Eastern vs Western Sword styles

Discussion in 'Sword' started by dmach, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. dmach

    dmach Martial Archivest

    Trawling through youtube and I discovered these...

    This is quite a good match up with both fighters getting some good hits in.

    Don't think that this actually gives Kendo credit. The Fencer was generally all over him, but I see it as more of an indication of someone being too rigid within their style to adapt to a new situation.

    What are your thoughts?
    Dave76 likes this.
  3. DeeD

    DeeD Nak Muay

    just shows you how quickly you could get killed if someone had a sword, not as easy as it looks in the movies (y)
  4. Eric Dufurrena

    Eric Dufurrena The Iron Fist of Fun

    Swords were developed in response to armor, then armor in response to swords, and so on. You can't really compare the styles against each other very well. For instance, fencer Vs. Samurai, fencing is sport based and has no regard for armor. The center point they usually aim at proves this. Armor protected the chest very well, and fencers would be at a disadvantage vs anyone wearing armor. Katana vs. fully armored knight is pretty unbalanced as well, as the katana might have a hard time cutting through the plate and chain armor, but they are faster, but the long sword is more blade heavy to help chop through armor, but they are slower. So, I understand the desire to compare different sword styles, but I find it exasperating. Why we are doing that, which martial art is best? :p
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  5. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    Those were exactly my thoughts as well upon viewing these videos. I thought "Wait, the kendoist would be wearing armor ..."

    Still, sometimes it's just plain old fun to compare and contrast styles, even if it doesn't really mean much in the real world. Back when I was doing Renaissance-fair pirate recreations I was known as a "dirty" fighter - I didn't follow any rules, because my thinking was that a REAL pirate wouldn't either. But I'd get these classically-trained fencers on the cast that insisted that what I was doing was "wrong", because they always lost when I kicked them or threw a handful of sand in their face (unscripted, of course). The spectators loved it but I usually had to "lose" at the end because, hey, pirate. :jimlad:
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  6. Gone

    Gone Guest

    Not really. There are heavy Eastern-origin swords, and there are light Western-origin swords.
    (and then there are those made in the Muslim/Arab world, too.. )

    Not all swords are made to a rule, or are made the same. Same with armour, too, lol.
    Vldz and dmach like this.
  7. Eric Dufurrena

    Eric Dufurrena The Iron Fist of Fun

    True, except all armor was made to protect versus certain weapons, whilst all weapon were created (or used) to defeat certain armor. So you may have lighter swords, but they would have been used against infantry or such, which were lightly armored. Bows were good against infantry as well, unless they had shields, etc. It just keeps going on and on! But, I was just saying that it seems weird to compare them to each other because they would not have been originally created against each other, therefore it would not be a fair comparison. Sure, maybe the Katana would be great versus a long sword in theory, but how great would it have been against steel armor with chain beneath? I would guess the samurai would use a no-daichi against such a foe, or even a naginata, because those would do better.
    Vldz likes this.
  8. Battodoka07

    Battodoka07 Warrior Monk

    While I do enjoy watching such as dmach posted using a shinai and an actually shinken are two very different things. Not only is the weight different but so is the technique used. For a real contest I say got both opponents in full armor and let them bang each other up with real swords. Have them blunted for safety concerns if need be but I think that would be a more realistic test of using eastern versus western sword styles.

    I did epee fencing in high school and I've trained in Kendo and currently in Nakamura Ryu Battodo. It's funny though when I hear comparison of eastern vs western sword styles because it just brings to mind the arguments about which martial arts is better, lol.

    Not much is, lol. I remember trying to do tameshigiri my first time and and just ended up whacking the stand over. Cutting can be frustrating to newbies but so satisfying when you start to learn how to make a good cut.
    Eric Dufurrena, Vldz and Dave76 like this.
  9. DeeD

    DeeD Nak Muay

    Ive never attempted a sword style so I would definitely be one of those newbies hahao_O
  10. dmach

    dmach Martial Archivest

    These are all good points. What I noticed with the fencer though was that he was making slashing movements as well as stabbing. While it is kind of a moot point, if he fought with a rapier rather than an epee, it would better illustrate some of his techniques. I am not saying one style is necessarily better than another, in the case I posted above, I question the kendo-ka's ability deal with a sword style not his own. He would probably have been sliced up just as easily by the Iaido practitioner in the second clip.

    The other point that is that I think the Western sword styles tend to be somewhat underrated and every bit as effective as their eastern counterparts.

    If you watch the youtube clip on the sword thread...
    https://www.blackbeltforums.com/threads/the-sword.1668/ You would see what I mean.

    One of the things that I got out of it actually is that the long sword offers more options than the katana in both defence and attack and therefore IMO a more versatile weapon. What truly seperated the katana was the quality of steel that was used was of a generally higher quality and more reliable, rather than the actual design of the weapon.

