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Thread: Shield use in koryu

  1. #31
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    Default Shield use in koryu

    Hi all

    I was wondering why there appears to be no history of shield use in the koryu in the same way as there is in western martial arts.

    Just about every western nation I can think of that produced professional soldiers also produced systems for shield use (or at least used shields).

    Even the later dueling styles had systems that used bucklers.

    One would think that the common factors in combat would mean that at some stage its use would have been present in Japan.

    Did the shield truely not make any appearance in Japan or is my knowledge of koryu just lacking?

    Kind regards
    Benny Macarthur

  2. #32
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    End

    Different cultures, different focus.

    You see very few actual "battle axes" as the west would use the term, used in combat either---oh they had them,and some used them....but not like the numbers in the West.

    Mongols were not known for their shield use, nor the Huns..again, they had them, just not as focused on them as say the Romans etc.

    And your right, even some of the later dueling systems used bucklers---but they stopped using them as well...why do you think they evetually stopped?
    Chris Thomas

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  3. #33
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    End,

    One perspective:

    If shields were used, their use isn't congruent to giving your life to your retainer and therefore largely left out of history. Samurai considered themselves dead; a shield (protection), perhaps, was seen as too overt an extension of defense or protecting your life (in comparison to say armor). Samurai were trained to kill not to stay alive.

    Second perspective:
    Samurai weapons, particularly the sword, are historically trained with two hands. Footwork/postures were more largely emphasized to avoid attacks.

    Regards,

    A. De Luna

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    I think someone has been putting a bit too much stock in Hagakure.

    As far as I've been able to figure out the samurai, from their inception all the way into the Edo period, were primarily horse archers. The bujutsu were referred to as "the way of the horse and bow". This is in pretty large contrast to the European way of waging war, where the knights were primarily heavy cavalry (shield and lance). It is pretty much impossible to shoot a bow from horseback while holding a shield. This is also true of the Mongols and the Huns, two other Asian forces that pretty much eschewed the use of the shield.

    The Japanese did employ large shields on the battlefield, but they were primarily to protect their slingmen, or later their gunners, from enemy fire. They were not carried individually.
    Paul Smith
    "Always keep the sharp side and the pointy end between you and your opponent"

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    This subject comes up once or twice a year it seems.

    For yabusame, it was pretty much fadding away as a military tactic in the sengoku period. Horses became rarer and infantry combat was much more important, depending on the different factions.

    As for the shield, it was used in the 700's, but then the focus was put on two handed weapons and shields were replaced by standing pavises (http://sanditan.com/wp-content/uploa...8_koushin1.jpg). Why? Surely not because of honor; many soldiers were not bushi, many battles were won by utter treachery and backstabing, and even then why would tate be acceptable if a shield was not? It just doesn't make any sense.

    Was it forgoten? Surely not. Japanese forces had contacts with many people who used shields (sometimes against them) but did not adopted the concept. Even if they have a long history of borrowing what they deemed useful and adapting it to their needs.

    But then the japanese had efficient armors and all weapons they used were two-handed (except for some back up weapons).... It's pretty obvious I think. A shield was just deemed a useless encumbrance for them.

  6. #36
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    European warfare has largely been influenced by Greek and Roman infantry, in which the shieldwall was highly developed. To this end, spears were short and light, able to be wielded one-handed, and swords were also short and designed for one handed use.

    Japanese warfare, OTOH, never developed the shieldwall strategy, for any number of mundane reasons. They utilized the bow, the naginata, mounted cavalry, and later, the long spear. Shields have always been an integral part of Japanese warfare, but they were the tall kind used to protect troops from in-coming arrows.

    Buckler-type hand shields were used by individual Japanese warriors, and can be seen in Yagyu Shingan Ryu demonstrations.
    Josh Reyer

    Swa sceal man don, žonne he ęt guše gengan ženceš longsumne lof, na ymb his lif cearaš. - The Beowulf Poet

  7. #37
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    Thanks to all who replied.

    I never actually thought about the (lack of) axes either...

    Interesting point about having a history of using the shield-wall / phalanx as opposed to a history of mounted warfare.

    I shall have to read more.

    Thanks
    Benny

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    IIRC, the "buckler" used in Yagyu Shingan Ryu is a jingasa-type helmet. The guy takes it off his head and uses it for a shield by grasping it by the chin straps. Or at least it looks that way in the demos I have seen.
    Earl Hartman

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    Quote Originally Posted by Earl Hartman View Post
    IIRC, the "buckler" used in Yagyu Shingan Ryu is a jingasa-type helmet. The guy takes it off his head and uses it for a shield by grasping it by the chin straps. Or at least it looks that way in the demos I have seen.
    My copy of "Nihon no Kenjutsu" has a YSgR fellow holding a "buckler" and wearing a helmet on his head. I'll have to check what the name of that particular thing is...
    Josh Reyer

    Swa sceal man don, žonne he ęt guše gengan ženceš longsumne lof, na ymb his lif cearaš. - The Beowulf Poet

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    Yeah, I'd be interested to know.

