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 Practicalities of the AC Hidden Blade

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Wolff
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PostSubject: Practicalities of the AC Hidden Blade   August 30th 2012, 3:25 pm

Hey all,

Been playing Assassin's Creed and enjoying fighting guards using just the Hidden Blade(s). But it got me thinking... It's a cool weapon and all, but how well would it work in the real world?

Obviously the primary aim is to sneak up behind your target, pop the blade and stab them in the face or something, before legging it like a loony. But
since Altar and Ezio so often end up using them in open combat too, I began analysing.

I myself study and practice a European form of historical martial arts, mainly based around swords and polearms. In this system, distance is king. If you have the longer weapon (and the space to use it), you have the advantage. Individual abilities aside and looking purely at the science of fights, I cannot see much use for the HB, myself. I've been working through the moves, both mentally and physically (yes, with a short stick strapped to my arm and a friend sparring against me). We practice full contact, with full speed and full power. It hurts a lot, but it easily proves or disproves what pure academia cannot.

Here's some findings thus far:

Part of our system includes fighting with multiple weapons, typically a Broadsword* in one hand and a knife, buckler or shield in t'other. The sword is the main weapon, but also the main defense. The 'off' weapon is mostly used when your opponent has breached your sword, to provide a distraction, or against targets of opportunity when using your sword would be less practical. Obviously you cannot use an HB on your sword arm, as the HB interferes with your sword grip, so the other arm (in my case the left) is your only option.

The HB finds some use in the same offensive moves where you'd close with your opponent and strike with the buckler. These tend to be smashing moves
executed the same as you would a punch, but with the buckler held at varying angles. It is useless in the same defensive moves.

The very similar knife moves as mentioned above can sometimes work, but the fixed angle of the HB prohibits some moves and the shorter reach (fighting
knives usually measuring 12-19") of the HB prohibits others. For those moves where a ward/stop/block/parry is made by the knife, the HB's fixed angle again makes it awkward (being 90 from where you really need it to be), but also I believe the mechanism would not stand up to the
power of most incoming blows - It would snap off at the shoulder of the blade and you'd still get hit. More importantly, when the blow is directed between your shoulder and hip, it's very difficult to make the HB cover that area, at least with suffcient strength behind it to stop a sword blow.
The result is that you either miss or usually take the incoming blow on the hand or arm. Kinda disastrous, really!

The only wards where the HB seems useful is against incoming thrusts, usually with a circular motion. However, the blade must be moved with
considerable precision - More often either the HB misses the thrust, or the incoming blade runs up the hand/arm instead resulting in a push-cut (opposite of a draw-cut). Also very bad.

Now I know Ezio wore well-armoured vambraces to prevent the above disasters, but since you could choose to do that anyway (and with far more stylish, effective and practical armour), it's not really a pragmatic factor.

Lastly, I looked at close-fighting. This is typically where one combatant has misjudged their distances and you both end up too close for the usual moves. In such a position, you'd use various grapples, grips and other manoeuvres to best your opponent and do some damage. Most of the time you can use the HB to stab over, under or around your mixed up guards, since such a short distance is within adequate reach. However, I found that the short moment taken to flip your wrist and pop the HB open slows you down enough that your opponent can usually avoid it. Also, if you try and flip your wrist while delivering the blow, it changes your muscle dynamic and again
slows you down, a bit like trying to run with one foot on tip-toe.

One other aspect is where Ezio likes to spin around a lot to close distance and use his HBs that way. Works nicely in-game, but the reality is that you're turning your back on your opponent and leaving yourself very open a lot of the time when you do this. Against a sword any half-trained fighter would take these openings and floor you before you even got close enough to use your HBs.

So yeah, those are my findings from some basic experimentation.
Anyone else who practices a different combat system have anything they can
add to this?

Cheers,
H. Wolff.


*Disclaimer - For convenience, I use this term to mean the single-handed, wide-bladed cruciform hilt weapon common in post Anglo-Saxon England and Europe generally. I know the word is erroneous Victorian rubbish, but it's still what we call it.

