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 Samurai vs Knight, An analysis
The Hordesman
Posted: Mar 25 2012, 05:03 AM

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If this is the wrong section for this (I have no idea where to place it) feel free to move it.

I have never in my life seen "Deadliest Warrior" neither do I intend to, since they apparently thought William Wallace looked like he did in Braveheart (the kilt was invented in the end of the 16th century, the claymore of his time was not two-handed, and he wears a coat of plates without any plates, and on top of nothing, which would be impractical. The real William Wallace would appear as a typical mounted knight). Instead, I am going to put these two fighters against one another, on more places than just a battlefield.

As for combat, one thing that should be addressed is the superiority of european swords. Samurai armor was only worn on the battlefield and ceremonies, and rarely in duels or similar events, and the katana is made to cut through flesh, not steel while european weapons are thicker to be able to penetrate armor, which was worn much more often, some knights even wearing mail shirts or a cuirass beneath their clothing in peacetime. Infact, the whole european arsenal is all focused on crushing armor and have thick blades or heavy blunt force.
The myth of katanas cutting through rock origin from legends, which tell of swords that could not break and cut through the impossible, while in truth swords broke all the time. If you would have a european sword versus a katana of the same length, the katana would break upon being hit.
In the game Fate/Stay Night, which is Japanese, our knight heroine encounters a samurai who tries avoid blocking her sword blows simply because he knows his sword will break, meaning this isn't unknown in Japan either.
Why the myth persists is because of the technique and years required to perfect a katana. The sword is made of multiple layers of steel, and the process of making one is far more complicated. However, complicated doesn't make it better. Infact, I would say it is but a waste of time. The myth also persists because Japanese swordsmiths will never, due to pure human stubborness, admit the faults of the trade. A katana is still a much more agile weapon, and if we would compare it to a rapier, yes, it would be superior. In fully armored combat? Useless unless you are the best swordsman ever.

As mentioned above. Samurai would not wear armor to anything but a battle or ceremony, as it was cumbersome and extremely hot to wear, while a knight would wear it to any situation that would be dangerous, visits to his lord, tournament (although specialized armor to jousts) or parade. The main difference was that armor was associated with wealth in europe, while in Japan it was worn similar to protective gear- you knew there would be stray arrows or bullets flying about, cases where you would be dismounted, cut by blades from all directions, etc. In a duel, a samurai would not wear armor unless both of them had decided to wear it. In the case of ronin, they would have likely been confiscated or sold to buy food for the day.
There is also a clear difference in how heavy armor was during different periods, the later being heavier. Interestingly, a samurai would have worn superior armor to that of a knight earlier on, sans the helmet.

The main difference between the both was that the samurai were different in how they were bound to an oath than a knight. A samurai would become a Ronin if he had no master and from there either find a new one (which would be rare) or turn mercenary and still retain some how his social status (although losing his second sword), whereas a rogue knight would turn either into a deserter which was far less favorable. The option of turning into black knight (a knight with a blackened out coat of arms) would exist, but few would choose this as such mercenaries were considered unreliable for good reasons. Neither would be allowed to refuse their master's command, although knights were more likely to voice their opinion.
In society, both were treated with respect. Samurais were both feared and awed, depending on how they treated people, while knights were mostly awed in their absence and feared in their presence. Chivalry is a set of suggestions, not a knightly code.Knights were elites, while Samurais were professionals, but not always elites. Both trained extensively in many fields and both were well educated, but overall, the simplest of knight and simplest of samurai would leave the knight at an advantage.

Overall, I would say a knight would be victorious, be it in a battle, a duel, or a brawl as he is better prepared and better armed. Of course, if they would have ever met in battle, the loser would probably learn from his mistake and adapt new tactics. Samuknights!

Feel free to comment and provide feedback!

Herpus es Derpus
-Family motto
Sir Zeppelin
Posted: Apr 4 2012, 10:06 AM

Wizard at Brickforge

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Based on the information you provided, it looks like the knight would woop the Samuri. Wouldn't the Samuri have the advantage of speed, though? How much did the middle ages armor wear the knights down?

I still think a knight would win (especially from horseback) but I wonder if the Samuri might be able to wear the knight down and then make his attack. spear.gif

"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway."
-- John Wayne

LEGO Tales

My Brickshelf

Posted: Jun 3 2012, 04:46 PM

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I could write an essay on this topic, but I'll spare you all the little details. Overall, I can the conclusively say that the winner would be the knight.

One of the biggest deciding factors would be the knight's shield. A shield was a pretty basic piece of equipment for a knight, while as far as I am aware, they were never used by samurai. A shield in the hands of somebody who knows how to use it is a deadly offensive weapon as well as a defensive weapon. A samurai armed with a katana would have a lot of trouble trying to get around the defences of a knight armed with a sword and shield. If his katana isn't broken by striking the shield as well as blocks and parries from the sword, the steel armour behind that will probably finish it off.

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two equals four. If that is granted, all else follows.

-George Orwell

Avatar by Graynar
Quill Master
Posted: Jun 4 2012, 08:03 AM

Quilly the White
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This was really cool - and very interesting!

I hadn't thought of it - but somewhat expected to hear how the Samurai would win due to speed or etc.

But I have to admit, you've convinced me! Logically, it seems the Knight would have the upper hand.

The background for Knights was educational for me too... the rougue knight, black knight (THAT's what a black knight is!) - all cool stuff.


Posted: Jun 21 2012, 10:36 AM

Wielder of the Stick-Thingy
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Well, then there's the fact that originally the weapon of choice for a samurai was a yumi (longbow used on horseback), so he'd have an edge there.... Isn't this discussion sort of pointless anyway, since the stereotypical samurai didn't really exist in the same age and sphere of technology as the knight? When samurai used katana (Tokugawa era - earlier than that much heavier stuff was used) european warriors used rapiers, not longswords.

"All disasters stem from us. Why is there war? Perhaps because now and then I might be inclined to snap at my neighbour. Because I and my neighbour and everyone else do not have enough love. Yet we could fight war and all its excrescences by releasing, each day, the love that is shackled inside us, and giving it a chance to live."

- Etty Hillesum
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