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‘War Spike!’
Vlad the Impaler versus Sun Tzu: The Deadliest Warrior #2-10

This is one of my favorite Deadliest Warrior episodes.

I do think the Chinese experts went overboard with Sun Tzu as a gentleman, since he supervised the slaughter of even more people than Vlad. Also, Vlad was a minor military genius, able to fight successfully against a vast empire with limited resources. In actuality, Vlad and Sun Tzu would have probably understood each other well and worked together with an appalling synchronicity. Su Tzu was essentially the Prince Machiavelli of his time—a realist in a civilized but brutal age.

The actual reason why Vlad impaled his enemies—including a lot of German merchants who preyed on his feudal economy—was because, in his time imprisoned among the Turks, he was raped by his Janissary guards. Impalement was literal payback to the world which conspired in his rape.

The Frankenstein-looking sword-maker from Romania with the beastly forehead looks sloppy with the kilij but does as much damage with one-handed strokes of the Turkish scimitar than the Japanese experts accomplished with two-handed katana strokes.

Note the type of imobile mobility used by the wushu experts, moving much and beautifully in the same range—not getting outside the kill zone. When the wushu man speaks of thrusting with his sword he speaks of a terminal game of chicken in which he may well run his adversary through but will certainly be cleaved. These slashing versus stabbing matchups really come down to understanding the other weapon and fighter. In the heat of a sword-armed battle slashing and hacking generally trumps thrusting, unless large shields are in use. In dueling on a prepared surface the gentleman’s sword should be able to take the hand of the kilij wielder, but there is no concept of the hand as a target in Chinese swordsmanship—at least not as demonstrated by this expert—who speaks of thrusting to the body rather than cleaving the hands.

The way to fight the kilij with the gentleman’s sword would be to draw a cut and then try and pass cut behind the weapon to the wrist.

On the part of the kilij wielder he needs to move his body and feet a lot and keep his strokes tight within the arc of his own shoulders until the Chinese combatant commits to a thrust and then slash with a reverse shift at the hand. Who ever goes for the core first in this duel will probably take a disarm if the other warrior [and the ancients would] based their action on cutting the hand off.

More importantly Vlad would have been mounted and slashing from the saddle, which, with the kilij, would have been incredibly lethal.

As with most such weapons introduced on this show, the crossbows were disappointing and must have been a tactical nightmare outside of siege warfare and ship-to-ship combat. No wonder the French knights ran down their own crossbowmen at Grecy. The doctor, at this point in the series, is able to evaluate the forensic potential of the weapon at a glance in most cases.

The hand canon proved to be surprisingly accurate, but more importantly, was probably the deadliest hand weapon in the arsenal other than the kilij and halberd, the latter of which performed well, as did the other halberds tested on this show. The halberd is the most overlooked weapon on the medieval and early modern battlefield.

The use of the iron claw staff by the wushu man looks great, but he is not moving his feet far enough and ranging about like he should. With a slashing pole arm one should not stay in sword range, ever, and he stays in sword range the entire time.

The fantasy combat got a little silly and should have been a five-on-five to make it realistic. However, that would have favored Vlad even more.

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

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