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PostSubject: Re: Practicalities of the AC Hidden Blade   August 30th 2012, 11:53 pm

Great topic, Wolff.
I don't have much to add except agreeing with you.
From the top of my head, the hidden blade (from every game BUT AC3) looks pretty much useless except when in sneaky-stabby mode. All the gameplay makes it seem like Altair and Ezio are the only people who even WANT to move. The guards only stand there and rub the backs of their heads or take ENORMOUS windups for every swing.
Guard: I'm gonna attack you now. Are you ready? You sure? Ok, I'm gonna take a big windup and you just stop me if you're not ready. Ok?
The cool action-cam shots of the protagonist dodging an upward blow and sticking a piece of a decorative steel through a guard's temple is really slick, but the Ezio kick-the-guard's-hand-and-stab-him-in-the-chest-while-he's-trying-to-attack just seems too hard to pull off.
I mostly use the sword or dagger/throwing-knife combo in-game anyway.
Disclaimer: I'm a noob, making noob assumptions.
Trumpetdood AWAAAAAY!
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PostSubject: Re: Practicalities of the AC Hidden Blade   August 31st 2012, 1:45 pm

I love the dagger attacks. Nice and fast. Never do it in real life, but hey - I'd never go jumping of buildings and stabbing people in the face either, heh heh.
Loved the fact that they feature the Schiavona, one of my favourite swords!

My sparring partner also pointed out the futility of stabbing guards actually in the armoured parts of their anatomy. No matter how sharp your HB is, you won't have enough force to punch through plate armour and if you get the angle wrong, you'll snap the blade at one of it's aforementioned weak points Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Practicalities of the AC Hidden Blade   September 1st 2012, 10:50 am

Even in the trailer for Brotherhood shows Ezio throwing his basic little throwing knives right through the chest plates of two guards.

Tobuscus (an internet comedian) even posted an amended trailer with him singing over it. He commented on the guards having bad armor.

I think in the Codex, Altair mentions a new kind of steel that he discovered and destroyed the plans so it couldn't be recreated. But since we're talking real world here, I'll leave out the possibility of magic steel.

It wouldn't surprise me, though.
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PostSubject: Re: Practicalities of the AC Hidden Blade   September 4th 2012, 11:45 am

I just spotted this thread about five minutes ago, but would like to include a little bit of input. I can't say that I have physically been trained in any kind of martial arts, however I have read a lot about many forms.

First off, for defense against long reach weapons such as polearms or spears. These are great weapons because how far away they are effective, however if that distance is breeched, the weapon is almost useless. These weapons only really work with either thrusts or huge swings, both of which you need to be really sure you hit your target otherwise you are left wide open. A good example here is a history lesson of the Ninja vs. Samuri. Ninjas would win a fight most of the time because they used shorter weapons. When a Samuri would swing with their 5 foot Nodachi, a Ninja could easily unsheathe, cut and kill the Samuri.

Now this same tactic can be used no matter what weapon is used, to a point, the smaller and more agile weapon will win. However the smaller the weapons get the faster the reflexes will need to be.

Now because this is a game we are talking about, obviously both Altiar and Ezio will fight differently depending on our play style. It is even possible to almost completely avoid fights, simply by running and hiding. So the only basis we can truly go off of is the short fighting cut scenes. Whenever I watch the cutscenes, it seems to me that they always block to the inside. For those of you that don't know what this means, an example would be if someone throws a punch and you block their punch by hitting their arm away from their body. Now what this does is completely open up atleast that side of their body.

I think I\'ll leave this post at that, please feel free to throw questions or comments to me if you feel im wrong or don't quite get what im saying.
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PostSubject: Re: Practicalities of the AC Hidden Blade   September 5th 2012, 6:33 pm

Thanks for that, DK!

Some great additions and a well-written piece. I enjoyed that.


Couple of points I'd like to add...
Please first understand I'm NOT bragging or trying to show off in any of this. I speak from some 21 years of studying several martial arts, with a particular 6 year knowledge of the dynamics of real fights and from being painfully hit many many times... It's not something I wear as a badge (except among my fellow students, coz every bloke is a Jock at heart), just the price paid for finding out certain truths.


>however if that distance is breeched, the weapon is almost useless.
Gonna have to disagree on this part.
Some styles may vary - I learned English Quarterstaff. By this, I mean the kind where you hold one quarter of the staff's length between your hands, rearmost hand about a foot from the end and foremost acting as the pivot, on a stave about 6 feet long for ye medieval civilians and up to 9 for battlefield use.

