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#172205 - 07/27/05 07:33 PM Realistic Sword?
zanshi Offline
Newbie

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 21
Hey all, I just read through a copy of "The Modern Swordsman: realistic training for seriouse self-defense" by Fred Hutchinson. (Excelent book by the way; I highly recomend it!) And, while I don't intend on carrying a sword around any time soon, I was wondering, in your opinion, what type/make of sword would be the most practicle for use as a weapon in battle. I mean, not the strongest, or most appealing, but the most versatile, realistic sword design for actual fighting? Any input would be much apreciated. Thanks

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#172206 - 07/27/05 09:14 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: zanshi]
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
Fighting in what time period and setting? The modern battlefield? The back alleys of modern day Chicago? Sekigahara? Agincourt?
_________________________
Iaido - Breaking down bad habits, and building new ones.

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#172207 - 07/27/05 10:16 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Charles Mahan]
zanshi Offline
Newbie

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 21
Mostly Chicago; despite all of the romantacism and mythology surrounding the sword and the warriors who use it, a sword has always been and always will be a tool for killing an enemy, whether it was done on an ancient battlefield, or in a dark ally. My question was the most effient design for doing so. For example, although very, very effient for thrusting, a gladius is not a sword you would use to cut someone; it has a very limited use.

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#172208 - 07/27/05 10:50 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: zanshi]
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
I think the word is still out on whether or not the Gladius is a thursting tool exclusively or was also commonly used to cut. Do some research, it's not as cut and dry as you think.

You seem to have side stepped my question. You can't really evaluate the practicality of a sword design in a vacuum. They need to be evaluated within the context in which they were created and used.

If you're looking for something that could be used in the here and now in a practical manner for self defense, you're living in a fantasy. The sword as a weapon of self defense is obsolete and impractical in the extreme. In modern times, they are only used for slaughtering civillians in areas where bullets are to valuable to waste on such targets. Ex. Machetes in the Rwandan genocide.
_________________________
Iaido - Breaking down bad habits, and building new ones.

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#172209 - 07/28/05 12:01 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: zanshi]
Marc_B Offline
Stranger

Registered: 06/16/05
Posts: 3
Loc: Maryland
You should not have any special fondness for a particular weapon, or anything else. for that matter. Too much is the same as not enough. Without imitating anyone else, you should have as much weaponry as suits you. To entertain likes and dislikes is bad for both commanders and soldiers. Pragmatic thinking is essential. (from The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, translated by Thomas Cleary)
_________________________
Marc Blaydoe Amateuristic martial arts are a source of serious wounds - Miyamoto Musashi

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#172210 - 07/28/05 02:58 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: zanshi]
pgsmith Offline
Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 275
Loc: Texas
Quote:

Hey all, I just read through a copy of "The Modern Swordsman: realistic training for seriouse self-defense" by Fred Hutchinson. (Excelent book by the way; I highly recomend it!) And, while I don't intend on carrying a sword around any time soon, I was wondering, in your opinion, what type/make of sword would be the most practicle for use as a weapon in battle. I mean, not the strongest, or most appealing, but the most versatile, realistic sword design for actual fighting? Any input would be much apreciated. Thanks



A couple of things to comment on here.

I read the first two pages of that book on Amazon and saw two glaring and obvious mistakes. To say I am not impressed would be a vast understatement.

There is no sword that is a practical weapon in battle today. Firearms are the practical weapon for battle. Firearms are also the best weapon to use in a fight. I'm sure you've heard the old saying about not bringing a sword to a gun fight.

There is no possible situation in our society today where anyone would be called upon to defend themselves with a sword. If they did, they would simply be shot like the fellow in Indiana Jones.
_________________________
Paul

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#172211 - 07/28/05 03:17 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: pgsmith]
globetrotter Offline
does unto others before they do unto him

Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 637
Loc: ny usa
I will bite - what people are saying is that the sword evolved, both as a reslt of its own technology and as a response to the threats faced and what you were likely to face.

I would say there are a few relevant points -

1. the chance of your facing another sword wielding person in battle are pretty much zero. so the assumption would be that you would have a sword to face somebody who doesn't have a sword - who is armed with a club, or a knife, or a gun, or a group of people who are armed with those weapons.

2. concelability is of huge importance in todays world. any weapon used by modern people, who aren't in the military, is usually concealable.

3. you will not be bothered by having to face people in armor, so some of the later swords developed for combat between men armored and armed with swords makes no sense.

4. the only real sword that makes any sense in todays would be a high quality cane sword, or unbrella sword. something that could be concealed, and then used to fight off a group of attackers by slashing quickly.

5. since you would get just as much jail time for carrying a cane sword as for carrying a snub nosed revolver, and the hand gun would be cheaper than a good quality sword, and easier to conceal, and more lethal for the first few attackers, I would suggest the gun is the better investment.

6. I would actually suggest something less lethal, in reality, like a sturdy umbrella or walking stick.

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#172212 - 07/28/05 09:28 PM On the gladius... [Re: zanshi]
Armed_Man_Piker Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 440
Loc: East Coast U.S.A.
Quote:

My question was the most effient design for doing so. For example, although very, very effient for thrusting, a gladius is not a sword you would use to cut someone; it has a very limited use.




With all due respect, you couldn't be more wrong about the gladius. The gladius is actually a dual-purpose weapon, capable of both thrusting and efficient cutting.

Take a look at any style of gladius (i.e., the original gladius Hispaniensis/"Mainz" pattern, or the later "Pompeii" & "Fulham" types), and you can see right away that this sword can execute devastating cuts. All variations of this sword feature a broad, flat, double-edged blade. The "Mainz" pattern, though featuring a very acutely-pointed blade, nevertheless swells at the center of percussion (COP), so as to maximize cutting capacity.

When the Macedonians fought against the Romans, it was actually the cutting ability of the gladius that shocked them--it's ability to split heads and sever limbs with one stroke is what made the Romans (and the Iberians, for that matter) feared.

Of course the gladius can thrust. There are certain obvious advantages to thrusting, but the Romans did not neglect the use of the edge. Period accounts even mention the infamous hamstring cut, which later became widely used in Renaissance swordplay.

The main difference between the Romans and their Celtic enemies was that the latter preferred longer swords that often had no point at all--La Tene III period Celtic swords frequently feature blades that are completely squared or rounded off at the end, and hence have no thrusting potential at all. Polybius noted this in his writings.

Thus, the Romans simply embraced the maxim written down by George Silver many centuries later:

"There is no fight perfect without both cut AND thrust". (emphasis added)

Best,

A_M_P
_________________________
And the rapier blades, being so narrow and of so small substance, and made of a very hard temper to fight in private frays... do presently break and so become unprofitable. --Sir John Smythe, 1590

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#172213 - 07/29/05 12:30 PM Re: On the gladius... [Re: Armed_Man_Piker]
glad2bhere Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
OK, noone else is going to ask so I guess that I will......

With all of this talk about the Roman gladius how come noone has brought up the Thracian short-sword (which so me looks like a gladius but with proportionately smaller dimensions).

And if we are going THIS route how come noone has brought up that nasty little (?) knife the Nepalese Ghurkas carry. They have a fearsome reputation down through the ages for making fine work with that item. Anyone?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#172214 - 07/29/05 12:49 PM Re: On the gladius... [Re: glad2bhere]
pisces590 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/24/05
Posts: 80
Loc: Texas, U.S.A.
Are you talking about the kukri (sorry if spelled wrong)

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#172215 - 07/29/05 01:41 PM Realistic Sword [Re: pisces590]
Benjamin1986 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 611
Loc: Republic of Texas
I have to agree with the others. A sword is impractical as a modern weapon because it cannot be concealed. It would probably scare too many innocent people and not protect you enough against predators.

You might want a barely-legal knife (5-3/8" in Texas) or revolver with a concealed-carry license as a better alternative. A bigger element of suprise, and the cops won't arrest you as well as your mugger.


Edited by Benjamin1986 (07/29/05 01:42 PM)
_________________________
Fencing Club at UH

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#172216 - 07/29/05 03:16 PM Re: On the gladius... [Re: glad2bhere]
globetrotter Offline
does unto others before they do unto him

Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 637
Loc: ny usa
actually, that is a very good weapon - they are small enough to conceal, and heavy enough to chop off a hand or split open a head. they just don't have much reach.

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#172217 - 07/30/05 01:13 AM Re: On the gladius... [Re: globetrotter]
glad2bhere Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
Still not sure why noone is talking about the Kukris that are used by the Nepalese Gurkhas. These are sound enough to take off a limb and formidible thrusting weapons. I understand that the Gurkhas themselves often train by smearing the handles with animal blood so that the in consistent sometimes sticky/sometimes slippery handling requires them to develop assured eye-hand coordination. There are a number of sources currently that are selling both the larger and the smaller weapon and they can be had for a pretty cheap price. Learning to throw them is actually rather simple given the odd shape. Since they are currently on the market as historical oddities I would go so far as to say that even a minor might be able to purchase one without too many questions asked. Of course you will probably need to GOOGLE for the source most convenient to people here. FWIW.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#172218 - 07/30/05 06:43 PM On the Kukri [Re: glad2bhere]
Benjamin1986 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 611
Loc: Republic of Texas
The kurkri is a nice example of a machete, but far too big for our purposes. Though, it is an excellent example of a forward swept blade, the idea is to have a weapon for defence that won't get you arrested.

