Which is the more effective weapon for battle… Longsword or Katana?

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The katana was a sword used by the samurai in Japan. They began using it in the 14th Century. It weighed about 1.1–1.3 kg (2.4 – 2.8 lbs) and its blade length was approximately 60–73 cm (23 5⁄8 – 28 3⁄4 inches). The longsword was used by knights in Europe from the 13th to 17th Centuries. The blade length was approximately 90–110 cm (35–43 inches) and it weighed anywhere from 1.1–1.8 kg (2.4 – 4.0 lbs). Both weapons were from different corners of the earth. Both were prized and used by the elite warriors of their respective cultures. So, which one was the more effective cutting weapon? Watch the video to find out or read the summary below.

Round 1: Cabbages and coconuts
In a test against cabbages and coconuts, both swords appear to perform pretty much the same. This round is a draw.

Round 2: A block of ice
The katana slices through the huge block of ice like cold butter. The longsword, on the other hand, only shaves the ice. According to the host, it was “like hitting a brick.” This is a 10-8 round for the katana.

Round 3: Leather armor
Against a human dummy wearing leather armor, the longsword does enough to make a large dent in his gut. However, a katana slash pretty much kills the poor guy. It’s another 10-8 round for the katana.

Round 4: Metal armor
The host asks, “So which is the better can opener?” When the armor is slashed with the longsword it hardly makes a dent. It does, however, make a small hole when it is thrusted into the armor with its pointy end. The katana makes a bigger dent in the armor with the same slashing motion but it does not go through. A thrusting motion with the sword’s pointy end penetrates the armor a good half inch. Much more than the longsword. The katana turns out to be the better can opener. A 10-9 round for the katana.

The katana wins. Feudal Japanese samurais and medieval European knights never met on the battlefield, but it is interesting to ponder the outcome of such an encounter.