Now... What you tend to see in all the Robin Hood movies is called Halfstaffing. By a quick slide of one hand you can switch from quarter to half very swiftly, much faster than your opponent can close the distance. Add in rearward movement and again, you keep your opponent in striking distance.
If they somehow really get *that* close, you can still reverse the halfstaff and smack them with the butt, following up with a thrust.

>These weapons only really work with either thrusts or huge swings,
Because of the simple science of levers, a small 12" movement at the back end results in a 4-6 foot swing at the front. Add full speed into that and you have one heck of a fast, powerfull blow. I myself can deliver 3 hits in a single second like this, smacking head, leg and back to head. I've seen (actually been hit by) 5 hits in a second. You'd have to be superhuman to block all that... lucky if you get even one.

>both of which you need to be really sure you hit your target otherwise you are left wide open.
As explained above, with the speed of a staff, if you miss one the second third and more are on the way already. If you're ever wide open with a staff, you've done something seriously stupid.

In narrow spaces too, you can get the point of that staff back far enough and fast enough to thrust before your opponent can close the distance. Inertia alone will usually drop them. But further, your reach again beats any hand weapon they have. Without even moving your feet, you can safely thrust from a good 12 feet away with a 6' stave.

Now the thing about the Quarterstaff is the power. Again, simple leverage physics, but the result is that it devastates. That leg-hit alone would pop your knee apart. If I hit you in the head... well, I'm almost certainly going to prison!
Forget D&D rules of D4 damage or whatever (really annoys me when RPGs have unrealistic stats). If a Broadsword is D8, you want at least a D64 for a staff!
Plate armour will be dented, with considerable blunt trauma. Bones will be shattered. Skulls have even been shattered despite the victim wearing a helmet!

Contemporary civilian crime reports show that by far the most common cause of death involving a weapon was the head being smashed in by a quarterstaff.
At a time when EVERYONE carried a weapon and an English Broadsword only cost 30 shillings (about a month's salary for a lower-middle class skilled worker), there is a reason so many people still opted for a quarterstaff. Seriously, even priests would have at least a dagger, yet so many still favoured the staff.

The ONLY way to beat someone even semi-competent with a solid oak staff is to shoot them or attack them unawares.


>a Ninja could easily unsheathe, cut and kill the Samuri.
Was it Iae-Do or Iae-To, the Samurai art of drawing and cutting with a Katana?perhaps he should have used that! But never mind... His problem, not ours :)

My point here is that a guy with a 5' Nodachi is attacking with a *massive* wide swing when his opponent is already within distance to hit him. He increases his attack time at a point when his opponent already has the advantage. ANY fighter who does such a thing is a moron!

The Ninja technique is valid, as again the description seems to mean they either attack their Samurai when he's not aware, or they take advantages of the flaws in his fight (in this case, swinging widely at the wrong time).


>However the smaller the weapons get the faster the reflexes will need to be.
As my teacher once said to me: "OK, you use a knife, I'll use this sword..."

I can hit a sword toward your knee and then smack you in the head faster than you can move your knife to block it. Moreover, even if you do get the knife up, the force of my blade will most likely (97% chance) batter the knife down and you'll still take the hit. Theory always sounds great in your head, but never seems to work when there's an angry guy hitting back HARD at you!

The knife is much faster than the sword, yes. But mainly useless as you can't get close enough unless I do something stupid and a very poor weapon for defence. Now imagine the knife is strapped to your wrist and immovable!
That's what prompted the experimentation and subsequent discussion.


>So the only basis we can truly go off of is the short fighting cut scenes.
The only problem I have with the game is that the animation skips to react and keep up with button-presses. It has some realistic dynamics to the fights, but not realistic speeds... Oh, that and Ezio stays locked into a move that I pressed the button for several bloody seconds ago!


>Whenever I watch the cutscenes, it seems to me that they always block to the inside.
Hold your right hand out in front of you, as if holding a sword everything that happens to the left of that hand is a fighter's Inside. Everthing the other side is their Outside. So an Outside swing (left to right) is basically a backhander. The reverse is an Inside swing.
Seems to be the same sort of terminology you're using, which makes things easier.


>Now what this does is completely open up atleast that side of their body.
True indeed.
But here's a consideration - Assuming both parties have equal length swords and are of equal height, etc... How do they block?