The problems with the kukri are twofold: first, it is too big. You would get arrested. Second, it is a blade designed for cutting through things (note: this is speculation, I have no experience with the knife). The path of least resistance for say, a bowie knife, it to draw-cut, to leave the body. The kurkri curves outward, so it cuts deeper. Even if you had one within legal length limits, a prosecutor would likely try to sentence you for carrying a weapon designed to kill. Besides, a jury would not look as kindly upon an unfamiliar knife as say, a Bowie.

Good idea, but it has problem.
_________________________
Fencing Club at UH

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#172219 - 07/30/05 08:25 PM Re: On the gladius... [Re: glad2bhere]
Armed_Man_Piker Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 440
Loc: East Coast U.S.A.
Quote:

OK, noone else is going to ask so I guess that I will......

With all of this talk about the Roman gladius how come noone has brought up the Thracian short-sword (which so me looks like a gladius but with proportionately smaller dimensions).




Perhaps because it was not the "Thracian short-sword" which conquered the Western World.

FWIW, there are no "Thracian" versions of the gladius. The traditional Thracian short sword was the sica, which was curved, and thus of a totally different form from all gladii.

Greek hoplites made use of a cut-and-thrust sword known generally at the xiphos (and other versions, such as the smaller lakonia, were used as well). Like the gladius, these weapons swelled at the COP, but they weren't of the same excellent workmanship as the Iberian and Iberian-inspired gladii. The Greeks were a warrior culture that focused on the use of the spear. The great swordsmen of the Ancient world, on the other hand, were the Iberians, Romans, and Celts.

Different focus.
_________________________
And the rapier blades, being so narrow and of so small substance, and made of a very hard temper to fight in private frays... do presently break and so become unprofitable. --Sir John Smythe, 1590

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#172220 - 07/30/05 08:30 PM Re: On the gladius... [Re: Armed_Man_Piker]
Kendo_Noob Offline
Newbie

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 22
Loc: Wisconsin
buy a switchblade, every time i flip mine out, the "tough guy" goes running.
_________________________
The MKC Sam Schumacher

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#172221 - 07/30/05 09:21 PM Re: On the gladius... [Re: Armed_Man_Piker]
glad2bhere Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
OK, at the risk of pushing the point......

In the gladitorial games one of the personnas (don't ask me which one) was armed with a Thracian sword. Maybe its just a senior moment but I have no recollection of the gladius being used in this way. If I am mistaken I can use some help here. Otherwise I could use an explanation why they would use one and not the other. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#172222 - 07/31/05 11:52 AM Gladiator types [Re: glad2bhere]
Armed_Man_Piker Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 440
Loc: East Coast U.S.A.
Quote:

OK, at the risk of pushing the point......

In the gladitorial games one of the personnas (don't ask me which one) was armed with a Thracian sword. Maybe its just a senior moment but I have no recollection of the gladius being used in this way. If I am mistaken I can use some help here. Otherwise I could use an explanation why they would use one and not the other. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce




Hi Bruce,

The gladius was most certainly used in the gladiatorial games; the word itself means "swordsman". Roman Army historian Peter Connolly has suggested that the later "Pompeii"-type gladius was first used in the gladiatorial arena, and then introduced into the army.

Here's a breakdown about the various gladiator types that we know of:

Thracian Armed with the traditional Thracian curved short sword/long knife (sica), shield (a cut-down version of the scutum), helmet, greaves, and articulated arm-guard (manica) for the sword arm.

Secutor Armed with standard legionary sword (gladius), standard legionary shield (scutum), helmet, greaves, and articulated arm-guard (manica) for the sword arm.

Myrmillo Armed with standard legionary sword (gladius), standard legionary shield (scutum), helmet, only one greave (for the left--shield side--leg), and articulated arm-guard (manica) for the sword arm.

Provocator Armed with standard legionary sword (gladius), standard legionary shield (scutum), heart-guard (cardiophylax), helmet, greaves, and articulated arm-guard (manica) for the sword arm.

Retiarius Armed with a trident (fascina), lead-weighted net (rete), dagger, greaves, shoulder-guard (galerus), and articulated arm-guard (manica) for the left (net) arm.

Hoplomachus Armed with thrusting spear (hasta), round shield (parma or parmula), helmet, greaves, and articulated arm-guard (manica) for the spear arm (this gladiator presumably took his name from the hoplon, the larger round shield used by Greek hoplite infantry).

Saggitarius Armed with the Asiatic composite bow.

Essedari This gladiator fought from the Celtic war chariot (essedium).


The manica arm guard was sometimes made of maille or scale, as opposed to the articulated type.


Edited by Armed_Man_Piker (07/31/05 11:54 AM)

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#172223 - 07/31/05 01:17 PM Re: Gladiator types [Re: Armed_Man_Piker]
shihan_chris Offline
Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 64
Although, it is very unlikey that you would use a sword in a real situation, if the situation called for it, then i would say that a katana would be the best. The reason why i reccomend the katana is because it is designed in such a way that allows for maximum efficiency. Although without proper training it wouldn't be a whole lot better than any other sword. The katana as you obviously know, is Japanese. The Japanese had a simple philosophy: "One cut, one kill".
So not only do you need to be good at making the cut, but you also have to know when to draw the sword and make the cut. Technically, when a katana is used properly there isnt a lot of clashing between swords like you see on television. It's a very quick, and descisive kill. That is true swordsmanship. And onto the practicality issue......... a gun would be best for self defense. A katana won't jam or stall, so if you plan on using it for vengeance purposes, or straight up killing, and not self defense then i suppose that a katana is a good choice. (Although a Psychiatrist or therapist would be a much better choice.)

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#172224 - 07/31/05 02:32 PM Re: Gladiator types [Re: shihan_chris]
glad2bhere Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
Dear AMP:

What a great post!! You da man!

Reading the list of personnas for the games, my eye discerns that the balance seems to be tipped in favor of thrust over cut. I say this because despite the previous info I still view the gladius as a thrusting weapon. I suppose this is something like the view of the Japanese katana as for slashing/cutting despite a number of thrusting techniques. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#172225 - 07/31/05 02:58 PM Gladiators & the gladius' dual-purpose role [Re: glad2bhere]
Armed_Man_Piker Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 440
Loc: East Coast U.S.A.
Quote:

Dear AMP:

What a great post!! You da man!




Thanks, I try.

Quote:

Reading the list of personnas for the games, my eye discerns that the balance seems to be tipped in favor of thrust over cut. I say this because despite the previous info I still view the gladius as a thrusting weapon. I suppose this is something like the view of the Japanese katana as for slashing/cutting despite a number of thrusting techniques. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce




We have to go back to Connolly's theory that the "Pompeii"-pattern gladius was originally used by gladiators. Connolly's reasoning for this is that:

1. The "Pompeii"-pattern gladii have short, comparatively obtuse points, and broad, parallel-sided blades. Therefore, they actually are not as specialized for thrusting as their "Mainz"-pattern predecessors (which, as you recall from my earlier post, featured a far more acute-angled point, for piercing armor). Connolly convincingly argues that this would make the "Pompeii"-pattern sword ideal for the gladiators, who had no use for an armor-piercing sword in the first place, since their own body protection was minimal.

2. There was an exchange of ideas between the gladiatorial schools and the Army. The gladiatorial games provided weapons-based equivalent to modern MMA/NHB competition--a sort of "living killing laboratory" (for lack of a better term), where weapons and techniques could be analyzed and appraised. Both gladiators and legionary recruits were taught by a doctor armorum (weapons instructor).

3. "Pompeii"-pattern gladii found in excavated Roman military sites frequently have scabbards decorated with gladiatorial motifs, which suggests gladiatorial origins for this type of sword.

Therefore, I maintain that the gladius--especially in its final "Pompeii"/"Fulham" form--is very much a general-purpose, cut-and-thrust weapon.

Best,

A_M_P


Edited by Armed_Man_Piker (07/31/05 03:03 PM)
_________________________
And the rapier blades, being so narrow and of so small substance, and made of a very hard temper to fight in private frays... do presently break and so become unprofitable. --Sir John Smythe, 1590

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#172226 - 08/01/05 08:57 AM Re: Gladiators & the gladius' dual-purpose role [Re: Armed_Man_Piker]
glad2bhere Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
Gees, I hope other folks here are doing a heads-up on your last post. Gotta say that THIS is how I think the Internet needs to be used. Thanks for the great response and sound information.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#172227 - 08/02/05 10:19 AM Re: Gladiators & the gladius' dual-purpose role [Re: glad2bhere]
Armed_Man_Piker Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 440
Loc: East Coast U.S.A.
Quote:

Gees, I hope other folks here are doing a heads-up on your last post. Gotta say that THIS is how I think the Internet needs to be used. Thanks for the great response and sound information.

Best Wishes,

Bruce




Anytime, Bruce.
_________________________
And the rapier blades, being so narrow and of so small substance, and made of a very hard temper to fight in private frays... do presently break and so become unprofitable. --Sir John Smythe, 1590

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#172228 - 08/03/05 02:51 PM Re: Gladiator types [Re: shihan_chris]
Benjamin1986 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 611
Loc: Republic of Texas
Quote:

Although, it is very unlikey that you would use a sword in a real situation, if the situation called for it, then i would say that a katana would be the best. The reason why i reccomend the katana is because it is designed in such a way that allows for maximum efficiency. Although without proper training it wouldn't be a whole lot better than any other sword. The katana as you obviously know, is Japanese. The Japanese had a simple philosophy: "One cut, one kill".
So not only do you need to be good at making the cut, but you also have to know when to draw the sword and make the cut. Technically, when a katana is used properly there isnt a lot of clashing between swords like you see on television. It's a very quick, and descisive kill. That is true swordsmanship. And onto the practicality issue......... a gun would be best for self defense. A katana won't jam or stall, so if you plan on using it for vengeance purposes, or straight up killing, and not self defense then i suppose that a katana is a good choice. (Although a Psychiatrist or therapist would be a much better choice.)



