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Post Reply 5 Things Commonly Done in Anime Sword fighting which is NEVER done in real swordfighting
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Posted 1/19/16 , edited 1/20/16

Rujikin wrote:

Speak for yourself.


What mate? You have extensive experience in fighting to the death with a sword, People have died at the end of a sword you've wielded upon some battlefield? If not I think what I say still stands.
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Posted 1/19/16 , edited 1/19/16
It's anime after all.

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1. Spinning 50/100
Just like in hand-to-hand combat, spinning varies by culture. Some schools of martial arts emphasis no spins and "never leaving yourself open." But spins are very powerful and schools which subscribe to the "fastest transition to full force" will emphasize a lot of spin. These spins also allow you to stay mobile while striking. Compare for example Japanese swordsmanship versus European fencing.

2. Bashing Your Sword Blade-on-Blade with the Enemy's Sword 70/100
Yes swords don't clash like lightsabers and are left unscathed, they break.

But swords are not the uber-weapons they are hyped up to be. In sword-breaking strategies you do hit blade-on-blade to destroy the opponent's blade. Incapacitate the swordsman by destroying his sword and bringing the fight into a MMA-style brawl can be to your advantage if you can out-wrestle your opponent. Also works very well if you have a blunt weapon like a mace. As likely is you are to encounter sword vs sword, sword vs axe or sword vs mace is just as likely. As precious as a sword is, your life is worth much more. Also if you can strike on your own sword's center of gravity but off-center on your opponent, you will feel no reaction force whereas the other person would full the full torque of the blow: their sword may even shake/vibrate violently and most likely they'll lose their grip on it. If you have the skills to target a person's vitals with a sword then you can also target their sword with the same accuracy.

3. Using a Shoulder-strap 90/100
I agree with your logic, but shoulder-straps are a very practical way to carry around swords. If the situation calls for it, you'll draw your weapon from wherever it is. Sometimes the process is depicted blatantly wrong. With a long sword you pull the sword and sheath apart at the same time. Having a free hand doesn't help you if you can't use it to fight off your opponent's weapon.

4. Flailing Around 80/100
Flailing with no purpose is very dumb. Having a specific defense only works as long as they haven't figured out a counter to it, which they probably will. And once they have discovered the counter, they will keep spamming the same counter until you are dead. If you've found an effective way to overpower your opponent, then there's no reason not to keep doing the same thing over and over again. Chaining consecutive techniques into a combo is also fairly prevalent in fighting styles because it "never leaves an opening." It's also easy to get yourself killed by screwing up the transition from defense into offense mode, whereas the person who's flailing only needs to keep flailing.

5. Prolonging a fight 95/100
It's situational. There are various situations when prolonging a fight is helpful for you to recover yourself. If you have your opponent completely overwhelmed then it is advantageous to you to play it safe and prolong the fight. If you aren't interested in actually killing your opponent but just disabling them in self-defense, you want to prolong the fight to wear them out. But if you want to kill/maim then yes, short and gory is the way to go.
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Posted 1/20/16
I've done a bit of fencing and there was such a thing as a "beat" specifically attacking the opponent's blade, so I suppose bashing at the opponent's weapon isn't always wrong.


BlueOni wrote:

I also don't think I can recall a single anime character wielding a rapier who was also using a buckler. You'd think they would, but they don't seem to.


Does seem like some dashing character or other could've wrapped a cloak around their arm at some point.
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Ranwolf wrote:

Am I the only going to point out the fact it's been quite awhile since any large scale conflict involving melee weaponry as it's large focus has been fought. So all your opinions are based on historical records and perhaps at best some sparring in a Fencing, Kenjustu, or HEMA club. Not exactly the best foundation to draw upon to say one thing is incorrect or correct. Only a battlefield experience or fights to the death really teach anything about what may or may not work.


True, anime contains a number of anachronisms. That's part of the fun, after all, having your characters duke it out in a sword duel even though it's present day and such battles are clearly out of place. The thing to bear in mind is that when anime calls upon these anachronisms, when it pits two people against one another with swords fashioned after known varieties such as katana or sabres, the postures, movements, and timing developed during the periods where combat with these weapons was more common become relevant. Maintenance concerns such as chipping and rusting brought on by misuse or neglect become relevant. Concerns about weapon length, weight, material, and so on become relevant.

This information can collectively facilitate planning the characters' movements during a fight sequence and determination of the likely consequences of decisions with relatively predictable results (such as using the edge of a blade to stop or deflect an oncoming blow from another blade). Since the information about postures, movements, timing, maintenance concerns, and so on are drawn from historical records they are at least partly informed by centuries of collective combat experiences that were written down for the benefit of posterity. One hardly suggests that these records are sufficient in isolation to approximate what may or may not happen or ought to be done in any given case, but between these records and practice one moves closer to a reasonable approximation of what "should" happen or be done in a given situation. You're right to note that experience in an actual combat situation would draw that approximation even closer, but since the stakes are very low given the subject (sword combat in anime) a wider margin for error in approximation of what "ought" to happen or be done is allowable here.



