With or without



Hi :)

I have just read the book "Barefoot zen" by Mr. Nathan Johnson. He claims that its a romantic mythe that the samurais used hand-to-hand combat tecniques on the battlefield. He have just found one reference to a fight between two samurais who ended up in hand-to-hand combat. The battle didnt end before one of them finally got a katana. Mr. Johnson do not doubt that the samurais trained "weaponfree fighting" - but it was just to keep them in shape !!

Do you have any comments on these claims and does it have any effect on the commenly accepted believe that Ju-jutsu (jitsu) was the basic school of fighting for the samurai ?
To say that the samurai made use of only their swords would be akin to implying that modern soldiers never bother to learn any weapon other than their rifle.

The samurai were highly trained soldiers. Period. It just happened that the military caste also held social status comparable to nobility in other socieites.

As soldiers, they trained in a number of methods of combat - swords (long and short), daggers, bow and arrow, spear, halberd, and some even made use of flintlock technology. To ignore the benefits that unarmed combative techniques provide and to imply that they were just to "get them in shape" is amusing at very best.

Not that samurai were engaging in "karate duels" on the battlefield (since karate didn't exist on mainland Japan, that would be a historical impossibility anyway :rolleyes: ), or that they would roll about on the ground with their opponent. Far from it. But the samurai were not engaged in combat every day and every moment of their lives - unarmed methods of subduing an attacker would have quite a good degree of applicability at home in peace time. Especially since swords were not always worn when in the home.

Sometimes I think people begin to believe the romantic fantasies of martial arts history. Unfortunately, people then seem to start writing books that reach far too many people with incorrect information.

I agree. And considering the variety of weapons brandished on the battlefield, it would be difficult to survive for very long if one were to rely on bare hands for fighting implements.

As Yiliquan 1 pointed out, the samurai were professionals and didn't spend all of their time in battle. In fact, they usually did not wear their long swords while indoors (particularly in the residence of their lord) and special bare-handed techniques (as well as techniques utilizing the knife -"tanto") were developed for use against enemies who attacked unexpectedly while they were indoors.

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