More important with fistfighting, but if you block across your own body, you can end up tying yourself up as well and you lose the advantage of opening their Inside up. You either have to disengage and then attack if you want any power behind it, with that fraction of a second allowing your opponent to recover, or use more limited lines of attack that require more precise judgement of distance.

If you use an Outside block against an opponent's Outside attack, you're pretty much even still. It's then down to who moves first.
Inside can also have the same result.

But if you step back as their attack comes in, they'll take longer to reach you and you'll have more time to get a block up. You can then meet their blow before it's in full force, which *does* leave them wide open. Also, they're often expecting to hit and suddenly have not... so you're now the one who moves first and they're playing mental catch-up.
From there, you've taken the opening and have plenty of time to deliver a powerful, decisive blow.

However, in this instance, I prefer an Outside block against an Outside swing. You stop it same as above, but have given yourself the time to step (roughly) diagonally past your opponent. You are now on his Outside, past his sword hand and with his entire inside facing away from you. You're within arm's reach of his body and he can't react in time to stop you... Pop hidden blade on your left arm as you step, then RAM it into the side of his rib cage or perhaps even his face.

All this in less than a second!


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PostSubject: Re: Practicalities of the AC Hidden Blade   September 6th 2012, 10:19 am

I guess I should of included my thoughts about using a staff, especially since I completely agree with you on picking one up over most any other weapon. My 6 foot White Wax Wood Staff was probably my best buy.

Now to get back on topic, the main reason I didn't include staves is because there weren't in use in the game. And personally if I would have been in Ezio's boots and seen an opponent come at me with a staff, I probably would of made a run for it.

A quick side note here, Iae-Do is exactly what I was talking about. I guess I didnt know there was an actual term for it. Now please correct me if I am wrong here because I don't really have hard evidence, but I believe it was actually a technique created by Ninjas. Now again I can't be sure about that. However even if they had actually adapted it from Samuri, the Ninja perfected it by using a ninjato.

The fact that a typical katana is sleightly longer and has a curve to it, means that the tip will take longer to get out of the sheathe. A ninjato however is a straight blade and shorter which makes the draw is done faster, so that the cut can be started faster. This mixed with the fact that Ninjas didn't wear nearly as much armor, if any at all. Making them much more agile.

Which brings me to my next point. Altair and Ezio didn't wear much armor, thus making them more agile. That on top of the fact that they were most definetly just naturally more agile, means their speed is going to look insanly fast compared to someone wearing plate armor.

Now as for only using the Hidden Blade for a fight, I think only a crazy person would try that. However I think we need to remember that the great thing about the hidden blade is that it can be opened in an instant. Also the fact that when it is closed it leaves your hand available for using other weapons. I personally would consider the hidden blade strictly a sneak attack weapon, or a plan B in case you get disarmed.

As for my comment on blocking to the inside. the reason I would block to the inside is because it is much easier to overwhelm your opponent if you keep the distance to them shorter, especially if they are not expecting it. Now I'm not saying I would block to the inside and stand there. If I have a hidden blade straped to my arm, you best believe that my very first move, after the block, is a lunge attack with the blade. The beauty of it is you don't need a sweeping or slashing motion for it to be effective and you dont need to crank your wrist down like you would if you were thrusting with a knife in your hand. It would be as quick as throwing a simple punch. If the block is done right, you wouldn't even need to worry about a second attack coming.

As for blocking to the outside, I'm not saying this is a bad move. If the momentum of your opponent is coming directly at you, then blocking to the outside would potenially be the best option, especially if they are bigger than you. If their momentum is coming at you, then you can use their momentum to dodge their own attack. This is a technique that makes up the basics of Ai Ki Do.

If however they are not charging you and you block to the outside, then you next move needs to be movement towards them, and then the thrust. Blocking inside is a block and inward movement all in one. If you block with the arm that doesn't have the hidden blade, or your have two hidden blades, than you can even include the thrust all in the same motion with the block/movement.
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PostSubject: Re: Practicalities of the AC Hidden Blade   September 6th 2012, 10:20 am

This thing seems to be heating up quite well. Before I add my opinion I'd like to correct some painful writing errors:

Samuri(wrong)-samurai(correct) and I even googled samuri to make sure whether I had missed the existence of such a thing!

