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View Poll Results: Who would prove the superior combatant in a duel?
A historical warrior 5 71.43%
A modern martial artist 1 14.29%
They would be roughly equal 0 0%
Varies depending on martial art (please elaborate) 1 14.29%
Voters: 7. You may not vote on this poll

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Old March 14th, 2017, 03:24 PM   #1

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Historical warriors vs modern martial artists


How well would historical warriors fare against modern practitioners of similar martial arts?

For example, imagine that one of the most experienced and formidable samurai warriors of the Sengoku period time-travels to our day, and challenges one of the world's leading kendo masters to a duel. Who would win?
What about a knight or viking facing off against a similarly trained and equipped HEMA practitioner?

Physical fitness should be taken into account as well, especially if we compare unarmed martial arts. Can our superior nutrition and more developed methods of physical training compare to the brutal lifestyles and actual combat experience of real warriors from the past?

Last edited by Darth Raidius; March 14th, 2017 at 03:28 PM.
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Old March 14th, 2017, 04:07 PM   #2

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The word "kendo" tells you all you need to know. Historical bushi were trained to kill people, not practice an art form. There was a very real reason why soldiers were considered unreliable until they had been "blooded" in combat no matter how well trained they were. Until your modern martial artists have experienced the terror of battle and killed men up close and personal, they would have no chance.

Last edited by Dan Howard; March 14th, 2017 at 04:12 PM.
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Old March 14th, 2017, 04:22 PM   #3
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As someone who has fought in battle and studied numerous martial arts, who has a firm grasp on large aspects of military history, and historical martial arts, I have this to say:

No martial arts, then or now, truly prepares someone for battle, let alone war, the techniques taught are too specific to a set conditions and situations, they are often of short intense action to mimic a fight, done in a set environment, with set rules and standards. They are simply too sanitized. However, martial arts definitely aids in the ability in producing quality soldiers (I would recommend a mix of practical shooting sports and mixed martial arts live sparring), in additional it can help develop some key skills that would help on a battlefield. But...

War is so much more than just fighting. Its the stamina to be moving 16-20 hours a day for months on end, to march all day and then fight a battle at the end. Toughness to deal with pain, starvation, terrible conditions, adverse weather, dread disease, bloody death and misery of humans and animals in the most grotesque manner possible. It means possessing tactical knowledge, knowing how to position oneself to succeed in battle, where there is no individual effort, everything is about the group. Where teamwork and camaraderie are of an necessity never found in any martial art, as martial arts are individual sports, not truly team organized. Discipline to obey wholeheartedly all commands given by superiors, no matter if death is the result, yours or your closest friends. Aggressiveness to do WHATEVER it takes to win, even if its underhanded, unfair, immoral, or considered "cheating" by people who don't understand what war is. A sheer hate and disrespect for the opponent, to dehumanize the enemy is a necessity for proper mental health of a combatant.
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Old March 14th, 2017, 04:40 PM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggienation View Post
As someone who has fought in battle and studied numerous martial arts, who has a firm grasp on large aspects of military history, and historical martial arts, I have this to say:

No martial arts, then or now, truly prepares someone for battle, let alone war, the techniques taught are too specific to a set conditions and situations, they are often of short intense action to mimic a fight, done in a set environment, with set rules and standards. They are simply too sanitized. However, martial arts definitely aids in the ability in producing quality soldiers (I would recommend a mix of practical shooting sports and mixed martial arts live sparring), in additional it can help develop some key skills that would help on a battlefield. But...

War is so much more than just fighting. Its the stamina to be moving 16-20 hours a day for months on end, to march all day and then fight a battle at the end. Toughness to deal with pain, starvation, terrible conditions, adverse weather, dread disease, bloody death and misery of humans and animals in the most grotesque manner possible. It means possessing tactical knowledge, knowing how to position oneself to succeed in battle, where there is no individual effort, everything is about the group. Where teamwork and camaraderie are of an necessity never found in any martial art, as martial arts are individual sports, not truly team organized. Discipline to obey wholeheartedly all commands given by superiors, no matter if death is the result, yours or your closest friends. Aggressiveness to do WHATEVER it takes to win, even if its underhanded, unfair, immoral, or considered "cheating" by people who don't understand what war is. A sheer hate and disrespect for the opponent, to dehumanize the enemy is a necessity for proper mental health of a combatant.
This is a very well written post.
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Old March 14th, 2017, 06:12 PM   #5

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My general rule of thumb: Any "historical" thing we can do, the folks living back then could do it better. (And usually faster!)

As aggienation says, any modern martial art is just a pale reflection of combat, sometimes highly stylized. And even the ones we attempt to reconstruct as historically as possible always include some measure of interpretation or uncertainty--what if we guessed lethally wrong?

That said, the ancients did duel, and a prepared duel won't involve all the horrors of war. And a modern martial artist is going to be VERY fit and confident.

Even so, I think he's going to die. He just hasn't killed with his art, in fact he's trained *not* to. The time-travellar will have no qualms and no predisposition to hold back, even if he is "fighting fair". Which he may not do...

Best bet, do the Indian Jones thing and plug him with your gun before he gets close!

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Old March 14th, 2017, 09:15 PM   #6

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Off topic a bit, I know, but anyway...I read a novel years ago called 'The Far Arena' in which a Roman gladiator was found frozen in a glacier and brought back to life. He ended up in a duel with an Olympic fencing champion and not quite grasping the concept of modern fencing sliced and diced his opponent in a rather messy way, to the horror of the scientists who put him up to it..
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