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Comment count is 18
The Mothership - 2016-07-29

I taught medieval history for a time, and one day a student asked me, Professor Mothership, who would win in a fight, a Samurai warrior or a medieval knight?

Of course I asked, what do you mean by medieval, do you mean a 10th century shield wall phalanx warrior taken out of that formation, or a 12th century cavalryman, or a 7th century punter impersonating a late Roman infantryman?

Student could not answer.

My answer: The best trained warrior will always win in single combat no matter what the equipment.

He couldn't understand, he was obsessed with the technology, not the people behind it.

This student was as as high functioning autistic as I have ever met, and he self disclosed this.

I am in touch with him today, good kid, but he still hasn't learned the lesson. I see him in this video.

EvilHomer - 2016-07-29

>> My answer: The best trained warrior will always win in single combat no matter what the equipment.

*raises hand*

So, Professor Mothership, in your opinion, a well-trained warrior who is wielding a kris dagger and wearing no armor, would always defeat a slightly-less-trained warrior who is packing a suit of 15th-century Milanese plate and a pollaxe?

I agree that context is key, but surely, you do not really mean to say that equipment plays NO role! Training is certainly important, but if basic logic and modern experimental HEMA are teaching us anything at all, it is that equipment plays just as much, if not more, of a role in determining the outcome of a fight. Unless the skill levels of our respective combatants are *completely* imbalanced, then victory will tend to go to the side whose equipment is better-suited for the combat environment they find themselves in. (for example: phalanx warriors, on the field and in formation, will defeat a disorganized mob of Bolognese sword-and-buckler fighters, yet a single phalanx warrior, out-of-formation, would be beaten by a Bolognese swordsman in the alleyways of Venice)

William Burns - 2016-07-29

The real truth is that jocks win in single combat every time, and samurai are the NERDS of the warrior society scene.

EvilHomer - 2016-07-29

Also, you might not have watched the entire video, and thus, may have misinterpreted The Metatron's intent.

When you say "I see him in this video", it is not clear whether you are comparing your former student to R Lee Ermey, or to The Metatron. If it is the latter, then I should point out that The Metatron is not arguing in regards to who would win in a fight, or even which set of equipment is demonstrably better (although he is well aware of the katana's limitations, and goes into detail about this elsewhere). Rather, The Metatron's thesis is that R Lee Ermey's experimental protocol was deeply flawed, and therefor, Mail Call's results cannot be trusted.

This is simply a video debunking bad science. It is not about providing a conclusive answer to the question of Knights vs Samurai.

bawbag - 2016-07-29

What -are- Metatron's 'qualifications'? I mean if one is determined to speak authoritatively on a subject, one must surely be granted that authority by a recognised official body.

That aside, Katana use is highly technique dependent, Metatron demonstrates an inabilityy to even hold the katana correctly (or the other trashh sword for that matter) and thus his 'debunking' is the equivalent of handing a novice shooter an iron-sighted Mosin-Nagant and then decrying the Mosin-Nagant as a terribble weapon because he had better shott grouping with the scoped Dragunov in round 2.

EvilHomer - 2016-07-29

I am actually not certain what The Metatron's academic credentials are, but I do know he has many years of martial arts training, as well as a private collection of arms and armor that is really quite extensive. He is an incredibly gifted polymath who speaks six or seven languages and works from primary historical documents whenever possible, and most notably, he has been fully-accredited by Youtube's own Grand Circle of Nerds, nearly all of whom have mentioned, linked, or even collaborated with him in the past. Make no mistake, The Metatron is a leading voice in his field!

What are R Lee Ermey's qualifications? What are Bob's?

matlock - 2016-07-29

Perhaps someone will convince The Metatron to make his own comparison video. Hell, if he does a good job, he might even get on the show the next time they need to compare swords. R Lee has let people come to his house and fuck his sister for less.

bawbag - 2016-07-29

"What are R Lee Ermey's qualifications?"

SSgt and GySgt in the US Marines, the first retiree in marine history to be promoted and a bunch of medals for fighting in an actual war among others.

Metatron's chief 'field' is in youtube videos, he is neither a real-life, time-served warrior nor a sword master of any repute.

Ask yourself, which would you rather on your side in active combat. Mr Ermey or Metatron?

Which brings us back to the main point, the katana was the more effective weapon in the theater of war, basically unchanged for so long, compared to the constant rehashing of euro trash swords which were 'better' only when viewed from a very specific perspective.

EvilHomer - 2016-07-29

I'd rather have Metatron, seeing as R Lee is now way too old to be much good in a combat zone. Three or four decades ago, sure, maybe I'd pick R Lee (MAYBE), but nowadays he's obviously gone senile, and I really doubt he'd be able to pass even his basic PT requirements.

