Matchup: Henry V vs. Miyamoto Mushashi

December 7, 2010

Hey there every peoples!

Deadliest Warrior takes warriors from across time and space to combat one another. Most of the time the warriors are representivie of their culture. But on three occasions Deadliest Warrior has used not generic warriors but specific men. Each warrior is one who has left his mark on history. But since the debut of William Wallace vs. Shaka Zulu, fans all over the boards have dropped name after name of which specific warrior they'd like to see. So here i will offer my own suggestion on two specific historical figures who i think should slug it out. One was immortalized by Shakepeare while the other is remembered as Japan's finest swordsman.

Henry V

Henry V is often labeled as the greatest king England has ever known. Born in either 1397 or 1398, Henry V rose from an assuming start to becoming a fierce warrior king. Henry V was born during a time known as the Hundred Years War, a century long series of conflicts between England and France. Henry V is best known for his victory at the Battle of Agincourt where he lead a greatly outnumbered force to victory over the French. So memorable was the battle that William Shakespeare made it the climax of his play, "Henry V". While he came close, Henry V never managed to conquer Frrance before his death in1422

A portrait of Henry V


Miyamoto Musashi

Miyamoto Musashi was a smaurai duelist who lived from 1584 to 1645. Musashi was the son of a well respected swordsman, though he didn't have much respect for his son. Musashi won his first duel at the age of 13 after which he went into solitude to perfect his legendary duel sword technique. While he fought in over sixties duels (he never lost and only once fought to a draw) he also faought in two major battles: Sekigahara and Osaka. His most famous dueld was against Kojiro, the "Demon of the Western Provinces", in which Musashi won the duel in two strikes. Afterwards he vowed only to duel when challenged and never again to the death. In his later years he retreated to a buddhist monastary where he wrote the Book of Five Rings, a text on the ways of the warrior still studied today. (note: i don't know enough about Musashi to know what would be proper weapons for him to wield. Feel free to correct me at any point)

A statue of Miyamoto Musashi battling Kojiro


Short range

Henry V: Long sword. The standard sword of the Middle Ages, the long sword averaged 3 feet long. The long sword is often thought of as slow and clumsy. Reality, though, is that the long sword is a swift weapon capable of a wide variety of strikes. The sword is often weilded with two hands but is light enough to be wielded with one, allowing for use of a shield in the other. It can hack, it can thrust, and the hilt can be used to strike and disarm. Lastley the pommel could be used to bludgeon the face.

A tpical long sword of the middle ages


Musashi: Katana/wakizashi combination. The katana needs no indroduction.The wakisahi was a short sword that was carried along with the katana. Wakizashi were commonly 27 inches long. Musashi used the wakizashi to devastaing effect with the katana in his two sword technique.

A daisho, consisting of a katana and a wakizashi


Mid range

Henry V: Billhook. The billhook was a tool used by peasants and gardeners to prune trees and bushes. But as the Hundred Years War dragged on, more and more "lowly" weapons (weapons thought to be too crude for chivalry) found their ways into the battlefield. The billhook however proved especially usefull. At six feet long it could be used to keep the enemy at a distance. The hook could be used to hook an emeny's leg and yank them off their feet. Legs were especially vulnerable because leg armor was open at the back, providing a perfect venue to hook onto. Lastly the spike could be used for lethal thrusts. (the billhook is the one on the far right)

The billhook is the one on the far right


Musashi- Yari. The yari was a spear that was a staple of Japanese warfare. In fact the yari was more commonly used on the battlefield than the katana. Musashi may have used a yari when he joind the battle at Skigahara and Osaka, but I don't know for sure.

A typical japanese spear or yari


Long range

Henry V- English longbow. Many historians describe thelongbow as the "machine gun of the Middle Ages". And it's easy to see why. In the time it takes to fire a single crossbow bolt, a skilled archer could fire 7 arrows. Henry V experienced the power of the long bow first hand when he recieved an arrow to the face in one of his early battles. He was so impressed by it's range and power that he made the longbow central to his campaign in France. The arrows were tipped with what is known as a bodkin point, an arrowhead specially designed to pierce the plate armor of Medieval knights.

A team of bowman using the English longbow


Musashi- Yumi. Before the Mongol invasion, the yumi was the main weapon of the samurai. Usually 7 feet tall, the yumi is held in a seemingly awkward fassion. It is held a third of the way up the bow as opposed to the middle, which allows for it's use on horseback. As with the yumi, Musashi may have used this weapon at some point in his life but i cannot say that with any certainty.

a yumi bow


Special weapon

Henry V- War hammer. As plate armor became thicker and harder to pierce, weapon smiths began to look for ways around this. A popular method was to use bludgeon weapons that didn't have to penetrate the armor to cause trauma. One weapon to suit this purpose was the war hammer. The spike could penetrate weaker armor and the hammer could knock a man around.

A war hammer from the middle ages


Musashi- Bokken. In his famous duel with Kojiro, Musashi whittled a wooden sword known as a bokken from an oar on his way to the duel. Nothing really too special about it, basically a wooden katana.

A typical wooden sword


so what do you think? Who do you think would win? Is is a fair fight? I did the best i could with Musashi but there is certainly room for improvement.

Till next time!