And this is what happens when a masterfully crafted katana collides with a masterfully crafted longsword.
Suck it, katana
suck my fuckin’ diiiick
Aren’t katanas and longswords made for different overall purposes tho
Katanas are slasher weapons made for cutting masterfully through human flesh so obviously it’s not gonna get through a fucking longsword which is really fucking thick and heavy and made for beating the shit out of people as well as hacking at armour
A katana would slice the shit out of you guys so idk what the fuck you’re so smug about
this is basically like driving a ferarri into a tank.
Now /that’s/ a metaphor
And fun, too, but the above comparison between the purposes and structures of the two types of swords is simplistic and (at core) incorrect. …I’ve got things to do this morning, though, so I’ll just reblog this for the moment and ask Peter to spell it all out when he gets up.
Very briefly, though: longswords are not “really fucking thick and heavy”; this is that old Victorian-era music-hall myth about heavy swords and armor surfacing again. …I have a long posting about this from a year or so back on my own tumblr, but I’m going to excerpt out the germane part here. (With just the general note added: I am trained in iaido and the use of the katana: but these days — knowing now what I’ve learned about European weapons over the past quarter-century — if you’re going to ask me whether I’d prefer to take on a katana user with another katana or a longsword, it’ll be the longsword every time. It is a far more versatile weapon to use against a broad spectrum of opposition weaponry. The katana’s versatility is surprisingly limited.)
About longsword / broadsword weights:
I am 5 foot 7, and while I’m not at my optimum weight right now, I am by no means hefty and would be classed as petite if I were a bit shorter. In any case, here’s my broadsword.
It is an Oakeshott Type Xa made by Fulvio Del Tin of Del Tin Armi Antiche in northern Italy. Fulvio specializes in both museum-quality replicas and “hero weapons” for major motion pictures. (For example, he forged Mel Gibson’s famous hero weapon in Braveheart.) From point to pommel the sword is 39 inches long. …And there’s my hand for size comparison.
Now watch what happens when I put this sword on the kitchen scale.
It weighs twelve hundred and twenty four grams, or just under two and three-quarters pounds. This is a normal weight for a broadsword of the period. They did not weigh tons. That myth, and its fellow urban legend that armor of the period was so heavy that a knight wearing it had to be winched onto his horse and couldn’t get up again if knocked down, are the direct result of popular British music hall comedies of the Victorian period. They have no basis whatsoever in fact, as any museum’s armor curator will immediately tell you (while either groaning and tearing their hair, or snickering a lot). I mean, seriously, what possible use would there be in a weapon that either a man or woman would get too tired to use in a very short time? The people who used it would select themselves out of the gene pool in very short order. (And their relatives would select the weaponsmaker out of the gene pool immediately thereafter.)
Now, on the off chance that my relatively small hand makes this seem not very much like a broadsword to you (though I guarantee you, it is one): okay, let’s pull out our other one.
Here it is, once more with my hand for scale. This is an Oakeshott Type XIII, a so-called hand-and-a-half or “bastard” broadsword of the same general type as the first one, 48 inches long from point to pommel. (Peter got it because it was a close match to the description of Khávrinen in the Middle Kingdoms books: in fact, we used it on the new ebook cover for The Door into Fire). It was meant to be used easily either one-handed or two-handed. So now let’s weigh it.
Fifteen hundred seventy-six grams, or about three and a half pounds. Again, I have to emphasize that this is the proper weight for a sword of the period, and indeed, many of similar size were lighter because they were made of better steel. (Fulvio forges his swords of steel that will be able to cope with the mishandling inherent in use on film sets, or the much more intensive banging around that’s expected when such a sword is being used by re-enactors.) Both this sword and its smaller sibling are balanced with extra weight in the hilt and pommel so that the blade is astonishingly easy to handle… as both Peter and I know from personal experience.
…The source, I think, of these most recent katana/European sword pissing wars is that the katana has been so mythologized over the last hundred years. Peter will doubtless get into this in more detail. But the tide has been turning of late. As the many medieval- and Renaissance-period European swordfighting manuals start to seep out of the museum collections into the public consciousness, the fascinating and complex details of the old European fighting styles are starting to be better known as well. This shift of balance has been taking some of the Eastern weapons fans by surprise, and has started leaving some of the too-thoroughly-legend-invested katana fans feeling a bit exposed — as what they previously decried as a landscape bereft of any real sword technique or weapons sophistication suddenly turns out to be just thick with it — and a bit butthurt.
(sigh) Oh well. The pendulum swings.
ETA: re the downstream comment “…so Diane Duane could totally take Jo Rowling in a fight”: Likely enough. But the only place I want to take Jo Rowling is shoe shopping. :)