1. A J Phillips
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    A J Phillips Active Member

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    Is the katana too overused?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by A J Phillips, Jul 12, 2015.

    In my first book, I created a a Jedi-esque band of katana wielding freedom fighters. They have acquired super-human abilities of telekinesis through a gift from a benevolent, hyper-advanced alien race, and one of the select few whose bloodline shared the 'neo-gene' creates a resurgence in Japanese samurai culture. In the future, those with telekinetic abilities dubbed Neominds, are afforded the use of powerful melee weapons, as traditional firearms are obsolete in a sense. The story is full of betrayal, defection, and the eventual destruction of the future samurai aka Sintetsu. But my dilemma is, is the katana too generic of a weapon to integrate into a new school faction of elite warriors? Though I am incredibly fascinated by the samurai way of life as well as the beautiful katana, I feel it is overused. Thoughts?
     
  2. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    Absolutely.
    But then, it also seems like the perfect weapon for your story. Why would neosamurai use anything else?

    Personally, I can't stand seeing those damned things in stories, but I'm not your target audience, clearly.
     
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  3. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    I learned just today that the samurai actually preferred spears and bows over katana (katanas? god I'm tired). Maybe you could have your Sintetsu predominantly use them instead.

    I do think katanas are pretty overused as a trope. Kinda like zombies and love triangles. That doesn't mean you can't still pull it off and make it good, though.
     
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  4. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    No.

    The katana is the embodiment of "The Way of the Sword", which is a lifestyle embraced by the Sanurai, who are prepared for death every second of their waking life.

    For me, at any rate, katana is to Samurai as blood is to vampire.
     
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  5. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    Sounds like the story is set in the future -Jedi used sci fi hard light idea for Sabres. Maybe combine your weapon with other sci fi tech to be more original, if it is a concern. I read a book that had the idea of future swords designed to cut through atoms, the blade was so sharp it had a special case etc. it made the story a lot more interesting. It also makes your story unique (like Star Wars)
     
  6. Thunderface
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    Thunderface Member

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    Look up HEMA. Historical European martial arts.

    Katanas are just overhyped sabers
     
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  7. Void
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    Void Contributing Member

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    Personally, I can't stand katana's outside of their historical setting, but since their culture is based off of Samurai culture then I feel it makes sense. However ...
    ... this needs elaboration. How exactly are firearms obsolete and swords are not?
     
  8. Song
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    Song Active Member

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    I agree with sprirj, in that you need to think about the setting of your story. In your futuristic world, would anyone choose a katana over whatever other weapons are available? How many katana's would still be around in the time of your story? How could the katana be evolved? Would it be better to make something like a Shindo (vibration/shock/tremor in Japanese) Katana or maybe a Hikari (light/glow in Japanese) Katana?

    Anyway, good luck with the book.
     
  9. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Somewhat OT: I don't mind the occasional zombie movie, and am forever wondering why they use firearms that require a head shot and end up being fired in close combat, and run out of ammo, when a katana would be so much more useful.
     
  10. Thunderface
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    Thunderface Member

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    For that application a machete would bexpect just as useful.
     
  11. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    A one-handed, heavy bladed knife vs a 2-handed lightweight sword?

    I'd take the katana over the machete any day.

    But I am a very traditional ninja.
     
  12. Thunderface
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    Thunderface Member

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    I've used both, and in personal preferable I would use a good basket hilt. But for opening a skull, machetes work just fine. A well made machete is lighter and just as sharp as a katana.

    I've said it a million times, I'll say it a million more. Katana aren't light sabers. They're an overhyped Saber at best. Steel is steel is steel is steel.
     
  13. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    Swords can be a real pain to keep in good condition, particularly when used. You need to keep them sharp, relatively dry, and if they get damaged it's far harder to find a replacement than it would be to find another pistol or something.

    Let's ignore the facts that they're physically demanding on a level that guns aren't, and you need to get dangerously close to a mass of zombies to use it.
     
  14. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Physically demanding is nothing compared to running out of bullets.
     
  15. AsherianCommand
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    AsherianCommand Active Member

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    I think because everyone has this romantic look on swords or katanas always seeing them as something honorable, where the samurai in history always backstabbed their fellows, and killed each other in massive blood baths and dishonored each other alot.

