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‘His Political Policy was Murder’
The Deadliest Warrior 8: William Wallace versus Shaka Zulu

These are two of my favorite historic figures, both of whom were outcast in youth and betrayed after successfully rising to power by their own people. Taken together they are something of an argument against tribalism. Both were tall and powerful and motivated by revenge.

In Wallace’s case he was not as innocent of his wife’s demise as depicted in the movie. The fact is he left his woman to defend his castle, where she was killed. And, although he appealed to the common man, he was not a commoner. The expert for Wallace is usually off balance and open for thrusts. However, Anthony Delongis, could really get it done with that claymore.

Shaka was a military genius—no doubt the smarter of the two—and was also an extreme psychopath. I like the athleticism and training dedication of the two Zulu experts. If this was a fight between the experts it would be a slaughter by the Zulus. The stick fighting still practiced by Zulus is a practical preparation for shield and spear use in that they drill weapon clearance constantly. It is a conservative form of stick-fighting which places it closer to the war weapon set it was associated with than most vestigial stick-fighting forms.

Claymore: The Scotsman fails the bullshit blade test as he spins the weapon around an open hand. However, Delongis, knows what he has in his hands. The defense against the claymore was preferably a claymore, if not a shield and if the shield don’t cut it, moving the legs. Shaka would by well able to move his legs and make a fight of it, though at a disadvantage. The mobility that he would have to worry about was not the speed of the weapon but the swordsman’s foot work. Against the heavy Scottish weapon set the Zulu expert’s doctrine of crouching low and coming up is tactical suicide.

This is the right point to note that the Zulu jumping and martial arts type gyrations are ritual embellishments of what was, in practice, a very simple, direct method of killing [as depicted in the film clip below. These Zulu experts bring as much B.S. with them compared to Shaka’s practicality as modern kenjitsu people bring in terms of Musashi’s direct lethality. The Zulu weapon set was for close order use, not dueling. They did, because of the lightness of their kit, adapt better to British riflemen of the 1800s than Wallace’s men eventually adapted to the main English force of the 1300s, who were unable to deal with the Welsh longbow then coming into English service.

The Iklwa spear is one of my favorite weapons and was used mostly on the mid line, with limited low line options and better highline options. The Zulu shield is a brilliant design and was necessarily light, not because these guys bounced around like NBA kung fu people, but because they ran all day long. Operationally the Zulus and Scotts would pair up nicely together on the same side. Notice that the stick of the shield is the same stick the stick fighter uses in his left hand. This stick fighting is training for shield and spear combat and Wallace’s people would have done something similar, rather than sparring with sharps as depicted in the dramatizations.

I do favor the more mature training attitude of the Zulu team, especially the man in the red shirt. Earl, is dedicated to training intelligently and correctly notes that the Scottish experts seem content to rely on deadlier weaponry rather than evolving their skill set. But he has sunken into that squatting stick-fighting doctrine which is a death trap even in stick fighting against a man who can move. And although Delongis is past the age for that kind of movement and the Scottish expert doesn’t have the balance required, Wallace was certainly a mover. Nobody just stood around with a claymore. It was a weapon that required movement and favored passing. The real difference in the styles is short quick motions by the Zulu and long sweeping motions by the Scotsman.

In the end each warrior type is supremely well-suited for his operational environment and tech level, and would be at a real disadvantage in the other’s terrain. Keep in mind that Wallace was primarily dealing with reducing villages, towns, keeps and castles.

The ball and chain is something you drop on shield men from above defending while strong points, not something you actually run around with. It was just a stupid weapon. The Zulu war club, on the other hand, is an excellent weapon of its type that would originally be the close in weapon after the spear was thrown. But when Shaka developed the spear, the club became obsolete at close range and would serve as a missile weapon to replace the throwing spear which had been discarded in favor of the stabbing spear. In the absence of the Iklwa, throwing this weapon would be stupid, as it is an affective hand club.

The war hammer was for the armored battlefield and would be a terrible weapon against a lightly armored opponent. They would have been better off bringing the lockebar axe, which was effectively used as late as the 1700s against British regulars. However, this would have been a very important weapon in Wallace’s day, since they faced heavily mailed and helmed English knights. Again, the stupid materialism of the European mind shines through and retards their tactical assessments as the “wow” weapons are lugged out without a thought toward tactics. That said, Delongis is a stud to wield that hammer with such dexterity. It was also very refreshing to see a man use a one-handed weapon in the damage test as a one-handed weapon, where many of these experts have doubled up for power against the stationary targets.

It was quite refreshing that the Zulu expert understood axe mechanics, which seem to have eluded some experts on The Deadliest Warrior. The axe is a stored motion weapon, a pendulum with arcing potentials that must be used in motion.

The dirk and targe are wrongly paired. For the targe should been paired with the hammer. That is why Delongis went one handed with the hammer to leave purchase for a shield and the Scottish guy wants to use the shield with the dirk? What a meathead move. Of course this seems to be the only thing this expert is good at, so it was a must inclusion. As far as the Zulu counter, spitting hot herb juice—negro, please!

The actual dramatized combat had more sensible weapon usage than some of the lab tests. In the end, stripping the weaponry away, considering that both men started low in the hierarchy and waged war on their own masters, Shaka gets to put two more zeros behind the number of enemies he put in the ground. Also, keep in mind that Wallace did not design his main weapon, and Shaka did. I’d say he was the deadliest warrior.

For a fair film depiction of the revolutionary nature of Zulu combat check out the episode of Shaka Zulu below. Go to 2 hours and 7 minutes in to see the set up for the battle.

Twerps, Goons and Meatshields: The Basics of Full Contact Stick-Fighting

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