First, the problem with carrying a sword is that the only people who would challenge you would stand twenty feet away with their gun drawn and aimed. You know the rest: "drop the sword or I shoot", "hand over your money", and "thanks for the sword".

Second, the katana draw-cut is a nice advantage in suprise situations, but that is about a quarter-second advantage over say, a dao or broadsword. Once the sword is drawn, the katana is no more effective than any other saber-class weapon.

Third, as stated before, THEY ARE ILLEGAL TO CARRY ON THE STREET, making this argument moot.

Also, to whomever suggested a switchblade (a knife that opens by button or centrifugal force), those are not only illegal to carry, but also are ILLEGAL TO EVEN OWN in the USA.

Just a warning
_________________________
Fencing Club at UH

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#172229 - 08/03/05 02:54 PM Re: Gladiator types [Re: Benjamin1986]
funstick5000 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/16/05
Posts: 759
Loc: West Yorkshire, England
Quote:

Third, as stated before, THEY ARE ILLEGAL TO CARRY ON THE STREET, making this argument moot.




you could hide a wazikashi under your jacket crocodile dundee style tho
_________________________
Go seek the advise of a qualified instructor.

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#172230 - 08/03/05 03:15 PM Re: Gladiator types [Re: funstick5000]
Benjamin1986 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 611
Loc: Republic of Texas
I prefer that we obey the law rather than just hope I don't get caught. Though I would feel very safe with an Angelsword Bowie in my coat (yes, that was one of the earlier Angels). A cut-and-run is not looked at highly by the law, and if you are mugged and defend yourself, you will have to turn in the weapon UNCLEANED to the police (another reason not to use a sword, blood rusts steel in minutes).
_________________________
Fencing Club at UH

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#172231 - 08/04/05 01:15 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: zanshi]
Demonologist437 Offline
Member

Registered: 03/03/05
Posts: 159
Loc: Hodunk, Illinios
If I can mention, Nowadays I think if your "unarmed" training is good enough, you should never HAVE to draw a sword. Okay, MAYBE in aserious situation like knife vs. you
and you cannot get out of there, possibly another sharp, pointy thing in your hands could help.
But I think first, since It's my guess that through the gladius/gladitorial stuff we are talking about sword in the modern day, keep in mind a point that even warriors from centuries past probably even kept in mind:

#1 Know thy enemy.
Common street thugs, our #1 enemy as MAs, rarely have any formal training (if they do it's the TKD they did for a year cause' they liked "karate kid"; no shot to the TKD people mind you I'm just pointing out the styles overall popularity and notoriety often draws people interested in the martial arts to above others simply because they have heard the name. PLEASE don't flame me just for mentioning your style in that context.
PLEASE) and our thug's weapons are usually limited to gun, knife, pool cue, or pretty much anything he can hold in one/two hand(s) and swing.
So, there's not really a whole lot going on there. His movements are AMAZINGLY predictable, if only because he's never been told that winding up telegraphs his next attack for three miles and he moves strictly out of emotion, not refined skill. He doesn't know how to use his knife either, he thinks it's just a tiny sword and uses it like that, adding another layer of predictablity to how he might strike. His gun, I wanna avoid for obvious reasons.
I point this out, because way back when, when EVERYBODY used up-close and personal melee weapons and it's safe to say anyone who knows how to use it either knows nothing about the weapon or REALLY knows his weapon, EVERYTHING was how you fought and how much you knew about HOW to fight.
That's why complicated parries and feints, etc, movements are in the weapons forms, it was to balance the fact a little that when you end up against somebody who knows something, you wont just fall because everything you know and all you techniques are meant for fighting rube conscripted farmers. The fact the enemy could know what you've got up your sleeve and counter it was HUGE I imagine,
and if you didn't prepare for it, you might as well as start to writting out that will.
In the modern day, your oppenent will RARELY know ANYTHING other than: hit hard=good getting hit=bad.

So really, ANY sword could work. The common rube thug wont be able to do anything other than flail, so as long as you can parry, have the slightest idea what you are doing, you aren't going up against 5 people and they do NOT have a gun, you will cut them down no matter what you use.

And really, if you've been training you're "unarmed" enough, it should never get to the point where you have to draw a(n) [insert painful pointy-sharp object here].

That's why I train arnis stick as much as anything else I do. THAT is a practical weapon, since it's virtually anything you can use in one, even two hands (sometimes).

Also, as people have mentioned, there is the legal side of things. It doesn't matter if they were kicking your dog while violating someone, if they are cut up and bleeding heavily (sometimes, even lightly if you hit the right nasty places) the cops will arrest YOU as well. That's one of the big questions we as martial artists ALWAYS ask ourselves in a situation "How much force do I use? Should I break something? IS this a situation where I absolutely cannot get out and he's much stronger than I am so should I kill him?" In essence, that's what we are doing. In todays world, lethal force in any situation is almost ALWAYS frowned on, especially if you could have done something other than go for a killing/severly injuring blow right away. that's why I think that "unarmed" should always be taught BEFORE weapons.

My spewl aside, if I had to pick, I would go with a knife.
"cleaner" somewhat than a full sword, and still just as nasty when you know how to use it.
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#172232 - 08/04/05 12:36 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Demonologist437]
Benjamin1986 Offline
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Very good point, DO. However, there is a problem with your analysis. How much "street smarts" and skills did they learn? If you try to keep him at arm length, will he respond with Tae-Kwon-Do's long range kicks, or close in and wrestle you to the ground? You have the problem of fighting a blank slate. Anything you do will get a different reaction than you expect. You have always fought against trained and skilled opponents in matches, and your anticipation and predictions are based around what you have seen them do. Yes, you have the advantage, but I know that the hardest people to fence against are rank beginners. You will win against them consistently, but those matches are won 5-2 or 5-3, almost never the comforting 5-0.

Never forget that the greatest swordsman alive was killed by a farmer holding a big stick. You should never be too confident even when facing a man that you know has never had a day of formal training.

Just some thoughts.
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#172233 - 08/04/05 01:02 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Benjamin1986]
funstick5000 Offline
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who was the greatest swordsman alive?
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#172234 - 08/04/05 04:18 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: funstick5000]
Charles Mahan Offline
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What kinda question is that? How can any of us possibly know the answer to that question? There were undoubtedly millions of swordsmen throughout recorded history.


Edited by Charles Mahan (08/04/05 04:19 PM)
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#172235 - 08/04/05 04:34 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Charles Mahan]
funstick5000 Offline
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Quote:

What kinda question is that? How can any of us possibly know the answer to that question? There were undoubtedly millions of swordsmen throughout recorded history.




benjamin's post, 2 posts above this one reffered to 'the best swordsman ever who was killed by a farmer' if you'd bothered to have read it properly. i was asking him who he was reffering to, in similar lines to your post but somewhat more politely.

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#172236 - 08/04/05 11:37 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Benjamin1986]
Armed_Man_Piker Offline
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Quote:

Never forget that the greatest swordsman alive was killed by a farmer holding a big stick.




Who exactly are you referring to?

Miyamoto Musashi, widely recognized as one of the greatest swordsmen in Asian circles, was defeated (but not killed) by Muso Gonnosuke, who wielded a 4-foot jo.

On the other side of the world (and around the same time), an English sailor named Richard Peeke, who happened to be a rather capable player with the English quarterstaff, used that weapon to defeat 3 Spanish rapier-and-dagger men who attacked him at once. He killed one, and disabled the other two.

A bit earlier (late 16th century), a certain Italian, Rocco Bonetti, was embarrassed by a local waterman in England. Apparently, Bonetti had a disagreement with this fellow, and drew his rapier on him. The waterman replied by wacking Rocco with an oar. Rocco survived this encounter.

The only fellow above recognized as a truly "great" swordsman is Musashi. The Spanish espadachins that Peeke defeated are basically unknown, though one must assume that they were at least competent, since they fought on behalf of the Duke of Medina Sidonia. Rocco Bonetti seems to have been fairly unremarkable; he ran a fencing school for a time in London, but his encounters on the street (with the waterman already mentioned, and a fellow named Austin Bagger) both ended in humiliating defeat.

In any case, I'm most curious to know who you are talking about...
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And the rapier blades, being so narrow and of so small substance, and made of a very hard temper to fight in private frays... do presently break and so become unprofitable. --Sir John Smythe, 1590

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#172237 - 08/04/05 11:54 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: funstick5000]
Charles Mahan Offline
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Quote:

Quote:

What kinda question is that? How can any of us possibly know the answer to that question? There were undoubtedly millions of swordsmen throughout recorded history.




benjamin's post, 2 posts above this one reffered to 'the best swordsman ever who was killed by a farmer' if you'd bothered to have read it properly. i was asking him who he was reffering to, in similar lines to your post but somewhat more politely.




Ahh... Ok I was wondering about that. My apologies. It was not clear within your post and I did not connect it to the previous one.
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#172238 - 08/05/05 02:49 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Armed_Man_Piker]
Benjamin1986 Offline
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I was actually thinking about Musashi, but I couldn't remember his name, or even his country (very little sleep last night). Thanks for the correction, Piker.

