Sword as practical weapon? (and ways to defeat it)

Discussion in 'Sword Arts Talk' started by Delta_6, May 9, 2017.

  1. Delta_6

    Delta_6 White Belt

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    As an non-sword practitioner (who actually do have swords laying around) This question had been bugging me for a time now...

    Is sword still consider a practical weapon in any realistic SHTF situation?
    because i see a few issue regarding sword as a practical weapon, one of them is regarding their size, because a longsword or a Katana is pretty big and can be quite unwieldy in small confine space, you certainly can't carry them in everyday life, even storing it in a car create space issue, not to mention the legality of it.

    And another thing i want to add is : Can you realistically defeat a two handed sword with small sword such as the machete or goloks?

    It may sound like a stupid question, but let me tell you this : It is actually pretty common for motorcycle gangs in Indonesia to use bladed weapon in their raids much more than guns, their weapon is usually small knife, goloks, oversize sickles, katana and even a large oversize DIY saw-sword. so yes, a tip or two on what type of weapon or martial art that can give me an advantage in case thing do go wrong might help.

    Thanks

    PS : Getting Hijacked or Robbed by armed road bandits is actually a thing in my town.
     
  2. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    define SHTF situation. do you mean a fight or assault or do you mean WROL and or zombie apocalypse?
    the problem with using japanese blades in any real defense is they will break and dull quickly. do you know how to make one? how to sharpen one? repair it? ....answer is no.. so there for they are not practical.
     
  3. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    While the possibility of having to defend against a sword is almost nil what one learns about footwork, body movement/placement, angles, range, speed, timing, edge & point tip awareness works very well vs shorter edged and blunt object weapons as well as empty hand.
    So in that regard understanding sword work is practical.
     
  4. Delta_6

    Delta_6 White Belt

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    I meant WROL situation, in Indonesia a bladed weapon combat is far more likely than guns as everyone always have goloks or machetes, and just about every farmer have sickles (and the majority of Indonesian are farmers)

    And regarding your question, i only know how to sharpen big knives but thats it.
     
  5. Delta_6

    Delta_6 White Belt

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    So what you're basically saying is, the knowledge of how a sword work is useful in an encounter both empty hand and with weapon?

    And what do you mean the possibility of having to defend against a sword is nil? It is actually a plausible thing in my area, motorcycle gangs do use katana in real life, not hypothetical.

    PS : Mind you that it is a cheap "wall-hanger" katana that they are using, but still a sword nevertheless, even if they break after one use.
     
  6. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    The only thing that makes a weapon practical is 1. you know how to use it and 2. that you have it when you actually need it


     
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  7. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Okay.

    Not overly, no. It's an archaic weapon, with archaic skills associated... and nothing in your description is actually what I would consider sword attacks... they don't feature the refinement I would expect, as well as a number of other culturally associated aspects. That's not to say what you're describing isn't dangerous or real... but it's not really the same thing.

    Hmm... I'm a little unsure of how you're reconciling things here... on the one hand, you say that you don't think that these long bladed weapons are practical, then give accounts of such items being used by gangs where you are. Realistically, carrying a long sword around as a self defence item is not overly practical... but that doesn't mean that these gangs might not use something similar.

    Sure... if you have a hell of a lot of training, and even more luck.

    While there are a number of unarmed defensive methods against swords and other blades (such as Japanese muto-dori methods), the best bet is some kind of equaliser... personally, I'd ideally go for something that gives a reach advantage... so I'd look to things like jojutsu/jodo.... but you do need to get past the very culturally influenced methodologies.

    In short, though, whatever approach you go with, you need a hell of a lot of training, and even more luck... there is no such thing as a magic weapon or technique to help you... just work and skill development... so nothing anyone gives you here (or elsewhere) can help you. You need to find a school. And that means that the first thing is to look at what's around you.

    You may want to contact Hyoho on the forum to get his insight on this... he has both a very serious amount of training, and some very real experience in this area.
     
