My sword collection is pretty much garbage, cheap swords I've picked up through here and there. I do have two I'm particularly fond of though. One is my Mameluke sword I bought right before I got out of the Marines, the other's a nice practice rapier. I'm trying to get into some European swordsmanship now as it seems a helluva lot more fun and less stuffy than Japanese.
Yes...Excellent...come and feel the power of the dark side.
Originally Posted by Koto_Ryu
Ok to just to answer KageKaze, without getting into a great big list of weapons for East or West, which could go on forever, my main evidence for the greater proliferation of weapons in Western history than east is based on the armour and shield designs. Armour and shields in the west developed they way it did mainly due to the greater number and variation of weapons and fighting styles encountered by the warring factions. Trace it from the Greek Hoplite, (Mainly Large shield and grieves), through Rome, (More body armour, change shields and have more variety), etc etc, right up to the lucky bloke in full armour. The design and technical advancement of Eastern armour and shields, (Especially in Japan), did not become so varied and technically advanced, because it didn't have to.
Again I am not claiming it was better, I think a certain Mongol leader showed the limitations of Western Armour and tactics quite well, but the variation shows a reaction to so many differing weapons and weapon designs. Of course you can go beyond the Medieval period into renaissance and you get more and more specialised and varied weapons.
Also if you take the case of Japan, is it possible that the basic design of the Katana (and similar weapons), didn't change because it was so good or because it never had to????
All of this is up for debate of course but Historians are leaning towards this as an explanation for the much more variation in weapons and armour in the West when compares to the East.
And this explains why Western Martial artists today are covering such a wide variation in weapons and fighting styles, which is increasing all the time.
Hope this helps explain what I was talking about.
The general lay out of weapons from east or west are pretty much similar or same, as was stated earlier (Katana versus Scimitar or falchion, Yari and Lance, Nagi and Glaive, etc).
Yes there are more.... variations in the West for the most part (Barring some of the sillier extras the "east" has).. But that's not a matter of more diversity, that's a matter of culture.
East for a good bit tended to find a design that worked and they kept using THAT design in one form or another. Hence the Katana not changing all that much over time (Not that there's not a large difference from the first to the last). Europeans didn't have that dedication to tried and true and tended to experiment more.
Hence you get "more" weapons. But there really wasn't that much new.
With the East you have two handed sword, cutting pole, thrusting pole, one handed sword, club...
With the west you have two handed sword, cutting pole, thrusting pole, one handed cutting sword, one handed thrusting sword, club...
I'm missing quite a few, but as it shows, there aren't a whole lot of fundamental differences in number between the two.
Thanks for that Bard, you are right and it's another interesting way of looking at the debate. I was only ever claiming the increase in variety in the west when compared to the East and a possible reason for this. The idea of the Eastern cultures generally sticking with what works compared with continuous experimentation is another very good point.
I assume you agree that this is not an argument for which is better (a silly argument anyway), just possible reasons for my headache when trying to get to grips with as many different types of weapons as possible. Maybe I should have just stuck to eastern weapons practice. Although, as you say, the broad and basic weapons types are the same no matter which culture you choose.
Thanks for the reply
PS Do you, or anyone out there, study any western fight systems?
Japanese swords were not limited to katana. There was katana, kodachi, tachi, no dachi, wakizashi, metesashi and many others. Katana wasn't even particulary popular until the 15~16 century.
In reply to lightweight, I used katana as an example as it is probably the best known of the Japanese swords. I was not for one moment trying to say Japan was limited to this one weapon type. It was just a well known weapon type to latch onto to compare with western weapons of a similar nature. Hope this clears things up a bit and I apologise if the message was not clear enough.