Iae-Do(no...) Iae-To (No!) Battōjutsu is the historical (ca. 15th century) term encompassing both the practice of drawing the sword and cutting (tameshigiri).[citation needed] The term iaijutsu (居合術) was known before the Tokugawa period (before 1603) , and the term iaido was known from 1932. Iaido is due to the general trend (stemming from gendai budō) to replace the suffix -jutsu with -dō in Japanese martial arts in order to emphasize a philosophical or spiritual component.(Wiki sums it up quite nicely)
As for a samurai with a nodachi... Nodachi was mainly used as a cavalry sword because the longer blade and handle made it more comfortable to cut enemies from the saddle, but besides that the well-to-do samurais also possessed at least a dagger (tanto) and/or a secondary short sword (wakizashi)

As for the practicalities,well...since it's sharp and pointy it has the qualities of a very brittle knife, due to the many tiny details which can easily be damaged to render the blade useless. Quite risky to bet a life on such a thing, better to use a good old dagger. I've always liked this picture (mostly because it reminds me of my playstyle)
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PostSubject: Re: Practicalities of the AC Hidden Blade   September 6th 2012, 12:49 pm

>correct some painful writing errors:
Apologies for causing you so much pain with my unfamiliarity of something I only ever needed a passing knowledge of... I know people who practice what they call Iaido. I also knew the technique I meant, but not the word and Google isn't always that helpful these days.
The point behind it still stands, though and I love that picture!

As for Samurai vs Samuri, that's clearly just a typo. We all make them. Don't be so pedantic Laughing


Ooh, I have a set of waxwood cudgels. Great, isn't it!

>the main reason I didn't include staves is because there weren't in use in the game.
They have spears. Exact same thing, but with a pointy bit on the end. Works the exact same way.

>I believe it was actually a technique created by Ninjas.
May well have been. But anyone can learn it and if it's better than what you do, you'd be a fool not to.

>the tip will take longer to get out of the sheathe.
Ever so slightly, but less time than you could feasibly measure. It also depends more on who moves first, among other things.

>Altair and Ezio didn't wear much armor, thus making them more agile.
Tell that to the Agile soldiers!

>their speed is going to look insanly fast compared to someone wearing plate armor.
Counts for nothing if they slow themselves down or use wide attacks Wink

>Now as for only using the Hidden Blade for a fight, I think only a crazy person would try that.
I had immense fun trouncing a load of guards doing exactly this, though! Very Happy


However I think we need to remember that the great thing about the hidden blade is that it can be opened in an instant. Also the fact that when it is closed it leaves your hand available for using other weapons. I personally would consider the hidden blade strictly a sneak attack weapon, or a plan B in case you get disarmed.

>it is much easier to overwhelm your opponent if you keep the distance to them shorter,
But you also run the risk of exposing your own self if they have a follow-up in progress. Most decent fighters will.

>my very first move, after the block, is a lunge attack with the blade.
If they have a second weapon, as was common in contemporary Italian fight systems, you just impaled yourself upon it. You blocked Inside, which means your arm and weapon are across your own body. That takes time (1 Time) to move aside so you can get the HB in. Then you have to close with your opponent (1 Time). Then you have to thrust the blade in (1 Time), assuming you've already got it open. If not, add an extra half-Time as the wrist movement will slow your arm down.
The opponent will likely have a fencing dagger in his off-hand and all he has to do is thrust as you move forward. that's at most 1 Time against your 3 or 3.5 Times. You lose.

If you block Outside, his off-hand is now tied up and unable to reach you. he'd have to do all the above that just lost you the last one in order to hit you.
You're in the same position, of course, but you're already moving diagonally past him in one step. That takes 1 Time, but he must catch up to your moves. By the time he sees what you've done, you've finished the step and are delivering the off-hand strike with the HB.

By the time your foot finishes that step, you're now almost 3/4 behind him and have your choice of head, neck, shoulder, kidney, ribs, groin, knee. If he's lucky, he might be able to elbow you. It's a far stronger position to put yourself in.

>you dont need to crank your wrist down like you would if you were thrusting
That's more a Fencing thing, not done in English or German systems really. It's a weak grip. Better to have a globular fist-grip and use a digging motion for the thrust.

Also, unless you already have the blade out, you'll have to flip your wrist. This contracts your muscles the opposite way you want them for a thrust and slows you down.

