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On Damage Katana
article [ Creative ]
Effectivity

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by [seven ]

2005-09-22  |     | 



A swordsman cuts with his or her blade and in defense the opponent lifts their own sword to directly receive the blow at 90-degrees on the center of their blade. The two blades clash in the middle edge-on-edge with a loud “clang!” There is just one problem. No two cutting-swords—historical or replica, authentic or modern, Asian or European —would withstand such abuse without their edges being severely gouged in the process. This is a problematic issue of historical fencing exploration that can be addressed reasonably and factually.

When it comes to historical swordsmanship, such a description stands in direct contrast to how edged weapons were actually handled and employed. It contradicts the very dynamic of effective and efficient fighting and resembles little in the way of sword combat described in Medieval and Renaissance fencing literature.

With sharp swords fighting like this instantly results in deep nicks on their edges thereby rendering them in a matter of minutes nearly ruined for cutting. The phenomenon worsens when both combatants simultaneously cut at the same angle, causing the two edges to bite even more forcibly into one another. This aftermath of trashed edges is the reality never shown in Hollywood fight scenes and seldom paid attention to in staged combat displays or stunt-fencing shows.

When the edges of a cutting-sword become severely gouged and nicked there is no question that as a weapon it was considered less effective and much less valuable. This is exactly why taking a cut on your edge in defense or bashing blades edge against edge was avoided whenever possible.

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