Anyway, the point is this: we should always remember to never overestimate our skills, because we all can and will eventually lose.
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#172239 - 08/05/05 11:35 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Benjamin1986]
Charles Mahan Offline
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Muso Gonusuke was hardly a farmer though. He was a very accomplished swordsman in his own right. He faught a duel with Musashi using bokuto and lost. It was this failure that caused him to find a way to defeat Musashi and thus led to the creation of Jodo.
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#172240 - 08/05/05 03:11 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Charles Mahan]
xerxes Offline
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Several people have mentioned legal problems with carrying a sword around. All too true. But, what about use of a sword when dealing with a home invasion situation. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a sword compared to a pistol? What kind of sword for combat in the close confines of the average house at night time?

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#172241 - 08/05/05 03:39 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: xerxes]
globetrotter Offline
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I recently read a very good article, which I tried to find now but could't, on home defence with a short sword similar to the machete. it was very positive - the author found it to b an excellent home defence weapon - provided it had point, a choping/slashing side, enough weight to chop with, and wasn't too long.

on the other hand, again, you could get as good results with the right stick, and it would be harder for inintended victims to get hurt.

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#172242 - 08/05/05 06:17 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
glad2bhere Offline
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Oh, well, if you are going to go off in this direction then we are going to need to put some limits to what we are calling swords.

For instance, I don't know if people have seen a certain item out on the MA supply catalogs but it is evidently an aluminum baton except it is hollow and one end comes unscrewed so as to unsheath a short sword from inside. In turn this piece can be screwwed back into the baton to produce a kind of short-handled naginata.

Or are we going to start talking about the ability to carry and use those cheap sword canes......

I thought we were talking about the use of actual "swords". Where exactly is this going? If we are already down to machetes, I don't think it will be too long before we get to cleavers, yes? Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce


Edited by glad2bhere (08/05/05 06:18 PM)

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#172243 - 08/05/05 07:44 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: glad2bhere]
Armed_Man_Piker Offline
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Quote:

I thought we were talking about the use of actual "swords". Where exactly is this going? If we are already down to machetes, I don't think it will be too long before we get to cleavers, yes? Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce




Bruce,

The machete is the agricultural/utilitarian cousin of short swords like the European falchion, the German messer, and the Filipino bolo. Bolos of course figure prominently in many eskrima systems--espada y daga (sword and dagger) is often practiced with a bolo and knife. In Mexico, a method of machete fighting (based on saber fencing), was once practiced. In addition, the Venezualan stick-and-knife art of garote larense also makes use of the machete.

Best,

A_M_P
_________________________
And the rapier blades, being so narrow and of so small substance, and made of a very hard temper to fight in private frays... do presently break and so become unprofitable. --Sir John Smythe, 1590

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#172244 - 08/05/05 09:46 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: xerxes]
Charles Mahan Offline
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Quote:


Several people have mentioned legal problems with carrying a sword around. All too true. But, what about use of a sword when dealing with a home invasion situation. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a sword compared to a pistol? What kind of sword for combat in the close confines of the average house at night time?




Do a search for "home defense sword shotgun" This has been covered plenty of times before. Long story short bad idea. Even if you are succesful, you're probably going to jail. Don't ask me to clarify. Search the archives.
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#172245 - 08/05/05 11:29 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Charles Mahan]
Benjamin1986 Offline
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Again, thanks for the correction Charles (I've looked it up and the "greatest swordsman killed by a farmer" thing is actually a quote from Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. Quite a goof on my part).

However, I still disagree with the majority on the home defense thing. It isn't nearly as clear-cut as all that. Using a sword as home defense varies greatly from country to country, state to state, and jury to jury (conservatives would look more kindly on it than liberals), and if the intruder is armed, you have a pretty good chance of getting off (in America, at least). However, you will be far better off using a gun and killing them with the first shot (injured criminals have successfully sued for medical bills in the past).

That's a pretty good summary of the previous discussion. I really don't want to get into it again.

In either case: street or home, you are better off, legally, using a knife or gun rather than a sword.
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#172246 - 08/06/05 01:12 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Armed_Man_Piker]
glad2bhere Offline
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Quote:



The machete is the agricultural/utilitarian cousin of short swords like the European falchion, the German messer, and the Filipino bolo. Bolos of course figure prominently in many eskrima systems--espada y daga (sword and dagger) is often practiced with a bolo and knife. In Mexico, a method of machete fighting (based on saber fencing), was once practiced. In addition, the Venezualan stick-and-knife art of garote larense also makes use of the machete.





Exactly, AMP. Are we not stepping across the line from actual sword material to derivations OF sword material? I have visions of someone making an arguement for some of that late 19th century Chinese weaponry or (gawd forbid) one of those double-ended Sith pieces from the STAR WARS series. I had it in my mind to make an arguement for Patton's cavalry sabre as he seemed genuinely motivated to find a balance between a thrusting and slashing item in the same instrument (See: Amberger).

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#172247 - 08/06/05 02:29 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: glad2bhere]
Armed_Man_Piker Offline
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Quote:

Exactly, AMP. Are we not stepping across the line from actual sword material to derivations OF sword material? I have visions of someone making an arguement for some of that late 19th century Chinese weaponry or (gawd forbid) one of those double-ended Sith pieces from the STAR WARS series. I had it in my mind to make an arguement for Patton's cavalry sabre as he seemed genuinely motivated to find a balance between a thrusting and slashing item in the same instrument (See: Amberger).

Best Wishes,

Bruce




I'm not sure I follow you, Bruce.

My point was simply that the machete is a simple form of sword (which is apparently something you don't agree with).

As for Patton's M1913 saber, it was intended principally as a thrusting tool (although admittedly Patton did mention that his design was a better cutting weapon than the US Cavalry's previous saber). The M1913 was clearly a copy of the British 1908 pattern, which, in turn, was derived from the 1907 Puerto Seguro saber of the Spanish military.
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And the rapier blades, being so narrow and of so small substance, and made of a very hard temper to fight in private frays... do presently break and so become unprofitable. --Sir John Smythe, 1590

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#172248 - 08/06/05 11:58 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Armed_Man_Piker]
glad2bhere Offline
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Quote:



I'm not sure I follow you, Bruce.

My point was simply that the machete is a simple form of sword (which is apparently something you don't agree with).




Oh, no, I DO agree that there is machete work derived from sabre work. What I was getting confused about is that I thought the focus of the discussion was the use of the sword as opposed to a weapon derived from sword tradition. I agree that the machete would make a formidible street weapon and this has been demonstrated even as recently as the South African uprisings of the last few years. However, when I think of using a sword for a S-D application even in the context of modern combat I immediate envision a specific tradition utilizing a full-sized weapon.

My comment about Patton's pattern weapon was to set a limit on what I would accept as an acceptable limit for the application of the term "sword" in a modern application.

BTW: I stumbled across a VERY interesting program on cable that did an experiment with Bronze Age weapons of the Greek period (somewhere around the period of Troy, I think). The penetrating power of the spear as used on a fresh pig carcass was impressive. On the other hand the bronze sword hacked a number of times and was unable to sever a limb and ultimately was rendered useless as it bent from the application. Thoughts? Comments? (You can probably tell I am listing a bit to thrusting over slashing despite my background in Korean sword. )

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#172249 - 08/06/05 11:58 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: zanshi]
Amos Smith Offline
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the sword of "no sword" can be used at any time, anywhere.

Amos
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#172250 - 08/06/05 12:52 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: glad2bhere]
Armed_Man_Piker Offline
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Quote:

Oh, no, I DO agree that there is machete work derived from sabre work. What I was getting confused about is that I thought the focus of the discussion was the use of the sword as opposed to a weapon derived from sword tradition.




Perhaps semantics are becoming an issue now--again, the machete is a sword in everything but its name and most usual type of employment.

Quote:

I agree that the machete would make a formidible street weapon and this has been demonstrated even as recently as the South African uprisings of the last few years. However, when I think of using a sword for a S-D application even in the context of modern combat I immediate envision a specific tradition utilizing a full-sized weapon.




Then perhaps our respective definitions of a "full-sized weapon" differ? I ask this because I just listed 2 "specific traditions" for the use of the machete (one which still survives), and 1 "specific tradition" for the use of the machete's Southeast Asian cousin, the bolo (and, of course, eskrima likewise still survives).


Quote:

My comment about Patton's pattern weapon was to set a limit on what I would accept as an acceptable limit for the application of the term "sword" in a modern application.




What is this "limit" based on?

Quote:

BTW: I stumbled across a VERY interesting program on cable that did an experiment with Bronze Age weapons of the Greek period (somewhere around the period of Troy, I think). The penetrating power of the spear as used on a fresh pig carcass was impressive. On the other hand the bronze sword hacked a number of times and was unable to sever a limb and ultimately was rendered useless as it bent from the application. Thoughts? Comments? (You can probably tell I am listing a bit to thrusting over slashing despite my background in Korean sword. )




That's why iron weapons were developed. The gladius of the Iberians and Romans was iron. The falcata of the Iberians was iron. The spatha of the Celts and Romans was iron.

And to illustrate how good these comparatively early iron swords are, it should be noted that Ancient Iberian swords were noted for their stiff spring temper--they could be bent virtually in a semi-circle, and flex back perfectly straight. Author and historian Peter Connolly witnessed this done with a 2,000-year-old Celtic sword that was dredged from a lake.

