sword statistic question

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dasgregorian

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Unrelated to any other form of weapon, does anyone know how fast a skilled swordsman can draw and attack (assume a weapon that is designed to attack off a draw such as a katana, also assume a well trained swordsman.)

Obviously this is simply as fast as you can more your arm out, but I'm sure professional swordsmen (back in the day...... yo.) got some sort of technique down to draw quickly (such as the stories suggesting some samurai could slice someone in half before you see their hand move), such as old west cowboy people who were able to draw their gun, shoot, and reholster their gun as fast as they're famous for (although I always suspected they were just tilting their holster and shooting out a hole in the bottom of it...).
 

Charles Mahan

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The real question is not how fast can you draw, but can you cut the other guy before he cuts you. That's not really an issue of raw speed. Do some research into Iaido and Iaijutsu. Arts that fall under those headings are arts which specialize in turning the draw into a cut.
 

Swordlady

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To answer your question in short, pretty darn fast. Ancient samurai aimed to dispatched their opponents with as few blows as possible. And yes, the draw was also a cut.

Check out these video clip of James Williams; he teaches at the Dojo of the Foru Winds in California. That'll give you some idea of how fast a draw cut is. The clips can be found here: http://dojoofthefourwinds.com/video.html
 

splice42

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dasgregorian said:
Unrelated to any other form of weapon, does anyone know how fast a skilled swordsman can draw and attack (assume a weapon that is designed to attack off a draw such as a katana, also assume a well trained swordsman.)

The "best" samurai were as fast as they needed to be to cut the other guy before he cut them. This has little to do with raw speed, as Charles said. Sensei always looks slower than he should be but will catch you every time, regardless of how fast you try to be. Form is more important.
 
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dasgregorian

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The samurai did tend to use their sword for killing, not blocking, so they would (as I understand) only draw their sword if it can taste blood... They had such respect for their sword that they wouldn't block or parry with it, rather they would work on dodging the blows with their body, and attacking the opening.

Obviously form is more important than raw speed, but my question only deals with raw speed.... how fast can a 'highly skilled' person draw their sword? Can it compare to how fast a person can draw a pistol. (Note, I really don't want this thread to turn into 'guns are better cuz I can just shoot you before you get to me'... I'd prefer for this to stay on the topic of the speed of a sword.)
 

Bigshadow

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dasgregorian said:
They had such respect for their sword that they wouldn't block or parry with it, rather they would work on dodging the blows with their body, and attacking the opening.

I am no swordsman, but I would be surprised that their respect of the sword is what encouraged them to not block with it. I think there are blocks with it, but I think you have in mind the clashing of blades. I think moreso, they didn't clash the blades because the katana is not designed for that kind of stress, it is designed to slice, not chop.

Also, I think that when one is truely attacking the other, there is far less blade clashing and this has been my experience when using the katana in training. I think it is all in the timing, distance, and footwork.

These are just my opinions.
 

Charles Mahan

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dasgregorian said:
The samurai did tend to use their sword for killing, not blocking, so they would (as I understand) only draw their sword if it can taste blood...

I'd really like to know where this foolishness started. The idea that a sword could only be drawn from it's scabbard if it was going to be used to kill is just silly. How would you ever be able to practice? Clean the sword? Have new fittings made? Polish the blade? Examine it for flaws?
 

Tgace

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Charles Mahan said:
I'd really like to know where this foolishness started. The idea that a sword could only be drawn from it's scabbard if it was going to be used to kill is just silly. How would you ever be able to practice? Clean the sword? Have new fittings made? Polish the blade? Examine it for flaws?

I think it started out sounding like "Right. Right. Up. Up. A...B...A....A...Down...." ;)
 

splice42

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dasgregorian said:
The samurai did tend to use their sword for killing, not blocking, so they would (as I understand) only draw their sword if it can taste blood... They had such respect for their sword that they wouldn't block or parry with it, rather they would work on dodging the blows with their body, and attacking the opening.
Hogwash. There are many historical examples of blades with nicks and dings that obviously resulted from blocks and parries. The goal is certainly to avoid such an occurance, but if there was no other way, the samurai wouldn't just let himself be cut because of some stupid ideal that said never to block.

Both ryu that I have practiced have blocks in their curriculum. It's not a desireable thing to do, but it's still done because sometimes that's what you have to do.

Obviously form is more important than raw speed, but my question only deals with raw speed.... how fast can a 'highly skilled' person draw their sword? Can it compare to how fast a person can draw a pistol. (Note, I really don't want this thread to turn into 'guns are better cuz I can just shoot you before you get to me'... I'd prefer for this to stay on the topic of the speed of a sword.)
It just seems like a ridiculous question to me. How do you propose to evaluate the speed of a sword leaving the scabbard? Are you looking for anecdotes in the vein of "so this guy dropped an apple, drew his sword, cut it and sheathed the sword before the apple touched the ground"?

A "highly skilled" person will draw his sword so fast that one moment, it's in the scabbard, and the next, it's not. Is that sufficient? Should it be faster? We draw and cut in less than a second, is that fast enough? Do you want an exact measurement to a hundredth of a second?

What is it that you're looking for, and why?
 
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