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Comparing swords debate


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 Post subject: Comparing swords debate
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:08 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:51 pm
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Hello this is my first post I have done while I fiddle with a review I am doing. Recently my girlfriend and her half Japanese mother had a big row as her mother claimed Japanese swords were superior to any other sword and European swords were boring heavy and badly made. Of course my girlfriend contested this and her brother a 15-year-old student of karate leapt to his mothers defense of the Japanese sword.
I noticed some other heated debates on the Internet and a lot of the comments were not very well informed. I personally like all types of well made swords and have no bias towards either, (apart from being European)having only studied Muay Thai, which is unarmed.
From my limited knowledge the Japanese sword at its height was made from bad quality steel folded to even out the carbon and remove impurities. Made in two parts with a folded softer back to the sword to resist snapping of the blade and a hard front blade to keep a razor edge and have horrific slashing potential. There are so many European types of sword I can think of but the common debate is with the longsword, which I believe was around at about the same time. This sword was made to be more flexible than a katana and was longer. When the European steel got good, pattern welding (form of folding) wasn’t needed. The edge is made to be less hard and brittle as the sword took a lot of abuse and needed to resist braking. Some knights used longswords as primary weapons and they had strong central ridges on the blades and very armoured tips so the sword could be gripped on the blade and thrust into plate armour like a spear. I may be wrong but what I’ve read the katana performed best in unarmoured combat and inflicted terrible injuries and against armour wasn’t the first choice of weapon due to the danger of it breaking.
I could go on and on but my basic point is no sword is better than another. It depends on the user the quality of the sword and the intended use. The katana and longsword are intended for different purposes so saying one is better than the other is crazy. I also understand katana’s aren’t all the same some were thicker to be more resilient some longer etc.
There is a guy on you tube called ‘lindybeige” who has a rant about the katana who raises a few good points but is perhaps quite biased against the katana probably due to the katana’s invincibility being rammed downed his throat by people who have seen to many films.
On the other hand there is a video on you tube called “Japanese katana vs European longsword” by user “kinsei1560’. This has to be the worst sword comparison I’ve ever seen. It is filmed by two Americans who appear to be on a farm. They do not state who or how each sword in the test was made. For instance I very much doubt they are using a 10000 dollar folded Japanese katana. Probably modern steel so already the historical test is rubbish. As for the armour test there are numerous types of katana, thicker heavier and longswords designed for lightly armed dueling or thrusting through plate armour. They test on a dummy with leather and the katana would be expected to perform better. They chop at the belly with the longsword and strike from high with the katana over the tight leather on the shoulder. Talk about biased, the katana would have performed better anyway as the longsword has sacrificed a curved and harder edge for a better thrust, no need to rig it. The next test is against a weaker than historical armour. The longsword isn’t used correctly by half handing it to stab through the plate. The katana thrusts and smashes the armour better. The problem with this is they are both modern steel and the longsword doesn’t appear to have a strong enough tip to be correct for use against armour, and is used incorrectly. This again isn’t comparing a katana as the historical folded rigid blade of a katana would break or be ineffective at thrusting through or slashing plate armour. This video just misinforms and compounds this mystic invincibility of the katana.
Anyway I wanted to get that off my chest and explained my views as coherently as I could. In Summary I like katanas and I like longswords and all types of swords as long as they are made well for their intended purpose. And when people say one type of sword “sucks” compared to another I believe on the whole this is nonsense.

Any thoughts? (First post, be kind)


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