And FWIW, I witnessed a similar demonstration with a late Frankish pattern-welded sword (a Viking-type sword). I cringed as I saw the owner bend the thing, but it passed the test.
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And the rapier blades, being so narrow and of so small substance, and made of a very hard temper to fight in private frays... do presently break and so become unprofitable. --Sir John Smythe, 1590

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#172251 - 08/06/05 01:08 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Armed_Man_Piker]
globetrotter Offline
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1.bronze age swords were very poor weapons, look at the thread about persian swords, the main weapon of the time was a spear.

2. I would suggest that a long sword or saber in a house defence situation would be unweildy, too long to use in the corners and staicases easiely.

3. in the 1990's we saw literaly hundreds of thousands of people killed with cheap iron machetes that were made for agricultural use. it could be argued that in all of alexanders wars, and possibly all of rome's wars not as many people were killed with the short iron sword as were killed with the machete in africa in the late 20th century. don't disregard the value of a machete.

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#172252 - 08/06/05 02:40 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Benjamin1986]
Charles Mahan Offline
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Quote:

Again, thanks for the correction Charles (I've looked it up and the "greatest swordsman killed by a farmer" thing is actually a quote from Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. Quite a goof on my part).





That's quite alright. A fantastic series of books which draws heavily on military history as the inspiration for a great deal of the world building. That's pretty clearly a reference to the second duel between Miyamoto Musashi and Muso Gunosuke.

Of course it's not a series for those with short attention spans.
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#172253 - 08/07/05 04:42 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Armed_Man_Piker]
glad2bhere Offline
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".....And, while I don't intend on carrying a sword around any time soon, I was wondering, in your opinion, what type/make of sword would be the most practicle for use as a weapon in battle. I mean, not the strongest, or most appealing, but the most versatile, realistic sword design for actual fighting?..."

Dear AMP:

I re-posted the opening contribution to this thread in an effort to clarify my thought.

As I see it a machete, or a cleaver were originally intended to perform some job other than mayhem. Borrowing training from the use of actual swords whose function is originally to commit mayhem I can understand the someone might press a farm implement or kitchen utensil into service as a weapon. I can think of a number of items hanging in my garage right now that would even closely resemble true military items of years past, but these rakes, or such are not in and of themselves military weapons. Now, I don't know about the Phillipino Bolo, but it seems that we have no limit on the length or breadth of the item to choose. However, I think we need to decide whether we are talking about something that was originally manufactured as a weapon or an item that developed into a piece of weaponry through "customary use". Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#172254 - 08/07/05 11:52 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: glad2bhere]
globetrotter Offline
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a machete fits the framework of historical weapon design - if the technology had been available through out history to manufacture machetes, for 99.9% of human history they would have been the best weapon on the field.

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#172255 - 08/08/05 10:02 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
Armed_Man_Piker Offline
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Quote:

a machete fits the framework of historical weapon design - if the technology had been available through out history to manufacture machetes, for 99.9% of human history they would have been the best weapon on the field.




Whoa, hold on there, son.

I just stated a couple of posts back that folks have been able to make high-quality swords (with stiff yet flexible blades, varying carbon contents in the blade, etc) for thousands of years.

While the machete is clearly a simple type of sword (used mainly for agricultural applications), there are certainly plenty of other sword types that have many advantages over the machete.
_________________________
And the rapier blades, being so narrow and of so small substance, and made of a very hard temper to fight in private frays... do presently break and so become unprofitable. --Sir John Smythe, 1590

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#172256 - 08/08/05 12:35 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Armed_Man_Piker]
globetrotter Offline
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actually, I used an incorrect word - history implies that period for which we have written record, which isn't that long, only 4 or so thousand years.

for 99.9% of human existance, the type of machete that you can buy for 30 bucks at a hardware store would have been the best weapon anybody had every seen. yes, about 800 years ago, weapons that were of similar quality were becoming available to the select and wealthy few, but they weren't that common, and they were very very expensive to manufacture. It was probrably only around 1800 that mass manufacture of high quality steel swords came about.

steel only becam common in the midle of the middle ages, and then it was still pretty rare. iron has been available for about 2200 years, more or less, of varying quality. before that, you are talking bronze and copper.

even without taking into consideration production issues, sure, there were some nice swords out there - realistically speaking I am not convinced that they had the suppleness, the ability to hold an edge, the strength and the lightness/weight distribution of a machete, except for the very very top end weapons manufactured by spetialists in japan, spain, possibly damascus.

I stand by the statememt that the common hardware store machete is probrably was good a weapon as almost anything that has seen battle in human existance, before the industrial revolution and has probrably killed as many people as were killed by swords in rome's wars and alexander's wars put together.

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#172257 - 08/08/05 12:43 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
Charles Mahan Offline
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Quote:

actually, I used an incorrect word - history implies that period for which we have written record, which isn't that long, only 4 or so thousand years.





Actually, I was under the impression that written language goes back around 6,000 years.

As for the machete being better than everything on the battlefield, I'm guess it would have been less than useful on the average Japanese battlefield where most injuries were caused spear, and projectile weapons(arrows, rocks, etc). When it comes to facing a pike wall, a modern machete would not prove all that useful. Do you think Machete's would have helped the French at Agincort? And a guy with a machete versus a competent rapier man is gonna have some difficulty.

"Better weapon" is an entirely subjective term.
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#172258 - 08/08/05 12:59 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Charles Mahan]
globetrotter Offline
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good point. actually, not to play with semantics, but that does fit into what I was discussing- humans have been making weapons for at least 500,000 years, the tactics of the long bow and the pike were developed less than 800 years ago, making them available for about a fifth of one percent of human existance.

but that is just nit picking - of course, the geneus of the british long bow was that no shock weapon could really address it well, and the buety of the line of pikes was that it was such a fantastic way to break momentum. for me to use a term like "best weapon" was a little asinine, but I was replying to the idea that since the machete wasn't developed as a weapon, it shouldn't be discussed here. I would suggest that, if people had the technolgy to develop the machete they would have.

concerning a guy with a machete and a competent man with a rapier - that I am honestly not sure of. maybe, maybe not, if you were to take a person who had been trained with a short sword style, and/or a short sword and a buckler or a short sword and a stick, you might have a very interesting fight on your hands.

if nothing else, the machete will have pretty good choping power, pretty good speed due to the lightness, an excellent edge, very hard blade that is capable of withnstanding punishment. it might make for an insteresting fight.


and yes, the written word goes back about 6,000 years, very little of our actual history goes back any more than 3,000-4,000 years, though

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#172259 - 08/08/05 10:32 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
Benjamin1986 Offline
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Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 611
Loc: Republic of Texas
Guys, while this is an interesting tangent, perhaps this should be moved to another topic.

Globetrotter, the machete is a big knife/small sword. therefore, it fits perfectly into the realm of this discussion.

Oddly enough, I remembered a story from the Daniel Watson, founder of Angelsword that is relevant to this discussion
Quote:

During my early twenties there were numerous adventures, lots of traveling in Mexico and Guatemala, some of which may have gotten a little far across the legal borders as well.

There were times that my buddies and I were the first white men that the locals had ever seen. I carried a large (20”OAL) camp knife/bowie/shortsword upside down off my left shoulder so that it could be drawn and the cut made with a single move. In one village in Chiapas we were greeted by a group of men closing the street with drawn machetes. Backing up might have been worse than going forward. Passing a table full of fruit I made several extremely rapid chops through a cantaloupe, skewered a section on the tip on my knife and flashed it right into the face of the guy I took to be headman. “Melon?” By their tradition eating together was a token of friendship and he had the choice before him. Melon or blade? We ate melon. They cut trail for me all the next day.




If you follow the link, you will find other interesting stories as well.
_________________________
Fencing Club at UH

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#172260 - 08/09/05 12:15 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
Armed_Man_Piker Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 440
Loc: East Coast U.S.A.
Globe,

Quote:

for 99.9% of human existance, the type of machete that you can buy for 30 bucks at a hardware store would have been the best weapon anybody had every seen.




If you honestly believe that, then your knowledge of period weapons must be severely limited.

Quote:

yes, about 800 years ago, weapons that were of similar quality were becoming available to the select and wealthy few, but they weren't that common, and they were very very expensive to manufacture. It was probrably only around 1800 that mass manufacture of high quality steel swords came about.




Sounds like you have to do a bit more homework.

I already mentioned high-quality Celtic swords, like the 2,000-year-old example seen by Peter Connolly.

In addition, the Ancient Iberians consistently made iron swords of the highest quality, several centuries before the birth of Christ. One writer of the time commented on their manufacture:

"...regarding the preparation of these iron sheets for the so-called Celtic and Spanish swords: to test if these are good, they take the hilt in the right hand and the point in the left, holding it horizontally above the head, then pull downwards on both ends until they touch the shoulders, the release them quickly. Once the sword is released, it straightens again without showing any kind of distortion. This is due to the fact that the iron is extraordinarily pure, and is worked on later with fire, in such a way that it does not contain... any defect; neither does the iron get too hard or too soft.

...The sword owes its flexibility to being composed of three layers, two hard and one soft one in the middle."


You should also be made aware of the fact that the superb European pattern-welded blades--most often associated with the Vikings and the Frankish smiths of the Rhineland during the Dark Ages--were in fact first made by the Celts of the La Tene period (450 B.C.-50 B.C.).

By 900 A.D., the manufacture of homogenous steel swords was introduced by the Frankish Rhineland smiths, and it became the standard European method of manufacture from then on.

All of these pre-date your "800 years ago" claim by a wide margin.