  8. Delta_6

    Delta_6 White Belt

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    Gangs use sword, naturally i'd use sword to counter it, however, i couldn't obviously carry them around too, because it is impractical in a sense that carrying around while in a mall or just anywhere else can get you caught (gangs only come at night, and they hang outdoors, so yeah, it's easier for them)

    I do understand very well that there is no magic weapon(except maybe a gun)/skill to help me, i'm merely asking what the best martial art that 'd you guys recommend that can help me learn to counter swords.

    As for schools, I know the local Pecak Silats has alot of weapon techniques, ranging from trisula(a small trident), golok and up to spears.

    Tbh I'm interested in Bojutsu, or Japanese staff techniques, walking staff are easier to bring than sword.

    From what i know, Aikido teaches them to beginners, and so does pecak silat to some degree but not to beginners, even Shornji Kempo teaches them, but for 2nd Dan and up, I'd be very happy if you guys can add more to the list.

    Thank you for your response, i'll try find this Hyoho person when i'm back from the mountains.

    Gassho
     
  9. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Please don't, you'll get yourself killed.

    Then drop the fantasy, maybe?

    Yeah... you're looking for a magic bullet answer. The only answer involves a hell of a lot of training, and hell of a lot of luck. There are a number of arts that deal in such things, but they are all culturally specific... which means, really, that there is no "best"... looking for one, thinking there is one, is looking for a magic answer. It doesn't exist.

    Training. Lots of it. Luck. Lots of it. That's it.

    Is there any school around you? Do you understand how the cultural perspective differs from the forms of violence you may encounter? Really, this is still fantasy...

    Find a school. It doesn't matter what. Train. Train more. Be serious in what you do. Keep a realistic understanding and mindset. Get out of the fantasy. You don't need more to a list, you need to train in a school. And you need to understand what reality is and what fantasy is in this sense.

    Okay... he can be less forgiving than me, for the record... it comes with age and experience... and he is very experienced.... and certainly knows what is reality and what it not....
     
  10. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Delta 6, you probably have a lot of Silat schools very near to where you live. Why don't you check them out and find one that suits you for training?
     
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  11. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

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    Let me see if I can lay out some points which might help clarify some of what Chris is getting at...

    • Sword vs sword (or lethal weapon vs weapon in general) fights are incredibly dangerous. Even if you "win" by inflicting lethal or disabling damage on an opponent first, that doesn't mean he won't subsequently inflict a lethal wound on you before he stops moving. If you want the skill to have a high probability of surviving such an encounter unscathed, it will require a lot of hard training. Even with such training, your odds aren't anything to take for granted.
    • Since we live in an era where sword duels are not commonplace, it's not easy to find training which you know will be both high quality and appropriate to the context you live in.
    • Some schools have preserved authentic traditions which date back to a time when sword violence was more common. Unfortunately, those traditions may not match the context and cultural realities of your time and place. Even if some criminals in your country carry katanas, they are unlikely to use them in the same manner which a 16th century samurai might have encountered, so a 16th century Japanese sword art may not prepare you for modern Indonesian violence.
    • On the other hand, some schools teach "sword arts" which were developed by people who had no actual experience with swords, based on their imagination and what looked good for attracting students.
    • Even if you find a school with solid, reality based sword methods, the odds are high that the instructor will not have personal real life experience with actual sword violence. You might be learning genuine sword methods, but you are likely to be at least a generation removed from anyone with first hand knowledge of how those may play out in the real world. Since you live in a country where blades are commonly carried and used, you actually have a better chance of finding an instructor with real experience than you might in other parts of the world. Still, if your instructor does have a lot of first hand experience with blade violence, it's likely he's one of those criminals you are concerned about.
    • MOST IMPORTANTLY - criminals using lethal weapons such as a sword or knife are not interested in dueling. They will not square off with you in a fair match to see who is better with a sword. Predators rely on factors such as surprise, superior numbers, superior weaponry, and so on in order to overcome their prey. If a gang that s considering attacking you sees that you are carrying a sword, there are a few likely options: a) best case scenario, they leave you along and pick a safer target, b) they attack you when your sword is not readily at hand or by surprise before you can draw it, c) they bring overwhelming numbers and weaponry - six guys with swords and guns beat your one sword.