I'll say for the benefit of the whole thread that it's valuable to remember that anime is theatre at the end of the day. Barring perhaps the case of historical dramas the purpose of a sword fight in anime isn't to demonstrate proper sword technique or to accurately assess the most likely victor given a set of conditions. The aim is generally to amuse and excite the audience. There has to be an allowance for spinning, and flailing, and chipping blades as sparks fly just as much as there has to be an allowance for Hollywood explosions to feature flames and flashy colours even if these probably wouldn't be there in an equivalent real life sword fight or explosion.
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BlueOni wrote:


True, anime contains a number of anachronisms. That's part of the fun, after all, having your characters duke it out in a sword duel even though it's present day and such battles are clearly out of place. The thing to bear in mind is that when anime calls upon these anachronisms, when it pits two people against one another with swords fashioned after known varieties such as katana or sabres, the postures, movements, and timing developed during the periods where combat with these weapons was more common become relevant. Maintenance concerns such as chipping and rusting brought on by misuse or neglect become relevant. Concerns about weapon length, weight, material, and so on become relevant.

This information can collectively facilitate planning the characters' movements during a fight sequence and determination of the likely consequences of decisions with relatively predictable results (such as using the edge of a blade to stop or deflect an oncoming blow from another blade). Since the information about postures, movements, timing, maintenance concerns, and so on are drawn from historical records they are at least partly informed by centuries of collective combat experiences that were written down for the benefit of posterity. One hardly suggests that these records are sufficient in isolation to approximate what may or may not happen or ought to be done in any given case, but between these records and practice one moves closer to a reasonable approximation of what "should" happen or be done in a given situation. You're right to note that experience in an actual combat situation would draw that approximation even closer, but since the stakes are very low given the subject (sword combat in anime) a wider margin for error in approximation of what "ought" to happen or be done is allowable here.



I'll say for the benefit of the whole thread that it's valuable to remember that anime is theatre at the end of the day. Barring perhaps the case of historical dramas the purpose of a sword fight in anime isn't to demonstrate proper sword technique or to accurately assess the most likely victor given a set of conditions. The aim is generally to amuse and excite the audience. There has to be an allowance for spinning, and flailing, and chipping blades as sparks fly just as much as there has to be an allowance for Hollywood explosions to feature flames and flashy colours even if these probably wouldn't be there in an equivalent real life sword fight or explosion.


Never thought I'd see the day such a logical statement concerning swords and anime would be made..Well guess if you live long enough you see it all.

Though I am ever so curious why so many people bring up the whole edge on edge parrying thing is wrong and wasn't done. I can only say it's a rather foolish stance to be had. No soldier is going to care that much about the fate of his weapon that he'd ruin his chances at growing old because a block would damage it.

I can only speak of course from my experience in Afghanistan but I rather doubt the concerns of a soldier have changed all that much. If I had to damage my rifle to live through another firefight I'd gladly do it. The damn thing can be repaired or even replaced easily enough and you're taught that from day one.

Also many people severely underestimate the amount of punishment a combat grade weapon can take. I dare you to take a properly made sword and break the damn thing under anything less then purpose designed conditions like hitting a rebar reinforced cement wall for an hour and so forth.
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Posted 1/20/16
Also less clothes means more armor
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IkusaTakuma wrote:

1. Spinning
Often times, as most anime characters do, they spin to increase the force of a slash. However, this actually can get you killed in a swordfight, mainly as when you spin, you show your back to the enemy for a long period of time, in that time, I could decapitate you, stab you in the back, or grab your neck and knock you on the floor to disarm you if I didn't have a sword. I will give it to you, if done correctly a spin can be useful, but only in certain scenarios such as when your enemy has already gone in for the first attack and must pull back his sword for another slash, but, in anime I've never seen a character pull off that maneuver correctly.

2. Bashing Your Sword Blade-on-Blade with the Enemy's Sword
This is an EASY way to ruin and dent up your sword! Where characters just bash their blades and don't go for any real counterattacks. By the time a character finally does go for a counterattack, in a real fight, their blade would have been too dull to cut after bashing against the enemy's sword that much. If you need to block the enemy sword with your sword, use either the side of the blade (for double-edged swords) or block using the back/spine of the blade (for single-edged blades) Also, if you just bash at the enemy's sword, if the enemy has any REAL skill at all, they would just counterattack and cut your head off.

3. Using a Shoulder-strap
Unless in the case of using a short sword (a sword with an 18" blade or shorter), if you tried pulling a sword out of it's sheath from the back, you're arm would run out of length before you pulled the sword out, essentially, any sword with a 20" blade or longer would be impossible to unsheath using the shoulder-strap sheath, unless the blade has an exaggerated curve. Although, this is not the most common mistake in historical fighting though, I have seen a good 7-8 anime characters who pull out their sword the traditional way by the hip, but it's still done frequently.