Quote:

steel only becam common in the midle of the middle ages, and then it was still pretty rare. iron has been available for about 2200 years, more or less, of varying quality. before that, you are talking bronze and copper.

even without taking into consideration production issues, sure, there were some nice swords out there - realistically speaking I am not convinced that they had the suppleness, the ability to hold an edge, the strength and the lightness/weight distribution of a machete, except for the very very top end weapons manufactured by spetialists in japan, spain, possibly damascus.




I guess you don't have much experience with handling original weapons, either.

Mr. Mahan and other JSA folks can doubtlessly tell you about the sharpness and edge-holding ability of Japanese blades.

For myself, I have been fortunate to personally examine several orignal European pieces--the late Frankish pattern-welded sword I mentioned, a couple of Medieval "knightly" swords, a couple of Renaissance-era rapiers, and several basket-hilted broadswords and backswords from the 17th and 18th centuries.

All the originals I have handled have been lighter and far better balanced than the vast majority of modern replicas. Only the most expensive of modern pieces even come close.

My old fencing maestro experienced the same thing when he received a private tour of the Tower of London's swords (including ones that aren't on public display), and he was able to handle far more swords than I have.

As for sharpness, things like the remains of the slain at the Wisbey Grave Pit, and eyewitness accounts of the Jacobite Rebellions (to name only a couple of examples), speak for themselves.

You are also wrong in thinking that Japan, Spain, and Damascus were the only places capable of producing first-rate swords. The fact is that high-quality edged weapons were manufactured in many places--in addition to Spain (Toledo, specifically), there were major centers in Italy (Milan and Brescia), Austria (Innsbruck), Germany (Cologne, Solingen, etc), and France (Bordeaux).

Nor should you think that Syria (Damascus) was the only place in Muslim circles that produced fine swords--writing in the 9th century A.D., the Arab metalurgist Al-Kindi stated that the best swords came from Yemen, Qal'a, and India (and don't forget that the excellent wootz steel was an Indian specialty).

Quote:

I stand by the statememt that the common hardware store machete is probrably was good a weapon as almost anything that has seen battle in human existance, before the industrial revolution and has probrably killed as many people as were killed by swords in rome's wars and alexander's wars put together.




Fine--give us some evidence for your claim.

You seem to be under the impression that, prior to the beginning of the 19th century, folks weren't able to consistently make quality swords. That clearly wasn't the case. You claim that good weapons were "very very expensive to manufacture", but that depends both on the time period and specific culture you are talking about. Sword-based martial cultures (the Ancient Iberians, the Ancient Celts, the Ancient Romans, the Medieval Germans, the Renaissance-era Spanish, the Renaissance-era Germans, etc) clearly displayed the ability to mass-produce good quality weapons--swords that were in demand not only in the homeland, but abroad (take, for example, the demand for German sword blades in Scotland). Look at armies that used the sword as a primary tactical weapon--the Iberians, the Celts, the Romans, the Spanish in the 15th and early 16th centuries, and the Highland Scots from the 16th-18th centuries--and you will see plenty of 1st-rate swords.

Best,

A_M_P
_________________________
And the rapier blades, being so narrow and of so small substance, and made of a very hard temper to fight in private frays... do presently break and so become unprofitable. --Sir John Smythe, 1590

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#172261 - 08/09/05 10:32 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Armed_Man_Piker]
globetrotter Offline
does unto others before they do unto him

Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 637
Loc: ny usa
armed man,

I can base my argument on one simple fact - in the wars that took place in the great lakes region of africa in the 1990's, about a million people were killed by simple agricultural machetes. the people fighting and doing the killing had pleantiful access to traditional african weapons - iron tiped spears, leather shields, wooden clubs, iron knives - the type of weapons that were very common around the world up until the iron age. they chose the machete as their primary weapon.

from that, I can infer that a person who has grown up with and trained with traditional fighting weapons finds the machete to be a more effective weapon, he probrably knows what he is talking about.



concerning your other points - I think that our disagreement boils down to an issue of cost of weapons. I concede your timelines and accurate and well thought out. I hope that you will agree that a full steel sword, or the type that you disgribe and have seen was a fairly rare and costly weapon - that before the very late middle ages it was almost impossible to field an army armed primarily with quality steel swords in large numbers - a few thousand broadswords represented a relativly large army.

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#172262 - 08/09/05 10:51 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
glad2bhere Offline
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Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
Sorry, guys, I really don't want to let this point go, and I think GLOBETROTTERS' anecdote underscores my thought.

An item pressed into service AS a weapon is not the same as an item originally INTENDED as a weapon. A machete certain CAN be an excellent weapon but I don't know that it was INTENDED as a weapon. A Kukri is intended as weapon and Gurkhas train with it as a weapon though it is also a "camp knife" in the smaller version. On the other hand, a machete is an agricultural implement whose design also easily lends itself as a weapon when the situation might call for it. Now earlier we were talking about a gladius and I submit that it was designed and intended as a weapon though someone could probably have used it for clearing a camp area, yes? I think the only question that might remain would be how short might an item be before one could no longer call what they were using a "sword" and start to call it a "knife". For combat purposes I suggest that the Jpanese wakizashi (~ 20 inches) and the Korean ssang gum (two feet, five inches) give us quite a range to work with, yes? Thoughts? Comments?

BTW: I also notice that noone has brought up the manner in which people might train with a sword to accomplish its work in combat. I think that people who have not actually trained with a shin guem such that they have actually had to weild the weapon so as to sever a target or penetrate a resistant target (IE. a straw bundle or a hay bale) may be kidding themselves about actually using a sword in combat. It really does not work like one see in the movies, which is why training in sword disarms does not work the same in the abstract as it does against some who is actually trying to inflict damage with a sword. FWIW.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#172263 - 08/09/05 11:23 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: glad2bhere]
globetrotter Offline
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Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 637
Loc: ny usa
I would suggest that if a "widget" weather desiegned by its manufacturers to kill or not, is an efective "sword", and would have been designated as such in a different time period had the technology required for its manufacture been available, then it is a sword.

agreed - there are a few minor parts of a machete that would not have been developed as they were, if the machete was purpose designed as a weapon. on the other hand, the majority of the design would be kept.

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#172264 - 08/09/05 12:12 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
cxt Offline
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Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5823
Loc: USA
Globe

"Chose" is perhaps a misnomer.

Of the items you list they "could" has used, I would guess that since the advent of firearms not many folks would have spears handy.

But they would have ready access to mass produced machetes.

"Iron knives" my guess is that they have them but that they lack the reach of a machete.

Again the machete is an item found in every home and carried regulary by the folks.
Might just be case of usiing what was handy

Clubs, readily availble--but no edge.

Overall I would say the machete "might" have been the best overall weapon of opportunity--not "really" the best weapon.

The only way to really prove your point would be show that they had ready access to other weapons--and picked the machate over them.

I would also question the figure of "million" folks killed with machete.
Firearms certainly killed many.

And if the acts in Dufar are any comparision--then many folks were rounded up at GUN POINT then killed by other means.
Not sure that "really" would count as example of death by machete.
Sure thats what killed you but still.


Edited by cxt (08/09/05 12:19 PM)

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#172265 - 08/09/05 12:52 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: cxt]
globetrotter Offline
does unto others before they do unto him

Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 637
Loc: ny usa
the traditional african weapons of clubs, shields and spears were readily available to people on the ground in rwanda. they chose to arm themselves with the machete - although other farmng tools were also used. and, there were fire arms around, altohugh in smaler numbers.

you do have agood point, that it is very probable that people armed with rifles were supporting people armed with machetes.

http://www.africancraftsmarket.com/africanknob-keire_details.htm

http://www.africancraftsmarket.com/africanZuluspear_details.htm

concerning the numbers killed:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_Genocide

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#172266 - 08/09/05 01:27 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
cxt Offline
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Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5823
Loc: USA

Seriously don't mean to be a pain in the neck (or 2/12 feet lower )

But that still makes little sense to me.

In reading the article, it says some groups shot their victems and some hacked them to death with machetes.
So at least some of them used weapons OTHER than machtes to kill.
The one million figure is total death toll--NOT the number killed just with machetes.

Nothing was said about access to "better" weapons (other than firearms and bulldozers)

Still seems to me that folks used what was handy (or possibly for terror reasons the article says "hacked to death" which sounds pretty grusome to me )
Rather than a carefully reasoned choice of the machete as a weapon.

In the absence of other proof, I am sticking with the machete as a weapon usable tool that was easily obtained by the folks involved.
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#172267 - 08/09/05 01:49 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: cxt]
globetrotter Offline
does unto others before they do unto him

Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 637
Loc: ny usa
I don't have anything that says "four out of five rwandan killers chose a machete over a spear". out of personal knowledge, I know that there were large numbers of spears and wooden clubs available - I have traveled in that part fo the world, and talked with people who were around at that time.

the reason that all of this stuck in my mind was a radion interview I heard with a man who ran a farming impliments store in rwanda at the time who said how amazed he was when the machete sales just shot through the roof in the period jsut before the war stared. his factory had to boast production to meet the rwandan demand.

actually, I can think of a good book that discusses this - try the new book by jared diamond, "collapse" - there is a chapter that discusses the rwandan genocide.

anyway, I am not a sword guy, and I know that you guys take your swords very seriously, but in answer to the origional question, I don't see why a well made machete is any less good a weapon that some of the purpose made swords? depending on how it is to be used.