>If the block is done right, you wouldn't even need to worry about a second attack coming.
You'd have to disengage, step forward a few feet, then thrust. He has to move his hand maybe 3 feet, if that. The only way a lunge would work is if your block ended up with him within punching distance... but then why use the back hand with the HB underneath an Inside block which again opposes the muscles you need. Better there to use the closer weapon, ie your fist or your sword pommel and hit the closest target, which in this case would be his face.


>If the momentum of your opponent is coming directly at you, then blocking to the >outside would potenially be the best option,
It depends which direction the weapon is coming from. No point blocking Outside (ie to the right) if your opponent is hitting at your left side!
For thrusts, again it depends which side the weapon is on. If in doubt, sweep it to the Outside and again enjoy his exposed targets as above.

>If their momentum is coming at you, then you can use their momentum to dodge their own attack.
You can do this with both Inside and Outside. I don't see why one would be better than the other.
If they're charging with a big haymaker blow, that's easy - level the sword and stab them in the chest, face, belly, whatever. That's a rookie/Hollywood mistake!
Another is to just sidestep completely, slightly diagonal and hit them in the back of the head as they charge past. Works nicely for the straight-down blow you see Samurai doing in movies.

>If however they are not charging you and you block to the outside, then you next >move needs to be movement towards them
You move directly toward them at this point, you will die. It's within range of their off-hand and you're slowed down to the speed of your feet.
This is why I say to go diagonally past them on their outside. You move to a position where neither of their hands can reach you in time and you have access to their best targets!


>Blocking inside is a block and inward movement all in one.
You'll need to illustrate this one for me, or explain further.

To me an Inside block is where you move your weapon to the left, stopping a blow aimed at your left side. No forward movement needed, especially as it again slows you down.


>than you can even include the thrust all in the same motion with the block/movement.
This has more merit in fight fighting, or if the other person has a knife... but knife on knife is always a REALLY bad idea...







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PostSubject: Re: Practicalities of the AC Hidden Blade   October 20th 2013, 3:07 am

Hey everyone, I just found this topic, and while I understand that it is pretty old, I have to add my two cents worth.

I completely agree that blocking with the hidden blade would be a disaster. I also agree that it should never be seen as a primary weapon in a fight. It was designed as an assassination weapon, and that is where its strengths lie. However, I can still see its use as a weapon in a fight, if it comes to that.

You guys seem to be looking at this the wrong way. The idea I am getting is that you want to extend the hidden blade, then fight with the knife sticking out of your arm. That wouldn't work, for all the above reasons. But why would you do that anyway? If I had a hidden blade (which I will admit to dreaming about for quite some time), I would use it to supplement my empty hand fighting. I would block with the vambraces (already covered above), get inside their guard, and do something similar to a palm-strike. That movement would extend the hidden blade, and provide plenty of force to stick it into someone. The blade is thin and fragile, but it doesn't take much to puncture the eye or throat. These are areas that are normally difficult to attack with a longer weapon (pain to aim a long-sword at someones eye), but should be easy enough to do with a hidden blade (assuming you know what you are doing).

Advantages would be easy kills (just hit them in the neck or eye, anywhere else probably won\'t do much), element of surprise (since you don't have the blade sticking out all the time, they wouldn't see it until it was too late), and psychological factors. The third one will probably be the most important. For example, imagine you have an assassin surrounded. He is unarmed, and you are feeling pretty confident you can take him. One of your friends steps in for the kill, and the assassin blocks/dodges, steps in, and hits him. Next thing you know your friend is covered in blood, dying at your heels, and you never saw any weapon. Now you start remembering the rumors you have heard of these assassins. The myths, and you start to question just how mythical they were. Do you still think you can beat him? This unarmed man has just become something out of stories, a being capable of killing with a touch.