    As for the armour - again a moot point. The holy grail of armour is to offer complete protection for the wearer without restricting movement for combat. Both Samurai and European plate/maille armour were designed to provide precisely that and to be fair, if Samurai armour was effective against a katana, then a long sword wouldn't be much better. In the clips above - the only discrepancy was that the fencer was wearing modern armour whereas the Kendo-ka had more traditional fare.
    Eric Dufurrena likes this.
  11. Battodoka07

    Battodoka07 Warrior Monk

    The forging process for the katana was what made the katana really stand out. Here is a video from Weapon Masters, the same guy from the video you linked for the long sword:

    That being said a sword having two edges doubles the angles of attack, and can be considered more versatile in that regard. Having done stage acting and both rapier and longsword training for theater in high school and college I can appreciate western swords as well as eastern. However as I practice battado (or battojutsu as some term it) I believe the art of the "quickdraw" goes in favor of the katana.

    As for the kendoka, one thing I notice is that since there was a concentration of point scoring for the head, wrist or side (Men, Kote, Do) movement was very linear. Kesa giri, a downward diagonal cut is virtual non-existent in kendo. Hence why I believe it is so important to combine Kendo, Iaido and Tameshigiri (kind of like my philosophy in striking, grappling and ground work).

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  12. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    I'm reminded of that television show - forgot the name - that pitted different styles against each other: ninja vs. Navy SEAL, karate vs. cowboy ...
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  13. dmach

    dmach Martial Archivest

    Deadliest Warrior. In season one they said that a Pirate would beat a knight and that a Spartan would wallop a Samurai (and a Ninja now I think on it.)
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  14. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    There you go - thanks! I actually used to watch it every once in a while for entertainment but I was never impressed with the whole idea of playing "what-if".
  15. Eric Dufurrena

    Eric Dufurrena The Iron Fist of Fun

    I think in most martial artists minds you are right in this point. I studied quite a bit of military history and am under no delusion about the effectiveness of either, though, they were both effective enough for the world to invent firearms!

    That is not all true. Again, the western armor was developed in response to western weapons, and eastern versus eastern. However, in eastern arms, there were swords that resembled the western longsword. Samurai armor was better at taking blunt force, and bladed force when the bladed wasn't that sharp. It was NOT very effective against a Katana. However, Western armor is maybe a bit heavier, but better against a wider range of weapons, including the Katana. Samurai armor would be considered light armor to the western world.
    dmach likes this.
  16. dmach

    dmach Martial Archivest

    I liked it for the weapons testing and the little bit of insight into "lesser known" warriors and traditions. Can't say I agreed with all the outcomes, but some of them made sense. I got the feeling that they pre-chose who the winner would be before they even began. The one ep that got up my nose the most was Vlad the Impaler vs Sun Tzu. 500 years seperated these two, including 500 yrs of weapon technology. IMO - it should have been Vlad the Impaler vs Miamoto Musashi if they wanted a nut job vs the Tactical Thinker.
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  17. Gone

    Gone Guest

    Vlad The Impaler was a tactical thinker, though. A real good one, at that, too.
    He is more known for murderous savagery than that, though.
  18. Dave76

    Dave76 Deheuol Gwyn Dragon

    If Vlad had not lived, Europe would most likely be predominantly Muslim now. Impaling 10's of thousands of people isn't what really what disturbed people though, it was the cannibalism done in the formality of a castle dining hall that really freaked people out I think.
    But despite all that, you can't take away the fact that the man did halt the northern expansion of the Ottoman Empire. He's still revered as a hero in Bulgaria today.

    And as to your dates there, I have to disagree sorry. Vlad was around in the 15th century (1431–1476) and Sun Tzu was 'estimated' to be born around the 6th century BC (544–496 BCE), making it more like 2000 years separating them. Making the technological differences between the two all that much more pronounced, further highlighting your point.
    Red likes this.
  19. dmach

    dmach Martial Archivest

    I stand corrected. :cool:
  20. Michael Spivey

    Michael Spivey Warrior Monk

    How many REALLY understand the differences between testing or applying something under the conditions of a "SPORT" application with rules and having NO-NOs and thing they can not do, and the application of using something in an actual armed combat situation with NO rules and expecting that there will be some sort of correlation between the two? Some actually believe that basing a decision off of how effective a sports application will have anything to do with how effective something will be or is in combat?

    How many here have actual experience of using what they know in a deadly force encounter where only one survives, or has used their art in actual Hand to Hand or Weapon in Hand combat? Tell me how sports techniques work well in that situation.

    A corollary would be taking drivers education to get ones drivers license and expecting that knowledge to be sufficient to be able to know how to handle and drive an Indi car or a stock car.
  21. Battodoka07

    Battodoka07 Warrior Monk

    IRL or combat it's called using an M4 or calling in an airstrike. Or out here in the states a trusty 1911.

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