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#172268 - 08/09/05 01:51 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
glad2bhere Offline
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Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
Dear Globetrotter:

While we do risk getting into semantics, here, I submitt we are playing too fast and loose with language to automatically identify a machete as a sword. Taken by this logic one might designate a hatchet a "tomahawk", a floor broom a "wolf spear" and carpenters' hammer a "cudgeol". For me a sword is a very specific item with a specific intent. If we are going to folow the intent of the thread I think we are doing a dis-service to the original question by automatically including those items which are "sword-like", yes? After all, flipping it over the OTHER way there are items made of plastic and stainless stell actually represented as "swords" that I would not take into a fight on a bet!

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#172269 - 08/09/05 02:11 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: glad2bhere]
globetrotter Offline
does unto others before they do unto him

Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 637
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ok, ok, I am bowing out of this discussion. I would still suggest that something like this:

http://machete.com/prod01.htm

fits the question as to what the most realistic type of sword would be for the modern world.


or, let me ask this - if you were designing a "sword' for the modern world, to face the possible needs of a modern sword carrier, how would you make it different from this?

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#172270 - 08/09/05 02:20 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
I'd turn the handle into a rifle. That's what the military did.
_________________________
Iaido - Breaking down bad habits, and building new ones.

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#172271 - 08/09/05 02:31 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
cxt Offline
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Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5823
Loc: USA

Globe

Mainly because things do best what they are designed to do.

Machetes make unwieldy swords--they are balanced wrong for much of what a sword is supposed to do.

(there was even a specific weapon very much like a machete, a falcion--blade weighted to the front as to deliver a heavy chopping action--but weighted as it was--my guess is that would be harder to recover the stroke)

Not that you can't use a machete to kill, might be very effecient in that role--but that was not what it was designed to do thus its less effective.

Many machetes are of less good quality metal--easy to sharpen, but little edge holding abilty.
Mine get dull fast and need to be re-sharpened freq.
Metal quality itself is usually poor--which is what you would expect for something used to chop plant matter.

If I need to fight I will grab whatever is handy--many things make good weapons.
If I have a choice I will use the best weapon I can get.
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#172272 - 08/09/05 02:45 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: cxt]
globetrotter Offline
does unto others before they do unto him

Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 637
Loc: ny usa
cxt,

that is a fair answer, but pardon me if I push a little harder. I agree with you that usually the best tool for a specific job is one that has been made to do that job. but I look at this machete, and it looks, to the untrained eye, like a 19th century cutlass, with the exception of a blood draining canal.

if I were thinking of a modern sword, it would probrably be very similar to a cutlass.

aside from the fact that this was not desiged as a weapon, and that it may be poorly balanced for recovery, and that it does not have a drainage canal, anything here that strikes you as not eing perfect?

I am not doing this just to be a pain, I am curious, and I think this is a valid direction to go in.

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#172273 - 08/09/05 02:56 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
Charles Mahan Offline
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Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
Blood draining canal? Could you explain further?
_________________________
Iaido - Breaking down bad habits, and building new ones.

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#172274 - 08/09/05 03:12 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Charles Mahan]
globetrotter Offline
does unto others before they do unto him

Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 637
Loc: ny usa
I am sorry, I meant the fuller, which, I just read, had to do with making the blade lighter and stronger, and not, as I was misinformed, allow air into the wound to prevent a vacuum so that a blade could be pulled out of a wound.

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#172275 - 08/09/05 03:13 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
So on what experience are you drawing on when you make this arguement that machetes make good swords?
_________________________
Iaido - Breaking down bad habits, and building new ones.

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#172276 - 08/09/05 03:26 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Charles Mahan]
globetrotter Offline
does unto others before they do unto him

Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 637
Loc: ny usa
Quote:

So on what experience are you drawing on when you make this arguement that machetes make good swords?




well, if you are asking about experience, I imagine that I am one of the only people on this thread who have actually been in real combat where shock weapons have been used. how is that for experience?


but I am neither voicing an opinion based on experience, or suggesting that machetes make good swords, the question of the thread was "while I don't intend on carrying a sword around any time soon, I was wondering, in your opinion, what type/make of sword would be the most practicle for use as a weapon in battle. I mean, not the strongest, or most appealing, but the most versatile, realistic sword design for actual fighting?". given the modern world, and the possible potential situations that a modern sword carrier (and notice that I don't say sword fighter, because I don't believe that there is any realistic chance for a person to get in a sword fight) to carry, I suggested that a machete would fit the bill as well as any other.


my arguments were pretty simple

1. it is very similar to the most modern type of sword manufactured for actual combat - the navy cutlass

2. it is suitable for the potential situation that it could be needed in - it could definatly be used to fight off a group of men armed with shock weapons, or to hack somebody to death.

3. it is the weapon of choice of the most modern groups to use large bladed shock weapons - various groups in the philapines, latin america and africa.

4. it is a more effective weapon that mot swords have been, and it is more effective than most weapons that humans have use (this seemed to confuse people, but let me remind the readers that man has been making and using weapons for more than 500,000 years, possibly as much as twice that. I would suggest, again, that the machete that you can buy for $30 is a better shock weapon than all the weapons that have been available for all but about the last 2000 of those years. )

5. More people have been killed wiht the machete than will pretty much any other specific type of bladed weapon.

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#172277 - 08/09/05 03:43 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
cxt Offline
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Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5823
Loc: USA
Globe

I get it.

The problem is the same one that has faced swordmakers/weaponsmith since there were such folks.

No one weapon is good for all things--kinda why you see so many shapes, sizes uses for historical blades.

Most machetes I have used would be poor stabbing weapons (although with enough force you can shove a round peg into a sq hole )
In that they are designed for chopping rather than stabbing.
The broad "swell" of the blade toward the end is designed to place more force there--narrowing it down into a better stabbing weapon would take away the advantages of the extra weight and greatly reduce its chopping ability.

Kinda of a catch 22!
Everytime you alter the design to make it "better" at something, you lose advantage elsewhere.

And a machete is really not much like a cutlass, or course there were many "cutlass like" blades.
So maybe there is one closer to a machete about.

I think that more people over the course of human history have been killed by clubs or simple woodern spears--we had and were using those weapons A LOT longer than anything we actually manufactured--(think 10's of 1000s of years) so the death toll should be much higher.

If I was to go with a really deadly combat usable tool, I would go with several styles of kukri over a machete.
Some style have the capacity to stab as well as chop.
The kukri is smaller thus easier to carry yet is still "about" the same size as a machete--you would give up some but not much "reach."
Being more compact it should be quicker in the hand, and faster on recovery.
The kukuri is generally of better quality of manufacture--should last longer.
Holds a better edge.
Equally good at chopping.

(please note the use of "should.")

What you may notice someone showing all the things a kukri is NOT good for--thats to be expected, like i said above NO weapon is good for all things.


Edited by cxt (08/09/05 03:51 PM)
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#172278 - 08/09/05 03:49 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: cxt]
globetrotter Offline
does unto others before they do unto him

Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 637
Loc: ny usa
agreed - but I would think that that would fit in with the posters origional question - I am not sure that a thrusting weapon would be what was needed, although in this I am very much aware that I am out of my league. it would seem to me that if you are 100% assured that you will not be facing another sword - that that seems to be the case where I live anyway, then a slashing weapon would be a better choice than a thrusting.

on the other hand, sword canes that were made in the early 20th and late 19th century were made with a point, as well as 2 slashing edges, and they would be used in a similar way as any modern sword, I would think.

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#172279 - 08/10/05 09:01 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
glad2bhere Offline
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Registered: 08/11/00
Posts: 663
Loc: Lindenhurst, Illinois USA
Dear Globe:

OK, then what I think I am hearing is that you would effectively "reclassify" the machete as a "sword" albeit of modern derivation. OK. And I will even put aside the kukri arguement for a bit. But if you are going to use these arguements in favor of the machete why would you not first go with the African Panga. In the case of the panga the universal architecture lends itself to much of the agricultural applications, but it also has a broadened blade towards the tip which would cause much more serious thrust wounds and is already incorporated into tribal fighting techniques as a weapon in its own right.In this way I would consider the panga's acceptance as a fighting weapon as more "legit" than the use of the machete as a kind of civilian weapon. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#172280 - 08/10/05 09:30 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: glad2bhere]
globetrotter Offline
does unto others before they do unto him

Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 637
Loc: ny usa
Dear Bruce,

I am not pushing the machete, I was just trying to show that, even if it wasn't designed as a weapon, it may still fit the requirements. I would go back to my first suggestion (several pages ago) that something like a cane sword would probrably fit the bill for a modern sword.

the kukri seems to be a fantastic weapon - I have handled some of the larger ones and they have a great edge and good heftly feeling. Gerber, I belive, makes a machete with a kukri archetecture, by the way.

I have touched a couple of pangas, they seem to be lighter and more "brittle" (but it could be the ones I have seen have been lower quality) but effectivly good weapons for the same type of hacking and slashing. it has the advantage of a thrusting capacity, which is an advantage. I would also say that they seem to lack a a curvature which may make them less effective for slashing.

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#172281 - 08/10/05 09:39 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
Quote:

Dear Bruce,

I am not pushing the machete, I was just trying to show that, even if it wasn't designed as a weapon, it may still fit the requirements.




Actually you were pushing the machete early on in the thread:
Quote:


a machete fits the framework of historical weapon design - if the technology had been available through out history to manufacture machetes, for 99.9% of human history they would have been the best weapon on the field.




I think it is this statement that most took exception too. It is far to broad to hold up to casual inspection.
_________________________
Iaido - Breaking down bad habits, and building new ones.