    Swords have always been romanticized because they are seen as the weapon of the knight. hence why I think it is hilarious when someone says that Samurai were honorable. When in reality they never were. They dishonored everyone and themselves by killing their own kings in bids for power. Honorable indeed, especially when they killed men and women for no reason.

    Swords and katanas are overused, and hilariously they are extremely expensive to make and equip for an entire army.

    To put it in the words of one of my characters "What moron gives an army of men, swords? Way to get tactically out maneuvered."

    Why does he say this? Because equipping swords is basically ignoring all the weapons at your disposal AKA halbreds, spears, axes, bows, crossbows, etc. Hence why I cringe everytime I see an army mostly consisting of swords in any fantasy movie. Because that was not how it was done. The only movie I can think of where it was pretty accurate to how many swords were in army was kingdom of heaven. Where everyone had different types of weapons and not everyone had swords. Some had clubs, maces, flails, and etc. Because it would be asinine and expensive to equip your whole army with swords.

    I think when ever someone says "swords beat out ranged combat" are hilariously misunderstanding history, the main reason why knights and horse mounted combat was phased out was because of ranged combat. I remember reading how that cannons and crossbows basically eliminated the need for knights. Samurai slowly started to go the way of the dodo because of a similar situation.

    Ranged combat will beat out melee combat every time.
     
  16. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    The choice of weapon depends on a great many factors. Are you fighting in large formations, in which case pole arms and archers are better, although the Romans did very well with short swords and shield. In smaller bands, short pole arms and/or swords and shields. On horseback, bow and sabre.

    On the other hand, if you are basically civilian and not likely to face armour, then light swords like the rapier or jian are good, especially indoors.

    While bows are very effective, they have disadvantages too. A long warbow requires a great deal of strength and years of practise. Plus arrows must be made by hand and armour penetrating arrowheads must be carried with you. Run out of arrows and you are left with a flexible stick. Bowstrings also don't do so well in very wet conditions. Crossbows are more durable, but again you run out of arrows plus they are slow to reload. Miss and a spear-man or swordsman will skewer you.
     
  17. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Legionaries also carried javelins, which were used as ranged weapons prior to the charge.

    One advantage of the longbow over the crossbow is that the bowstring is detachable, so that you can remove it and keep it dry when it's wet - although fighting on a wet day is a pain.

    The big advantage that most polearms (I'm including axes) have over swords is how much steel and skilled blacksmithing is involved in the manufacture.
     
  18. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    If you run out of bullets, you can still run away.
    If you tire yourself out swinging a sword, you can't.
     
  19. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    Like most people here said, there has to be a reason to why guns are obsolete and why swords are somehow better. Even in Star Wars guns were still used by most people and it took years to master a lightsaber. And as for Katanas, eh. Seems to fit your story but I just think Katanas are pretty over used and not that great of a weapon.
     
  20. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Never tired myself out swinging a sword with my legs before, so I'll have to take your word for it.
     
  21. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    Pretty sure he was talking about how close you would be not how tired your feet are.
     
  22. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    If you've never tired yourself out swinging a sword, you've never cut your way through a horde of zombies.
    Don't worry. I haven't either.
     
  23. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    No person with 5 bullets is shooting their way through a horde of zombies.

    Like I said would prefer to have a sword than run out of bullets.

    If you think killing 5 zombies is going to tire you out enough to stop you running away like the shooter, that's fair enough, but paint the same scenario for both before dismissing the sword wielder.
     
  24. AsherianCommand
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    AsherianCommand Active Member

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    If your swinging a sword for a good ten minutes you are going to get tired. I am physically conditioned and I still can't go over an hour of sword play with out having to take a breathier.

    But swords are great for close fighting especially if you are in a hallway, unless you have a spear, then a spear wins no matter what you do.
     
  25. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Like I just posted.

    I mean seriously.

    Are you guys envisaging someone with a gun making intelligent decisions and the sword wielder being some kind of idiot?

    It's about the only way I can follow the scenarios you are painting.

    Over the course of a month of running from and defending against zombies, the sword wielder is going to engage or not in just the same way as the shooter, or you are unfairly disadvantaging the swordsman.
     

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