    Getting back to your original question - a practical self-defense weapon for you is one that
    • You can carry without getting into legal trouble (check your local laws)
    • You can carry practically, without getting in the way of your daily life.
    • You can find good quality instruction for.
    • You will train with consistently enough to develop real skills. These skills include not just fighting, but deploying under stress and the situational awareness/psychological control to not deploy in the wrong situation.
    To answer another of your questions, yes a shorter blade (like a machete) can defeat a longer blade (like a katana). The longer blade will have an advantage in most circumstances, but that range advantage is just one of many factors in a violent encounter.
     
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  12. Charlemagne

    Charlemagne Black Belt

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    I would say that knowing the blade can still be relevant in today's world, though it is not exactly a common issue to deal with. A very quick search shows all of these in recent years.

    Caught on video: Machete attack on Brown Line platform

    Louvre reopens 24 hours after machete attack

    Man's Thumb Chopped Off in Machete Attack

    Machete Attack Suspect Arrested In San Jose

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22630303
     
  13. Delta_6

    Delta_6 White Belt

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    First thing first, something interesting happen yesterday, my rented motorcycle driver was mugged by bandits in broad daylight (4-5pm) two guys, holding knife, they got away with wallet.

    Anyway

    So if I sum this up, the most practical weapon against swords and bandits is a gun?

    Because it probably requires less training than becoming a sword expert. Funny enough, it is easier to get a gun legally than having a long sword (which is always illegal except if it is a family relic) or machetes (which only legal in rural area)

    Oh and as far as i know, machetes art in the local pecak silat school is more theatrical than realistic, that being said, i do believe there are legit techniques hidden from public, as this is the nature of elite pecak silat techniques.

    I'll ask around then, hopefully i found a school that i like.

    Thank you All for the response, especially the lengthy post from Chris and Tony, I appreciate that you guys pointed out my fantasy and all.

    Gassho
     
  14. Delta_6

    Delta_6 White Belt

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    After talking with several Sensei(s) I've come with several conclusions that I hope for anyone who stumble upon this post shall follow

    1. Drop the fantasy : Like Chris and Tony said, it is just too risky to try dueling an armed bandit regardless of your training or melee weaponry.

    2. Just Run : one of the advice, my sensei told me is to throw your phone, wallet or the thing they wanted away from you and use the distraction to get away.

    3. Fight only when there is no other choice : It is better to avoid the situation than to fight, it is better to run than to fight, but it is better to fight than to die. This advice comes from a former thug turned sensei he said : just because you have a black belt it doesn't mean that you should put yourself in unnecessary risks like : going out past midnight and taking shortcuts in dark streets(to mention a few) even if you have several black belt, there are still too many variables that can go wrong.

    That be the conclusion of this thread, Thank you.
     
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  15. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    i have been looking into silat myself the last 2 weeks. i could be wrong but i read somewhere that there are two variations to silat and the pecak silat type is more theatrical as you say but the other is more about fighting. so you might want to look around some and ask questions.

    this is actually a very common problem for people. so dont take it personal. i would say over 70 % of martial artists around the world have filled in gaps of knowledge with a little bit of fantasy. some more than others. every art and every school has an assumption on what combat will look like and some are very far away from the truth.

    for me the answer is yes and no. a gun still takes a lot of training. people may think all you have to do is pull the trigger, but to get shots on target takes practice and to be the first person to put shots on target takes even more training. even more training about the realities of how and when to draw, who and what is your back drop and more. so its still a lot of training. what makes it more effective against knives and longer blades is that the range of firearms is much greater and the emotional factor of demoralizing the assailant with the sound of gun fire is terrifying. in general assailants are not looking for a fight they are looking for victims. at the sound of gun shots they tend to scatter and run.
     
  16. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    The 'hyoho person' has fences with barbed wire, two german shepherds, CCTV, alarms. More than a few weapons and tasers in the house. My partner and I shoot out lit candles on the perimeter fence for fun. Everyone here carries blades around, even the kids. Highly skilled. Going out into the jungle with mine after I finish this post.

