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Samurai Versus Knight: Comparison of Battle Tactics

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Medieval Europe shared some similarities with medieval Japan, yet they also shared conflicts. One including their soldier or their warriors, those who struggled for their land. In medieval Europe they took horses and in Japan they took samurais, they fought in different ways. They were both fighting to protect their homeland from invading foreign forces. Samurai versus Knight people find very little difference between the warriors. The Medieval Era saw the emergence of two distinct warrior classes in Europe and Japan. These were the Samurai and the Knights. They were recorded in history as a code for courage and sacrifice. Never had the world seen such courageous and dedicated ‘military class’ before them. Although, they represented two different cultures; they were comparable in several ways. The Knights duty was very much similar to the Samurai. They were hired to protect the land and the people. Ironically, the Samurai’s and the Knights came from noble families, since horses, armour, and weapons were costly and their use required long training. They stood at the top of the social hierarchy and had many privileges. On the other hand, they were supposed to be a good example for the lower classes and had to follow the principles of their religion. The samurai’s and Knights’ most valuable principles are unconditional loyalty to his master, extreme self-discipline, and brave, selfless behaviour. These great warriors had one aim; to serve their lord and be successful.

The medieval Knight would trample over the Japanese samurai in a battle due to their battle tactics but one on one the samurai would claim victory with training and codes of respect.

Training and code of conduct was one of most essential values for a warrior and shaped the society of a country. The bushido code is a specific set of codes that originated from Zen Confucianism and other respect codes. Society and Bushido joined on some levels and often combined for powerful political and social messages. Throughout the imperialization of Asia, Japan kept the strong teaching of being a strong smart student obligated to be a peasant. Chivalry, on the other hand, relates to the style and ethical code accomplice by medieval Europe knights. Chivalry included the values honour, courtesy, bravery and virtue, as well as faithfulness to God, a movement or noble. Its foundation was a mixture of military, cultural and religious ethics. Although chivalry started as a code for Knights, it changed to making cultural circumstances of the renaissance. ‘The principles of bushido emphasized honor, courage, skill in the martial arts, and loyalty to a warrior’s master (daimyo) above all else’. Chivalry and Bushido were both important for shaping the essentials of medieval and modern society. Chivalry’s code of behaviour is based on behalf of that men should act according to their moral standards, while Bushido is based on serving the daimyo or superior that pay them. They are both similar in different ways and are still very much the same even though they had no contact with each other. Zen Confucianism was the most structural and disciplined practice due to their intense training and laws a samurai would have to follow.

If you were a warrior without a weapon it would be a big disadvantage, the weapon could be the key to winning or the burden to death. Weapons can be anything that can be used to harm or kill living things. Different cultures in the medieval period preferred different weapons and styles of attack. The most preferred weapon range would be the sword, spear and bow and arrow. The samurai preferred the katana for their main weapon and a wakizashi 12-inch dagger for seppuku and quick close-range combat. The Medieval European Knight had a longsword that had their initials engraved on the handle for culture. The knight didn’t have just 2 to 3 weapons on them but had specific classes for swordsman, spearman and archer. The samurai wore armour that covered them from to head to toe that had easy mobility and the icing on the cake was the intimidating face. ‘But because of light armour it makes them extremely vulnerable when in battle’. The samurai also had disadvantages from their armour and weapons which were targeted by another enemy’s. Light armour made them vulnerable to firearms and arrows. The Japanese didn’t discover firearms until the 13th century which made japan vulnerable from modern countries. Knights of medieval Europe also had significant difficulties with their weapons and mostly their armour. The heavy more defensive armour made mobility difficult and slowed knights down in running and fighting. The armour also rusted and needed to be cleaned by the armour squire who could also be a knight one day. The most significant factor was how much material and how expensive their armour was. Most knights armour were shiny iron which was an expensive currency back then. In this scenario the samurai would win due to their small and lightweight weapons which allowed them to kill quicker and swifter.

Battle tactics were the kicker in between who won a battle and who lost it. A prime example was the battle of Hastings. In the battle, the Normans had their archers at the front skirmishing the shield wall picking off numbers one by one. They then sent the infantry in and the shield wall did not break. They were fighting and word went about the Norman side that the king has died and they started retreating. The shield wall broke and chased after the fleeing Normans. Out of nowhere the Normans turned around and picked off the group that was chasing them. The battle went on and the Saxons were defeated because the battle plan fell apart. The European knights were the brightest when it came to battle plans and tactics. ‘The Cavalry was one of the most effective body of troops during the early medieval ages but towards the later medieval ages, it lost importance as infantry and other parts of the army became more important’. The knights also had a cheat where they could have different classes scattered around to get the most efficient damage and impact. Knights generally rode horses and made critical crushing damage to defence and open field battle. Knights also made catapults and trebuchets to deal damage from far away. Samurai battle tactics were really simple and that was the warrior instinct to kill as many as you can and don’t be killed. Some samurai rode horses that on the downside were frequently heavy and sluggish but the rider understood Kyuba no Michi which translates to the way of horse and bow. Otherwise, their main component was their intimidation which still worked most of the time. The cons of being a medieval knight were that you were expected to die due to your terrible training and leadership. Knights were considered fruitful and wealthy not the knight we see today. Whoever versed the knight most of the time were defeated, a prime example was the crusades and the knights stormed over the Muslims and won battle after battle. In my opinion, knights would trample over an army samurai with their complicated battle plans and tactics.

The medieval Knight would trample over the Japanese samurai in a battle due to their battle tactics but one on one the samurai would win with training and codes of respect. The samurai is one of the most disciplined warriors to this day and had specifically known for their rough training and code of conduct. On the knights Chivalry side, you just vowed to serve and fight for a lord if he paid you. The samurai also had the advantage over the knight on the weapons and armour side which plays a big role in the fighting. The samurai had the katana the slick-looking sharp blade which was light and agile like their armour Karuta which was made for mobility and protection. The Knight was the complete opposite with their large, dull heavy swords which were slow and needed force to cut people. Their armour was also 12 kilograms heavier than the samurai so it was impossible to run in. Battle tactics were the big ones where knights were mostly known for winning battles. In summary, the Japanese samurai would beat the European Knight in a 1v1 battle but in army warfare the Knight would be victorious by picking off the samurai’s 1 by 1 with their battle tactics.

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Samurai Versus Knight: Comparison Of Battle Tactics. (2021, October 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 18, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/samurai-versus-knight-comparison-of-battle-tactics/
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Samurai Versus Knight: Comparison Of Battle Tactics [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Oct 25 [cited 2022 Jan 18]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/samurai-versus-knight-comparison-of-battle-tactics/
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