Samurai vs European knight

Discussion in 'Historical European Swords and Sword Arts' started by Nighthawk, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. Nighthawk

    Nighthawk White Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I wasn't exactly sure where to post this! It's both Eastern and Western martial arts, and having a background using both types of swords, I found this video to be particularly fascinating. A lot of Western defenses just don't work against Eastern fighting techniques, so the knight had to (Shock! Gasp!!) rely on his basics for this. It's really a good one! Enjoy!


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    Messages:
    10,511
    Likes Received:
    1,457
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    San Francisco
    I saw a lot of deliberate hitting the blades together, and very (very!!) little that looked like actual fighting.
     
  3. colemcm

    colemcm Orange Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2012
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Petaluma, CA
    Agreed. The only "sword fighting" I saw was one guy fighting the other guy's sword.
     
  4. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Messages:
    15,316
    Likes Received:
    478
    Trophy Points:
    193
    Location:
    Staffordshire, England
    Let's not be too negative my friends, it was a bit of fun put on for the entertainment of the crowd. The participants did not know each other so it is only natural that they played it safe and focussed on giving the audience something to look at.

    In historical context, any systems which evolve in isolation from each other will have no idea of how each will function with the other when they first come into contact. So the special, honed, techniques that are employed within a system to counter things within that system take second place to the basics of swordsmanship. Timing and distance are the King and Queen of melee combat, with luck as the Joker :D.
     
  5. Takai

    Takai Senior Master

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,189
    Likes Received:
    72
    Trophy Points:
    108
    Location:
    PNW
    Well said.
     
  6. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,004
    Likes Received:
    324
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  7. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    Messages:
    7,766
    Likes Received:
    408
    Trophy Points:
    208
    Sort of assumes that Kendo is an example of what armored Samurai combat was like....which I don't believe is going to be even close.
     
  8. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,004
    Likes Received:
    324
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    True, but people who do real kenjutsu tend not to spar, so this is the best we're gonna get.

    -Mark
     
  9. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    Messages:
    27,553
    Likes Received:
    1,423
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Still it is not a representation of Kenjutsu. Not even close!

    Just like what some modern interpretations of Western swordsmanship may be a bit off the mark as well!
     
  10. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,004
    Likes Received:
    324
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    I'll have to concur there. In all reality, the OP's video has about as much to do with Samurai vs. Knight as this:



    -Mark

    N.B. I like Great Danes.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  11. billc

    billc Grandmaster

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    9,183
    Likes Received:
    85
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    somewhere near Lake Michigan
    Langenschwert,

    Could you elaborate on this...

    I'm curious as to what you have seen in these matches.

    Are the weapons comparative in length?
    What about the experience level in the practitioners?
    What struck you as to the reason the kendoka may have lost?

    I'm not looking for criticism of the art or the practitioners, just looking at an analysis of why the matches turned out the way they did. I am a fan of both cultures sword arts and I'm curious about mixed matches between them...much like I was interested in the UFC when it first started and there wasn't the consolidation of techniques...when you had boxers vs. silat vs. karate vs. jiu jutsu...
     
  12. billc

    billc Grandmaster

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    9,183
    Likes Received:
    85
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    somewhere near Lake Michigan
    I would like to see a HEMA student go up against a member of the Haga school of kendo...That would be interesting since the Haga kendo school still grapples at close range...the Chicago based Japanese Culture Center has Ken Pitchford Sensei who trained at the Haga Dojo when he was stationed in Okinawa with the air force...hmmm...
     
  13. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,004
    Likes Received:
    324
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    Hi Bill,

    Usually, the HEMA guys will use shinai, sometimes modified with a crossguard. The targeting is opened up to full body. It's the targeting and grappling that messes up kendoka on average. They simply aren't used to dealing with attacks from odd angles or with the back edge. I once sparred a kendoka who had a decade of training, some of it in Japan. At the time I had been training for two years. It went about 60-40 for me at least. I even pulled off a disarm by striking upwards with the back edge to his sword as he came down. I was using an unmodified shinai. When the HEMA fencer uses a modified shinai with a crossguard, it becomes even more one-sided, as shown by the last video I linked in my previous post.

    Like everything else, it comes down to who's the better fencer on that day. It's the training that counts. These guys train full body targeting with grappling: I hear they do just fine against HEMA guys, but the interactions have been fairly few and far between so it's too soon to tell... only a handfull of matches if that so far, whereas kendo and HEMA have met hundreds of times.

    -Mark
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  14. billc

    billc Grandmaster

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    9,183
    Likes Received:
    85
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    somewhere near Lake Michigan
    Thanks Langenschwert,

    The video above was very interesting...haven't seen that before.