Psychological factors have a huge impact on a fight. Perhaps the ninja used them better than anybody. Ninja were thought of as demons, ghosts. Even today, people relate the ninja to their supposed supernatural fighting abilities. Their techniques included filling the ends of their scabbards with iron filings (the scabbard was usually a few inches longer than the sword), which could be flung at an opponent while the sword was being drawn. Their opponents would never see the attack coming, or the ninja escape. Ninjas also used metal claws, which they used to either climb buildings/trees/cliffs when escaping (creating rumors that ninja could fly), or to catch sword blades (scary enough as it is, imagine that happening to you!). Shuriken were designed to bounce off of a target after striking, so that samurai would think they were being cut by invisible swordsmen. Perhaps my favorite little contraption of the ninja arose just after the rise of firearms in Japan. Much like the hidden gun, ninjas miniaturized the guns, and created a handheld firearm that could be used once then discarded. In a fight against many opponents, the ninja would press the end of the barrel against their opponents skin and pull the trigger. With a bang and a flash, the opponent would be dead (can you imagine that poor mans friends reactions!)

All of these psychological tricks are what gave the ninja their true strength. The shock of losing that first man would have a significant effect on the others fighting. Men fighting assassins using hidden blades would just see a man punching (or palming if he was observant) his allies, and watch them die.

Like I said, the hidden blade wouldn't be my first choice for combat, but I wouldn't turn it down either. In my opinion, there are some definite uses for such a weapon. Besides which, they are just plain awesome :)
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PostSubject: Re: Practicalities of the AC Hidden Blade   October 22nd 2013, 4:24 am

Also, a note on the samurai.
For quite a few years I was interested in the idea of learning to forge traditional katanas. In my research for this, I came across a fair amount of information on both samurai and ninjas, but definitely more on samurai.
You see, ninjas hardly ever used katanas (they were crazy expensive, so they only used them when they could steal them), ninjas used ninjatos, which were shorter and cheaper, but still curved. The straight blade is purely a Hollywood creation (similar to the black ninja suit). Katanas were weapons of the wealthy and elite samurai, almost all of which owned one. No culture put more emphasis on the spiritual importance of a sword than the Japanese samurai did for their katana. The katana was literally a part of the samurais soul. Anyway, samurai normally carried three blades on their hip. A katana (which ranged from 27 to 30 inches in length), a wakizashi (which ranged from 16 to 23 inches in length) and a tanto (under 12 inches). Katanas were designed as two handed weapons, but they could be used in one hand (much like the European long sword). Wakizashi's were designed for one hand. Tantos were just big knives. Samurai carried all these blades for different reasons. The katana was their main weapon, but was not allowed to be carried in certain areas, so they had a shorter secondary weapon. The tanto, like I said, was just a knife. The nodachi were only used on horseback (for obvious reasons).

Ok, rant over :) What I came to say is that the samurai's swords were designed for quick drawing. The sheath was held on the hip, with the curve facing upwards. When the sword was being drawn, the samurai would twist the scabbard sideways with one hand, and reach across their body with the other hand to grab the sword. When their opponent was close, they would draw the blade out and upwards in one movement. The blade was curved so that the samurai could draw and cut in a single movement. This is really hard to explain in words, so just search around on google until you find what I am talking about. This move was deadly, and would end a fight almost instantly if done right. In fact, duels between samurai consisted of standing opposite each other, only a few paces apart, and performing this move. The samurai who drew their sword fastest would win. There was no fancy moves here, just a single, fluid movement to end the fight.

Moving on, while the samurai did value their swords spiritually, and revere them more than any other weapon... they were rarely used in actual combat. The sword was the average samurais third weapon of choice. First would normally be a bow and arrow, killing the enemy from a distance. Then they had a pole-arm of some kind, for all of the above reasons. Only when those weren't options would a samurai consider using his swords.

Ok, looking back now I realize that the last paragraph was completely unnecessary. I have a tendency to get off topic when talking about the ancient Japanese warriors. I guess all I wanted to say is that:
1. Fast "draw-cuts" were a creation of the samurai, which were adapted by the ninja. NOT the other way around.
2. Despite popular belief, Ninjas were not the more advanced warriors. Neither were Samurai. Like everything, there is no way to be certain which is better. Samurai were more well armed, with better quality weapons and armor. They were also better trained, without a doubt. However, they were very limited in their ways due to bushido (basically the samurai code of honour). This was where most of the ninjas advantage came from. Ninjas would do things most samurai would never dream of. A ninja would break the rules, a ninja would fight dirty. Ninjas were inferior fighters, but they were allowed to sneak around, stab their opponents in the back, use unusual weapons and so on. Please dont just assume that a fight between a ninja and a samurai would always end in the ninja winning. It doesn't work like that.

Anyway, sorry for the rant!
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