And this is what happens when a masterfully crafted katana collides with a masterfully crafted longsword.
Suck it, katana
And that is what happens when a masterfully crafted scalpel collides with a masterfully crafted guillotine.
Does nobody understand that longswords and katanas are two different kinds of tool?Longswords are essentially sharpened fucksticks designed to destroy the shit out of anything resembling armor that comes their way. They shatter bone, jelly flesh, and essentially fuck people up by sheer inexorable force of being a goddamn sharp steel bar.
Katanas don’t do that.They’re not meant to withstand collision with armor or a brick wall or a charging fully outfitted warhorsebecause the circumstances of its development didn’t call for that. It’s a precision instrument. It’s designed to be lightweight, outmaneuver, and find weak spots, not go barreling into people hack-n-slashing your way to victory. It’s a specialized tool.
In a sense this reflects a core difference between cultures; katanas are a shitton of work and preparation to make the execution as efficient and streamlined as possible, while longswords are more durably and simply made in response to a climate that would require a soldier to be a one-man battering ram in battle.
This does make me curious though. Didn’t samurai wear pretty heavy armor? How did the katana (and blades like it) get around that? I mean, I’m sure they did because they were used for hundreds of years but I’d love to know how
Not to argue the fact that katana’s aren’t exquisitely engineered weapons - because they *completely* are - but the “hack-n-slash” depiction of european medieval swordfighting is a mischaracterisation (probably due to the fact that katanas were still used much more recently, and still maintain a certain status as treasured cultural skills. European longsword fighting is enjoying a tiny resurgence, but our popular visions of it have been pretty well mangled by victorian fantasy)
Art of swords (who I think everyone who digs swords in some fashion should follow) has set of images from a 16th century swordfighting manual - http://art-of-swords.tumblr.com/post/47506327676/sword-fighting-manual-dated-circa-1500-pages - that shows a number of possible styles.
i09 (I knew i had it bookmarked somewhere) also has a good article to look at: http://io9.com/5918644/swordfighting-not-what-you-think-it-is
As for Japanese armour? Yes, samurai armour was pretty heavy, but, here’s a breakaway of a samurai suiting up (from http://www.japanese-armor.com/japanese-references.shtml):
(I used to have a ref somwhere with a contemporary to the era illustration. grumbles) Even though there’s a lot of heavy plating, there’s still gaps where there’s naught but fabric between you and certain death. (many warriors would also wear a neck guard, which isn’t shown here). Because japanese armour was engineered for flexibility, there’s a sacrifice in coverage (that a skilled fighter could both compensate for and exploit)
meanwhile, here’s a roughly equivalent era european kit:
Yeah, you’re ROYALLY fucked if someone gets you from behind at knee level, but otherwise there’s a lot of layers of quilted padding under that. if you’re just going to bash your sword against a dude, you’re going to probably ruin your weapon and injure yourself even if you do get him in the process.
European swordfighting was just as much about leverage and skill (and getting in the weak spots) in it’s own way as Japanese - as I’m sure other regions were as well - and swords for all regions were adapted to make the most of what their users were trained to do.