    If there was a gang here? We have phones and would call the police.

    As Chris says it's an archaic weapon. Studying it is a cultural activity.

    Here we can pay 200 USD to have you shot or a grenade thrown at you by riding in tandem bikers. Cases are rarely solved. I don't think your sword will help you much.
     
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  17. Delta_6

    Delta_6 White Belt

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    1. Both my driver and my uncle are pecak silat practitioner and from what they explain to me, the two variations isn't exactly variations, more like two different side of the same coin, it similar to an Embu in Shorinji Kempo, it's a mocked fight, differences is that in SK an Embu uses the same techniques we practice for real combat, where on the otherhand, in Pecak Silat it is exaggerated and more theatrical.

    Now a exaggerated and theatrical mocked fighting isn't a bad thing, they draw alot of crowd and interest on pecak silat, and thr crowds also throw money to the stage, so thats a good thing... the only thing thats bad is the fact that it make other less inform martial artists think it's the real silat and ridicule/understimate because of it, but trust me, it ain't.. i've spar with silat practitioner of the same level and their techniques are as legit as it can be.

    And as my uncle explain it, the theatrical variations and the real variations is integrated as one in practice/training, you can't choose between the two, childrens usually learn the theatrical version, before then taught the real one during teenage year (although this can be different between each school, but traditionally it's like that).

    Oh and there are countless style of silat, even in the same style, there can be variations... and each dojo/school has it's own secret/master techniques, if you're interested in searching a style, the famous nationally are Merpati Putih, Persaudaraan Setia Hati Terate(PSHT), locally in West Java the famous one are Cimade, Taji malela, Satria Muda and Pajajaran Manusia. The oldest/eldest style of silat that I (and my uncle) knows is a style called Gagak Lumayung that originate from the 13rd century by a King/Raden(Royal title) called Gagak Lumayung, better known as Kian Santang from the 13rd century.

    And ofcourse since we're humans, i could be wrong. So does my uncle and driver, but this is what we know.

    2. I do understand that firing a gun takes alot more than movies depicted, but even then, it certainly easier than sword training, which from what i understand require good physical fitness and and years of training to even be in moderate level of competence.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
  18. Delta_6

    Delta_6 White Belt

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    Gassho.

    Forgive me for the rather impolite comment for reffering you as "this hyoho person"

    And wow, thats a impressive collection. Ofcourse, if the gangs were near my house/in my neighborhood I'd rather call the police, but my original question assumes a foreign neighborhood/dark alley scenario.

    Thank you for your answer.
     
  19. DanT

    DanT Black Belt

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    Funny story. Back in 2015 I was in The Dominican Republic for vacation. We (me and my cousin) went off the resort and rented ATV's, and went ATV-ing across the nearby lands. At one point we stopped to take a break and drink some water under the shade of what looked like an abandoned shack. As I'm sitting in the cool shade of this assumed abandoned building, I see a machete (about the length of a broadsword) beside me lying on the ground. I pick it up and start to wield with it as any martial artist would do. Next thing I know some guy comes running out of the shack and following him two three and four more people. They charged at me with brooms and shovels and tools. Sure enough my cousin starts beating the snot out of one of them while I run around and start hacking at them. Eventually we made it back to the ATV's. I'm sure they were thankful that one of them forgot to sharpen the machete. Despite it not being sharp I can tell you that it's devastating and what I realized is that if they had actual weapons I probably would be dead. I got hit probably 4-5 times cleanly but managed to continue. Crazy experience. Doesn't happen often in Canada!
     
  20. KangTsai

    KangTsai 2nd Black Belt

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    You have many options either than trying to defend your home with a sword, other than politely handing over your wallet and calling the police. Which, most of the time, provides less than a 50% chance of survival.
    1) a spear - beats swords and knives 99% of the time.
    2) a gun - beats swords and knives 100% of the time.
    3) both at same time (I don't know, an Avtomat Kalashinova with a bayonet or something) - logically beats swords and knives 199% of the time.

    I would still suggest handing the wallet over. Carry less cash?
     

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