R Lee's only "real" warrior experience was as a Marine. Marines don't fight with swords, and they also don't fight with platemail (despite what their recruitment videos want you to think), so clearly, R Lee's career experience is completely irrelevant to questions of historical martial arts. If Sgt Ermey wanted to give us his opinion on the M-16 rifle or the best way to play a GySgt in a movie (he was NOT one in real life), then sure, his career experience would be extremely relevant. But he did not know swords then, and he clearly does not know swords now.

As for your claim that katanas were more "more effective" because they "remained unchanged", well yes and no - they WERE effective in their own theatre of war, I'll happily grant you that, but the only reason katanas were effective was because *they did not change*. Besides peasants, samurai only ever fought other samurai, and no samurai could be bothered to forge a substantially-better katana than the one his neighbour or his father owned. Japan was horribly conservative, backwards, and isolated; up until Commodore Perry kicked their butts, the entire island was basically a giant Republican line-dance festival, stuck in the exact same year for nearly a thousand years straight.

Europe, by contrast, was in a constant state of flux and progress. Weapons were constantly being used and tested against all kinds of foes and in all kinds of environments. New influences and new ideas were constantly pouring in from the Arabs East, the pagan North, the Moorish south, and scores of rapidly-adapting kingdoms and duchies popping up as fast as the aristocracy could have sex with each other. Just like the modern MMA scene, Europe in the Dark and Middle Ages was a vibrant, progressive ecosystem for the science of warfare - and that is why, by the end of the Roman Empire at the very latest, their swords, shields, spears, and armor had surpassed anything the Japanese would ever even hope to achieve.

bawbag - 2016-07-29

"As for your claim that katanas were more "more effective" because they "remained unchanged""

Ah but you misunderstand EH, they were more effective because of the vast number of deaths they were responsible for, proving their efficacy and lack of the need for change... unlike euro whatever swords.

EvilHomer - 2016-07-29

Evidence, please. What are your death figures, and from where did you get them?

bawbag - 2016-07-29

EH, you know as well as I do that the katana was in use for nearly 1000 years, it can be logically assumed/inferred that it has killed many more enemies than a sword used for 20, 50, 100, 200 etc etc years, most especially as it has also been used in an order of magnitude more battles and skirmishes.

Also, it is the best sword and you sword nerds need to just accept facts.

EvilHomer - 2016-07-29

I'm not hearing a lot of finding sources, but I am hearing a lot of not finding sources.

Besides, even if you we accept the "logic" of your inference, such numbers would not matter in the least. Aggregate deaths are not an important statistic. Rather, what WOULD be important are deaths averaged by time, and even then, unless you could produce a control element (such as a common foe fought by both knights and samurai), such statistics would only tell us the comparative strength of the katana vs the notoriously-deficient samurai armor. The greatest sword versus the greatest armor (i.e. European sword, European armor) may indeed result in fewer deaths than the katana versus samurai armor... but of course, we won't know until you produce your sources.

bawbag - 2016-07-29

"Aggregate deaths are not an important statistic."

Said no military general ever.

Katana > Pleb euro swords.

bawbag - 2016-07-29

...and also, if the european swords are so great where is their unbroken, living traditions of sword arts?

There are none, because the european swords were comparatively deficient, their artistry in use lacking and without the legendarily keen edge of the katana plus the 1000+ years of rich historical efficacy in war, they were found wanting.

EvilHomer - 2016-07-29

Stop trying to derail the conversation, Cenasockbag. What a "military general" might have said or not said is irrelevant, because we are talking about a long-term statistical analysis of sword-quality, not a single battle nor a war of attrition.

And not that it matters, but you are incorrect on that point, too - aggregate deaths are nowhere near as important to a military commander as deaths averaged over time, or as deaths weighted-by-tactical-importance. Causing 10,000 deaths in an enemy army is a moot point if it takes you five years to accomplish; 1,000 deaths, applied swiftly and in the correct position (such as a single shattering Knightly charge which breaks and routes the enemy's center), is a far better bargain.

bawbag - 2016-07-29

"long-term statistical analysis of sword-quality" has never won a war.

You know what did win wars? Katanas. Lots of katanas, Lots of katanas over a 1000+ year span.

Evidence: Japanese sword arts still being a living, flourishing tradition rather than the forgotten embarrassment that is the euro sword arts, best known as the HEMA LARP crew with their fantastical notions.

They are literally the wiccans of weaponry, all of their lore based on modern-day fabrications, misinterpretations and nonsense.

An average katana owner could easily best any of these nerds in a 1v1, a master would decimate them.

William Burns - 2016-07-30

Katanas won as many wars as they lost, since they were mostly civil wars. In external wars, they were great for slaughtering unarmed peasants, but by the time Japan was fighting wars in Korea and China, they were well into the age of gunpowder. They might as well have been carrying machetes at that point.

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