    Also, what does the Anglo-Saxon in your signature line mean? And how do you write it using a computer?
    Earl Hartman

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    Default Yagyu Shingan Ryu Jingasa no Jutsu

    One example of the jingasa being used as a shield in the Yagyu Shingan Ryu is when one is also armed with the jingama defending against a swordsman. The sword is deflected by the jingasa and the enemy taken down with the jingama.
    The other example is if the person armed with the jingama has the weapon knocked from his grasp, he then throws the jingasa towards the face of the enemy and proceeds to follow up with the kodachi.
    The techniques of the Jingasa are still used today in the Yagyu Shingan Ryu of Shimazu Kenji.
    These examples are also shown in the book Kacchu Yawara Yagyu Shingan Ryu written by Shimazu Kenji. There are a number of other excellent examples displayed by Shimazu Kenji and Hoshi Kunio in their book Shoden Yagyu Shingan Ryu Heihojutsu.

    Simon
    Simon Louis

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    Quote Originally Posted by Louvere View Post
    One example of the jingasa being used as a shield in the Yagyu Shingan Ryu is when one is also armed with the jingama defending against a swordsman. The sword is deflected by the jingasa and the enemy taken down with the jingama.
    The other example is if the person armed with the jingama has the weapon knocked from his grasp, he then throws the jingasa towards the face of the enemy and proceeds to follow up with the kodachi.
    The techniques of the Jingasa are still used today in the Yagyu Shingan Ryu of Shimazu Kenji.
    These examples are also shown in the book Kacchu Yawara Yagyu Shingan Ryu written by Shimazu Kenji. There are a number of other excellent examples displayed by Shimazu Kenji and Hoshi Kunio in their book Shoden Yagyu Shingan Ryu Heihojutsu.

    Simon
    Simon Louis
    Demonstrated briefly here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Yl5M0Ox4gU
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  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Earl Hartman View Post
    Yeah, I'd be interested to know.
    According to the article in the book, it's called a 陣盾(じんだて) jindate. Interestingly, the only hit on a google search was a discussion in Japanese on this very subject, and someone brought up the same exact book and picture.

    Also, what does the Anglo-Saxon in your signature line mean? And how do you write it using a computer?
    I use a Windows machine. I bring up the characters by holding Alt and then typing in certain sequences on the keypad. Alt-0230 is ę, Alt-0254 is ž, and Alt-0240 is š. It's all in Character Map. If you use a Mac, though, I don't know what to tell you.

    The line is from Beowulf. Beowulf goes down the mere to fight Grendel's mother. He carries with him Hrunting, a famous, proven-in-battle pattern-welded sword. As he engages Grendel's mother, he swings the sword and....nothing. It doesn't cut, it doesn't bruise, it doesn't deal any damage to the mother. So Beowulf tosses the sword away and, trusting to his own formidable strength, engages her hand-to-hand. The poet suddenly interjects:

    "So must a man do when, going to battle, he thinks of long-lasting renown; he cares not for his life."

    I used to have it paired with "Bushido to wa, shinu koto to mitsuketari." (The way of the samurai is found in death), the famous line from the Hagakure. Not that I'm a fan of the Hagakure by any means, but I think I was making a statement about the universality of man...

    Incidentally, Grendel's mother has a much better ground game than Beowulf. It looks like all is lost when Beowulf manages to push her away, stands, and sees another sword in her treasure sword. This one is also pattern-welded, and is huge -- "the work of giants" -- so that no mortal man (save Beowulf) could possibly wield it. As Grendal's mother comes for him, he grabs and wheels around with a kesa-giri...
    Josh Reyer

    Swa sceal man don, žonne he ęt guše gengan ženceš longsumne lof, na ymb his lif cearaš. - The Beowulf Poet

  14. #44
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    Interesting.

    Does the "gangen" mean "to go"? If so, perhaps that is where the Scots "gang" (as in "the best laid plans o' mice and men gang aft agley") comes from.

    Great line, though, especially since it appears to mean that for Beowulf and, presumably, all other warriors, renown is more important than life (or, at the least, that renown is worth risking your life for).

    Guess I wouldn't have made it back then. I'm happy to be alive and unknown.

    Did you see the most recent 3-D Beowulf? And what about the one made a few years back where Grendel is just a misunderstood troll who has every right to hate the Danes since they murdered his father for no good reason? I rather liked the idea of the story, although the modernity of the dialogue was a little jarring.
    Earl Hartman

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    For yabusame, it was pretty much fadding away as a military tactic in the sengoku period. Horses became rarer and infantry combat was much more important, depending on the different factions.
    According to the Kōsaka Danjō Masanobu, which details the Takeda family's military exploits, Takeda Shingen's army consisted of 33,736 individuals. This was broken down into 9121 horsemen, 18,242 followers for the horsemen, 884 ashigaru within the hatamoto shoyakunin (personal attendants to the lord), and 5489 other ashigaru. Since Takeda Shingen was a major player in the Sengoku Jidai, I would hardly call having the majority of your army be horse archers as "fading away".

    Also, we cannot forget that by the Sengoku Jidai, the samurai had already been a separate classification of profession for about 600 years. Yabusame did not begin to lose relevance until the latter part of the Sengoku Jidai, when firearms and volley fire by ashigaru became too much of a force to be overcome. However, after Tokugawa Ieyasu won out the Shogunate, he promptly eliminated firearms which propelled yabusame back to the forefront.

    So, I stand by my statement that the samurai, for pretty much their entire existence, were first and foremost horse archers.
    Paul Smith
    "Always keep the sharp side and the pointy end between you and your opponent"

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