1. Daydream
    Offline

    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Messages:
    562
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    In another dimension.

    Swords

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Daydream, Jun 14, 2011.

    Really random question, but I've always wandered, is there some kind of an advantage to wearing a sword on your back or side? Probably a small problem, but I can't decide whether to have my female MC carry her Nihonto (katana) on her side or back. I guess carrying it on ones back does look better lol. I just feel like drawing a sword on ones back is alot harder...
     
  2. Quezacotl
    Offline

    Quezacotl Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Messages:
    342
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Ponyville
    There is no difference I am aware of, just personal preference of a character. It's usually more based on the culture the individual comes from. Ex, Ninjas wear the blades on their back, Samurai on their hips, etcetera.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. cruciFICTION
    Offline

    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,236
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    It depends on the size and type of weapon. Handaxes and short blades can be worn at the hip. It's easier to pull something up from the hip than to pull something up and over the shoulder.

    That's pretty much the long and short of it. If you need to figure out what's easiest, find a bit of wood the same length and hold it at your back. Tie it on if you need to. Try and do a crash roll while wearing it there. It's hard. Try and "unsheathe" it, making sure that you keep it moving straight up until it would be free.
     
  4. SteamWolf
    Offline

    SteamWolf Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Messages:
    153
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Newcastle
    you can draw a sword from the hip much faster than from your shoulder, however as mentioned above a long weapon such as a broadsword won't sit comfortably on your side. Also, there's the issue of mounting a horse depending on whether that person is left or right handed. Generally throughout history horses are trained to be mounted from the left (I think? not a horse person, sorry). A right hander will have a medium or long sword on the left hip and it would be drawn across the body so it doesn't get stuck in the scabbard (run out of reach). A short sword or knife may be kept on the right hand side as it can be lifted straight out.
     
  5. cruciFICTION
    Offline

    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,236
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Oh yeah, and if you've got a heavy weapon, your entire back can hold it better (with less strain, kennit?) than your hip could.
     
  6. theSkaBoss
    Offline

    theSkaBoss Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    3
    It depends on many things, such as the fighting style. Pulling a sword down from your shoulder is great if your first stroke is meant to swing down, while hip would be better if the first swing is meant to go up or across. Further, if your character is right-handed, their blade will be drawn from either his left side for the hip, or the same side for the shoulder. This matters when you consider other equipment or garb that your character might use. Also, a weapon may be too long or bulky to wear at the hip, while a small weapon might be too small to necessitate wearing on the back. Finally, the choice for weapon placement will change depending on how your character moves, or is built to move. A hip-mounted weapon would get in a parkour champ's way. A back-mounted weapon would possibly be an inconvenience to someone who rides a horse, or to someone who cannot physically reach that part of his or her own back, or to a very short person.

    To be a little more helpful, I went and tried drawing my own katana from both positions. Let's just say that if your hero wants to wear it on his back, he better have a shorter-than-normal katana. Those suckers are nigh impossible to draw from a traditional katana sheath when drawn from the back. Most larger swords when worn on the back would require the sheath to be cut or slit midway up to allow the swordsman to angle the blade out after a certain point. But since the sheath for a katana is perfectly rigid, this is likely not the case for your hero's sword. Keep in mind that to draw a sword from an uncut sheath, the blade (minus handle) must be no longer than your outstretched arm, from shoulder to wrist. My katana's blade is about 3 feet long, or slightly less -- a bit too long for my arm. So wearing it on the hip is much easier, as drawing it across my body allows me extra room to draw. The only way a similar katana could be drawn by your hero is if he has an untraditional sheath, or just latches or straps the bare sword to his back and needs only unlatch or unstrap it to free it.
     
  7. Daydream
    Offline

    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Messages:
    562
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    In another dimension.
    AH thanks that helped alot :) Just one more question I have is: What type of sword does Uma Thurman's character carry in Kill Bill? Since she carries it on her back or just holds it. I'm guessing its abit shorter than a regular katana? She also seems to carry it at an angle when it's on her back.
     
  8. SeverinR
    Offline

    SeverinR Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    New Madison Ohio
    Traditionally horses are mounted on the left, but I reinforced with my horses the ability to mount from either side. They are trail horses, and if it is easier to mount/dismount from the right (such as a cliff) they will tolerate it. So I would assume military trained horses could be trained much the same.
    Sword on the left hip is drawn with the right hand, so that would support the mounting on the left though, so not having to flip the sword over the horse, as better chance to sit it during the mount.

    I think like others have said, probably blade length. If the sword would drag while walking, it would go on the shoulder. The double bladed back swords look pretty fast on the draw, but I think those are curved blades so they slide right out. (schimitars?)
     
  9. Mallory
    Offline

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Messages:
    4,274
    Likes Received:
    191
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    It seems that if the sword is on your back, it's much easier for the enemy to sneak up and attack you (or maybe even take your sword from you) because it's not in your vision and it's more out of reach. That's just me though, I know nothing about swords. ;)
     
  10. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Well put! Was it a deliberate pun?
     
  11. Ellipse
    Offline

    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    32
    She is using a kitana.

    On another note, it might be shorter than a regular kitana or it might not be. It's a hollywood movie so you shouldn't take everything you see at face value. After all, in the same movie, Uma's character carries the kitana onto a plane. :)
     
  12. Kio
    Offline

    Kio Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Southern Water Tribe
    I'm guessing that, since it's a katana, your MC will carry it at her side if she is on high alert. Generally, the katana is strapped to the back so that it's easier to carry, but when in battle, it's at the side so that it can be drawn with ease. I've noticed upon observation that one who handles the katana executes a horizontal blow, then a verticle one, at times in quick succession.

