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‘He’s Out’
Back for Blood: The Deadliest Warrior #10

This episode compares the nine warrior types who won in the previous comparative simulations into five muscle-powered and five gunpowder types, which means the knights and pirates are screwed as the cusp group.

It pans out, as it should:

#5 Shaolin monks

#4 William Wallace [because chain mail sucks]

#3 Apache [deadly, but no armor]

#2 Spartan, for armor and deadly weaponry, but most of all the shield, as it should be

#1 Samurai for skill, armor and excellent weaponry

The three-man table talk over the warriors—was obviously conducted just post mortem. I thought—basic as it was—that the testers had learned a lot from the process and that the choice of Spartan versus Samurai was right on.

Notice on the Spartan shield what looks like an A without a cross bar. This is lambda, the prototype of our L, which was the first letter in the Spartan name, which was not Spartan but Lacedaemon, or "man of the Silent land." This was also the name of the state, with only the capitol city being known as Sparta, or “Rope.” [1] In the reenactment of the end of the first day at Thermopylae a Spartan is depicted finishing falling Persian by using the blade of his spear. In reality, he would have used his “lizard sticker” the iron spike at the base of his spear, a counterbalance for the Hoplomachia discipline and a ready dispatcher of the fallen under foot when marching in close order.

Of great interest is that both of these martial cults valued stoic endurance and rhythmic precision over fury and power.

Interesting, one thing that the Spartans and Samurai had in common was a high level of homosexuality based on a severe separation of the genders during long periods of war and also an instituted system of personal patronage in which older men of prestige acted as mentor-lovers of younger men and youth. There is some evidence that Socrates and Alcibiades of Athens might have had such a relationship.

Interestingly they brought back the two old experts, of which the Spartan expert is the most fit, by far. The choice of bringing back the brains rather than the brawn will probably favor the Spartan as a pre-testing prejudice. Note that the Samurai expert does not admit to the rampant homosexuality among the daimyo as he exercises his considerable wit at Spartan expense. In this match up the Japanese war club will be less useful and the samurai should work from behind the bow and arrow. The fitness level difference between the Japanese expert and the American expert seems suitable, considering the relatively pampered samurai existence compared to the Spartan existence of the Spartan. Suffice it to say that when your name becomes synonymous with tough, you are a tough dude. In terms of European troops of the 16th century, the Samurai was a horse archer, not a swordsman.

The torso armor tests with the pole arms is instructive as to how a Japanese army would fair against a European army. Although Asian culture is generally more group-oriented, Japanese warfare was extremely individualistic, with European warfare generally more cohesive. O’Connell, in Of Arms and Men, actually postulates that the uniquely cohesive military sense of Western Armies harkens back to the spear, and so we come to understand why in this demonstration. The Samurai expert gets points for donating a real piece of heritage armor to this demonstration.

Note on the replay of the pig test of the Samurai sword, the tricep use by the stud demonstrator. This brings to mind the fact that this sword simultaneously utilized the push and pull of the opposing arms, like a bat swing, like the stroke of an oar or paddle, which was a weapon that was ancestral to the sword, the weaponized canoe propulsion device.

The Spartan reenactor deftly describes the tactical advantage of the xiphos and aspis combination over the katana. One thing to keep in kind is, Although the Spartan wears greaves, my experience fighting with katanas while wearing greaves showed that the long blade struck the calf, not the shin, and I have broken veins to prove it. That said, the central failing of the bushido mindset is the inability to conceptualize the shield as a weapon or the weapon as a shield, which is what doomed tens of thousands of Japanese infantry to death as they charged against superior American firepower in places like Guadalcanal. The collective ethos of the Spartan shield is not understood by the Bushido man, despite it being explained by the Spartan expert who is outstanding in this episode.

Another interesting commonality is the collectivized honor code of each warrior type. Finally, the cunning versus strength aspect here is overblown. There was a Sparta fable about a boy who stole an animal when foraging for supplies during training maneuvers and died by way of the animal clawing and biting at him beneath his cloak rather than admitting to the theft. This is a kind of cunning not predicted by eastern philosophy—this is the way it goes, Aryan steamroller, Samurai Souvlaki!

As for the various gun-armed murderers, I’m pouring another shot of rum, toasting Bruno Diaz and just sitting back and enjoying the carnage.—what a great show and they should bring it back, with Bruno and I as color commentators.


A Well of Heroes

Add Comment
Sean GlassNovember 29, 2016 7:08 AM UTC

Define stoic endurance and rhythmatic precision? Especially as it relates to our modern day combat requirements.
responds:November 29, 2016 8:20 PM UTC

Well have to do this as an article.

Thanks, Sean.
Bruno DiasNovember 28, 2016 9:56 AM UTC

Thanks for all the analysis. That meant a lot to me.

About the episode: Even when i watched the episode at the time (when i knew significantly less about history and about combat than i know today), i had the same impressions that you had.

Will you do analysis of the other seasons as well?
responds:November 28, 2016 10:29 AM UTC

Bruno, I have them all and will do them all. They will go into the book Unbowed Heroes to be published in February 2017.

You are welcome to the rights to publish it in another language of your choice.

If you would be so kind as to write a forward for it we can get your name on the cover.

The other content will be drawn from the tag on this site When White Meant Might.

The reader comments on this series have been so good we will retain them as footnotes.

Thanks for the idea for this.
Sam J.November 28, 2016 1:19 AM UTC

I would take the Spartan over anyone. They spent their whole lives training to fight and dominate others. They were surrounded by slaves who they taunted constantly and you can imagine the hazing. It would probably drive Navy Seals and Delta force troops to tears.

The only reason they died out was they just didn't have enough kids. Their numbers got smaller and smaller. My first thought was damn their Women for not having kids but I wonder if after all this constant hazing and warfare eventually just felt futile? At least in Athens you could have a little wine and catch a play. In Sparta there was nothing but struggle. No respite, like permanent PTSD.

James you could find some way to move from a very likely assured death trap where you live but you refuse. Same thing maybe?