mentioned to use chain, while Seanchan uses overlapping plate. In general, plate seems rare in randland, can't straightaway recall any mentions of that.

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