4. Flailing Around
Pretty much anyone who's even SEEN a real swordfight knows flailing around will not get you anywhere in a swordfight, the enemy would just block the attack, or counterattack and kill you. In real swordfights, you use a specific defense or attack which your enemy can't counter, that's how you win in a swordfight.

5. Prolonging a fight
Although this is commonly done in anime, making fights last upwards of 7-8 minutes, or even entire episodes, this never happens in real swordfights, the reason why people think fights can last this long is due to your perception of time in a fight, in a fight, 10 seconds can feel like forever, which often times anime makers try to portray this feeling by prolonging swordfights to make them seem much longer, even though in reality the fight probably lasted no longer than about 10-20 seconds!

Hope you learned something on this list 5 that I made!


^ Add dual-wielding to that list. Although it has been practiced, it's hardly to never used in real life and is not beneficial to use it either.
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Swaggercandy wrote:

Also less clothes means more armor


Plot Armor! XD
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Of course one anime gets it right, Maria the Virgin Witch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tFOJFyTl1U
Then if you want plot armor explained just watch Bikini Warriors.

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Something a friend who does actually have training with sword fighting told me is the need to wear protective gear on your sword arm. As the blades move your opponent's sword can easily slip down and hit your sword arm or they may deliberately target the arm. So wearing something to at least protect the hand and forearm is extremely important. Otherwise you can injure the arm and game over.
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Ranwolf wrote:

Never thought I'd see the day such a logical statement concerning swords and anime would be made..Well guess if you live long enough you see it all.

Though I am ever so curious why so many people bring up the whole edge on edge parrying thing is wrong and wasn't done. I can only say it's a rather foolish stance to be had. No soldier is going to care that much about the fate of his weapon that he'd ruin his chances at growing old because a block would damage it.

I can only speak of course from my experience in Afghanistan but I rather doubt the concerns of a soldier have changed all that much. If I had to damage my rifle to live through another firefight I'd gladly do it. The damn thing can be repaired or even replaced easily enough and you're taught that from day one.

Also many people severely underestimate the amount of punishment a combat grade weapon can take. I dare you to take a properly made sword and break the damn thing under anything less then purpose designed conditions like hitting a rebar reinforced cement wall for an hour and so forth.


They're looking at a cumulative effect over the course of multiple fights. That isn't really much of a problem in an age of mass production, but in the olden days chipping one's blade was a bigger inconvenience and so was to be avoided except where doing so would save your life. God knows when your next sword was coming along back then. Of course, back then a lot fewer people had access to training in swordsmanship anyway, so this was really more a problem of those who were charged with defending little cuts of a kingdom as their lot in life. At least in Europe, anyway.
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A master of weapons tends not follow strict guide lines. 2 masters sword fighters would have a prolonged fight, and by a long fight i mean more than 1.5 minutes, and i would think the anime would follow the person top of class. It should be noted that most of these authors have little to no training in any form of combat so expecting realism should be out of the question.
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If a boulder (or some other large object) is coming at you, simply use your sword to cut it clean in half.

Also you can use a sword to cut/deflect bullets, even if your opponent is using a minigun.

Works everytime.
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BlueOni wrote:



They're looking at a cumulative effect over the course of multiple fights. That isn't really much of a problem in an age of mass production, but in the olden days chipping one's blade was a bigger inconvenience and so was to be avoided except where doing so would save your life. God knows when your next sword was coming along back then. Of course, back then a lot fewer people had access to training in swordsmanship anyway, so this was really more a problem of those who were charged with defending little cuts of a kingdom as their lot in life. At least in Europe, anyway.


Considering my the late middle ages, at least in Europe, swords could be had for about the same price as a single meal the surplus of swords must have been quite high. Also you know whetstones aren't just for sharpening a bit of metal, with a little work everything but the most severe chips and even out right edge breakage can be fixed. And if a whetstone couldn't do the job your average village blacksmith could. As long as you can bang out horseshoes or make nails you can at least fix edge damage.

Also plenty of people would have had access to swordsmanship training. This was an era of forced conscription after all and the villages and cities of that day would have been littered with combat veterans. Most people think that simply because the commoners didn't go around carrying swords as daily wear like the Knights and nobility did they didn't know how to use them. They did in fact have blade skill and your average man at arms was likely more skilled with a blade then your average knight simply by virtue of being on the front lines and on foot. They were just forbidden from carrying their preferred weapon of choice as daily wear both by decree and common sense. A three and half foot of sharpened steel hanging from your hip is an annoyance when your trying to chop down a tree, bake a loaf of bread, plough a field, etc.
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