    You can watch some videos on Youtube based on the katana. I looked some up myself since I also have a character who wields the katana. I'm no master and it's hard to find a master of such an art, so I have to look it up. You can do further research on Wikipedia and Japanese martial arts. It's a great help.
     
  13. WriterDude
    Offline

    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Messages:
    738
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    Icy cold wastes of Hell. Aka Norway.
    I'm not exactly an expert with swords, but wouldn't it be easier to move around with a sword on your back? Normal walking and running should be fine with the sword on your hip, but if the MC will be atlethic and jump around and all that, I would have put the sword on his back.
     
  14. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    That would depend a lot on how low it depends. :)

    Remember that when you walk, your legs alternately extend behind the line of your back. Potentially, that could mean your legs striking the hanging blade or its sheath on every stride. Even with the blade covered, that will cause a lot of discomfort.
     
  15. Gigi_GNR
    Offline

    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    12,143
    Likes Received:
    250
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    I suppose it depends on the character. Leonardo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has katana and he wears them on his back. Yes, I know this! :p
     
  16. Daydream
    Offline

    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Messages:
    562
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    In another dimension.
    Rofl! This made me dribble some of my drink.
     
  17. Daydream
    Offline

    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Messages:
    562
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    In another dimension.
    This does make sense! I watched some videos (Iaito an Kendo) and found that wearing ones sword does have alot more advantages, such as drawing speed and positioning. Also apparently samurai's used to carry small blades in their katanas enabling them to flick them out at their enemy. Additionally wearing a sword on ones side meant that incase of a surprise attack, it was possible to draw the sword out for a block and then continue through with a slice across the chest. Thanks for all the help people! Finally I can continue xD
     
  18. Kio
    Offline

    Kio Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Southern Water Tribe
    Are you referring to the tanto blade? Appaently this is used to accompany the katana. It's also used in ritual Japanese suicide, but that's another story.

    Out of curiosity, what ethnicity is your character?
     
  19. Daydream
    Offline

    Daydream Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Messages:
    562
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    In another dimension.
    I forgot the name, but it's a blade that sits in the hilt of the sword and can be used when attacked in close quarters or by surprise. It's usually used to launch it at the enemy to give one enough time to draw their katana.

    My character doesn't really have en ethnicity, since my story deals with Eugenics. Hard to explain in a few sentences sorry ><
     
  20. Tessie
    Offline

    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,103
    Likes Received:
    62
    Location:
    Mass
    Good question!

    Having a sheath on your back does depend on the sword. Now, I personally have never owned such a weapon, but I've watched plenty of war movies. In Braveheart William Wallace keeps his sword on his back to conceal it from view when he goes after the man who killed his wife.

    And in The Last Samurai Tom Cruise always wears his katana on his hip. I think that is the traditional way of wearing a sword in Japanse Samurai culture. Just my two cents in concordance to Hollywood's example. :D
     
  21. Lord Malum
    Offline

    Lord Malum Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2011
    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Kansas City, KS
    From what I understand, katanas are very long. Drawing it from her back would be impractical if she plans on actually using it. I just can't find a katana on one's back believable.
     
  22. Lothgar
    Offline

    Lothgar Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Messages:
    417
    Likes Received:
    37
    As a matter of practicality, where you wear your sword has more to do with your own height and arm length.

    Swords are typically worn belted at the hip, the reason being they are near hand level and quicker to draw. If you are short or your weapon is too long for you (meaning it drags the ground) or too heavy (meaning it tugs your sword belt down as you walk), you would either either select a shorter/lighter sword for hip carry, or wear it on your back.

    Belts for wearing a sword on your back are called a baldric. The type of scabbard you would attach to said baldric would again depend on your length of your weapon, with the key concern being if your arm length is long enough to draw it out in a single fluid motion (A fully extended arm that only draws your weapon half way out of its scabbard would [A] Make you look silly and probably get you killed in combat).

    Longer swords require a scabbard mounting that can "tip" horizontal, allowing the full blade length to be drawn across the shoulder and down in front of you. Shorter, but wider/heavier weapons can be firmly attached to your back (which eliminates the "flapping" or bouncing around that a "tipping" scabbard does when you walk/run).

    I vaguely recall reading in a martial arts magazine (sometime back in the 1980s) that hip drawing a katana was faster than back drawing one...but when done by a highly skilled user, the difference was measured in tenths of a second and too fast to be observed by the naked eye. I would suspect that it also depends on "which" skilled user you are talking about and exactly "who" the naked eye belonged to, but that would be nit picking.
     
  23. mystrian101
    Offline

    mystrian101 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Texas
    Well, my main character wears his sword on his back. It is held in place by a metal ring that sharpens it as he pulls it out. Very easy to draw quickly.
     
  24. T.N.Korgan
    Offline

    T.N.Korgan New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Texas
    When I wear my double swords, I have them on my back. They sit against each other in a single sheath(think zuko's swords from avatar). But because of the weight and the fact that it's not the best sheath in the world, I wear them with the handles down and to the left. It has a button flap so they don't fall out. It does make them easy to access but resheathing them is not.
     

Share This Page