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#172282 - 08/10/05 10:15 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Charles Mahan]
globetrotter Offline
does unto others before they do unto him

Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 637
Loc: ny usa
and not to be a pain in the ass, but that is the one statement that is the most accurate of everything that I have posted.

how difficult is it to understand - man has been making weapons to kill other men for at least 500,000 years, it might be accurate to say closer to 2,000,000, but then the "humanity" part gets fuzzy. for about 98 percent of that time, the best weapons men had were sharpend sticks and stones. for about 1% of that time, clubs and simple soft metal knifes and mace and spear heads were available, for about 0.05% of that time, bronze weapons were available, for about 0.04% of that time, simple iron weapons were available. only in the last little bit of human existance have weapons been available that were substantially better than a $30 machete. I stand by that.

and, my "pushing the machete" was in direct response to somebody else sugesting that a non-purpose desiged weapon shouldn't be discussed.

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#172283 - 08/10/05 10:18 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
Armed_Man_Piker Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 440
Loc: East Coast U.S.A.
Quote:

5. More people have been killed wiht the machete than will pretty much any other specific type of bladed weapon.




I still don't see how you have arrived at this figure.

Are you really saying that machetes have killed more folks than the gladius did during all those centuries of the Roman Empire?

Again, what are your sources?
_________________________
And the rapier blades, being so narrow and of so small substance, and made of a very hard temper to fight in private frays... do presently break and so become unprofitable. --Sir John Smythe, 1590

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#172284 - 08/10/05 10:47 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Armed_Man_Piker]
globetrotter Offline
does unto others before they do unto him

Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 637
Loc: ny usa
AMP,

I am taking as about 1 million people killed by machetes in the past 10 years in africa - between the great lakes wars, and the wars in western africa. if you throw in sudan, you might beef it up a little.

as the roman army held between 120K and 170K troops, at any given time, over a 600 year period, and as most warfare only involved 20,000 or so legionaires at any one battle, and during the vast majority of the period the empire was at peace, I am assuming a number lower than 1 million killed by the gladus.

it is very difficult to judge how people were killed in the arena - if you assume that everyone killed in the arena was killed by a gladus, then this would push the number up above a million, for sure.



a little aside - I would guess that however the mongols were killing their victems during their middle age conquerin of central asia, they probrably killed more than 1 million - but that may have been with clubs.

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#172285 - 08/10/05 11:05 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
Quote:

how difficult is it to understand - man has been making weapons to kill other men for at least 500,000 years, it might be accurate to say closer to 2,000,000, but then the "humanity" part gets fuzzy.




Well technically history is a matter of written records. That only dates back 6,000 years or so. Let's use your original percentage of 99.9% of the time, since you are certain it was the most accurate statement. .1% of 6000 is the last 6 years.

If you want to deal with the origin of homo sapiens sapiens(modern human), that's around 195,000 or so years( http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/species.html )? We're a pretty young species after all. So .1% of 195,000 is the last 195 years. 200 years ago the musket and cannon ruled the battlefield.

But lets use your 500,000 number. .1% of 500,000 is the last 500 years. 500 years ago I reckon you'd find something very superior to the average hardware store machete. The Japanese for instance were turning out some VERY nice weapons by that time. If I'm not mistaken firearms were in use around that time as well.

The fact remains that if you took a bunch of Spartan warriors and put machetes in their hands and stuck them into a battle with an Athenian phalanx, they're gonna find massed spears to be a VERY real problem. Stick Machetes into the hands of the french knights at Agincourt, and they still would have dropped like flys before the Enlgish longbowmen.

You're just wrong. Sharpened sticks and stones were still very effective on the typical midieval battlefield. A stone from a sling wielded by a peasant can be a VERY deadly weapon. Sharpened sticks in the hands of a group peasants trained in the use of a pikesquare are VERY dangerous even to cavalry.


Quote:

only in the last little bit of human existance have weapons been available that were substantially better than a $30 machete. I stand by that.





That's just patently absurd. At best the machete is a decent short sword which has no thrusting ability. The short sword has never truly ruled a battlefield by itself. The romans probably used them to the best effect that anyone has, but the gladius was much better at thrusting, and the Roman Pilum(sp) was still a superior weapon in many ways. Let's not forget the various forms of ballista.

The point I'm trying to make is that this kind of gross generalization is stupid and pointless and a complete waste of time. It doesn't matter even if you are right. It's a pointless arguement.
_________________________
Iaido - Breaking down bad habits, and building new ones.

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#172286 - 08/10/05 11:21 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Charles Mahan]
globetrotter Offline
does unto others before they do unto him

Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 637
Loc: ny usa
wel, charles, I bow to your great big brain, you have certainly taken this pointless argument to its logical conclussion.

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#172287 - 08/10/05 06:52 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
Armed_Man_Piker Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 440
Loc: East Coast U.S.A.
Quote:

armed man,

I can base my argument on one simple fact - in the wars that took place in the great lakes region of africa in the 1990's, about a million people were killed by simple agricultural machetes. the people fighting and doing the killing had pleantiful access to traditional african weapons - iron tiped spears, leather shields, wooden clubs, iron knives - the type of weapons that were very common around the world up until the iron age. they chose the machete as their primary weapon.

from that, I can infer that a person who has grown up with and trained with traditional fighting weapons finds the machete to be a more effective weapon, he probrably knows what he is talking about.




What does the above have to do with your claim that the machete is superior to Ancient, Medieval, & Renaissance swords?



Quote:

concerning your other points - I think that our disagreement boils down to an issue of cost of weapons. I concede your timelines and accurate and well thought out. I hope that you will agree that a full steel sword, or the type that you disgribe and have seen was a fairly rare and costly weapon - that before the very late middle ages it was almost impossible to field an army armed primarily with quality steel swords in large numbers - a few thousand broadswords represented a relativly large army.




No, I do not agree.

You claimed that "that before the very late middle ages it was almost impossible to field an army armed primarily with quality steel swords in large numbers", and yet several Ancient peoples used high-quality iron/steel swords as their primary tactical weapon, as I already indicated.

The original gladius and falcata were the main weapons of the Iberians.

The gladius was later adopted by the Romans, and became their primary weapon.

Swords from this period have been examined, and they reveal varying carbon contents in the blade, varying degrees of hardness, and so on. They are superbly made weapons.
_________________________
And the rapier blades, being so narrow and of so small substance, and made of a very hard temper to fight in private frays... do presently break and so become unprofitable. --Sir John Smythe, 1590

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#172288 - 08/10/05 06:58 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: glad2bhere]
Armed_Man_Piker Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 440
Loc: East Coast U.S.A.
Quote:

Dear Globe:

OK, then what I think I am hearing is that you would effectively "reclassify" the machete as a "sword" albeit of modern derivation.




Bruce,

The term machete dates from the 1570's, and it was probably in use in the Americas earlier in the century. It was clearly developed to help the conquistadors literally hack through the New World.

Thus, perhaps "early modern derivation" would be more accurate.

Best,

A_M_P
_________________________
And the rapier blades, being so narrow and of so small substance, and made of a very hard temper to fight in private frays... do presently break and so become unprofitable. --Sir John Smythe, 1590

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#172289 - 08/10/05 07:11 PM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: globetrotter]
Armed_Man_Piker Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 440
Loc: East Coast U.S.A.
Quote:

AMP,

I am taking as about 1 million people killed by machetes in the past 10 years in africa - between the great lakes wars, and the wars in western africa. if you throw in sudan, you might beef it up a little.

as the roman army held between 120K and 170K troops, at any given time, over a 600 year period, and as most warfare only involved 20,000 or so legionaires at any one battle, and during the vast majority of the period the empire was at peace, I am assuming a number lower than 1 million killed by the gladus.

it is very difficult to judge how people were killed in the arena - if you assume that everyone killed in the arena was killed by a gladus, then this would push the number up above a million, for sure.




Were all the folks killed in Africa killed in warfare (i.e, were they fighting back)? Were any murdered in cold blood?

I ask this because we would then have to factor in things like the entire villages of "hostiles" that were "put to the sword" by the Romans, such as during the Dacian Wars.

Unless you can provide some solid sources for your figures for the Romans, I'm not buying your argument.



Quote:

a little aside - I would guess that however the mongols were killing their victems during their middle age conquerin of central asia, they probrably killed more than 1 million - but that may have been with clubs.




More likely it was with the Asiatic composite bow--the finest personal missile weapon until the advent of firearms.

And IIRC, the Mongols killed upwards of some 13 million people just in China (according to the Guinness Book, at least).
_________________________
And the rapier blades, being so narrow and of so small substance, and made of a very hard temper to fight in private frays... do presently break and so become unprofitable. --Sir John Smythe, 1590

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#172290 - 08/11/05 09:00 AM Re: Realistic Sword? [Re: Armed_Man_Piker]
funstick5000 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/16/05
Posts: 759
Loc: West Yorkshire, England
the thing in rawanda was outright genoside. you are comparing swords through the ages that were used against other swords/sheilds/spears with heavy use and lasted for a long time afterwards to people with guns lining up a big bunch of villagers and hacking them up with machetes.

if we were to sword battles now people would probably use machetes because they're readily available but unless they're full tang i wouldn't expect your average machete to actually stay in the handle because they're so poorly balanced - a machete against most swords ever made would be no contest, your head would be rolling down the hill before you even think about lifting the machete to make another swing. just imagine a baseball bat against a bokken that bat would get one swing but then the bokken would bray his head in.

also the chinese broadswords are sometimes translated to machetes, thought i'd add that.
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