Were duels between skilled Swordsmen in Feudal Japan consist of only 1 blow (with lots of foresight)

BikerJagi

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They often portray the swordsman as staying several feet away and practically just staying in their stance for MINUTES. Some of the MOST intense sword fight scenes features a pretty LOOONG moment of inaction (as in 10 MINUTES!). In episodic mediums such as Anime and Japanese Live TV Show, this moment of inaction may even take a WHOLE EPISODE!

After such a long period, one swordsman (or both swordsmen) finally take the action and charges. In a split second, they literally get passed each other and than a moment of silence occurs. One Swordsman falls bleeding and the duel is done.

This is VERY different from Western sword and buckler movies which show lots of parrying, thrusts and slash, and footwork movement.

Even the more exaggerated duels between master swordsmen (with lots of parrying, movement around the environment, and fancy sword tricks) portray the conclusion with this moment of inaction;as their fights are futile and tied, one swordsman finally goes in a certain stance and the other swordsman watch in fear as he begins to recognize a legendary technique that killed so many other Master Swordsmen.

The final moments of an exciting exaggerated bombastic duel suddenly become very sedative. It practically ends with the other swordsman charging at the swordsman prepared in stance and 9 out of 10 times the swordsman who changed the course of the fight by preparing a secret stance wins. In some more exciting fights, they both charge at the same time and it is shown one falls down from one blow.

Now the reason why these duels are shown as relatively taking long minutes even though no action occurs minus the final moments is because both swordsmen are shown as planning their actions and participating ahead of time of what-ifs might happen. some movies and TV show even portray in one swordsmen mind various scenarios taking place such as "if I do this" (scene is shown where Samurai commits action and gets killed by opponent) before charging to their possible deaths. Even the opponent of the protagonist you are rooting for is shown doing the same thing and the only time they don't show such foresight is if one swordsman goes into a legendary stance and its already foreshadowed the duel is decided.

By the time one Samurai decides to charge at the other, all scenarios are taught int heir head and thus one mistake will decide the duel. When a successful blown is thrown, it is so precise and well-aimed it practically KILLS one swordsman before he is able to even land his own blow or parry.

I am curious were real duels in feudal Japan using swords like this? I remember reading this is even true to an extent at least for masters like Musashi who have tales of killing only in one blow after a moment of inaction.

In popular media, even duels between swordsmen of lesser skill is portrayed as this (though its not as smooth and convincing a one-hit kill as those between master swordsmen).

How did real Samurai duel in the Feudal period? Was the average duel much like Musashi's legendary one-hit blows? Or did the average duel between swordsmen consist of a lot of parrying and fail blows?" itemprop="text" id="yui_3_9_1_15_1424408496241_408" style="margin-bottom: 10px; word-wrap: break-word;">I notice in MANY movies such as Seven Samurai portray duels between two trained Samurai with swords as being having VERY little, if no action (at least in Hollywood action film standards).

They often portray the swordsman as staying several feet away and practically just staying in their stance for MINUTES. Some of the MOST intense sword fight scenes features a pretty LOOONG moment of inaction (as in 10 MINUTES!). In episodic mediums such as Anime and Japanese Live TV Show, this moment of inaction may even take a WHOLE EPISODE!

After such a long period, one swordsman (or both swordsmen) finally take the action and charges. In a split second, they literally get passed each other and than a moment of silence occurs. One Swordsman falls bleeding and the duel is done.

This is VERY different from Western sword and buckler movies which show lots of parrying, thrusts and slash, and footwork movement.

Even the more exaggerated duels between master swordsmen (with lots of parrying, movement around the environment, and fancy sword tricks) portray the conclusion with this moment of inaction;as their fights are futile and tied, one swordsman finally goes in a certain stance and the other swordsman watch in fear as he begins to recognize a legendary technique that killed so many other Master Swordsmen.

The final moments of an exciting exaggerated bombastic duel suddenly become very sedative. It practically ends with the other swordsman charging at the swordsman prepared in stance and 9 out of 10 times the swordsman who changed the course of the fight by preparing a secret stance wins. In some more exciting fights, they both charge at the same time and it is shown one falls down from one blow.