    From what I saw of the videos you posted before, especially the last one, the thrusts that spiraled in, and the cross guard seemed to be doing the trick, as you pointed out. I imagine if the kendoka opened up their practice to beyond the essential strikes of kendo, they might fair better...but then it wouldn't be sport kendo anymore...
     
  15. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,472
    Likes Received:
    266
    Trophy Points:
    193
    Location:
    Olney, Maryland
    Given the voluminous amout of techniques that are common in eastern and western swordsmanship, I would like to know the basis for your statement about western defenses not working against eastern fighting techniques.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  16. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,472
    Likes Received:
    266
    Trophy Points:
    193
    Location:
    Olney, Maryland
    This is a general response regarding fencers vs. kendoka.

    I haven't seen tons of kendo vs. fencing videos, but in most of what I have seen, the kendoka comes up on the short end. That goes for historical western fencing and modern sport fencing as well. The reason is a combination of the speed of the weapons and the priorities of each sport.

    Modern fencing weapons (sabre and epee; foil is not a weapon) all derive from turn of the century dueling weapons. Rapiers, smallswords, dueling sabres and the dueling swords (epee) were specifically developed for civilian dueling. Military swords were not advantageous against these weapons in a duel because they're heavier and slower. The advantages in a one on one duel that a skilled fencer with an epee enjoys over a broadsword, cavalry sabre, or a Scottish backsword are also enjoyed against a katana, and by extension, it's bamboo analogue, the shinai.

    As for blade length, historical rapiers were not only faster than a Japanese sword, they were as long or in some cases, longer. The smallsword was "small" with a blade the same length as a katana because the rapiers of the day were often significantly longer, frequently by six inches or more.

    This isn't a statement of superiority of one sword over another; each was developed in different cultures for a different environment. Against an armored opponent, a katana, broadsword, cavalry sabre, or a Scottish backsword is a more desirable sword. In a civilian duel with little or no meaningful body armor, the rapier, small sword, dueling sabre or the epee are the more desireable weapon.

    That being said, the weapon doesn't win the fight, but the fencer does. A skilled kendoka who can control the match can certainly prevail against a fencer, particularly if they go for advance targets. And fencing weapons and rapiers are hardly well suited to parrying a shinai.

    In western fencing, except for foil, advance targets are desireable because going for deep targets makes you more vulnerable. In kendo, deep targets are desireable for much the same reason that high kicks are prized in taekwondo: it's harder. Taking men (head) is much more challenging and considered braver than taking kote (the wrist). The kenshi going for men is exposing him/herself to greater danger in doing so.

    Also, kendo has no rule of priority, while fencers are accustomed to fighting under it. In sabre and foil, if two blows land, the fencer with priority receives the point. This is true in classical fencing as well. In kendo, on the other hand, if two blows land, the one that is considered superior is scored. Men will also be more likely to be scored than do (waist) or kote. If scoring is being done in the idiom of western fencing (which it usually is), this puts a kendoka at a further disadvantage.

    As others have pointed out, kendo is not kenjutsu and is certainly not a "samurai" art. Kendo is a "do" art and it's purpose is to strive for personal improvement and for that improvement to translate into contributions to culture and society. People didn't train to kill each other in an honor duel with kendo, and postwar kendo is even more removed from historical Japanese swordsmanship than kendo was prior to the war. Shiai (the competitive element of kendo) is ultimately a form of cane fencing. Although the bamboo cane is meant to represent a katana, it is neither the same length nor balanced in the same way as a katana. The blade is shaped differently and it does not accurately represent how a katana behaves.

    On the flipside, western fencers would not do well under kendo rules. Only one weapon would be useful (dueling sabre), and as I mentioned earlier, it is not well suited to parrying a shinai. Also, with only one deep target available for a thrust (the throat), a fencer would need to be well within the kendoka's striking range in order to execute it. Not a good situation. Tsubazaria (corps a corps) is also a big part of kendo, and the shinai is much better suited to it than any of the fencing weapons. Not to mention that corps a corps is illegal in classical and modern fencing.

    My final observation is that the skills and the way that a fencer is accustomed to fighting are going to be more useful against a broader range of sword styles than kendo will be, and the kendoka's lack of exposure to thrusting attacks are probably significant factors in why kendoka frequently end up on the short end of these matches.

    While such videos are an amusement, and while I have sparred in kendo vs. fencing bouts, the weapons and styles of fighting are each well suited to their own environment and not well suited one another's environment.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
hema techniques vs samurai
,

hema vs kendo

,
hema vs kenjutsu forum
,
sword forums hema vs kung fu