Now the reason why these duels are shown as relatively taking long minutes even though no action occurs minus the final moments is because both swordsmen are shown as planning their actions and participating ahead of time of what-ifs might happen. some movies and TV show even portray in one swordsmen mind various scenarios taking place such as "if I do this" (scene is shown where Samurai commits action and gets killed by opponent) before charging to their possible deaths. Even the opponent of the protagonist you are rooting for is shown doing the same thing and the only time they don't show such foresight is if one swordsman goes into a legendary stance and its already foreshadowed the duel is decided.

By the time one Samurai decides to charge at the other, all scenarios are taught int heir head and thus one mistake will decide the duel. When a successful blown is thrown, it is so precise and well-aimed it practically KILLS one swordsman before he is able to even land his own blow or parry.

I am curious were real duels in feudal Japan using swords like this? I remember reading this is even true to an extent at least for masters like Musashi who have tales of killing only in one blow after a moment of inaction.

In popular media, even duels between swordsmen of lesser skill is portrayed as this (though its not as smooth and convincing a one-hit kill as those between master swordsmen).

How did real Samurai duel in the Feudal period? Was the average duel much like Musashi's legendary one-hit blows? Or did the average duel between swordsmen consist of a lot of parrying and fail blows?
 

Ken Morgan

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Curious, what is your MA background?
Don't forget Musashi was well over 6' tall, in a land of people 5'2" or so, he physically dominated his opponents, he went in with skill, over whelming power/aggressiveness, and fought dirty. He would do whatever he had to do to win. There were no Queensbury rules.
A duel would last as long as it lasted.
 

Chris Parker

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Yeah I'm going to second Ken's question what is your martial background? There's nothing on your page, and no intro post so

Oh, and movies and tv shows not so much the good source for research and knowledge, yeah? Perhaps you just ignore anything you see there, and we'll have something to start with
 

Danny T

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Movies are a terrible source of factual information. Real blood letting combat is not the glorious and honorific endeavors movies make them to be.
 

Instructor

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I am not a sword guy but it's irrelevent. No two fights are the same, regardless of the weapons involved.
 

Zero

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By the time one Samurai decides to charge at the other, all scenarios are taught int heir head and thus one mistake will decide the duel. When a successful blown is thrown, it is so precise and well-aimed it practically KILLS one swordsman before he is able to even land his own blow or parry.
I wasn't sure on this one if you were portraying your personal view and understanding or again, only what you have seen from 1960s movies or manga?
While the superiority, or not, of the katana with respect to European (or even Chinese) blades of the same era can be argued and espoused on at length, I do not think it can be credibly claimed that a high level samurai was any more "skilful" than a high level European or English counterpart (or "swashbucklers", if that is what you mean) with his blade or weapon of choice. That would seem to be patently wrong (and potentially insulting). Why would a top level European fighter of the age not also have trained extensively and rehearsed all possible (known) moves and parries and applied their mind to fighting strategy? And why would they not seek to (and be able to) execute such moves with equal precision and speed?
 

Langenschwert

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If the opponents are unarmoured, the fight is usually over very quickly. Fiore dei Liberi (I think) said that the longest sword duel he saw was an initial attack, a counter to that, and a counter to the counter.

Movies show combat that works the way the fight director wants. It has nothing to do with real duels.

In HNIR (Musahi's ryu), there are some waza that end in one hit, and others that don't. The longest is a series of hanging parries and a final cut, longer than Fiore's example.

Rule number one: Don't get hit. Rule number two, hit the other guy, so long as you don't break rule number one. A single strike with a sword to an unarmoured target can end the fight. There are no guarantees, but you assume that any hit you make on your opponent will not incapacitate him, but any hit he might get on you will will be incapacitating.

Edit: Also, everything Zero just said. Japan had no monopoly on skilled swordsmanship. Neither did any other nation. Besides, swordsmanship the world over is quite similar, since humans are all built the same.
 

Hyoho

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I think if the OP has spent 40 years or so in a Japanese kendojo he would not be asking this question. When people are standing facing each other even at a distance its not inactive. On the contrary it could mean the decider of who will win/lose, live/die. Sadly most kendo tournaments need two points to win. The military do one.
 

Tez3

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I think if the OP has spent 40 years or so in a Japanese kendojo he would not be asking this question. When people are standing facing each other even at a distance its not inactive. On the contrary it could mean the decider of who will win/lose, live/die. Sadly most kendo tournaments need two points to win. The military do one.

I imagine if the OP did any martial art rather than just watching films and television he wouldn't be asking this question. :D
 

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